Neighborhoods

Buckhead

The upper third of the city of Atlanta has plenty of small, wonderful, and occasionally diverse neighborhoods, but it’s pretty common to characterize the whole thing as Buckhead. What was once a sleepy, aw-shucks hamlet has grown dramatically into Atlanta’s most well-to-do area, with impressive mansions, flashy skyscrapers, private schools, and large malls all mixing together, sometimes successfully. Brookhaven, just outside the city limits to the northeast, recently incorporated into its own city of mostly very nice homes and new apartments.

Cabbagetown

Cabbagetown originated as a mill town for the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, constructed in 1881. The mill’s employees, many of them poor workers recruited from Appalachia, lived in shotgun houses in the shadow of their enormous place of business. Today the mill and many of the houses still stand, despite 2008’s EF3 tornado that ripped through the neighborhood. Pretty much everything in this neighborhood is either colorful or adorable or both, including the annual Chomp & Stomp Festival, a MailChimp employee favorite.

Candler Park

Candler Park was named for Asa Griggs Candler, one-time mayor of Atlanta and full-time Coca-Cola tycoon. The Candlers left an indelible mark on Atlanta, especially the parts starting at Candler Park and extending north to fancier Druid Hills and the Emory University area. The park itself has a very affordable and not-too-shabby 9-hole golf course, plus a pool and a few fields that host a number of festivals each year. Candler Park’s little strip of retail includes one of the best neighborhood markets we know about.

Capitol View and Capitol View Manor

The houses in Capitol View and Capitol View Manor look a lot like the houses in Virginia-Highland, because they were built around the same time and by the same developer. These neighborhoods, though depressed for much of the past century, have a brighter future thanks to an active group of neighbors, proximity to the southern end of the BeltLine, and significant investment in the community by key philanthropic groups.

Castleberry Hill

Castleberry Hill was originally known as Snake Nation when it was populated primarily by criminals, roustabouts, and ne’er-do-wells. Long after the shanties of Snake Nation burned, urban explorers converted old warehouses into lofts and art galleries, preserving the historic character of the neighborhood. The Atlanta University Center is a stone’s throw from Castleberry Hill, and students contribute to the sometimes intimidatingly chic nightlife in the neighborhood.

College Park, East Point, and Hapeville

Together, these neighborhoods are the Tri-City, and they’re all down by the airport. These communities have largely been defined by historical train connectivity like much of Atlanta, and today they share easy access to the north-south MARTA lines. What were once depressed industrial cities have been slowly making a comeback, despite hindrances from the subprime mortgage crisis a few years ago. Important note: Andre 3000 and Big Boi met as students at Tri-Cities High School.

Decatur

The city of Decatur lies 6 MARTA train stops east of downtown Atlanta. The city is actually a little bit older than Atlanta and was named for noted war hero Captain Stephen Decatur, who died in 1820 in a duel that ended a decade-long argument. A number of MailChimp employees call Decatur home, and for good reason—it’s exceedingly livable. Recent apartment construction has even made the small city a little bit more affordable. Oakhurst is a neighborhood in the southern half of Decatur, and it has many nice bungalows and a quaint downtown itself.

Downtown

Originally incorporated in 1847 and burnt during the Civil War, Downtown Atlanta bustled well into the 1960s until interstates began helping folks drive further and further into the suburbs. The 1996 Olympics gave Downtown a signature park and some momentum, but Georgia State University has played perhaps the largest role in the neighborhood’s latest resurrection. A modern streetcar runs east and west through the neighborhood, dodging business people, a student population 35,000 strong, and a growing number of residents.

East Atlanta Village

East Atlanta Village was a battlefield during the Battle of Atlanta, and there’s a small annual festival and several historical markers around to prove it. There’s also a 24-hour chicken sausage stand, several fun music venues, and a handful of bars and clubs in the area. The village comes to life at night, but it’s surrounded by the quiet East Atlanta neighborhood. Nearby Brownwood Park is refreshingly country, and the drive-in theater down the street is an essential summer activity.

Grant Park

Grant Park has perhaps the most beautiful collection of historic houses in Atlanta. Smaller bungalows face the east-west streets, while larger Victorians often line the north-south avenues. The 131-acre park sits in the middle of the neighborhood, containing Zoo Atlanta, a fantastic 50-meter pool, and—oddly enough—the world’s largest painting. You’ll find a handful of neighborhood businesses serving Grant Park proper, and some promising developments along Memorial Drive at the neighborhood’s north end.

Inman Park

In the 1880s, developer and civil engineer Joel Hurt designed Inman Park as Atlanta’s first streetcar suburb. After years of decline in the middle of the 20th century, it’s now a beautiful tree-lined neighborhood just east of the BeltLine, with a weird parade each spring. You’ll find plenty of fancy Victorian houses and new condos here, and maybe an aging apartment or two.

Kirkwood and Edgewood

Kirkwood and Edgewood are quintessential Atlanta streetcar suburbs—communities of single family homes not too far from the city center and served by a small pocket of neighborhood businesses. Most houses here date from the 1920s to the ‘40s, but be sure to take a stroll down Howard Street to gawk at an impressive line of enormous Victorian homes. These neighborhoods have reasonable access to transit and great access to charcuterie.

Little Five Points

Little Five Points was once the best place to hang out for suburban teenagers with dyed hair and nose rings. OK, maybe it’s still that place. Originally established as the commercial district for Inman Park and Candler Park, it now has its own distinct bohemian personality and a healthy share of Atlanta landmarks. Watch out for the serious Halloween parade each October, as well as any openings in the Bass Lofts, a converted high school that still feels like one. Many MailChimp employees call Little Five Points home.

Midtown

Midtown Atlanta really got humming in 1895 when Cotton States and International Exposition set up shop for 100 days in Piedmont Park. After a brief, intense hippie period in the 1960s and ‘70s, Midtown eventually grew into Atlanta’s second largest business district and a hub for our gay population. New cranes, condos, and clubs seem to rise each day along the Peachtree Street corridor, while the eastern side of the neighborhood retains its historic neighborhood charm.

Old Fourth Ward

Martin Luther King, Jr. called the Old Fourth Ward home for much of his life. His birth home and his church, Ebenezer Baptist, are preserved at the south end of the neighborhood by the National Park Service. Historic Fourth Ward Park and Ponce City Market—the site of one of MailChimp’s offices—anchor the northeast corner of the neighborhood. In between, neighborhood leaders are trying to balance the needs of a historically underserved community with a sudden influx of investment in old houses, new apartments, and trendy ping pong bars.

Poncey-Highland

The name Poncey-Highland has been tossed around more and more over the past decade or so, as the Ponce de Leon corridor has received more attention and investment. The BeltLine’s Eastside trail connects with the Freedom Trail in the heart of the neighborhood, leading to downtown to the west and Stone Mountain to the east. This intersection is flanked by a new skatepark, thanks to Tony Hawk, and the Carter Center, thanks to President Jimmy Carter.

Reynoldstown

Reynoldstown was one of the first African-American neighborhoods in Atlanta, established by a handful of formerly enslaved families. The neighborhood became a hub for displaced African Americans migrating to the city, many of whom ended up working for the railroad at the northern border of the neighborhood. Reynoldstown has a strong community spirit, a wheelbarrow festival, and a restaurant that employs a live vibraphone player on Sunday mornings.

Virginia-Highland

Lots in Virginia-Highland sold for just $19 in 1821. Near the turn of the 19th century, Atlanta’s streetcar system extended to the northeast, looping in Highland and Virginia Avenues. Subdivisions sprouted, immigrants from eastern Europe set up shop, and a neighborhood was born. After a protracted but ultimately successful fight against a proposed highway running through the neighborhood, Virginia-Highland emerged one of Atlanta’s most pleasant places to live—and one of the more popular spots for college students to drink beer. When they inevitably refer to the neighborhood as “the Highlands,” it’s OK to correct them.

West End

West End began as a frontier outpost with little more than a tavern at a crossroads. Eventually the area flourished as a close-in suburb for Atlanta’s cultural leaders in the latter half of the 19th century. Though interstate construction ripped the neighborhood in half, many excellent old houses remain, including a few Queen Anne Victorians. Peeples St. is one of our favorite streets in Atlanta. To either side, the neighborhoods of Westview and Adair Park have similarly charming stocks of affordable houses and engaged groups of neighbors. Together the neighborhoods straddle the BeltLine’s southwest section.

Westside

Atlanta’s Westside has been blowing up in slow motion for about a decade. Until recently, this area was primarily a light industrial district. New apartments, condos, breweries, and expensive shops have been moving in, making it a fun place to live if you appreciate change and don’t mind a little grit. Folks are still figuring out the exact moniker for the neighborhood, but we’re fairly certain “Westside” will emerge as the name of record.