South of Atlanta
Five Convenient Suburbs With Unique Appeal
By H.M. Cauley
Al fresco dining in East Point.
Whether you’re looking for proximity to downtown Atlanta andthe world’s busiest airport or simply an alternative to big-city living, the metro area boasts several communities to fit your needs. Located just south of Atlanta, these five towns offer easy access to the city, affordable housing and a variety of shopping and recreation options.
Just west of Interstate 85, the city of East Point boasts the charm of a small town within viewing distance of the Atlanta skyline. “We have a prime location, with easy access to all the major interstates, ‘big city’ amenities, charming tree-lined streets and character-filled neighborhoods,” says Erin Rodgers, the city’s economic and downtown development director.
East Point’s estimated 35,000 residents enjoy a median home price of $121,500, and are spread out over 20 neighborhoods, including the popular Jefferson Park, Conley Hills and Frog Hollow. Much of the city’s vitality comes from its neighbor, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The MARTA train line makes a short hop to Atlanta’s major work centers. Visitors and locals alike flock to Camp Creek Marketplace for a variety of major retailers and branches of noted restaurant chains.
Another local draw is the Dick Lane Velodrome, one of the nation’s leading bicycle racing facilities. The nearby Georgia Sports Park features natural-grass fields that host soccer, ultimate Frisbee and Gaelic football competitions. The city is served by the Fulton County Schools public school system, as well as independent schools including Discovery Montessori Academy and Romar Academy.
A little south of East Point, College Park serves as a gateway to Atlanta, thanks to its close proximity to both Hartsfield-Jackson and the city’s downtown area, as well as its easy accessibility via I-85, I-285 and MARTA.
College Park is intricately linked to the airport—the city’s logo even features an airplane as a reminder of that relationship. The Georgia International Convention Center, located in the city limits, is connected to the airport by the ATL Sky Train, making it a hub for major conventions and meetings. Hotels, car rental offices and restaurants serve the thousands who pass through town on their way to Atlanta and points beyond.
Home to more than 14,500 residents, College Park boasts a variety of affordable housing options, with an average home price of $162,900. The city ranks fourth in the state for the size of its urban historic district, with more than 850 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Students attend public schools in the Fulton County Schools system. The Main Street Academy, a county charter school, is based here, as is the prestigious Woodward Academy, with more than 2,700 students.
Less than half an hour from both downtown Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the city of Morrow is a diverse, family-friendly community offering the perfect balance of intimacy and big-city convenience for its approximately 6,800 residents. The city’s median home price is approximately $109,600.
Despite its relatively small size, Morrow exerts its fair share of influence over the metro Atlanta area, thanks to its status as a university town that plays host to several institutions of higher learning. Foremost among those is Clayton State University, offering nine master’s degree and 41 undergraduate degree programs for some 7,000 students. Other campuses include Strayer University, Ohio Christian University, the Pacific Institute of Technology and the Interactive College of Technology.
Morrow is served by Clayton County Public Schools, including Morrow Elementary, which has been hailed as a School of Excellence and a Title 1 Distinguished School. It’s also home to the Georgia Archives and the adjacent Southeastern Regional Branch of the National Archives.
Attractions of note include Spivey Hall, a world-class, 400-seat acoustic concert venue; the 146-acre Reynolds Nature Preserve, filled with forests, wetlands, hills and hiking trails; the Morrow Pedestrian Path System, which connects residents to different neighborhoods and parks; and the Morrow Center, an event facility that hosts business meetings, social functions and weddings.
Twelve miles off Interstate 85 sits one of Georgia’s newest cities, dating back to 1959. Peachtree City was built across more than 12,000 acres with three lakes on the southern side of Fayette County. Today, 34,600 residents live in five planned villages, each with its own shopping districts, restaurants, parks and amenities, and enjoy an average home price of $277,800. Students attend Fayette County Public Schools and independent schools including St. Paul Lutheran School.
One of Peachtree City’s most striking features is its 90 miles of golf cart paths that link the town’s villages, schools and amenities, providing quick and easy transportation for walkers, joggers and an estimated 10,000 golf carts—one of the area’s primary modes of transportation. Not surprisingly, the city is also home to several golf courses and country clubs. The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater hosts outdoor concerts. Annual events include the Shakerag Arts and Crafts Festival and the International Festival and Dragon Boat Races. The Southern Hollywood Film Tour takes visitors to sites used in such movies and TV shows as Fried Green Tomatoes and “The Walking Dead.”
Newnan, the seat of Coweta County, sits roughly 37 miles south of Atlanta. Known as the “City of Homes,” it traces its roots back to the 1820s, and much of that history can still be seen in its historic homes. The median home price today is $182,000.
Newnan’s leading employers include Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation and the Yokogawa Corporation. The historic downtown area is a thriving district filled with quaint restaurants and shops. Other draws include the Forum at Ashley Park shopping center and beautiful Oak Grove Plantation.
Students attend Coweta County public schools, including the award-wining Northgate High School, as well as such independent schools as The Heritage School, Orchard Hills Academy and Mills Chapel Christian Academy.
From top-notch entertainment and education to convenient transportation options and a relaxing, small-town atmosphere, each of these cities offers all the amenities of a major metro area while retaining their own unique identity and appeal. If you’re looking for a distinctive place to call home, consider joining one of these communities just a short drive south of town.