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A Kabbager’s Guide to Atlanta

Atlanta has seen a rapid increase in population over the course of only a few years, and the city’s newfound popularity comes as no surprise. Currently, there are 5.7 million people in the metro Atlanta area with numbers projected to continue to rise. Atlanta boasts a prosperous job market, a diverse community, a lively weekend scene, gourmet food options and a landscape that combines busy metropolitan vibes with the calming green spaces of the countryside.

Whether you’re strolling through Atlanta’s beautiful Botanical Gardens or biking along the Atlanta Beltline, you will never run out of things to do. People from around the country – and world – are discovering the appeal of Atlanta, and it has quickly become a well-respected center of commerce and creativity. To illustrate Atlanta’s wide range of communities, we interviewed Kabbage employees so they can share what it’s like to live in each of their unique neighborhoods.

The Westside, known amongst the Atlanta community as a trendy and fun area, is quickly growing in popularity. The area stretches from the west end of Georgia Tech to southwest Buckhead. Recently, this area has undergone renovation with new apartment and condo buildings sprouting up. Jeff, one of Kabbage’s Recruiters, is a Westside resident who described the Westside as a place that has quickly transformed from an industrial area into an eclectic and diverse place that presents a fun mix of neighborhoods, commercial and retail.

The area is varied in many realms; it attracts both college students and families, you can choose to eat fast food or indulge in fine dining, and, if you are in the mood to spend some money, you can visit local shops, or alternatively do some chain retail shopping. He enjoys spending time in the Westside Provisions District, an area that offers charming restaurants and upscale shopping. If you are a fan of beer or barbeque, then this is the place for you. A few of Jeff’s favorite places in this area are Scofflaw, Monday Night, Red Brick, Second Self and Urban Tree Cidery. If smoked meats are your thing, then Jeff recommends paying a visit to DAS BBQ and B’s Cracklin’. Most commuters chose to drive, bike, or walk, depending on their proximity to the office. Having lived in Atlanta, New York City and San Francisco, Jeff thinks the Westside presents the perfect balance of city and space.

Midtown, where the Kabbage headquarters are located, is one of the most coveted areas in Atlanta.  It’s a colorful and modern place comparable to a large metropolitan city such as New York City or Chicago. Brandon, a member of the Sales team and Midtown resident, loves how walkable Midtown is, more so than any other neighborhood in the city. He appreciates the breadth of diversity in the neighborhood and that it has something for everyone, no matter your interests. Brandon lives on a quiet street filled with old houses and trees, which is something you normally wouldn’t have access to in a huge city. This balance between the chaos of a large city and the repose of a suburb is unique to Midtown.

There are numerous activity options in Midtown; Brandon particularly enjoys biking or jogging along the Beltline, a 22-mile-long pathway connects 45 Atlanta neighborhoods. He also likes to hang out in Piedmont Park and take snapchats of Baton Bob (a well-known street performer) and people on Segway tours. He frequents La Hacienda, an authentic Mexican restaurant, and Torched Hop, a brewing company, where he (allegedly) dominates the bar games. Brandon has one of the best commutes in Atlanta: he walks ten minutes to work each day, except for when he “turns into a baby” on some winter mornings and drives four minutes to the office. Of all the places that Brandon has lived, Midtown tops his list.

Buckhead, a neighborhood in north Atlanta, represents a mixture of suburb and commerce. It is considered an affluent, safe neighborhood that appeals to families and young singles. Having lived in Buckhead her entire life, there are many things that Lizabeth, one of our summer interns, has grown to appreciate about it. Firstly, there are many great schools in the Buckhead area, including Pace Academy, The Lovett Schools, The Westminster Schools and Holy Innocence Episcopal School. There is also fantastic food in the area; pasta at Mirko or Mexican food at Superica are a few favorites. Some of the best breakfast food can be found at the OK Café, a landmark of Buckhead that has been around since the 80s and serves great pancakes. Taking a walk around Chastain Park is always a good way to unwind while getting some exercise.

After walking the park, it is refreshing to grab an iced coffee at Corso, an authentic Italian café located on Peachtree road. Buckhead also offers good nightlife; a collection of bars on Peachtree Road, known locally as the “Buckhead Bars,” provide a vibrant atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights. Many people who live in Buckhead commute to Midtown or downtown for work, so cars are the most common mode of transportation. However, it is also easy to take MARTA if you live in close proximity to a stop. Due to the sheer size of Atlanta, walking is not always an option.

Old Fourth Ward (O4W) is on the east side of Atlanta and stretches between Freedom Parkway and Ponce De Leon Avenue. It’s a vibrant area filled with street art and local markets. Amanda, who works in the People Operations department, describes O4W as an active, family-friendly neighborhood. It offers plenty of food and shopping options, including Ponce City Market, a renovated industrial complex that has been turned into a shopping center with great restaurants and shops) and several parks are close to where she lives. It’s normal to venture outside and see families walking their dogs around the pond at Historic Fourth Ward Park or to spot a large group of people enjoying King of Pop’s free yoga classes by the skate park.

She enjoys taking advantage of the events around her apartment, such as free fitness classes and local farmer’s markets. She’ll often walk or run to small coffee shops that have popped up along the Beltline into nearby neighborhoods like Inman Park or Midtown. Amanda drives to work but is considering getting a bike as well. She lives within walking distance from the office, so it’s nice to have options should she chose to ditch her car. O4W is the fittest neighborhood that she has lived in, as there are so many opportunities to be active right outside of her door.

Inman Park is an in-town neighborhood that lays claim as “Atlanta’s first suburb.” It’s a diverse and family-friendly area with lots to offer. Sarah from Legal & Compliance describes the neighborhood as a bohemian area that recently has become quite trendy. There are many types of people that live around her: hippies, retirees, young professionals and many families. There always seems to be something going on, and the area is developing quickly. She enjoys walking her dog through the neighborhood or grabbing dinner and drinks with her friends.

Some of her favorite places are Victory Sandwich Bar, Ticonderoga Club for drinks, and a dive bar called The Albert. Sarah drives to work mostly because she isn’t motivated enough bike. However, if she wanted to, biking would undoubtedly be an option for her. She says that Inman Park has the perfect mix of quiet, residential areas and walkable urban areas; it is the best of both worlds. Inman Park is central to many of the other trendy neighborhoods, which makes it a hotspot and exciting place to live.

Little Five Points (L5P) is a quirky, fun neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta. Art covers the entirety of the district, making its appearance colorful and very distinct from all other parts of Atlanta. The locals enjoy the great food, unique landscape, and walkability of Little Five Points. Katie, a Customer Service Representative, describes the neighborhood has an amalgamation of a lot of the things that make Atlanta great. She appreciates the art, culture, and sense of community that remains noteworthy despite rapid growth.  She said that everything she needs is within walking distance to her, including walking paths, restaurants, coffee shops and clothing stores.

There are always people out and about, strolling along the streets, and there is also a strong nightlife scene at bars and music venues. Katie loves that she can start her day by rolling out of bed and walking down the street to grab a cup of coffee. Katie’s commute to work is a bike ride along Freedom Park Trail and the Beltline.  Alternatively, she could walk down the street to the Inman Park train station and take MARTA.  Either option takes twenty minutes or fewer. Overall, Katie loves living in L5P because everything she needs is just a few steps away.

Ormewood Park, a neighborhood on the east side of Atlanta, is a small area covered with beautiful, historic homes. Data Services employee, Sean, has lived in Ormewood Park for over ten years with his family. The neighborhood is very family friendly; most of his neighbors have young children. Sean describes Ormewood as a place that has a fun community with many neighborhood events. On Halloween, for example, the neighborhood shuts down busy streets so that children can Trick-or-Treat safely. Another upside of living in Ormewood Park is that housing is quite affordable compared to that in other Atlanta neighborhoods.

One of Sean’s favorite things to do is ride bikes with his family to the Neighborhood Farmers Market on Sundays. Children climb around in the trees and eat King of Pops while parents mingle and shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. Ormewood Park is also located near the Atlanta Zoo, which is a great option for families with children. According to Sean, The Earl has one of the best burgers in town, and he recommends the Midway if you’re looking to grab a drink. Sean typically commutes to work by bike or car, and either way, his travel time is fixed at thirty minutes. Atlanta has done a great job providing infrastructure to support cyclists, so it is easy to hop on the Beltline to Piedmont Park and take bikes on pedestrian-friendly streets for most of his commute. To Sean, nothing is better than biking to work in the spring and fall. Overall, he describes Ormewood Park as a place with numerous opportunities and a multi-cultural environment – it’s always easy to interact with neighbors in their small community.

Virginia-Highland (VaHi) is one of the most social and relaxed neighborhoods in Atlanta. It is home to some of the best restaurants and shopping, and there always seems to be something to do in the neighborhood. When Katie, who works on the Creative team, was figuring out where in Atlanta to live after moving from Baton Rouge, she did a lot of research and ultimately chose VaHi for several reasons. She loved the laid-back, community vibe of the area and also appreciated its safety, walkability and proximity to the Beltline, parks and other green spaces. When she found her apartment on Craigslist, she was immediately drawn to its historic charm and to the Craftsman-style bungalows that characterize the neighborhood.

She admires the area’s quaint feel and the fact that there are plenty of apartments for renters as opposed to countless high-rise or multiplex buildings, which can be overwhelming. In her neighborhood, Katie enjoys that she can easily walk, run, or bike because of her proximity to the Beltline. She is also within walking distance of a variety of great restaurants and bars, coffee shops, salons, grocery stores, fitness studios, and lots more. The area is physically active and non-reliant on cars.  This combination of more time walking and less time sitting in traffic equals improved physical and mental health and less stress overall. She drives or bikes to work because it is the same amount of time either way. Katie has always lived in family-friendly neighborhoods, but VaHi is more lively than any of the others that she has experienced.  Because there are so many shops and restaurants nearby, people are always walking, gardening or playing with their children outside.

Decatur is an active city just northeast of Atlanta which has seen a rapid increase in growth over the past few years. Annie, a Marketing team member, said that the culture is very open and accepting, and the vibe of the area is very outdoorsy. People walk and bike everywhere, and the community hosts many small festivals, gatherings, and celebrations. She describes the food and drink scene as “off the chain.” There are many young chefs that flock to Decatur and focus on the farm-to-table approach. Annie’s favorite thing to do is to hang out in Decatur’s Square, an outdoor gathering of restaurant and shops. There’s a strong commitment from local restaurants to using fresh ingredients, and additionally, many restaurants choose to serve craft beer.

On the weekends, Annie also loves going to the Dekalb Farmers Market, where she can purchase fresh produce, nut butter, flowers, bread meat and seafood. She also frequently hikes Stone Mountain, an Atlanta landmark that is only a 15-minute drive away. Annie drives to work, though MARTA is also an option because of a nearby station. She loves knowing that she can take the train if she wants or needs to. Simply put, Annie says that she feels good when she is in Decatur. Compared to the more fast-paced nature of Atlanta, Decatur is a nice departure at the end of the day when she wants to relax and unwind.

Each Atlanta neighborhood has its own culture and energy. Some places appeal to families, some to singles and some to those who love the outdoors. If you’re considering moving to Atlanta, rest assured that you will be able to find a place that has the qualities you’re seeking.

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