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First Round: (8) Candler Park vs. (9) Virginia-Highland

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The Curbed Cup, our annual award for Atlanta's Neighborhood Of The Year, is kicking off with 16 'hoods vying for the prestigious fake trophy. This week we'll have two match-ups per day, and all the results and the full tourney bracket will be reviewed on Friday. Voting for each pairing ends 24 hours after it begins. Let the eliminations commence!

Next up: Two intown combatants with many common traits. Candler Park and Virginia-Highland both claim pleasant, leafy streets, alluring restaurants, darling residences and top-notch parks. And the Relatively Affordable Train pretty much left both of their stations years ago. Deciding which one advances is up to you ...

In this corner, weighting in at the #8 seed, stands the proud neighborhood of Candler Park. The quiet enclave of restored bungalows, free thought, great schools and hip Atlanta restaurants appeases the intowner who likes a little breathing room with his walkability. It's home to an eponymous park — one of Coca Cola magnate Asa Candler's many gifts to the city — and a relatively cheap golf course. Outside of Inman Park, there may be no better place to take a walk in the city, and though it's a bit tough to access, that could be part of its appeal. Candler is surrounded by other Curbed Cup competitors and is a junction point for the city's parks (Freedom Park meets Candler Park meets Sunnyside) and bike trail systems.

The pawn shops and overall grit are long gone from the Highland Avenue corridor in Virginia-Highland, replaced with a top-flight slate of shopping and dining that's been a metro-wide attraction for years. Va-Hi is home to an absurdly strong community that guards its excellent schools and prides itself on quick accessibility to virtually everywhere. Known for the sweaty Summerfest blowout each June, Va-Hi was voted the best overall 'hood in 2011 by Creative Loafing readers. The debut of eco-friendly New Highland Park in 2012 and the ongoing revamp of the Briarcliff Summit Apartments only enhance the appeal.

Poll results