A walkable lifestyle in Atlanta? It's not as hard as it might sound. New York of the South we are not (much more Los Angeles), but some pockets exist where getting around like a true homo sapien doesn't totally suck. You just have to be walking in the right place. We've pulled together the top spots for having just such an experience — and they're not all in Midtown. If you're looking to park the car for (at least) the weekend, work outward from these pedestrian-friendly hotspots. If all else fails, there's always your bike.
- North Highland Avenue at Elizabeth Street:
The commercial nexus of Inman Park has long been concentrated on Little Five Points, but the action has certainly shifted west in the past few years. Redevelopment of forlorn industrial land has imbued the historic neighborhood with new life, adding residents, eateries and increased foot traffic. A little something called the Beltline has also helped matters; expect even more walk-worthy goodies as underdeveloped land goes mixed-use in the future.
- Peachtree Street at 7th Street:
This intersection places you pretty much in the heart of Midtown, which is regularly touted as Atlanta's best answer to the "big city" lifestyle. Whether you're in one of the glassy towers that dot the area or one of the nabe's more vintage structures, it's hard to go wrong here. Within easy access are workplaces, cultural amenities, restaurants, transit and the city's chief emerald, Piedmont Park.
- Ponce de Leon Avenue at North Highland Avenue:
Ponce serves as the cusp of two walkable neighborhoods with distinctive vibes: Virginia-Highland and Poncey-Highland. The former has a reputation for fratty bars and overpriced boutiques, along with lots of kids; the latter is known as hipster haven. Depending on your mood, it's convenient to be within such easy reach of both. Ponce itself ain't so bad either, if colorful street characters don't give you the heeby-jeebies. You'll find pretty much everything imaginable along this well-traveled stretch, from Whole Foods to legendary strippers.
- Broad Street at Walton Street:
Downtown Atlanta has long suffered from an image problem, but that shouldn't keep you from experiencing the city's historic core. There's plenty here to sustain a day-to-day existence, you just have to know where to look. Sure, there's not a full-fledged grocery store (yet), but what about the produce stand hidden inside an office building that has some of the best deals on fresh veggies anywhere around? With the explosive growth of Georgia State University (among other developments), the liveliness quotient of downtown has no way to go but up.
- Church Street at West Ponce De Leon Avenue:
We had to give a shout out to Decatur, our own little Mayberry-meets-Berkley to the east. The cozy burg has made great strides the past decade or so, transforming its downtown area into a walker's (and eater's) delight. Which other town square in Georgia can boast of a rail station right under its heart? Sure, it's not that easy to access car-wise from anywhere else, but that's part of the appeal. Decatur exists within its own egghead, free-trade, funky bubble ... and that's why we love it.
Did we overlook a walkable pocket of Atlanta you're fond of? Apologies. Feel free to speak up for your 'hood in the Comments section.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright