Asheville is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 45.3 square miles (117.2 km2), of which 44.9 square miles (116.4 km2) is land and 0.31 square miles (0.8 km2), or 0.66%, is water.
Official record temperatures range from −16 °F (−26.7 °C) on January 21, 1985 to 100 °F (37.8 °C) on August 21, 1983; the record cold daily maximum is 4 °F or −15.6 °C on February 4, 1895, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 77 °F or 25 °C on July 17, 1887. Readings as low as 0 °F (−17.8 °C) or as high as 95 °F (35 °C) rarely occur, the last occurrences being January 7, 2014 and July 1, 2012, respectively. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 17 to April 18, allowing a growing season of 181 days.
Precipitation is relatively well spread, though the summer months are slightly wetter, and averages 49.6 inches (1,260 mm) annually, but has historically ranged from 22.79 in (579 mm) in 1925 to 79.48 in (2,019 mm) in 2018. Snowfall is sporadic, averaging 10.3 inches or 0.26 metres per winter season, but actual seasonal accumulation varies considerably from one winter to the next; accumulation has ranged from trace amounts in 2011–12 to 48.2 inches or 1.2 metres in 1968–69. Freezing rain often occurs, accompanied by significant disruption. Hail is not an uncommon sight to see during the spring and summer, accompanied by intense severe thunderstorms. The first occurrence of thunderstorms in Asheville normally happens sometime in February and the last occurrence of thunderstorms for the season is usually in late September.
Notable architecture in Asheville includes its Art Deco Asheville City Hall, and other unique buildings in the downtown area, such as the Battery Park Hotel, the original of which was 475-feet long with numerous dormers and chimneys; the Neo-Gothic Jackson Building, the first skyscraper on Pack Square; Grove Arcade, one of America’s first indoor shopping malls; and the Basilica of St. Lawrence. The S&W Cafeteria Building is also a fine example of Art Deco architecture in Asheville. The Grove Park Inn is an important example of the architecture and design of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The Montford Area Historic District and other central areas are considered historic districts and include Victorian houses. Biltmore Village, located at the entrance to the famous estate, showcases unique architectural features. It was here that workers stayed during the construction of George Vanderbilt’s estate. The YMI Cultural Center, founded in 1892 by George Vanderbilt in the heart of downtown, is one of the nation’s oldest African-American cultural centers.