Explore Atlanta’s Coolest Historic Neighborhoods
Published June 21, 2016
Last Updated September 18, 2020
Yes, Atlanta boasts a wealth of bright, shiny new buildings but we also have our fair share of historic neighborhoods with quaint houses (and the occasional antebellum mansion), local shops and restaurants — all of which are a perfect locale for spending a day walking around and discovering our diverse and eclectic city. Here are top six historic neighborhoods:
1. Castleberry Hill
Castleberry Hill is a unique urban community where early 20th century warehouse buildings have been converted into lofts, art studios and shops. Castleberry Hill was originally part of the renegade Snake Nation, but by the time the Civil War rolled around it was a hotbed of industrial activity with cotton warehousing, building materials factories and shops dotting the landscape. Castleberry Hill is located on the southwestern edge of Atlanta’s central business district and is known for its arts strolls.
2. Grant Park
Grant Park is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and traces its origins back to the Civil War when L.P. Grant lived in an 1858 Italianate mansion in an area that is now Grant Park. Soon after, his property was subdivided, and between 1886 and 1905 the area experienced a housing boom featuring some of the city’s most architecturally distinct houses, including Victorian mansions, Queen Anne, Craftsman bungalows and cottages. Although it has a number of great neighborhood restaurants, Grant Park is best know for the 130-acre Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta.
3. Inman Park
Inman Park is Atlanta’s first planned suburb and contains the best collection of residential architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the neighborhood gems are Callan Castle, which was the 1902-03 Beaux-Arts style mansion of Asa Griggs Candler, the business tycoon who made his fortune selling Coca-Cola; the Kriegshaber House, which is now the Wrecking Ball Brewpub; and the Trolley Barn, which housed the city’s electric streetcars. The Inman Park Festival is one of the city’s most popular and colorful. The recently opened Krog Street Market is an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and marketplace shops such as bakers, butchers and cheese makers.
4. Old Fourth Ward
Old Fourth Ward is a neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta that melds great history with hip restaurants and condos. One of the oldest sections of the city, the Old Fourth Ward continued to have whites and blacks living in close proximity even as the rest of the city became more segregated. Many of the area’s homes were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1917 and others were destroyed to make way for the Freedom Parkway that leads to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum. The Old Fourth War is where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up. The neighborhood also includes Sweet Auburn, where The King Center is located. Now a gentrified area, the Old Fourth Ward includes the Ponce City Market as well as restaurants such as Parish and TWO Urban Licks.
Virginia-Highland is 1920s neighborhood located about two miles northeast of the city. Although a number of houses are being torn down to make way for mega-mansions, the neighborhood still has Craftsman bungalows as well as English Vernacular Revival, American Foursquare and Colonial Revival. Honored with such titles as “Best Walkable Neighborhood” and “Atlanta’s Favorite Overall Neighhorhood,” Va-High boasts a number of great bars and restaurants including Taco Mac, Murphy’s and Atkin’s Park (the city’s oldest bar). Moe’s and Joe’s and George’s are great for a burger, a beer and people watching. The Virginia-Highland Summerfest is one of the largest art and music festivals in the Southeast.
6. Atlanta’s West End
Atlanta’s West End dates back to 1835 and today it is a neighborhood undergoing a cultural and economic renaissance as historic home are being preserved, shops are opening and ethnic restaurants are delighting diners with new dishes. Part of this renaissance is due to the Atlanta BeltLine, which brings joggers, walkers and bicyclists to the area to enjoy the green space and to exercise. While in the West End, be sure to visit the Wren’s Nest, the Queen Anne Victorian home of Joel Chandler Harris who wrote the Uncle Remus folk tales. The Hammonds House Museum is another must see. The museum, former home of Dr. Otis Thrash Hammonds, celebrates African art with more than 350 original works dating as far back as the mid-19th century.
If you’re looking for history and culture, start exploring Atlanta’s neighborhoods here.
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