Atlanta is sprawling. It’s got over 242 neighborhoods and endless suburbs across several counties and an enormous metro area. Some of these neighborhoods classify themselves as communities, some are actually called “districts” or “neighborhood areas,” and others are cities all their own.
The lines are really blurred here and we don’t have time to cover all of them in detail, but here’s a quick guide to some of the most well-known areas in Atlanta where you can visit (or stay) when Super Bowl week rolls around.
The epicenter of Atlanta. It’s where the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is. Where the biggest tourist attractions are located. Things like Centennial Olympic Park. You’ll be going here, but you probably won’t be staying here. You get it.
Known as the “Heart of the Arts” in Atlanta (at least by those pushing tourism here), Midtown is filled with energy and – you guessed it – the arts. It’s where the Alliance Theatre, Fox Theatre, and the High Museum of Art are located. Piedmont Park is an enormous green space where you can relax or exercise, and Peachtree Street is always bustling. Check out the Midtown Mile, a busy stretch with shopping, cafes, and restaurants where you can hang outside. And when it gets dark in Midtown, there are plenty of bars, lounges, and nightclubs for dancing. Over in West Midtown, you’ll find a design and fashion-centric neighborhood (but more on that below)
Industrial spaces, chic design stores, fashion, shopping, and hipster hideaways. That’s the Westside of Atlanta. You’ll find a lot of startup breweries in those aforementioned industrial spaces too. Castleberry Hill is located here with its cool coffee shops, performance spaces, and galleries. West Midtown has design shops, boutiques, and local goods for sale, along with some of the best restaurants in the city. After you’ve finished at the home design stores and fashion houses, you can roam the Westside Trail portion of the BeltLine, check out several artist studios, and visit Atlantic Station with its retail shops and pop-up craft markets.
Okay, so this is like the “cool” part of Atlanta. Food markets, tattoos, funky street art. You’ll find edgy bars, fantastic dining, and trendy hotspots, but more than that, you’ll find character.
Neighborhoods (er, districts?) in the Eastside include Sweet Auburn and its excellent community food market, Little Five Points with its murals, vinyl shops, and vintages stores, and East Atlanta Village, the gritty but intriguing place of live music, hip pubs, and international food. Festive Inman Park is home to brilliant old houses, restaurants, and the nearby Krog Street Market, which Grant Park has Zoo Atlanta, the Civil War Museum, and of course, the park. The Old Fourth Ward is where you’ll find Ponce City Market, Edgewood Avenue’s nightlife, and easy access to the Atlanta Streetcar, the Beltline, and oh so many brunch options. Finally, Virginia Highland has quaint bungalows, charming sights, a mecca of bars and restaurants with people spilling out onto the sidewalks during the weekends. The Eastside is an eclectic and vibrant part of Atlanta and definitely worth exploring.
Synonymous with the words “fancy,” “upscale,” and now “expensive,” Buckhead is the place for high-end real estate and shopping. You’ll find century-old mansions and small-town vibes alongside gated communities, malls, and high-rise condos. This busy Atlanta neighborhood is a home to several corporations but it’s also family-friendly. Things are nice in Buckhead, perhaps even glamorous and a little bit ritzy. It’s THE place for shopping, and you’ll find lots of restaurants and hotels here too. But if you stay in Buckhead, just remember to venture down into the heart of Atlanta once and awhile.
Farmer’s markets, a cool town square, and super walkable surroundings, Decatur is its own city and a tight-knit community despite being pretty much inside Atlanta. Just next to Emory University, it’s got historic sights and homes, museums, markets, and a MARTA stop, so definitely check it out. Some of the city’s best new restaurants like Kimball House are located here too. If you want to even dig deeper into what Decatur is all about, there are companies that offer ghost tours, food tours, and cultural walks of the area.
An affluent suburb in the northern part of Fulton County, Sandy Springs is a place for families and execs (and other folks who have the money to afford homes here). It’s the second-largest city in the metro Atlanta area with a population of 90,000 and it maintains a suburban vibe with its churches, parks, and prestigious private schools. MARTA dips into Sandy Springs, making it easy to get into the city, and businesses like IBM, Cisco, and UPS all have headquarters here. The outdoor spaces are great – you’ll find tons of trees and trails in the John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest, and you can hang at the nearby Chattahoochee River or Morgan Park.
Residential shady streets, home to Oglethorpe University’s Gothic campus, 14 parks, and lots of history, Brookhaven is another popular Atlanta suburb. Georgia State University is located here too. Moving on…
Beautiful upscale neighborhoods, golf courses, and fishing on the Chattahoochee. Everything is new here, so don’t count on any history. Are things sounding a little same-y? Sorry about that…
Just so you don’t feel like we’re leaving them out, Avondale Estates, Peachtree Corners, Suwanee, Duluth, and Dunwoody are nice suburbs nearby too (good school districts and all that jazz). There are just so many!
A wealthy suburb with lots of nice cars, expensive real estate, parks, and plenty of shopping. The restaurant scene is growing and they have an annual food festival, Taste of Alpharetta. It’s certainly a pretty place, and they’ve got a couple breweries and a bunch of food trucks… Oh, and a TopGolf!
A little further out, this town has a few tourist attractions like the very niche Gone With The Wind Museum (along with several other museums) and the always fun Six Flags water park. It’s got a tree-lined town square, an ice skating rink, and its fair share of history. It’s about 20 miles from Atlanta proper, with towns like Smyrna and Kennesaw nearby.
It’s got a quaint Southern main street, but it’s not the same as all these other suburbs… supposedly. The Huffington Post called it “surprisingly genuinely cool.” High praise, huh? The community is close here, holding events like the block party-style Alive After Five on the third Thursday each month. You’ll find shopping and cafes on the historic Canon Street, covered bridges, cool architecture at Bulloch Hall, and Dr. Seuss artwork at the Ann Jackson Gallery. Plus, there’s actually a little nightlife here!