Although the charming community of Morganton is home to less than 20,000 residents, it offers amenities and advantages associated with much larger cities. Serving as the Burke County seat of government, Morganton is ideally located between two of North Carolina's major metropolitan areas: Asheville and Charlotte. Historic downtown Morganton features a main street that bustles with activity in small shops, restaurants, and entertainment centers. As part of the city's widespread revitalization and beautification program, a renovated vintage mill has created a beautiful center for city offices and commercial space. Concerts on the square, colorful festivals, cultural events at the municipal auditorium, wonderful museums, and restaurants with river and greenway views are just a few of the attractions. Western Piedmont Community College joins the North Carolina School for the Deaf and Western Carolina Rehabilitation Center to give Morganton the status of an educational center. Lake James is only minutes from town, providing a pristine environment for fishing, boating, and water sports. State parks and forests encourage day trips for hiking and mountain biking, rock climbing, camping, and backpacking. Rolling rivers are ideal for kayaking, fly fishing, and rafting.