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Atlanta, often known as the “city in a forest,” features a unique blend of urban and natural beauty. While the city is known for rich cultural history and southern charm, a less explored aspect is its walkability and bike-friendliness.
We let you in on these details and help you find the best places to live in Atlanta for a car-light lifestyle.
What Is the General Walkability of Atlanta?
If you’ve been to metro Atlanta, you’ve probably realized it’s such a car-centric area most people don’t have the option of walking or biking around town.
Here’s a local perspective from a Reddit user, “My issue is when a sidewalk next to a busy road abruptly ends with no prior warning. There are some areas where it’s very walkable, but I agree that there’s lots of room for improvement.”
Over the past few years, however, more zoning guidelines have been implemented, which make it easier to walk or bike to get between destinations.
The general walkability of Atlanta, however, can be quite variable. According to Walk Score, Atlanta’s overall walkability rating is a moderate 48 out of 100. However, certain neighborhoods, which we’ll highlight below, boast much higher scores.
How Bike-Friendly Is Atlanta?
Quoting a local cycling enthusiast from Reddit, “Much like walkability, Atlanta’s bike friendliness, living without a car, and public transit quality will come down to the exact location you live in and where your job is, along with what your perspective is.”
Cycling in Atlanta has seen significant growth over the past few years. Much of this is thanks to the city’s investment in improving cycling paths and infrastructure.
Atlanta’s Beltline project, a rejuvenated 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown, features paved trails ideal for cyclists. This is a prime example of the city’s commitment to promoting cycling.
Another Reddit user mentioned, “Atlanta is becoming pretty bike-friendly; the biggest challenge we have is some unruly drivers, naysayers, and the sprawl. However, there’s a large cycling community if you want help getting acclimated to biking around Atlanta.”
In addition, Atlanta has bike-sharing programs offering dockless e-bikes and e-scooters, which make cycling more accessible to residents and visitors.
The city is home to bike advocacy organizations such as the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, formed in 1991 to improve biking conditions. After a merger with PED (Pedestrians Educating Drivers) in 2021, it is now known as Propel ATL—promoting safe spaces for cycling, walking, and rolling.
Understanding Car Ownership and Public Transportation in Atlanta
Public transit in Atlanta is primarily powered by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which offers a variety of transit options, including bus and rail.
The hours of operation vary depending on the day, transit option, and neighborhood. Weekday operating hours are 5 a.m.-1:30 a.m., and for weekends and holidays, 5 a.m.-12:30 a.m.
While MARTA garners praise for its broad reach, connecting populous areas, common criticisms include infrequent service and inadequate coverage in some suburbs.
So What Are Atlanta’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods?
Atlanta’s cityscape is a diverse collection of neighborhoods, each possessing its distinctive charm.
But when it comes to walkability and bike-friendliness, some stand out more than others.
Let’s take a stroll through Atlanta’s most walkable neighborhoods:
1. Peachtree Center
The neighborhood introduces you to high-rise office buildings, the popular Peachtree Center Mall, hotels, and restaurants offering diverse cuisines, making it a satisfying mix of commerce and culture.
Its connectivity to the MARTA’s Peachtree Center station increases its convenience for pedestrians, and the neighborhood’s proximity to Atlanta’s major tourist attractions—such as the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park—amplifies its walkability.
2. Sweet Auburn
Expanding the bounds of walkability, we find ourselves in Sweet Auburn, a historic district once the center of black commerce and entertainment in Atlanta. Its Walk Score of 91 and Bike Score of 81 attest to its walkability and bike-friendliness.
The district boasts attractions such as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the APEX Museum, providing a deep dive into Atlanta’s rich African-American heritage.
Add an array of dining options, coffee shops, and groceries—all within walking distance from residences, and Sweet Auburn is a great destination for walkers looking for a blend of history and urban living.
Esteemed as the “Heart of the Arts,” Midtown is famed for its vibrant cultural scene and is one of the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in Atlanta. Midtown has a Walk Score and Bike Score of 87 and 74, respectively.
Midtown is home to multiple restaurants, numerous retail outlets, and several cultural and community institutions, all a mere short walk away. Residents have Piedmont Park, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, providing a delightful kingdom of greenery.
Busy thoroughfares like Peachtree Street, 10th Street, and Ponce de Leon Avenue are lined with restaurants, bars, and stores, practically eliminating the need for a car for local errands. The neighborhood is also easily accessible by MARTA trains and buses.
4. Inman Park
Incorporating leafy streets, stunning Victorian homes, and vibrant commercial districts, it’s no wonder Inman Park is considered a walker’s paradise.
The neighborhood features its own shopping and dining area, Inman Park Village. Bustling Krog Street Market is a stroll away. The Beltline Eastside Trail runs alongside the neighborhood, paving the way for walkers and bicyclists.
The Freedom Park Trail leading to the trendy Beltline Eastside Trail runs through Poncey-Highland, summoning lovers of the outdoors and pedestrians.
Additionally, the neighborhood is within a comfortable walking distance from the historic Virginia Highland and Little Five Points area, providing quick access to many shopping and dining options. The celebrated Ponce City Market is also a stone’s throw away.
Ready for a Move? Let Bellhop Handle It
After journeying through Atlanta’s diverse neighborhoods, it’s evident each offers more than just a high Walk Score or Bike Score.
The combination of history, culture, commerce, and nature shapes these neighborhoods into desirable destinations for visitors and those looking for a new place to call home.
So if you’re gearing up to make your move into one of Atlanta’s walkable and bike-friendly neighborhoods, Bellhop is here to help!
And if you need to move soon but are short on time, we offer last-minute moving services in Atlanta so you can get settled as soon as possible.
Reach out to us today so we can help you get going on your next big adventure!
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