South Fulton – Atlanta, GA

Though most residents consider the community of South Fulton a part of the greater Atlanta area, the neighborhood distinguishes itself as the only unincorporated neighborhood left in Fulton County, despite lying just 10 miles southwest of Atlanta's city center. In fact, many of the residents of South Fulton affectionately refer to the area simply as "unincorporated." Regardless, the major characteristics of life in South Fulton look very similar to that of nearby neighborhoods. Attracted by low costs of rent, several large businesses have set up shop in South Fulton and provide jobs for both residents and commuters. The neighborhood takes great pride in its South Fulton Medical Center, reputed as one of Atlanta's most capable medical facilities. In short, life in South Fulton is varied yet exciting, and the area seems poised to continue growing for quite some time.

Schools in South Fulton

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

The variety of restaurants in South Fulton attracts visitors from across the city. Many of the restaurants made homes in the southern sections of South Fulton near Greenbriar Mall, including JJ's Rib Shack, which patrons insist serves Atlanta's best ribs and fantastic BBQ chicken. Wait times at JJ's regularly clock in between two and three hours. Despite the high volume of customers, JJ's Rib Shack does an admirable job of keeping prices low and diners happy. For a taste of the sea, residents of South Fulton turn to Smackin' Good Seafood. This establishment serves fresh and frozen seafood dishes, including crab legs and shrimp. The staff cooks and spices the seafood in accordance with traditional Southern recipes. Regulars frequently order the combo for two, which includes enough sausage, crab legs, shrimp, corn, and potatoes for you and a friend. This fantastic deal allows customers to try a little bit of everything and brings patrons coming back to Smackin' Good Seafood. Though a few bars sit within the actual limits of South Fulton, several more popular options lie just outside of the community near Greenbriar Mall. For a laid-back evening of good beer, great wings, and watching sports on TV, locals head to JR Crickets Lounge. Alternatively, residents frequent Club Ellery's, a nightlife destination featuring a Thursday night Chicago Steppin' event.

History & Culture

In 1853, Fulton County was carved from DeKalb County's west side. It was named for Hamilton Fulton, a surveyor for the Western and Atlantic Railroad and the state's chief engineer. Fulton advised officials -- who wanted to build a canal system -- that a railroad would be a better way to connect Milledgeville to Chattanooga, Tennessee (which was then the state capital). State officials listened to Fulton's advice, and as a result, Fulton County became a major hub of transportation -- and still is today. In 1969, a new interstate, I-285, opened. This interstate not only creates a perimeter around the Atlanta area, but it also forms the western border of South Fulton. In the early 21st century, Atlanta gave residents of unincorporated areas surrounding the city several opportunities to incorporate. Nearly all of the various unincorporated communities voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining, with the exception of South Fulton.

Transportation

Most South Fulton residents travel by car, and both free and cheap parking exists throughout South Fulton, especially in the residential sections of the community. Both Uber and other ride-sharing apps cater to the area. Taxis often visit the medical center and occasionally circle the streets of South Fulton in search of customers. Residents can feel safe navigating the streets of South Fulton on foot or by bicycle. While few dedicated bike lanes exist, most streets experience low enough levels of traffic for bikers to confidently ride in their shoulders. Despite never incorporating with the city, several of Atlanta's MARTA public transportation routes pass through South Fulton. These routes include numbers 66, 83, and 183.

Cost

When compared to most of the surrounding Atlanta area, South Fulton's low cost of living is attractive. Gas prices in South Fulton typically rank four percent less than the Atlanta average and three percent less than the national average. Utilizing MARTA, it costs less than $3 to get to the city center. A one-bedroom apartment in South Fulton costs approximately $630 per month, and a beer at a local pub costs approximately $4.

Shopping

Just across Highway 166 from South Fulton sits Greenbriar Mall, which acts as the major high-value shopping center for the neighborhood. In fact, Greenbriar Mall and the adjacent shopping centers house nearly all of South Fulton's shopping options. While national chains, such as Macy's, make up most of the stores in Greenbriar Mall, a few locally-owned boutiques do exist. Stop at the Medu Bookstore, a bookshop with the perfect combination of unusual wares, friendly service, and history. Medu's is one of the last remaining African-American-owned bookstores in the Atlanta area, and many of its available titles feature black authors. Moreover, a large number of the books available at Medu cannot be found elsewhere. For this reason, patrons from across the Southeast regularly make trips to this unique shop. Just up the road from Greenbriar Mall sits one of South Fulton's most unusual stores -- the Big Oomp Record Store. Don't be fooled by the name of the shop, as the Big Oomp Record Store does not sell actual vinyl records. Instead, you'll find compilation CDs, mostly of the hip-hop variety. For years, Atlanta rap fans praised Big Oomp for bringing recognition to numerous up-and-coming hip-hop artists, many of whom went on to have quite successful music careers. Even today, the store holds a reputation for being the place to find great music before it becomes too mainstream. Several grocery stores service the South Fulton area, including Kroger, Westgate Food Market, and several smaller convenience stores. You can find several farmers markets throughout the city of Atlanta, including the Morningside Farmers Market and the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market.

Parks

Adams Park borders the neighborhood, and residents make frequent use of the park's amenities. The park heavily encourages exercise and an active lifestyle, offering a lake, a public gym, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a golf course, tennis facilities, and baseball and softball fields. Adams Park's playground appeals to children, while parents relax in one of several meeting pavilions. Because of the numerous amenities and services available, Adams Park has become a community meeting space and hosts many public and private events throughout the year. For instance, the Adams Park Cultural Festival, held in late September each year, features local artists and businesses that significantly impact the culture of the community.
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