You’re talking with your friend, whom you haven’t seen since college. But he’s one of the only people you know in Atlanta, so you’d might as well hit him up.
The conversation gets around to figuring the city out, trying to make sense of the different neighborhoods, hashing out the pros and cons, and on and on. You want a place with a yard, you tell him. The kids are young, so you want somewhere that’s safe, with a friendly community and some great schools closeby. You work in Midtown/Buckhead/Emory/ITP/OTP (wherever, really), so you’d prefer something centrally located. But there are nights when you’re totally down for hiring a sitter and checking out that standby local bar where your neighbors all go, to let down your hair a little and hear some music. You’re not rolling in it, but your budget is certainly flexible enough so that when you do find the perfect place (something historic, but really pretty), you’ll be willing to make some concessions.
“Alright,” your friend will say. “Let’s go—you gotta check out Morningside.”
So you hop in the car. You get the idea that Piedmont Park is really close by, just to the southwest. Interstate’s not too far, either, but you’d never know it. All of the houses, which invariably convey an English country charm, have impeccably maintained lawns. There’s a charming little downtown strip of its very own where people are eating brunch. You see a literal father throwing a literal football with his literal son, and a shopkeeper, dressed in an apron, sweeping the sidewalk in front of his store, as he looks up at you and nods, knowingly. For a moment, you think you’ve stepped into a promotional video for some utopia, and wonder when the deep-voiced narrator will chime in, saying something about “a slower pace of life.”
And then, it hits you. You’ve found your neighborhood. There’s still a lot about this city to figure out, but Morningside seems like a good place from which to do that.
A quick commute to Downtown and Midtown Atlanta, and an even quicker trip to the interstates
Old-growth trees dotting well-maintained yards
Access to award-winning schools
Peace and quiet, with some really friendly neighbors
An active role in community development and governance
A range, budget-wise: some homes start in the $300s, but some can reach as high as $2 million.
Morningside is located just to the northwest of Midtown Atlanta, with its southwestern edge resting against Piedmont Park. It’s only a few minutes south of access to I-85, and rests directly north of the neighborhood of Virginia-Highland. If you were to find Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown, Emory and Decatur on a map, and put your finger in the middle, that’s Morningside.
While there are a few fun dining options in Morningside, you’ll also have access to some great amenities that are closeby, that don’t involve hitting up any of the main roads. In the same way people from Virginia-Highland head a little north to enjoy Morningside’s amenities, so do Morningsiders head south.
If you’re going to live here for a while, speak up and become involved in the Morningside-Lenox Park Association. Back in the ‘60s, this collective fought against a proposed highway extension that would have cut right through the center of the neighborhood (they won), and since then, they’ve been dedicated to keep the neighborhood special.
Morningside is a runner’s paradise. If you’re looking to pick it up (or keep it up), it’s not too hard to find a running group who will keep you motivated enough to fit in your morning jaunt. You can even buy your shoes in the neighborhood, at Highland Runners.
The efforts of the Community Association have paid off—in addition to preventing the neighborhood from being demolished for a highway extension, their actions have also led to the development and cultivation of some beautiful nature preserves. Here’s a list:
Morningside Nature Preserve
Sunken Garden Park
Sidney Marcus Park
Beech Valley Park
New to Atlanta?
Whether you’ve already slated your move to Atlanta, or are just considering this city as your new home, you’re likely going to be doing a lot of research. Every city has nuances, history, quirks, and jargon that can be confusing for newcomers, and Atlanta is no different. We’ve taken the liberty of providing a few basics with our Atlanta Beginner’s Guide. Check it out, and you’ll be feeling like a local in no time.
Getting into Morningside is pretty easy from every directions. A number of major surface streets (Piedmont, Cheshire Bridge, Amsterdam, and Briarcliff encircle the neighborhood, while North Highland Avenue and East Rock Springs Road go right through the center.
The Connector is just a little to the west of Morningside, but the easiest access to the interstates will likely involve driving a few minutes north, where I-85 can be easily accessed.
Access to a MARTA rail line is, unfortunately, not very convenient. The closest access point to the north/south line is probably going to be Arts Center station, which would involve a walk across Piedmont Park and a trek down 14th Street. It’s not a bad stroll, but not something you’d count on every day.
It takes a little looking around to find it, but Morningside contains a really lovely 30-acre nature preserve that offers some light hiking and bike trails—all accessible without having to leave the neighborhood. It’s located in the northern end of Morningside, just south of Cheshire Bridge Road.
These guys have been making some of the finest artisanal beer in the city, in a brewery that overlooks the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Check out their schedule, stop by for a pint, and enjoy the view (especially at sunset). 1440 Dutch Valley Pl. NE, orpheusbrewing.com
If your idea of a good time is to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday and hit up some yard sales, then keep an eye open for opportunities in Morningside. Long-time, affluent, and utterly friendly residents have been known to sell of some really dynamite items, and will cut you a deal if you’ve got some enthusiasm.
This casual watering hole is a favorite with the locals, serving clever local twists on classic American bar food, a long list of specialty cocktails, and one of the more chill live music scenes in town. 1402 N. Highland Ave. NE, (678) 705-5324, thefamilydogatl.com
Alon’s has a few locations scattered around Atlanta, and all offer freshly-baked breads, prepared dishes to go, and some really interesting packaged food from around the world. You’ll be here a lot. 1394 N. Highland Ave. NE, (404) 872-6000, alons.com
It’s a bit of a party spot, but this enormous restaurant boasts strong cocktails, great south-of-the-border fare, and a lineup of some vibrant Latin music to dance to. 550 Amsterdam Ave. NE, (404) 875-4494, loca-luna.com
You’ll also hear Morningside referred to as Lenox Park, or more commonly (and officially) Morningside-Lenox Park. The two neighborhoods used to be separate, but over the years, they’ve merged together. People may not know where you’re talking about if you refer to Lenox Park (they might think of the mall of a similar name, in Buckhead), but they’ll know what you’re talking about if you just refer to it as Morningside.