Quality of Life in Atlanta>Question Details

Brad Bruckman, Both Buyer and Seller in 89511

Best Place for City Lovers with Kids in Atlanta?

Asked by Brad Bruckman, 89511 Tue Dec 4, 2007

We are considering moving to the Atlanta area. We have twoyoung boys 3 and 6. We enjoy living in a more urban environment, but want to do what is best for our kids. Is there an area in Atlanta where we can enjoy a business district with bakery, cafes, restaurants, cool shopping, art galleries, etc. that has good schools and parks for our kids and is generally safe place to live? We are able to afford over 7 figures for a home if needed.

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You've chosen a wonderful city - I've lived in metro Atlanta off and on since 1988, in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton and Dekalb counties. I've been living Intown since 1998, when I bought a 4 bedroom, 4 bath 1908 Victorian in Inman Park for just $300,000! My recent clients in your price range who seek similar goals have looked at properties in really great neighborhoods all over the cities of Atlanta and Decatur. Supply is rich and three of the biggest competitive differentiators are school systems, retail proximity and nearby parks and lifestyle amenities for children. I'll suggest a few in 4 geographic submarkets of Intown Atlanta and Decatur...

Northside - Jackson and Smith school districts, Garden Hills, Collier Hills and Chastain Park are great places to start
Westside - there are some lovely houses along the I-75 corridor along Moores Mill and even closer in, but retail amenities and school systems are not the best
Eastside and Midtown - some of the best family neighborhoods in any metro city in the country - Ansley Park, Midtown North of Ponce De Leon, Virginia Highland, the super cool Inman Park ... of course, Morningside and their desirable elementary school
Southside - Grant Park has a really good charter school, depending on the type of house that you seek for $750,000 or more, the architectural styles are limited. East Atlanta and Ormewood Park are cool neighborhoods, but their schools are not the best.

I must mention Decatur, especially Winnona Park and their elementary school. Of course, closer to Emory and downtown Decatur, Oak Grove, Sagamore Hills and other good school districts have abundant choices. I also like the MAK historic district - very close to Oakhurst, and my Atlanta neighborhood, Kirkwood.

All of these areas are well policed, but as with any metro city in 2007, we have seen a rise in violent and invasive crimes. Property owners, and city dwellers in general, must be diligent.
Best wishes - welcome to Atlanta.

Are you coming to help us solve our water problem?
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 12, 2007
As a mom who has lived in Atlanta for 25 years. I think all of the areas mentioned are really nice, but the crime is getting terrible in the more urban areas. Also, everyone is mentioning what great elementary schools there are in those areas, but as a whole the school systems are terrible. Once your children get to middle and high school, you will either have to move north, or send your kids to private school for over $12,000/ child / year. Cobb and North Fulton Countys have been voted year after year as the best school systems in the state. Milton High School in Alpharetta was even voted in the top 100 high schools in the country. Also, Alpharetta was voted a few years ago by USA Today as one of the best places to live in the country. Alpharetta has built an outdoor amplitheater that will be opening soon (the Eagles are opening) and they are develpoing many high end outdoor shops, spas, etc. The homes in these areas are getting very expensive, but you will get a lot more for your money, including swim/tennis communities and some even have a lake. Check out the 30005 zip code and see what you think? The schools are fantastic and are always rated very high on the Great Schools website. I hope that information helps you in your decision.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
We like the lovely areas of Oakhurst, Kirkwood & Eastlake, but if you are wanting to spend 7 figures, I would see what is available in Virgina Highlands and Morningside too
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2008
Hi Brad,
For starters, I'm not a Realtor trying to get your business; I'm just a New York City transplant that moved here a few years ago to escape the Concrete Jungle. To answer your question, we need to know what your exact definition of "urban" is (because all of Atlanta is "urban", but each neighborhood has it's own style). However, I can assume that by "urban", that you would like to be able to walk from your home to more than just your car- that you don't want to live in a cul-de-sac subdivision, but that you want to live on a street that is integrated into the rest of the city? And, you have kids to think about. So, if that's the case, here's where I would look:
Decatur - technically not a neighborhood, but a small city by it's own right, pre-dates Atlanta, town square, festivals
Grant Park - next to the oldest park in Atlanta- home of the Atlanta Zoo, turn-of-the-century Craftsman architecture houses (it's a Historic District) with a lot of renovation going on- EXTREMELY active neighborhood association and parents network- see http://www.gpna.org for more info
Inman Park - similar to Grant Park (minus the huge park), although further along with urban renewal = more $$$
Candler Park - similar to Inman Park (I can't tell a difference- they're even right next to each other)
Morningside- probably the most expensive area, very nice homes.
Hope that helps!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2007
I second the morningside are. You might want to check some clients of mine for available houses.

Highland Design Team - New Construction and Remodels

Agent Mary Hallenberg
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2007
The Morningside neighborhoodl is probably the best choice. It is a highly sought after elementary school and one of the top elementary schools in the Atlanta system. It compares with the private schools. There are great restaurants and neighborhood galleries etc and the area has seen some of the best appreciation in the Atlanta market. You can see what is for sale on my Morningside page and there is a link to the elementary school there.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 5, 2007
I do agree with Carly about the school situation, but the suburbs also has a traffice issue getting into downtown so if you work there it can be a problem. Another place to look is Buckhead near Howell Mill and Moores Mill Roads. The elementary and middle schools there are very good and I hear that the High School is improving each year. The zip is 30305 and there are other zips too that are adjacent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 28, 2008
Candler Park is another negihborhood to consider. Mary Lin Elementary is very good and the parents very involved. We also have The Paideia School a few bocks away. Freedom Park and The Path bike trail run through our neighborhood and there are great restaruants, galleries, etc. close by. We sit just south of Historic Druid Hills and Virginia Highlands and just North of Inman Park. My husband and I live here with our two elementary-aged children. Good luck, Anne Westman, Harry Norman Realtors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2008
GRANT PARK! It's a wonderful neighborhood. I've lived here and I love it. I strongly suggest you look at the neighborhood assosciation website at http://www.gpna.org. Aside from that, there's a neighborhood charter school and a strong parent group and sits along the Atlanta Beltline project.
Let me know if you've got questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Two words - Virginia Highlands. Restaurants,cafes,bars,galleries,parks. Beautiful older and new homes. Walk to everything. The area is generally safe, but you're intown. Its not going to be the burbs. Our neighbors have two young boys. Some great deals to be had on homes due to the market situation...especially on Drewry St.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 9, 2008

We live inside the perimiter near Druid Hills /Toco Hills. We are only 5 miles from buckhead or Decatur, and still have "suburban" back yard. We have an 8 year old boy, and he has plenty of room to run around.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 8, 2008
Hi Brad, Having just relocated to Atlanta this past year I was looking for a simlar type of neighborhood, and we looked everywhere! We settled on Roswell, which is just North of the Atlanta Perminter and about 20 - 30 minutes from downtown (non-rush hour). There is plenty to do here without even getting on the highway. Loads of parks, amazing schools, and a very neat and active historic downtown. When we want to go elsewhere, we are less than an hour from most other activities in North Georgia. Hope this helps!
Web Reference: http://www.helpinghomes.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 7, 2008
Have you considered Kennesaw in Cobb County? It was recently voted "One of the Nations 10 Best Towns for Families" Click here to find out more(if the following link doesn't work cut&paste the address into your address bar): http://activerain.com/blogsview/152070/Kennesaw-Named-One-of
If you need any more assistance feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to help. ~Lorrie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 29, 2007
I moved from Atlanta last year and I still miss it dearly. My wife and I don't have kids yet, but we would have raised them in our old house in Atlanta had we stayed there. That was at 641 East Ave NE, 30312. Look for it on Trulia and you will see that East Ave is a short dead-end street on the edge of Freedom Park, within an easy stroll (on a bike/walk path) from the Carter Center, Little Five Points, or Inman Park. A slightly longer stroll (about 1-1.5 mile) would take you to Virginia-Highland. Literally across the street from our house (taking the pedestrian bridge over Freedom Parkway, which you can see on the map) was the Highland Bakery, probably the best brunch spot in town (Atlanta has a very lively brunch scene). Down the road was Fritti, which you can google. We had the downtown skyline in our bedroom window. And we were a 15-20 minute drive from the airport. So, here is my recommendation for a neighborhood that blends well kid friendliness and quality urban living: Atlanta's wonderful Old Fourth Ward.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 13, 2007
I agree with George - Grant Park is a great neighborhood, with an outstanding charter school for the kids. My wife and I live in a townhome in the area, are selling one (we met as neighbors and consolidated), and hope to be in the neighborhood for years to come, to start a family in Grant Park. You can also talk to our real estate agent - she has tons of intown listings (including ours)-
Web Reference: http://www.grantcir109.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 12, 2007
Hello Brad,

You may want to also consider the Vinings area which is in South Cobb County, just outside of Atlanta so it is convenient to Interstates, Downtown, the Perimeter, etc. Cobb County has some of the lowest taxes and home to many corporations such as Home Depot & Coca Cola. It is also home to many of the states best performing schools. It really depends a lot on your price range and style of home that you are looking for.

You can learn more about our area and search the MLS from my website http://www.HeatherElsberry.com .

You might even want to visit my website http://www.NeighborhoodsAtlanta.com to learn more about some of the finest neighborhoods in Atlanta.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 12, 2007
Different people have different perceptions of the term 'urban." I recommend that you visit and consider moving to Suwanee, GA (technically, a suburb of Atlanta). Suwanee was recently voted by Money Magazine as one of its Top 10 out of 100 best places to live in the nation. The schools are great, there is good accessability to major roads, shopping, restaurants and more. Check out the link below. Their Town Center Park (located at the intersection of Lawrenceville-Suwanee RD & Buford Highway) is an excellent model of an urban work-live-play development. Warm regards - Ted
Web Reference: http://www.suwanee.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2007
Vicki Masell…, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
Brad - Take a look at Decatur, especially the Glenwood and Oakhurst neighborhoods. Decatur is set up like an old-fasioned Southern town, complete with a town square, a historic courthouse and a lot of great restaurants, bars, galleries, etc in the square. There are more parks here than you'd find in most areas of town and the school district is one of the best in Georgia.
The houses run anywhere from 150K fixer uppers from the 1930's to 1M new-Bungalow style mansions that usually fit in very well with the surrounding neighborhood. We live in Oakhurst, and can walk to four nicely designed parks, tennis courts, a pool coming on-line in May, and also a Mexican restaurant, pizza place, coffee place, dessert/wine bar and gallery. We have concerts in the park down the street and wine and beer tasting periodically.
Another selling point is the proximity to Atlanta. The Atl city limits runs up to the Decatur city limits. We have two Marta Stations and it only takes 15 minutes at most to be in downtown or midtown. We have Agnes Scott college, a historical all-women's college and Emory Unitveristy complex righ next door.
Enough about Decatur, if you can afford it, the homes in Virginia Highland and Midtown can be an option too. The closer you get to Piedmont Park the pricier they can get. These are historic parts of town and are in-town with plenty to do. You can find beautiful houses in this area. But, there is more traffic, crime, rowdy bar patrons and the schools aren't the best. But if you can afford a 7 figure house, you can afford private school.
So, my advice check out Decatur, Virginia-Highlands and Midtown.
Web Reference: http://www.decatur.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2007
Check out the 30342 Zip Code area. This is the prime Buckhead location with shopping and good schools for your kids. That's where I would buy if I want to spend a Million Dollars in the Atlanta area. We locate discounted homes for our home buyers. You can reach us at 678-999-3288
Web Reference: http://www.doyenrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 5, 2007

I'm sure you will be able to find a community that fits your needs here in Atlanta. Not only does the city offer some fantastic areas to live in, but the suburbs outside of the city also offer many perks.

In town I would reccomend the Druid Hills area. It's the most beautiful part of town with wonderful historic homes and easy access to the city. In my former career I worked at Druid Hills Golf Club for about 4 years and spent alot of time in this area. It's one of my favorites. Buckhead and Sandy Springs are also good choices. Many people intown tend to enroll their children in private schools so take that into consideration when looking intown.

Moving outside the city I think that North Gwinnett and Alpharetta offer the next best alternatives. These areas combine great communities with good public schools. Gwinnett County has their own arena with the Gladiators Hockey team and regular concerts and events much like what you would have at phillips arena downtown. In addition the Mall of Georgia which is one of the largest malls in the region is very close by. Suwanee is a great city in Gwinnett Co. to consider. It was recently voted one of the top ten places to live by money magazine. You can visit my website for links to the artical and a link to my blog where I post information about Suwanee and the surrounding areas of Gwinnett County.

In any event the city and suburbs have much to offer. If you plan to have your children attend public schools then this will have a great impact on your location here. In addition we are known for having some of the worst traffic in the country so keep that in mind if you plan on commuting to work.

I would be happy to answer any other questions you have and if you need assistance narrowing down your search area here and locating a home I would be happy to assist you. I'm a Georgia native and have lived in the Atlanta area for over 14 years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 5, 2007
Brad -
Sorry to post again so soon -
I was looking for information for one of my clients looking in town and came across this link.

Web Reference: http://www.leeadkins.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 5, 2007
Brad -
Atlanta is a great city and a great place to raise a family.
Unlike many other metropolitan areas, there are actually green spaces that are within the actual city where you can find community feel and parks, while being fairly close to the city aspects of Atlanta. These areas are essentially "pockets," of blocks of houses, but from your question, I envision you looking for a place where you can walk to more of the city life, and that's less common here - everyone drives!

There are certainly places that meet your needs and I think would work for you, but someone's definition of urban, can vary so much from anothers. You should look at areas like Atlantic Station, Virginia-Highlands, Buckhead and some others.

Another thing to note, the public transportation in Atlanta is not as "well configured" as many other major cities.

Additionally, there are not a lot of these areas that have the schools that you are looking for. It may be worthwhile to weigh the option of private schools vs. home price. You should visit http://www.greatschools.net and get a feel for some of the schools.

Overall, there are certainly area where you can find what you need, but that depends on your definition of "urban." I think you guys can find a great place for you here in Atlanta!

Best of luck to you!
Web Reference: http://www.leeadkins.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 5, 2007
Brad, some areas you may want to look into would be Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highland and Morningside in the midtown to southeastern part of Atlanta. If you head a further out from the city center to the north and west you would probably like Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Buckhead and Vinings. All of these communities are vibrant--lots of great shops, restaurants, galleries, etc. Of course there are also many other wonderful communities outside the perimeter of I-285 which are more suburban. If you would like a relocation packet with information on our city as well as an educational guide that will help you make decisions on school choices, please let me know...it's a valuable resource to learn more about Atlanta. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.jane-oconnor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 5, 2007
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