40 Great Atlanta Neighborhoods
Finding a Place to Call Home
by Avery Thibadeau
Moving to a new city is a thrilling prospect. This is your chance to start over, to create the life of which you’ve always dreamed. However, alongside the excitement, you’re likely a bit anxious because, the truth is, before you do almost anything else, you have to find a place that feels like home.
Atlanta has grown to be a fusion of cities, towns and distinct neighborhoods, and each one has its own history and character. Searching for the right community for you and your family will require a bit of research, so first determine what factors are most importantproximity to work, a kid-friendly community and quality schools, a nearby nightlife, new home construction or even historic architecture.
Atlanta is home to countless fantastic neighborhoods which, for practical reasons, cannot all be spotlighted here. The following communities represent what we consider to be some of the most popular places to live in Metro Atlanta. Some have been admired throughout the years; others have welcomed the loving hand of revitalization or are currently experiencing massive growth. Take a peek aheadwe know you’ll find something you like.
Ansley Park/Druid Hills
Residents in these neighborhoods enjoy some of the finest examples of period architecture in Atlanta. While Druid Hills was built around a series of parks and is next door to Emory University, Ansley Park backs up to Midtown, offering residents a suburban feel in the heart of the cityPiedmont Park, Woodruff Arts Center and the Atlanta Botanical Garden are within walking distance. Druid Hills will soon be home to the Residences at Lullwater Park, an elegant townhome and manor home community from Viscaya Development Group.
With its central lake, historic and architectural interest and close-knit community, Avondale has continued to be the ideal suburb since its inception in 1924. Residents enjoy the city’s proximity to both the city of Atlanta and the city of Decatur, as well as wide sidewalks, local dining favorites and a swim and tennis club.
Brookhaven is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the “first planned golf community in Georgia.” Its broad, winding streets, sweeping lawns and large, elegant homes overlooking the Capital City Country Club golf course make for a picturesque residential backdrop. Brookhaven is just a mile away from Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza.
$1,189,211 Buckhead is the place to go for just about everything in Atlantahomes, dining, shopping, and nightlife. Multi-million dollar estates, high-rise condominium towers such as Paces 325 and luxury town homes like the City Park Townhomes dot the landscape. Some of the city’s finest restaurants, shopping malls and boutiques are located here.
Candler Park/Lake Claire
Both of these established neighborhoods attract the whole spectrum of residents with their eclectic mix of bungalows and cottages, as well as a quaint strip of shops and restaurants, including Atlanta’s favorite brunch spot, the Flying Biscuit Café. Candler Park includes a nine-hole golf course, swimming pool, and basketball court and soccer field. Lake Claire is home to John Willis Homes’ Sutherland Place, a new devel- opment of single-family homes, townhomes and lofts, which blends beautifully into the existing neighborhood.
Castleberry Hill is home to a thriving arts district, trendy restaurants and urban loft residences. While welcoming the new, it is also designated a landmark district, which preserves the historical integrity of the neighborhood. Residents of the neighborhood enjoy the community feel of the area, enhanced with events such as the annual loft tour and ArtStroll.
College Park has the fourth largest urban historic district in Georgia. Home to Woodward Academy, a small-town main street and the busiest airport in the world, it also now boasts the new Georgia International Convention Center. College Park is attracting young professionals and families by combining historic elements with new developments, such as Gates at Stonelake, a John Willis Homes community.
The second oldest city in the Atlanta metropolitan area, Decatur blends history with a relaxed modernity. Its historic square hosts activities and events throughout the year, and its shops and cozy restaurants are always busy. Quaint bungalows still pepper the residential landscape, but recent downtown developments now offer condominiums and apartments.
Residents of Dunwoody enjoy a wide range of educational options, and the winding streets and wooded lots provide a beautiful environment in which to raise a family. It is also attracting young singles with the nearby Perimeter Mall area and a number of fine dining restaurants, such as Villa Christina, Seasons 52 and Fleming’s Steakhouse.
The city of East Point is less than 14 square miles in size but boasts a population of 40,000. Residents enjoy the city’s excellent location, the convenient MARTA station and easy access to the airport. East Point has welcomed efforts at revitalization, and new developments such as Camp Creek Marketplace are bringing name brand retailers to the area.
The slogan of Fairburn is “History Lives Here,” and as host to the Georgia Renaissance Festival each year, it isn’t far from the truth. However, the historic downtown area is also a living history, with many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents enjoy both new construction and historic single-family homes, dating back to the early 1900s.
The old bungalows, cottages and Victorian-era homes of Grant Park are currently being restored to beautiful conditions. It is Atlanta’s largest historic neighborhood, built around the oldest city park in Atlanta. Residents enjoy local dives such as Ria’s Bluebird Café and popular restaurant Six Feet Under, as well as their very own Zoo Atlanta, Cyclorama and Oakland Cemetery.
Front-porch sitting and large yards accompany the bungalows that line the tree-shaded streets of Hapeville, which is home to Delta Airlines corporate headquarters. Although it is graced with a historic downtown, the city welcomes new housing and mixed-use developments. Children attend Tri-Cities High School, which offers an excellent performing arts magnet program.
Newly incorporated Johns Creek has a high-end feel to it with its elegant restaurants, shops and large homes, such as those in the new Peachtree Residential development, Tavistock. The city is developing by leaps and bounds and growing in population, which is currently around 65,000. A new hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, has just opened its doors in the area.
Although Kennesaw holds a great tie to history, it is also a flourishing, modern community of arts, education and culture, filled with all types of homes and subdivisions for the city’s growing families. Nearby Kennesaw State University attracts nearly 20,000 students to its campusresidents of Kennesaw enjoy the public events and exhibitions offered by the university’s College of the Arts.
Ten years ago, the Victorian-era homes and craftsman bungalows in Kirkwood could be bought for a song, but prices are rising as more and more of the area is revitalized, thanks to efforts from companies such as Bo Bridgeport Brokers, which both restored homes and brought in buyersthey are still a major presence in the area today.
A city filled with its own history, Marietta is both a world away and minutes from Atlanta. Many of Atlanta’s most desirable subdivisions and homes, such as Ryland Homes’ Canterbury community, coexist here with 19th century Victorian homes. The downtown square and historical center attract many, as do the desirable Marietta city schools, neighborhood parks and thriving arts scene.
With beautiful turn-of-the century homes, McDonough is the county seat of Henry County. The city prides itself on being a “city of character” and provides a close-knit community perfect for raising a family. It is also a Main Street City, working to support economic growth while reestablishing the downtown district’s viability.
Midtown Atlanta is, simply put, the center of action. It is home to the Fox Theatre and the High Museum of Art, and residents enjoy urban life in lofts and historic apartments, while cutting edge developments (on the scale of Trump Towers Atlanta) are planned for the area. With plans for the Midtown Mile underway, Midtown will soon boast 14 walkable, tree-lined blocks for living, shopping and dining, reminiscent of New York’s Madison Avenue.
With a population of over 16,000, Newnan is the county seat of Coweta County. The city boasts five historic districts filled with graceful homes that ooze Southern gentility. As the population increases, many modern residential developments are cropping up as well. While the Coweta School system is rapidly growing, independent schools such as the Heritage School have educated children of the city for years.
With over 8,000 residents, Norcross is a quiet, residential city surrounded by high-tech industry. Founded in the late 1800s as a resort town for wealthy Atlantans, the historic district is home to many while numerous new developments, such as John Willis Homes’ Reserve at East Jones Bridge have brought new residents to the area. Families enjoy numerous parks and the Gwinnett County school systemthe largest in the state and the fastest growing in the Southeast.
Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park
These historic intown neighborhoods are full of restored Victorian-era and craftsman-style homes. Inman Park was Atlanta’s first planned community, and over 300 homes in the area are currently under renovation or restoration. With its urban location, Inman Park is zoned entirely residential. The convenient and affordable housing of Old Fourth Ward attracts Atlanta’s urbanites, as does commercial development, such as the planned 2 million square foot redevelopment of City Hall East.
Over 90 miles of scenic paths connect Peachtree City’s residential and commercial centers, resulting in its residents’ avid use of golf carts to get around. Different villages offer housing from apartments to large, single-family homes to retirement communities. This award-winning master-planned community emphasizes natural, wooded beauty and a sense of communitythe city hosts book clubs, numerous sports leagues, and has its own 2,000-seat amphitheater.
The various subdivisions in Powder Springs, both new and old, are home to around 15,000 residents, and John McEachern High School, a large, historic school with a thriving sports program, has a great reputation that exceeds the city limits. The Silver Comet Trail passes through Powder Springs, offering a paved path for cyclists and runners.
Many consider Roswell to be the perfect suburb, but it is also Georgia’s sixth largest city. With its mix of stately older neighborhoods, new developments (or refurbished ones, such as the Bricks, a collection of row homes in the former cotton mill), its quaint downtown area, its miles of nature trails along the Chattahoochee River and its numerous schools, much of Roswell’s growth has occurred in recent years. According to city crime ratings, Roswell is one of America’s safest cities.
Sandy Springs became its own city in 2005 after years as a suburb of Atlanta. Housing options extend from large single-family homes to condominium towers, and multitudes of boutiques, bars and restaurants line Roswell Road, the community’s main thoroughfare. Residents of the city embrace neighborhood gatherings, such as the annual Concerts by the Springs each summer.
The city of Stockbridge, with a population of over 20,000, is the largest city in Henry Countythe fourth fastest-growing county in the nation. Affordable homes and communities are being built to meet the needs of its residents, such as the David Weekley community Monarch Village and Ryland Homes’ Preserve at Monarch Village. Henry County’s school system is growing rapidly along with the student populationthe school board projects that more than 17 additional schools will be needed in Henry County by 2015.
Stone Mountain is more than just a mountain of graniteit also refers to a charming community of antique shops, art galleries and restaurants, such as Continental Coffee and Sweets or neighborhood favorite Mama Mia’s Pasta and Pizza. Apartment communities and single-family homes house Stone Mountain’s residents, who enjoy the walking and biking trails of Stone Mountain Park.
Vinings offers close proximity to a large number of Atlanta’s independent schools, making it ideal for growing families. However, the advent of trendy restaurants and shopping centers are also bringing a growing number of condominium developments, such as the Park Vinings tower, and many of the city’s young singles are flocking as well. The upscale Avignon at Vinings, near Vinings Jubilee, will offer luxurious single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes.
Historic West End is home to Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. In addition to its stately homes, the neighborhood has seen recent growth with developments such as Westside Village and renovation efforts as seen in the Metropolitan, a business and arts district of studios, galleries and workshops located in the former Candler-Smith Historic Warehouse.
Woodstock is one of the fastest-growing metro Atlanta communities, as many developers are targeting the area with new subdivisions and homes, such as KB Homes’ Wynchase, an upscale Martha Stewart community featuring homes modeled after Stewart’s own residences, and Hedgewood Properties’ Woodstock Downtown, a live, work, play community in the heart of the historic district.
10 Additional Great Neighborhoods in Atlanta
When the Cabbagetown cotton mill shut down in the 1970s, the neighborhood quickly deteriorated, but in recent years, Cabbagetown has welcomed its share of young professionals and artists eager for affordable urban housing. New developmentsincluding loft homes inside the old cotton mill, the Fulton Cotton Mill Loftsare bringing with them a number of art galleries and restaurants.
Although an older, suburban community with an industrial background, Chamblee is beginning to experience the winds of change with new loft and townhome communities. The site of Atlanta’s first “inside-the-perimeter” Wal-Mart, Chamblee boasts a diverse population, a large collection of antique shops, close proximity to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, and magnet programs at the middle and high school levels.
The city of Covington features a downtown that comes straight from a picture-book, or a movieit was the site of the filming of My Cousin Vinny. The town hall tower stands proudly over the town, a testament to the city’s long heritage. Located in Newton County, Covington is populated by numerous shops and restaurants in its historic center, and students at nearby Oxford College of Emory University add a fresh, young feel to the area.
Many of the scenes in Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With the Wind took place in Clayton County, and Jonesboro was the center of a prosperous community before it was the site of a crucial Civil War battle. South of Atlanta on I-75, Jonesboro has numerous historic homes and sites, although new developments are rapidly cropping up in the area to meet the rising Southside population.
Although these are historically quiet, tree-shaded neighborhoods, residents here have unbelievable access to the top restaurants and shopping in Atlanta, with easy access to both Buckhead and Midtown. With such prime property, naturally prices are going up, and while many homes have been maintained or restored to impeccable condition, others have been swept away in favor of newer architecture and stylish designs.
Little Five Points
The area has long been home to Atlanta’s bohemian crowd, and many of its eclectic stores offer the best of shabby chic…at rather chic prices. Devoted patrons enjoy stores such as the Junkman’s Daughter as well as a thriving art and theater community. Both townhomes and single-family homes are beginning to border the area, many with Craftsman-style exteriors. Freedom Park and its bike trails are less than a mile away.
An unincorporated town in Cobb County, Mableton offers residents friendly surroundings and a quiet life. Although the area is growing, along with nearby Vinings and Smyrna, Mableton still offers the charm of a residential community. Many newer developments offer classically-inspired homes with room for large families, such as Huntington Ridge, a Paul Thomas Homes community.
Riverdale is located 10 miles south of Atlanta in Clayton County, in what is called the “Southern Crescent.” With a population of over 14,000, the city is considered by many to be a suburb of Atlanta, even though it has its own municipal government. Like many other Atlanta-area communities, Riverdale is working to revitalize areas in the city with the Livable Cities Initiative.
Designated a National Historic District in 1976, Sweet Auburn has experienced efforts at preserving the historic homes of this prestigious African-American community, including large Victorian homes, one-story cottages and row houses from the early 1900s. Newer and affordable housing options include the Studioplex lofts, located in a historic cotton house. The Sweet Auburn Curb Market, offering international foods, flowers, organic coffees and more encourages a modern sense of community.
Unincorporated Tucker is looking to the future with a livable cities initiative grant and plans for a high-density mix of commercial, office, recreation and housing development in Central Tucker. Tucker offers many single-family home communities, such as Ryland Homes’ Princeton Crossing, as well as apartments and condominium developments. Residents are quite loyal to their local Main Street establishments, particularly Matthew’s Cafeteria for its southern comfort food.
Preserving History for the Future
Many communities are focusing on bringing businesses and residents back to their historic downtowns, balancing historic preservation with economic development. Here are some neighborhoods that offer an innovative mix of old and new.
Revitalized Neighborhoods Worth Considering
Historically, many intown neighborhoods lost residents with the growth of suburbia, but
these areas have recently seen drastic improvements, with everything from Victorian homes to bungalows restored to their former splendorcheck out these neighborhoods for a Sunday drive or a place to live.
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