In New York it’s easy to get around without a car. In Atlanta it isn’t as easy to go car-free because of sprawl and fewer walkable neighborhoods that provide the amenities needed for daily life. However, it is absolutely doable if you choose where you live and where you work carefully, keeping in mind walkability and transit access for both. To get started with your relocation or move, here are some of Atlanta’s top neighborhoods to check out that are great to live in if you don’t have a car.
Buckhead has been booming with new condos and apartments (if you can afford them) near the Lenox and Buckhead MARTA stations. Plenty of retail shopping is in the area including a Publix near the Lenox MARTA station, a Kroger off of Piedmont Road and a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods off Peachtree Road. Nightlife can be found at hotel bars and in the Buckhead Village near the intersection of Roswell and Peachtree Roads. Bus 110 and bus 5 are the local bus routes for additional service to Midtown and Sandy Springs, including all destinations along Peachtree Road from Buckhead to the High Museum of Art.
Midtown is one of the most walkable areas in Atlanta with plenty of restaurants and nightlife options just steps away from three MARTA stations. There are still some affordable apartments in the residential neighborhood south of Piedmont Park as well as luxury apartments and condos that are more centrally-located. Purchase groceries at Trader Joe’s, Publix, the new Whole Foods on 14th Street when open and Savi Market. While the area is very walkable, always use caution at night, especially south of 7th Street, as this urban area is not crime free.
Downtown Atlanta has historically had a lack of grocery stores and businesses open on the weekend. With food delivery services and a short train ride to Midtown where you can shop at the Publix, the lack of a large food store is less of an issue today. Plus, you can get some of your grocery needs met at the new Origin Market just south of the Five Points MARTA station or walk or take the streetcar to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Besides food, living downtown provides access to six MARTA stations and it’s easy to hop on a train to anywhere in Atlanta, including a direct ride to the airport in under 20 minutes. And basic services including post offices, banks, a library and drug stores are easy to walk to.
Downtown Decatur is charming, highly walkable and safe. The small-town square has numerous restaurants and a few nightlife options along with a small Kroger, Savi Market and farmers markets. New apartments and condos are in the area along with single-family houses. In addition to the MARTA station being right under the square, bus 36 travels from the station to Emory University, Virginia Highland and Midtown, or ride the free Cliff Shuttle to the Emory University campus. Decatur is a great place to live if work downtown as it is a direct train ride, or take advantage of the buses to reach other east-side destinations.
A hip neighborhood, Little 5 Points has boutique shops, restaurants and music and nightlife venues. Sevenanda is health food store in the neighborhood or shop at the nearby Kroger in the Edgewood Retail District or Publix, though having a bike would be useful for grocery trips. Bus 6 that runs through the area and travels to Emory University and the CDC. If quieter living or closer access to the BeltLine is desired, consider the historic Inman Park neighborhood next to the Inman Park MARTA station.
Virginia Highland/Poncey Highland
Rail Lines: Bus or bike to rail
Virginia Highland and Poncey Highland are two safer neighborhoods in the city that have great restaurants, nightlife venues and four grocery stores: Kroger (under construction), Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Publix. Piedmont Park and the BeltLine are also nearby for recreation or bike commuting, and while the neighborhood isn’t as convenient to the train, the neighborhood has four major bus routes that go through the area, 6, 816, 36, 2 and 102. These routes provide convenient access to all rails lines as well as downtown, Emory University, Little 5 Points, Midtown, Candler Park and Inman Park.