Moving to ATL
Hey, How's it going?
I am currently living outside NYC and will be moving to ATL to start a job. Although my job is outside ATL in Gwinnett, I figured it would be more fun to live within the city. I was wondering what are the best areas to live for good eats, cool cafes, cheap eats and good bars. I was looking into L5P, Decatur and Virginia-Highlands, but I am certainly up for any ideas. I am looking for any opinions on those areas or suggestions on any other places. I appreciate all your help, thanks a lot!
Welcome to Atlanta. I think you'll enjoy living here. And IMHO, you're smart to be looking at in-town neighborhoods.
All 3 of the areas you mention are good choices, each with a slightly different personality. L5P is a bit on the "edgy"/hip/counterculture side. Decatur feels a bit sub-urban/small-townish (having it's own courthouse and downtown square area), and Virginia-Highlands is filled with smalllish craftman-style bungalows. You'll have more, better restaurant options in Decatur or Virginia-Highlands, than in L5P. Another neighborhood you should seriously look at is Midtown. Lots of restaurants, lots of bars, and easy access to the interstate for getting to Gwinnett.
Assume you're single, so schools and the like won't matter. If so, your list is a pretty good one. You'll get kind of the reverse commute, although traffic will suck once you get off I-85. We love Decatur, but my job is up GA 400, and there isn't an easy way to get in/out to go that direction (unless you're willing to put up with the I-285 sufferfest).
If you're in Morningside or Virginia Highland, you're really close to most anything you'd want to do- Midtown to L5P to Decatur. You could look further N to get closer to 85 for the daily grind.
In case you haven't thought about it, even the nicest neighborhoods intown are subject to stupid property crime (cars broken into, etc). That's been the case for the past 15-20 years.
I agree with the earlier post.My daughter lived in Decatur and loved as we did.Then she got married and it was almost impossible for us to get there around rush hour,and Im from the Bronx and know traffic--this is alot worse than the cross bronx at rush hour--but its great spot for food,and music,and very convenient to downtown--schools are problematic,but you dont have kids I take it
Bobstripower, you are mistaken about Decatur schools...at least City of Decatur. They are top ranked and people outside the area pay tuition for their kids to go there. http://www.csdecatur.net/ . And good schools affect property values, so it's important even if you don't have kids.
Godofallwebers, I was single in the city of Decatur & found it to be a blast. Could walk everywhere with great pubs & restaurants. I'd suggest checking out decaturmetro.com regularly to get a feel for the community. And once in Atlanta, hit up Brickstore Pub, Iberian Pig, and Farmburger. All 3 of your areas are good, though.
The Iberian Pig
121 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030
For a young, single person I'd say go for either Va-Hi or Midtown. Decatur is where I'd move when you get married or buy a house for the longer term. Midtown is full of condos and apts. for lease (assuming you're renting not buying in your early 20's...or in any event, not buying until you've been here long enough to know where to buy) and will give you more of a sleek, high-rise, city feel with easy hwy access. Va-Hi is more of the hip, jeans and thrift-store t-shirt vibe. Very cool place to hang out, but not as available for apts. More likely you'd have to rent an old bungalow with more of a college-house-rental feel: street parking, friendly neighbors, not as easy to get to hwy. So it really depends on what kind of home you want: shiny, new, managed by property company vs. older, homey, landlord set-up. Welcome to the South!
One postive for Decatur is convenient access to rapid transit. But it would probably not take you close enough to your job to benefit you daily and it would require a long ride to even get to the only station close to Gwinnett. Also many feel it does not take you to a lot of the places you want to go. It would however take you to mid-town if you don't mind some walking. Walking downtown in Atlanta is not as consumer friendly as other cities from all I hear and have experienced. I would think it a better choice than VaHi for choice of apartments/condo rentals if you are looking for modern surroundings.
I used to live near L5P right out of college when it was just becoming an in place to be. It was fun then. But you should visit and see if the "edgy"/hip/counterculture side fits your personality. There are mostly older apartments, a few newer ones, and a lot of small older frame houses. There are a number of YouTube videos that feature the yearly Halloween Parade. That will give you a little of the flavor of the business district. It's not that crazy but once a year but there is a reason why it evolved in L5P: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZl711...
I think if you visit each area you mentioned it won't take long to decide which one would be your best first stop. Traffic is a hassle almost anywhere you are in rush hour, and I-285 even longer because of the truck traffic. Yours will be mostly a reverse commute so you may find a way to make it bearable.
Atlanta is a car town and you can get to any of your choices easily from the other at night. You may want to consider the work route as a significant factor in your decision as it will be a significant part of your daily life. Don't want to come home too tired to enjoy your community. L5P would not be a very friendly commute to NE Gwinnett unless you are an early riser. By 7 AM the traffic is already getting heavy on the most used routes.