clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Curbed U: A Guide to Atlanta's Neighborhoods Part II

New, 2 comments

The In-town Hoods, Continued

Cabbagetown

There’s no mistaking Cabbagetown for any other intown ‘hood, and that’s not only due to the funny name. Let’s get that out of the way: the name is said to have derived from the primary diet of the impoverished Appalachian factory workers who lived in the neighborhood’s homes and worked at the Fulton Cotton and Bag Mill. The mill is still extant as Cabbagetown’s major landmark, although now it houses trendy lofts instead of industrial equipment. Surrounding the brick behemoth are tightly packed wooden homes fronting narrow, often one-way, streets. Carroll Street forms a kind of Main Street with restaurants, a little grocer, and tattoo joints: all a hipster could ever need.

Grant Park

Grant Park is similar to Inman Park in terms of architecture, but the former suffered greatly from the effects of being sliced in two by I-20. Grant Park has a wider range of economic levels, with conditions varying street by street. The actual “park” features Zoo Atlanta and the Cyclorama; residents have been known to hear the lions roaring every so often. Intriguing Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest burial ground, is at the northern edge of the neighborhood, and some of the businesses on gritty-chic Memorial Drive take advantage of the great view that has century old grave markers in the foreground with the towers of Atlanta rising behind.

Old Fourth Ward

The Old Fourth Ward is a hotbed of gentrification, but it still retains an urban edge. Exciting stuff that’s recently transpired: the transformation of sketchy Edgewood Avenue into a restaurant and nightlife hotspot, plus the new streetcar that’s planned for it; the ongoing development of the Beltline trail; the redevelopment of a massive former Sears and Roebuck into our own Chelsea Market (called Ponce City Market here in Atlanta); and the new Old Fourth Ward Park. Martin Luther King, Jr. would hardly recognize his former stomping grounds, at least outside of the well preserved historic district.

Buckhead

Buckhead covers such a large area that it would require its own neighborhood guide. So let’s keep it simple. Buckhead starts where Midtown leaves off and stretches up to I-285. It really could be its own city, and while that has been proposed in the past, there’s little chance of it ever happening. A major commercial district is centered around Lenox Square Mall, considered to be the premier shopping destination in the Southeast. Housing options range from the outrageously opulent to humble 1920s cottages, with plenty of condo buildings as well.

Outside the City

Decatur

The City of Decatur, a mere 7 miles from the heart of downtown Atlanta, has a reputation as a progressive place with a small town feel. The charming square is home to a slew of indie businesses and restaurants, host a great lineup of annual community events, and even has a MARTA train station built underneath! The braininess comes from nearby Emory University and Agnes Scott College, not to mention the city’s public schools are considered top notch. Condos are found primarily in the center of town, with townhomes and single family houses more the norm.

ATP (but not quite OTP)

“ATP” stands for At-the-Perimeter, or I-285, which forms the traditional urban-suburban divide in Atlanta. Smyrna and Vinings (and sometimes Smynings) are found at the Perimeter’s junction with I-75 in Cobb County. Vinings is actually inside the Perimeter (ITP), while Smyrna is outside, but they’re both a stone’s throw away from the thoroughfare. Vinings is know as the more prestigious of the two, and its name is often co-opted for communities that’s aren’t within its actual boundaries. The Chattahoochee River runs next to Vinings, and its presence owes to some scenic topography. The Vinings Jubilee is an early lifestyle center that forms the heart of the community.

Smyrna has always been more working class, but in the past 15 years it’s seen plenty of redevelopment owing to its affordability and convenient location. It built a whole new downtown, the Smyrna Market Village, which encouraged further investment in the area.

The other major ATP communities are Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, at I-285’s junction with GA-400. The edge city Perimeter Center forms a cushion between the two; it’s a jumble of high rises, a mall, shopping centers, and MARTA rail. Sandy Springs is one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Dunwoody, while still upscale, trends more middle class. Housing stock runs the full gamut from mansions to ranchers to condos.