Downtown Marion, NCMarion, NC – Where Main Street Meets the Mountains

Marion, NC is the closest city to Lake James and is a friendly progressive community of 7,500 people. Founded in the mid-1800s with a rich history, Marion has been recognized as a “Main Street” city by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Marion has small town charm with fun experiences and natural beauty.

Located approximately 20 minutes west of Morganton, 40 minutes east of Asheville and an hour and a half from Charlotte, the town is located just north of Interstate 40, and is a pathway between the mountain and piedmont regions of North Carolina. Marion is the seat of McDowell County, a county of 45,000 residents. Marion ranks as one of the most affordable places in North Carolina and is a great place to live, work and play.

School District

McDowell County offers several options for school. There are eight elementary schools including: Eastfield Elementary, Glenwood Elementary, Marion Elementary, Nebo Elementary, North Cove Elementary, Old Fort Elementary, Pleasant Gardens Elementary and West Marion Elementary. There are three middle school options including: East McDowell Middle, West McDowell Middle and Foothills Community. High school options include McDowell High, McDowell Early College and McDowell Academy for Innovation. There is also a virtual option, McDowell Virtual Academy for grades 6-12.

McDowell County also offers two private christian based learning schools, New Manna Christian School and Nebo Crossing Academy. Both schools hosts children from Pre-K through 12th grade.


The historic city sits along the Catawba River Basin and is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Marion has extended her hospitality to travelers and visitors for over 150 years. Both visitors and residents can enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds Marion year round. Marion is conveniently located close to many outdoor activities to include the Joseph McDowell Historical Greenway, Lake James State Park, Marion Lake Club Golf Course, Toms Creek Falls, Linville Caverns, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mount Mitchell State Park and much more!

Downtown Life

Take a stroll down Main Street where you can find locally owned restaurants, craft breweries, bars, boutiques and other forms of entertainment. Marion offers a variety of dining options that include Crabby Abby’s, McDowell Local, Bruce’s Fabulous Foods and much more. Not hungry? No problem. Visit McDowell County’s first craft brewery, Mica Town, or visit Refinery 13 and the Spillway Bridge & Company to enjoy other local drinks and entertainment from the area. Looking for the perfect gift, visit Flavors on Main – a general store, fly shop and outfitter. The Miller Complex is in the heart of downtown Marion. The complex is home to several businesses including restaurants, a bakery, skating rink, gym and much more. Marion hosts several community events and festivals each year, but be sure to visit the Mountain Glory Festival and the WNC Bigfoot Festival. These two festivals bring thousands of visitors to Marion each year.

Marion, NC Real Estate

Marion offers a wide variety of real estate for sale including duplexes, condos, investment properties, lots, and housing ranging from modest starter homes to executive estates. McDowell County has many desired neighborhoods such as Grant’s Mountain, Grandview Peaks and Hidden Lakes. Enjoy communities with or without neighbors in close proximity, mountain or waterfront views and properties located in the heart of downtown Marion.

City of Marion, NC

Why Buyers Choose Marion, NC

Regardless of your choice or income bracket, the verdant foliage, abundant trees and unsurpassed autumn colorations are freely available to everyone. Marion offers a great quality of life and affordable living. According to a recent study, Marion ranks has the 5th most affordable place to live in North Carolina. Its residents can enjoy safe neighborhoods, recreational amenities, great shopping and the incredible scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.

Contact Engel & Völkers Foothills Lake James

3053 NC HWY 126, Morganton, NC 28655