Nestled in the rolling foothills just 27 miles northwest of Atlanta, Kennesaw is an American treasure with a vast trove of museums, historic sites, sprawling residential areas and a tight-knit community. Marietta lies to the south while the expansive Acworth Lake borders it to the north. Residents enjoy easy access to Atlanta, which houses some of the state’s best shopping and entertainment, and nearby Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park makes for an exciting day hike with the family.
You may not guess by its convenient location along Cobb Parkway, but Kennesaw delivers a unique small-town atmosphere and rich history unrivaled by most American cities. In fact, the neighborhood holds a place in Family Circle Magazine’s “10 Best Towns for Families” as well as Newsmax Magazine’s “Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns.”
A young median age of 32 brings the tranquil area’s atmosphere to life. Whether you want to raise your family in a safe, beautiful environment or get your degree at nearby Kennesaw State University, consider moving to this peaceful neighborhood.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Drive along Jiles road or visit the southern end of town for local eateries ranging from pizza joints and old-fashioned smokehouses to sushi bars. Although international restaurants abound, locals love Kennesaw for its home-cooked, all-American grills and cafes that hearken to the town’s glory days of wagons and railroads.
Take your family to Big Shanty Smokehouse for lip-smacking barbecue that sticks to your ribs. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant might not look like much, but the authentic brisket and fresh pulled pork speak for themselves. Be sure to try the hearty Brunswick stew during one of your visits.
If you’re looking for a go-to sandwich shop for your daily lunch break, stop by Sunny’s Bagel & Deli for a cross between American and Venezuelan fare. Try a frothy cafe con leche along with a breakfast arepa stuffed with bacon, eggs and cheese. Feel free to settle into a cozy booth for an hour or two on the weekend.
Nightlife in Kennesaw never disappoints with bars and sports grills scattered throughout the retail area, but if you want a true taste of the community, join the locals for a night of dancing and country music at the Electric Cowboy . Try some line dancing on the thriving dance floor; if you’re really feeling brave, test your strength on the facility’s mechanical bull. Stay later into the night if you want to catch some of the faster songs and heavier beats.
History & Culture
Originally named Big Shanty, the town came into being during the mid-1800s along with several other small settlements to house the workers constructing the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The town was marred by fighting during the Civil War in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and many of the historic battle sites and artifacts remain in Kennesaw today. Growth slowed following the war with the exception of cotton farms, but Kennesaw became the talk of the nation in 1957 when Disney released “The Great Locomotive Chase,” which retraces an event in the town’s railroad history.
A reservoir of American history and culture, Kennesaw became a Preserve America Community in 2004 when First Lady Laura Bush designated it herself. Feel free to review the town’s rich history at the Southern Museum of Civil War History in the downtown area next to the original railroad tracks.
If you’re ready to taste Kennesaw’s cultural offerings, head downtown in April for the annual Big Shanty Festival, a free event that celebrates the town’s cultural heritage. Browse more than 250 booths offering handmade arts and crafts, local delicacies and other goods, or check out one of the stages for live music. When August rolls around, fill your stomach at the annual Pigs & Peaches BBQ Festival, a highly anticipated event delivering the best smoke-cooked pork and peach desserts in the region.
Bring your car to enjoy all the perks of Kennesaw living, including ample street parking, low traffic and easy access to the Atlanta metropolitan area via Cobb Parkway or Larry McDonald Memorial Highway. If you need a quick drive to Kennesaw’s Cobb County Airport, call up the Uber rideshare service or Owl Cab Co., the local taxi service.
Plan to do most of your traveling by car as Kennesaw’s public transportation options are limited. The town’s widespread layout also makes running errands by bike or foot a bit of a challenge. If you do decide to ride your bike around the city, keep in mind that most streets have no dedicated bike lanes. However, the sleepy traffic and quiet residential streets make Kennesaw ideal for a recreational bike ride.
The perfect middle ground for families in search of a charming suburb without breaking the bank, Kennesaw’s cost of living peaks at just above average for the state of Georgia. Spacious new apartment buildings with well-groomed courtyards offer a tranquil abode for singles, couples and small families with a one-bedroom apartment renting for around $800.
Large suburban homes along the rolling hills also offer a great value with the median price hovering around $154,000, beating out the Georgia average by just a few thousand dollars. Thanks to a wide selection of cheap eateries and free entertainment options like public parks, even families on a tight budget can enjoy a life of comfort in this delightful town.
Drive down to the southern end of Kennesaw for some of the best shopping this side of Atlanta. Wherever you live in the neighborhood, cute boutiques and convenience stores are always within reach. Town Center at Cobb Mall offers fashion favorites like Forever 21 and JC Penney, and stores like Francesca’s and Brookstone stock higher-end fare. Just be careful when choosing your parking spot as the sprawling mall only has three main entrances.
If you prefer local goods, take a walk through the Kennesaw Farmers Market from May to October for local produce along with fresh-baked breads and sweet homemade jams. Park your car in Adams Park soccer field, and get there early for the most diverse selection of edible goods. To complete your weekly grocery shopping, stop by Kroger or Publix Super Market.
Whether you want to take a walk with your dog or just relax with your family after a day at work, visit one of the city’s numerous free parks for playgrounds, picnic tables and other amenities. Featuring a large dog park and a paved loop for walking or jogging, Swift-Cantrell Park just might become your favorite getaway. Lit walkways keep the area safe during nighttime hours, and the city provides free Wi-Fi throughout the park. This popular park gets packed after school and on the weekends, so arrive early to find a good parking spot.
When you crave a more natural environment, head down to Kennesaw Mountain National Battleground Park for a day of hiking. Those who enjoy Civil War history can check out the short film in the visitor’s center or start up a conversation with one of the knowledgeable park rangers to hear about all the battles and stories of the area.