From a distance, Midtown seems pretty simple: the center of a city that has experienced incredible growth over the last several decades. The high-rises that define the skyline are relatively recent additions, and while they’re certainly the most notable centers of commerce, lifestyle, and living (with new developments solidly underway wherever you look), a closer inspection of Midtown yields its true personality.
A burgeoning cultural element defines this part of town: The High Museum of Art is a world-class gallery; the Fabulous Fox Theater is one of the Southeast’s premier performing arts venues; and the Woodruff Arts center provides one of the most comprehensive institutes for artistic advancement in the country. Piedmont Park (the largest green space in Atlanta) serves multiple duties, and has seen its fair share of outdoor festivals and concert series.
But look even closer, and the surprises really start to present themselves: time-honored family eateries are located alongside of-the-moment offerings from famous chefs; a bustling nightclub scene lends an air of sophistication to a late night out; the intersection of 10th and Piedmont serves as one of the trendiest LGBTQ hubs anywhere; there’s the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind; there’s the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design; and yes, even this close to the center of the action, high-rise condos and restored lofts aside, it’s not too hard to find carefully manicured streets, populated by historic homes that have watched the capital of the South rise around them.
A high-rise luxury condo...
A historic Victorian...
...And just about everything in between
Extreme walkability to shopping, dining, and recreation
A decidedly “big city” feel
Close-as-you-can-get access to interstates and major routes of public transportation
An investment, but at a premium (homes this close-in don’t come cheap).
There’s the possibility that you might not need a car if you live in Midtown (it might just be too much of a pain to have one, depending on where you live). As one of the city’s premier commercial and living centers, it’s not too uncommon to find someone who lives, works, and plays here, and is able to omit the tumult of Atlanta rush hour from their lives altogether.
Getting a little lost in Atlanta is one of the best ways to get a feel for the city. Take a day, and wander around Midtown, being sure not to miss the blocks just to the south of Piedmont Park: years of organic evolution have left these streets with a variety of home options that runs the whole gamut.
Right next door to Midtown (to the west), you’ll find the new(ish)-urban development of Atlantic Station. A vast property, it boasts big-box shopping opportunities, dining options, a movie theater, lush public spaces, housing that appeals to students and families alike, and of course (wait for it), IKEA. You’ll be needing IKEA.
Midtown Atlanta is dominated by the 185-acre Piedmont Park. A massive field, rolling hills, recreation opportunities, and more than a few outdoor festivals are just a few of the things to be found here, so pack a picnic and wander around for a while. There are a few other plots of green space in Midtown, too—here’s a list.
Historic Fourth Ward 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.
All roads lead to Midtown; the real trick is figuring out what to do with your car once you arrive. Midtown tries its best to keep up with parking, and while garages, surface lots and street parking are all options, it’s best to do some research beforehand. Park your car, leave it for the day, and get around on foot.
Midtown Atlanta and West Midtown are separated only by the I-75/I-85 Connector, and there are a lot of access points to get on and off the highway. Take heed, however: this artery is almost always clogged during rush hour, so plan accordingly. /p>
Midtown Atlanta is served by three MARTA rail stops, all running north/south: Arts Center station, Midtown station, and North Avenue station make getting around easy, and all are located just a short distance north of Five Points station, which connects to the east/west line
A venue for concerts, cocktail parties, and of course, some beautiful floral and arboreal offerings, this 30-acre garden offers a slice of tranquility in the middle of the city. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, (404) 876-5859, atlantabg.org
Fans of Southern literature flock here: this historic home is the place where Margaret Mitchell wrote almost all of her masterpiece, Gone With the Wind; today, tours of the home are offered, and a gift shop is on site. 979 Crescent Ave. NE, (404) 249-7015, margaretmitchellhouse.com
Every discipline has its spiritual headquarters. For family fun, Muppet fans, and as much education as you can gather on the subject of all things puppetry, this institute serves as the largest, most influential of its kind in the nation. 1404 Spring St. NW, (404) 873-3391, puppet.org
A true blast from the past, Mary Mac’s has been the place to go for Southern comfort food since 1945. If these walls could talk… 224 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, (404) 876-1800, marymacs.com
It’s not the most assuming place in the world, but for all the spit polish of Midtown, it’s nice to have a place that only the locals know about. The beer list is amazing, the burgers are divine, and the vibe is decidedly chill. 817 W. Peachtree St. NW, (404) 815-9243, cypressbar.com
You’ll hear about Ecco. Someone will tell you about this sleek fine-dining eatery. And when they do, it’ll probably be because they have a craving for the (actually famous) fried goat cheese appetizer. Just go with them on this one. 40 7th St. NE, (404) 347-9555; ecco-atlanta.com
There’s a reason Piedmont Park possesses such a harmonious blend of nature and amenities, despite (or because of?) its proximity to the city: it was designed in part by Frederick Law Olmstead, the renowned American landscape architect who designed New York City’s Central Park. Olmstead, in fact, was responsible for the design of several of Atlanta’s oldest, most acclaimed public green spaces (Grant Park being another).