Old Fourth Ward: a diverse neighborhood that packs history into every nook and cranny; a place for world-class dining experiences, and trendy-meets-dingy bars; home to lavishly appointed public parks, weathered warehouses, bustling thoroughfares and quiet, tree-lined streets. One doesn’t like to rely on superlatives, but in O4W (as the locals call it), there’s actually something for everyone.
This convergence of experiences didn’t come overnight. O4W is old, yes: one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, in fact. But as early as the ‘60s, when the first skyscrapers were being erected in neighboring Downtown, Atlantans saw the potential this humble community had, and began a process of urban evolution that stretches on, even today.
The people who live here have come to appreciate the proud, eccentric bustle of this neighborhood. For better or for worse, there’s always something to do in O4W, and whether home is a converted loft, or a fully restored, post-Civil War Victorian, the energetic charm of old, close-as-you-can-get Atlanta is always hanging in the air.
Plenty of parks and green spaces (some of the prettiest in the city)
Affordable homes with extreme proximity to Downtown and Midtown
A quick commute, with easy interstate access
Proximity to all the major interstates and intown surface streets
Skyrocketing growth potential
Old Fourth Ward is just about as close as one can get to the city. The northern border bucks up against the Ponce Corridor, and the southwestern corner of O4W is lined by Freedom Parkway, which grants direct access to the Connector. Meanwhile, a number of surface streets lead straight into the heart of Atlanta, just a few minutes away.
Find a rooftop restaurant, grab a cocktail, and watch the sun set. Old Fourth Ward is right next door to the Atlanta skyline, and the view of Downtown and Midtown as night falls is just spectacular.
If the location of O4W fits your lifestyle, take your time while home hunting. This part of town is chock-full of historic homes, converted warehouses, park-front bungalows, sleek condos, new construction—you name it. Best to have an idea of what you want in advance so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Take a ride on the streetcar. In the past, this mode of transportation was crucial to how Atlantans got to the eastern suburbs, and while the system was defunct for decades, a miniaturized version has been recreated, offering a convenient—and fun—way to get around the close-in parts of town.
The Atlanta Public Schools system leaves a lot to be desired. There are some intown options, however, and access to the major roadways makes the commute to a private institution a bit easier if you’re weighing schooling options.
City of Atlanta Public Schools
Hope Elementary School (public)
Howard High School (public)
Intown Academy (private)
There’s an abundance of green space in O4W, with each section of the neighborhood claiming its own. A local favorite, however, is Historic Fourth Ward Park, which contains a network of walking trails, proximity to the BeltLine and a beautiful, small lake. Here’s a complete list.
Historic Fourth Ward Park
Renaissance Park II
Old Water Tower Park
Marie Crowser Memorial Park
Freedom Barkway Dog Park
Fourth Ward Skate 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.
Needless to say, traffic during peak hours gets more hairy the closer one gets to the middle of the city. Still, a network of large thoroughfares is woven throughout Old Fourth Ward, and if you plot your drive correctly, the traffic isn’t too bad. Major roads are North Avenue (to the north), Freedom Parkway (it runs through the middle of O4W), and Boulevard, which cuts through the middle of the area, running north to south.
Direct access to the connector is available at the base of Freedom Parkway at Boulevard, so getting north and south is easy. I-20 is just a little farther south, and can be accessed from I-75/I-85 as well.
There are two rail stops fairly close to O4W. King station, which runs east/west, isn’t the most accessible on foot, so most residents (especially in the northern end of the neighborhood) prefer to use the North Avenue stop, which runs north/south.
Dr. Martin Luther King was born and raised in Old Fourth Ward. Today, visitors can visit the civil rights activist’s childhood home (it’s now a museum) at 501 Auburn Ave., before heading to the memorial constructed in his honor, just down the street.
This one’s a biggie. Ponce City Market, a veritable city in-and-of itself, is located within a 2.2 million-square-foot former Sears distribution warehouse. The full potential of this commercial epicenter will take years be fully realized, but the property has already changed the dynamics of the city, boasting multiple dining options, apartments, offices, and community activities, to name a few. 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, (404) 900-7900, poncecitymarket.com
Located on the southern end of O4W, Edgewood Avenue has become the living embodiment of dingy dive bars, tucked-away eateries, and more eclectic street art than your camera can hold, making it one of the most popular zones for after-hours entertainment in the city.
Atlanta’s original brunch spot deserves its reputation. The wait is going to be long, but there’s a reason: the food is exceptional, from the hot plates, to the baked goods that can be taken to go. While you’re waiting for a seat, hit up one of the surrounding restaurants for a pre-meal Bloody Mary. 655 Highland Ave. NE, (404) 586-0772, highlandbakery.com
Steaks and seafood are served with a dose of ‘60s flair, and a full bar serves up some of the cleverest cocktails in the city—all in the backdrop of Ponce City Market. 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, (404) 500-5253, themercuryatl.com
Edgewood Avenue’s most irreverent watering hole packs enough eccentricity into its two stories to keep you talking for days. But take heed: with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that borders on the lewd, this ain’t a place for the kids. 466 Edgewood Ave. SE, (404) 522-8275, sisterlouisaschurch.com
Graffiti used to be an urban scourge in American cities, but in Atlanta (Old Fourth Ward in particular), it’s become embraced as a form of beautification. We’re not talking about sloppy, spray painted tags or Banksy-esque stenciling, either—some of this art is massive, incredibly intricate, and has been created by some world-class artists.