Atlanta is home to dozens of neighborhoods and is surrounded by just as many suburbs, all unique and worth visiting. The city is often discussed in terms of areas “inside the perimeter” (ITP) and “outside the perimeter” (OTP), referring to the highway that loops around the city.
In this article, we’ve focused on some of the best neighborhoods inside the perimeter, neighborhoods which are close to the heart of the action and good spots to set down roots.
Great Atlanta neighborhoods, in no particular order:
Old Fourth Ward, nicknamed O4W, is rated by Niche as the 4th best place for young professionals in Atlanta. The neighborhood exudes youthful energy: most residents rent and are between the ages of 25-34. The area is full of bars, restaurants, parks (popular pedestrian corridor the BeltLine is within walking distance), and annual festivals, most notably the Old Fourth Ward Arts Festival. Crime is higher here than in other areas. (Click here for details on these statistics). O4W, as per its name, is old: it was settled in the early 1800s and was an industrial area for most of its history, making it a great place for architecture and history buffs.
Foodies and walkers alike will love Inman Park. The neighborhood is located on the BeltLine and is home to delicious independent eateries, like the popular Krog Street Market. The downside of this neighborhood is its priciness, with the median home value estimated at $618,000 and the rent at $1,537, according to Niche. History buffs will enjoy the gigantic Victorian homes and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Schools here are excellent and the neighborhood earns high reviews from residents, which you can read here.
Druid Hills is farther out than the other neighborhoods on this list but is no less exciting. This area likewise scores an A+ from Niche for nightlife, which may be bolstered by the presence of Emory University. Residents get a mix of urban and suburban living, with easy access to grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops, and sprawling outdoor space — Lullwater Park, a 154-acre nature preserve on Emory’s campus, is a favorite among locals. Although there are lots of young people here, it’s also rated as the 5th best place to retire in Georgia. Residents give this area great reviews. Read those here.
This neighborhood is in fact its own incorporated city, and is about six miles east of downtown with its own stop along the MARTA rail line. Public schools here across all levels are highly rated, so this is a great spot for families with kids. Niche rates this the 4th best suburb in Georgia. The only area in which this scores poorly is crime. Niche gives it a C—though it still scores below the national crime average in most categories. Decatur is home to the Dekalb Farmers Market, a spacious grocery store with food from around the world, and the Dekalb History Center Museum. There’s always fun stuff to do around Decatur Square, which gives the city a small-town feel with big-town energy.
Cabbagetown & Reynoldstown
Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown are two adjacent neighborhoods east of Downtown Atlanta. They’re directly across the train tracks south of Old Fourth Ward and are both historic districts in the city, dating from the Reconstruction Era. Niche gives both neighborhoods an A+ for nightlife. The area is brimming with bars, restaurants, art, and outdoor events. Rent here is high, and so are crime rates: the median rent in Cabbagetown is $1,472 and motor vehicle theft exceeds the national average. But these downsides may be offset by the close-knit feel of these walkable communities, as well as their proximity to MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid-transit system. Check out reviews from residents of Cabbagetown here and of Reynoldstown here.
Like Druid Hills, this neighborhood offers a mix of suburban and urban living, and there’s a pretty even spread of renters and owners here. VaHi, as it’s called, was rated by Niche out of 167 places in Atlanta as the 13th best place to raise a family, and this checks out as nearly a quarter of families here have children. Lots of highly-rated schools pepper the neighborhood, like Morningside Elementary and Midtown High School. The median rent is almost $1,850, so make sure your pockets are full before moving here. Virginia-Highland borders Atlanta’s Piedmont Park and is centrally located, with quick access to Midtown but also to shops along North Highland Ave and to other Atlanta neighborhoods.
Little Five Points & Candler Park
Little Five Points (or L5P) and Candler Park border each other, but, like siblings, have totally different personalities. Atlanta’s best Halloween parade may take place in Little Five Points, a neighborhood known for welcoming eccentricity and bohemianism. Its thrift stores and crystal shops make it a great place to get your weird on, but visitors can easily wind down by taking a walk through Candler Park’s namesake park, or by heading over to the nearby Freedom Farmers Market. Candler Park, the more laidback of the two neighborhoods, also has great schools and restaurants, as well as annual art and music festivals. These neighborhoods, when enjoyed together, offer a great mix of fun and relaxation.
For more snapshots of Atlanta’s best neighborhoods, check out Bungalow and Apartment List.