Gastonia, North Carolina
Gastonia has grown dramatically since its humble yarn-making beginnings. Today ranking an impressive first as the largest municipality in Gaston County and a sizable second to the Queen City for the neighboring counties, this three-time All American City is an industry-charged suburban powerhouse.
Just shy of a major metropolis, Gastonia bubbles with potential. Thanks to its perfect balance of location, size, and quality of life, this town earned the Livability Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a special recognition for cities that make unique efforts to enhance resident life.
Gastonia residents enjoy many playtime perks. The James H. Lynn Planetarium, part of their Schiele Museum of Natural History, projects Hubble Telescope photographs, which have been known to inspire the budding astronaut in visitors. The city’s Memorial Hall, too, offers a trace of history for the avid learner. Built in 1931, it commemorates Gaston County’s war veterans and, paired with two museums to honor their actions, showcases their hometown pride.
Gastonia also participates in the Sister Cities organization. The goal is to strengthen relationships and promote cultural awareness between Gotha, Germany and Santiago de Surco, Peru.
Location-wise, Gastonia sits evenly between North Carolina’s Research Triangle and lively Atlanta, well plotted for weekend shopping or Tarheel gamedays. Of course, if you’re having a quiet weekend at home, the Saturday Farmers Market is the place to be. Pulling from vendors as far as 100 miles away, Gastonia’s local flavor makes this early morning marketplace one of its more endearing traditions.
It seems to follow, then, that Gastonia should be on your radar. People-pleasing and entertaining, North Carolina’s textile-town-gone-urban is sure to mark its place on the map, if it hasn’t already.