Downtown Atlanta – Atlanta, GA

Downtown is the largest commercial district in Atlanta and includes the corporate headquarters for several businesses, Georgia State University, and sporting venues such as the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons play. At the northern boundary lies North Avenue, at the eastern boundary lies the Downtown Connector, at the southern boundary lies Interstate 20, and at the western boundary lies Northside Drive. The area includes nine subdistricts, including Castleberry Hill, Centennial Hill, Fairlie-Poplar, Five Points, Hotel District, Luckie Marietta, Peachtree Center, SoNo, and South Downtown. The busy commercial district attracts potential residents who like to live in the middle of it all, while the proximity to Georgia State University makes the area attractive to students.

Schools in Downtown Atlanta

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Downtown Atlanta offers an array of cuisine options, including Mediterranean, Cajun, Thai, Venezuelan, and French, just to name a few. A majority of restaurants are located along Peachtree Street. At the highly-rated Aviva by Kameel stationed in Peachtree Center, homemade Mediterranean food and a cafeteria-style setting come together when the owner, Kameel, cooks up his favorite dishes. Kameel has you select your items as you walk through the line. Someone might just bring a surprise of fresh fruit to your table, and Kameel will give your food a hearty squirt of sriracha if you ask. The Food Shoppe sits on the Georgia State University campus serving up Cajun cuisine. Seating both inside and out is limited, and the metered parking can only be purchased in 30 minute increments, so enjoy the convenience of the Walk and Eat Entrée bowls to avoid these minor obstacles to a delicious meal. The Tabernacle, located on Luckie Street, hosts a number of live concerts including many popular bands. Floor and balcony seating allow for a great view from any angle. Downtown houses a number of lounges and bars, many of which sit on or in a name-brand hotel, such as Sky Lounge, which sits on top of the Glenn Hotel. A popular local bar, Midtown Tavern features games, karaoke and live performances. Relax with a drink on the large multilevel deck or utilize the free Wi-Fi. Centrally located near the Phillips Arena, Dantanna’s Downtown features several TVs to catch a game while sampling the brews. One large screen plays the main sporting event of the day, while the small screens present other live events.

History & Culture

Atlanta started as a town called Terminus at the end of a railroad line in 1837. After undergoing two name changes, the area within a one-mile radius of the railroad depot was incorporated as Atlanta in 1847. Atlanta earned its status as the only American city to be wrecked by war when General William T. Sherman burned it to the ground during the Civil War. Growth in Atlanta boomed during the 1970s, but tapered off in the 1980s when it gained a reputation for crime. By the 1990s, it was mostly inhabited by office buildings and the homeless. After Centennial Olympic Park was built and Georgia State University transitioned to a traditional college, the downtown area began to grow into the busy commercial district of today. Museums located in downtown include World of Coca-Cola, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Apex Museum and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Downtown Atlanta has a thriving arts scene. Watch a play at the Shakespearean Tavern, attend the Atlanta Film Festival or an arts walk at the Rialto Center for the Arts. Aside from the Atlanta Film Festival held each March, other annual festivals include the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival, featuring live bands winding through downtown streets, and Dragon Con, a sci-fi and fantasy convention.

Transportation

Walking and the public transportation system are the preferred modes of getting around this neighborhood, with 17 bus lines and four subway lines passing through downtown. With 14 car shares available from Zipcar, the option to book a ride with Uber and the ability to hail a taxi, residents also have other options besides when in a hurry. Downtown offers hundreds of parking garages and surface lots, which range from $4 to $11 a day, depending on proximity to event venues and other popular spots. The neighborhood’s southern boundary lies along I-20 and the eastern boundary lies along I-85, making these two highways easily accessible to residents, while US 29 runs along the northern and western boundaries. Downtown is Atlanta’s fourth most-walkable neighborhood, and most errands can be accomplished on foot. Downtown has a few bike lanes coming in from Old Fourth Ward that drop off about halfway into the area, as well as one near Centennial Olympic Park.

Cost

The cost of living in downtown hovers just over $45,000, dropping 14 percent lower than the state average and 1.5 percent lower than the city average. The cost of goods and services, groceries, utilities and transportation remain consistent with the costs in the rest of the city, but housing costs hover a bit lower. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Downtown Atlanta starts at just under $1,000.

Shopping

You'll discover amazing boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, and antique stores in Downtown Atlanta. Peachtree Center, often called a "city within a city," is a fantastic shopping district with more than 50 shops and restaurants to explore. The Gallery Level contains shops like Sue Ye Fine Arts, the Flower Garden, and Kahn's Jewelry. For a truly unique and historic shopping experience, head to Underground Atlanta. Adjacent to GSU, the Underground is the original street level from the 1800s. When concrete "viaducts" were constructed for better traffic flow, the city was basically "lifted" one level. The merchants moved up to the second floor, and the old storefronts were all but forgotten until it reopened as a shopping district in 1989. Underground Atlanta was declared a National Historic Site in 1968. Today, it hosts a variety of shops and restaurants. Downtown has big supermarkets, as well as unique local ones. Strippaggio sells mostly olive oils and vinegars. A hostess will even take you on a taste test at your request. The Sweet Auburn Curb Market, the closest thing downtown has to a farmers market, has multiple vendors selling a variety of fresh produce and meats. You can also grab prepared items to enjoy right away.

Parks

Centennial Olympic Park, Woodruff Park, Hurt Park and Hardy Ivy Park all fall within the boundaries of downtown. The parks are free, but amenities and events may require a fee to participate. Renaissance Park, which sits on the eastern boundary between downtown and Old Fourth Ward, is the closest dog park. It also offers walking paths for a little exercise with man’s best friend. Centennial Olympic Park hosts free concerts in the summer and has ice skating in the winter. Sweetwater 420 Fest, held in Centennial Olympic Park, celebrates Mother Earth for three days in April. Sponsored by the Sweetwater Brewing Company, evenings are filled with beer and live music.
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526 NW Centennial Olympic Park Dr, Atlanta, GA 30313
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171 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
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