Best neighborhoods in Atlanta

Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, and even though residents have been saying “we full” for years, it doesn’t stop locals from welcoming visitors into our vibrant neighborhoods. 

Most visitors choose to stay in and concentrate their time in the city center, or close to it. Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead are the neighborhoods with the most hotels, and they all have plenty of things to see and do to keep travelers busy. But getting out into the rest of Atlanta’s neighborhoods gives curious visitors a new point of view on what makes so many people love “The A.”

See why more and more people are permanently packing their bags and moving to Atlanta with our guide to its most unique neighborhoods.

The paved path leading towards the gleaming white building of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The name of the museum is etched into a stone wall running alongside the path.
Midtown boasts some top-notch museums, such as the gleaming High Museum of Art © Barry Winiker / Getty Images

1. Midtown

Best neighborhood for accommodations

Midtown keeps the urban, high-rise atmosphere of Downtown Atlanta going, and adds to it a refined arts vibe. Midtown is a walkable neighborhood just north of Downtown, and is home to the Fox Theater, the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Design Atlanta. There are plenty of hotels to choose from in Midtown across a range of budgets, and it’s a short distance away from the tourist attractions of Downtown.

In some areas it can lack the neighborhood feel of some of Atlanta’s other quarters, but it’s an ideal area for being close to the action.

Read more: 10 things to know before visiting Atlanta

2. Virginia-Highland

Best neighborhood for alfresco dining

This is the neighborhood you want to give yourself some time to walk around in without fixed plans, and to enjoy the bungalow homes next to boutique storefronts. Best of all? There are lots of options for patio dining. Virginia-Highland also has a large nightlife scene that’s concentrated in its bars.

When you’re ready to spend some time indoors, check out the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema at the edge of the neighborhood. This independent movie theater shows documentaries as well as indie and foreign films.

Read more: The best times to visit Atlanta

Many people are walking past shops and restaurants inside the Ponce City Market,
A former retail warehouse in the Old Fourth Ward is now home to Ponce City Market, which is packed with shops and restaurants © silkfactory / Getty Images

3. Old Fourth Ward

Best neighborhood for an up-and-coming vibe

Old Fourth Ward – O4W to those in the know – has historically been known as an industrial neighborhood that’s also home to the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Park. But O4W has had one of the fastest neighborhood transitions. It’s widely considered to be one of the coolest areas in the city, thanks to the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and Ponce City Market, a historic Sears warehouse turned food hall and shopping center. 

4. Buckhead

Best neighborhood for shopping

Buckhead was the center of Atlanta nightlife for many years. Although there are still plenty of clubs and lounges in the area, such as retro-themed Johnny’s Hideaway, it’s rebranded itself as a shopping and dining district.

Buckhead also has several boutique and luxury hotels. Outside of Downtown and Midtown, it’s the only other Atlanta neighborhood with a number of high-rise lodging options. The Atlanta History Center calls Buckhead home, and its rotating exhibits portray a unique perspective of the city. Aria, South City Kitchen, and Cafe Sunflower are some of the mainstays that give Buckhead its dining clout.

A large crowd of people are wearing masks and costumes as they parade in the East Atlanta Strut festival
East Atlanta Village knows how to put on a community show, the biggest being the annual East Atlanta Strut © BluIz60 / Shutterstock

5.  East Atlanta Village

Best neighborhood for intimate live music venues

East Atlanta Village, or EAV for short, is nothing if not eclectic. There are small music venues like the Earl and 529 that showcase the best local indie talent. It also has quality local restaurants such as Banshee (awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide), and unassuming walk-up counters for fresh orders of lemon pepper wings.

For all its quirkiness, the one way in which East Atlanta Village stays consistent is with community. Residents host several local events, the biggest being the East Atlanta Strut, which brings people together to celebrate the nonconformity of the neighborhood.

6. West End

Best neighborhood for history

West End is known for being the home of the Atlanta University Center (AUC). It’s the only place in the country where four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are found within close proximity to one another. Feeding all those hungry college students isn’t easy, but Busy Bee and Paschal’s, two soul food restaurants with legendary reputations, are up for the job.

West End is also one of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When walking through its tree-lined streets, it’s easy to admire the beautiful Victorian and Queen Anne homes.

Pedestrians stroll past colorful storefronts in the Little Five Points neighborhood in Altlanta on a sunny day
Little Five Points has held on to its artistic identity for decades © Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

7. Little Five Points

Best neighborhood for people-watching

Little Five Points is one of the only Atlanta neighborhoods that has managed to remain consistently cool for decades, and it does that by being authentic to its artistic roots. This is where you’ll find Atlanta’s famous Outkast mural and the iconic skull entrance of the Vortex Bar and Grill. It’s also well known for its vegetarian co-ops like Sevananda, tattoo parlors and smoke shops. Little Five Points is the go-to neighborhood to stand out in the crowd or to people-watch.

Keep planning your trip to Atlanta:

This article was first published Jun 2, 2021 and updated Jun 4, 2024.

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