The East Atlanta of 10 years ago is a far cry from the East Atlanta of today. Revitalization has taken hold of this enclave located (obviously) east of the city center, but don’t start throwing the word ‘gentrification’ around just yet—this nook of Atlanta has got a soul it’s not eager to shed anytime soon.
Atlanta’s hipster mecca blends counterculture and community, all backed up to a soundtrack by some of the best underground music venues in the city.
At the core of this neighborhood, is East Atlanta Village (EAV, as the locals call it), to which outsiders flock for some of the best little dive bars in the city, complete with a perennial lineup of local acts and visiting bands. Along with some funky, Bohemian boutiques, the restaurant scene, too, has ramped into high gear, with some blink-and-you’ll-miss-them eateries that cater to the late-night crowd.
For all of its eccentricities (and often because of them), and rough charm, young professionals have begun to set up shop in East Atlanta, lured by the promise of a quirky historic home with some yard space to grow into. With proximity to the city (hardly more than three miles to Downtown by car), it’s easy to understand why this corner of town has earned its comparison as Greenwich Village—with a Southern twist.
A ground-floor deal on a funky, affordable home
Trendy dining, laid-back coffee shops, and a thriving music scene
Restaurants and entertainment options within walking distance
Close-in location, hardly three miles from the center of the city
Character, both in architecture and in the neighbors themselves
A reasonable price for a bit more square footage
A decidedly ‘urban pioneer’ vibe
East Atlanta is located (appropriately enough) east of Atlanta, by about three miles. The northern edge of this neighborhood is bordered by I-20, at the intersection to Moreland Avenue (with plenty of access points to the interstate). As far as surface roads are concerned, Memorial Drive is just a few blocks to the north, also offering a straight shot to Downtown, Midtown, and the Connector, as well as to the Perimeter. There’s a ‘centrally located’ element to East Atlanta, too, as this part of town is located close to some trendy hangout spots, like Kirkwood, Edgewood, and Little Five Points.
You hear nightmare stories about parking in Atlanta, but in East Atlanta, it’s actually not too hard to find a spot (even if you’re opting for some coveted street parking). As is always the case in Atlanta, however, keep an eye on the fickle street signs so you don’t get towed.
If you’re visiting, do so on the weekend, and find the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Flat Shoals Avenue (you’ll see a mini flatiron building at the corner). This is the epicenter of town, and it contains the majority of the shops, venues, and eateries.
Ask around to see what’s going on. The locals have their fingers on the pulse of their neighborhood, and will be happy to point you to a show, or to a great place to grab a cold beer.
For many of the singles and young couples who move to East Atlanta, the quality of the school system isn’t a priority. The public schools in this area aren’t rated very well, though a few private institutions are close by. Here’s a complete list.
City of Atlanta Public Schools
Burgess Academy (public elementary)
Coan Middle School (public)
Maynard Jackson High (public)
Neighborhood Charter School (public charter)
Imagine Wesley International Academy (private)
King Fisher Academy (private)
East Atlanta isn’t a very large neighborhood, and as far as public green space is concerned, it’s defined by one main park. Brownwood Park is located just south of the Flat Shoals/Glenwood intersection and contains a fine little recreation center, some game courts, a kids’ area, and plenty of natural shade, all lovingly restored and maintained by concerned citizens.
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.
East Atlanta is a little off the beaten path (that’s kind of the point), but it’s actually pretty easy to get into and out of. I-20 is easily accessible from Moreland Drive, the latter of which connects to some of the more well-traveled thoroughfares slightly to the north.
The I-75/I-85 Connector is located about three miles to the west, while I-20 bucks up against the northern edge of the neighborhood.
East Atlanta isn’t the most MARTA-accessible part of Atlanta. The nearest stop, the Edgewood-Candler Park station, requires crossing an interstate overpass and a mile’s walk north, to DeKalb Avenue.
Quirky and utterly hipster, this farmers market gathers every Thursday night (4 p.m. till dark) from April to December. If home-roasted coffee and artisanal kimchi are your flavors, you’ve come to the right place.
Some will contest that the EARL is the be-all-end-all of underground music in the American South. They may be a little biased, but with a roster that’s included Band of Horses, Death Cab for Cutie, and comedians like David Cross and Patton Oswalt, who’s to argue? Their restaurant is pretty good, too. 488 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, (404) 522-3950, badearl.com
Held of the third Saturday in September, this decidedly EAV-themed festival features a parade, a 5K fun-run, lots of food, and of course, more live music than you can shake a stick at.
A mile-long beer list is backed up by a slew of vintage arcade games and a capable kitchen at this come-one-come-all eatery (the huge patio doesn’t hurt, either). 552 Flat Shoals Ave. SE, (404) 584-0335, themidwaypub.com
Don’t let the ultra-casual sound of this counter-serve sausage place fool you—Delia’s is huge in these parts, and her all-natural hot dogs and sliders have been proven to ward off even the worst hangover. 489 Moreland Ave. SE, (404) 474-9651, thesausagestand.com
Buford Highway (it’s up north a ways) might have some of the best Vietnamese fare in the South, but the pho at So Ba borders on magic. Come back for their occasional ramen nights, or check out So Ba’s sister restaurant, Octopus Bar. 560 Gresham Ave. SE, (404) 627-9911, soba-eav.com
The history of East Atlanta in particular predates American colonists. The Creek Native American people dominated this region at one time, and their major trade route from The Chattahoochee River to the Atlantic Ocean ran straight through East Atlanta. That portion of trail is now called Flat Shoals Avenue.