Top Atlanta Neighborhoods
10 of the Metro Area’s Best Places to Call Home
By Anna Bentley
The decision to move to a large metropolitan city like Atlanta isonly the beginning of your relocation process. After all, there’s much more to Atlanta than the city itself. There are numerous diverse and distinct neighborhoods inside the city limits, and many more outside—each with its own advantages and appeal. The good news is that Atlanta offers something for everyone: high-quality education, affordable housing, family-friendly events and tight-knit communities. We’ve highlighted some of Atlanta’s top cities, towns and neighborhoods for families, young professionals and empty nesters. Whatever you’re looking for, Atlanta has many perfect spots to choose from.
Nicknamed the “Technology City of the South,” Alpharetta is a northern suburb best known for its excellent schools and strong technology sector. It’s an affluent city with a recently revamped historic downtown and unique attractions, including Georgia’s only American Girl Boutique and Bistro; Topgolf Alpharetta, a golf entertainment complex; and the recently opened Avalon, a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development with high-end shopping options. Plus, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park hosts legendary bands and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra every year. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters, Young Professionals. For More Info: alpharetta.ga.us.
One of Atlanta’s newest cities, Brookhaven officially incorporated in 2012. This intown city stretches from just northeast of downtown Atlanta to its northern suburbs, and in its 12 square miles are an incredibly diverse mix of residents and amenities. In Brookhaven, there are pre-war estates; newer, thriving mixed-use developments; a country club and Robert Trent Jones-designed golf club; plenty of parks; and Buford Highway, Atlanta’s most culturally diverse corridor, famed for its variety of ethnic cuisine. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters, Young Professionals. For More Info: brookhavenga.gov.
College Park truly presents the best of both worlds for the upward professional who enjoys a little quiet time. Its easy proximity to downtown Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport offers all the convenience of big-city living, balanced with a relaxing, small-town feel. The airport and the Georgia International Convention Center make this an increasingly desirable destination for business travelers, as well. There’s affordable housing in the Historic College Park neighborhood, and there are numerous attractive dining options. The main campus of Woodward Academy, the largest independent day school in the continental United States, is located here, as well. Perfect For: Families, Young Professionals. For More Info: collegeparkga.com.
Voted one of Georgia’s best affordable suburbs by Businessweek magazine, Duluth sports a small-town feel thanks to its family-friendly Town Green and historic downtown district, filled with charming specialty shops. The Town Green, with its amphitheater and fountain, hosts community events throughout the year, such as the annual Duluth Fall Festival each September. Duluth is also home to the Atlanta Gladiators (a minor league ice hockey team) and the Gwinnett Center, which often hosts major festivals, concerts and events. The Hudgens Center for the Arts is another highlight, offering classes for adults and children in pottery, drawing, painting and more. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters. For More Info: duluthga.net.
Located about an hour northeast of Atlanta, Gainesville is a top pick for active families and nature lovers alike. Lake Lanier, on the western and northern edges of town, offers plenty of swimming, fishing and camping options, and the Blue Ridge Mountains just north of town are another perfect option for hiking or camping. The city’s Interactive Neighborhood for Kids and Quinlan Visual Arts Center are just a few of its family-friendly attractions. Gainesville has also been recognized by the AARP as one of its top 10 affordable places to retire. Retirees can tee up at the Chattahoochee Golf Club, take a swim at the Francis Meadows Aquatic Center, and enjoy an abundance of recreational opportunities. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters. For More Info: gainesville.org.
With an estimated population of around 12,500, this Gwinnett County city is one of the smaller ones on this list, but that makes a big difference when it comes to its sense of small-town community. Top attractions include the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a traditional Hindu stone temple; Lilburn City Park; and the Camp Creek Greenway, a 4.2-mile paved and gravel trail. Lilburn has experienced substantial growth in recent years, and plans are underway to build a new city hall/library complex and revitalize its downtown corridor. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters. For More Info: cityoflilburn.com.
Anchored by the charming Marietta Square, this northwestern suburb is one of the largest on our list—it’s about 23 square miles, with a population exceeding 56,000. Still, the city maintains a sense of community with family-friendly events, including theatrical performances from the Atlanta Lyric Theatre and Marietta Players, among others, and plenty of festivals throughout the year. There’s also plenty of history in Marietta—just off the square are the Marietta Museum of History and the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum. And Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, an important Civil War site, is only a short drive away. Perfect For: Families, Young Professionals. For More Info: mariettaga.gov.
This master-planned community, developed into five distinct villages, has the feel of a vacation resort. Golf carts are a primary means of transportation here, zipping along 100 miles of multi-use paths that are also great for strolling and bicycling. The area’s lake, golf courses, playgrounds, nature areas and sports fields offer numerous recreational opportunities. The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater hosts outdoor concerts, and the city’s regional airport, Falcon Field, hosts an air show each year. The city is also a magnet for film and television productions, and boasts a Southern Hollywood Film Tour that visits popular filming locations. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters. For More Info: peachtree-city.org.
Directly north of Atlanta, Sandy Springs is one of Atlanta’s biggest employment and high-end shopping destinations. The city is in the process of developing a new City Center to serve as the heart of the community. Though still in its planning stages, the City Center will include office space, green space, residential and retail space, and a performing arts center to build on its arts focus. The city hosts the Sandy Springs Artsapalooza fine arts festival each spring, and the popular Sandy Springs Festival, complete with its popular pet parade, in the fall. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters, Young Professionals. For More Info: sandyspringsga.org.
Suwanee has been recognized as a stellar place to raise a family by the likes of Family Circle magazine and Kiplinger.com for years. A big part of Suwanee’s family appeal is its mixed-use Town Center, envisioned by city leaders in 2002 as the city’s “front yard.” Today, the Town Center boasts plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment options for all ages, in addition to an interactive fountain and amphitheater. The city has also focused on its award-winning network of multi-use trails and parks, each with its own distinct personality. Perfect For: Families, Empty Nesters, Young Professionals. For More Info: suwanee.com.
More Communities We Love
Fayetteville: The Fayette County seat boasts a stellar school system and Pinewood Atlanta Studios, a major film-production facility. Recognized by Forbes as a “Top 25 Suburb for Retirement.”
Hapeville: This charming city boasts a small-town feel and is the home of the Dwarf House, the first Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Midtown: The heart of Atlanta is home to such jewels as the Fox Theatre, the Woodruff Arts Center, and the city’s most prominent green space, Piedmont Park.
Smyrna: Attractive neighborhoods, a thriving downtown and plentiful green space highlight this Cobb County city.
Woodstock: This Cherokee County suburb offers public beaches, a historic downtown and proximity to Lake Allatoona.