The first thing you’ll likely hear when you tell people you’re moving to Atlanta is that you better get used to being in a car. It’s true—Atlanta has been the poster child for sprawl, infamous for its traffic and long commutes. Fortunately, Atlanta is also known for its amazing micro-neighborhoods, many of which are so walkable that you won’t need a car to get around at all.
Just look at Inman Park, Decatur and the booming Westside.
Downtown and Midtown are as walkable as any city in the country, especially now that the streetcar and BeltLine have launched. And Atlanta is only going to become more walkable as time goes on.
According to WalkScore, Atlanta is a car-dependent city with an overall score of 49. Likewise, a transit score of 47 reflects transit in the city (MARTA, which operates trails and busses) and a bike score of 41 indicates Atlanta has an up-and-coming bike infrastructure.
How does this compare to other cities? Atlanta is the 21st most walkable large city in the U.S., but even Baltimore (the 10th most walkable large city) has a WalkScore of 66. Cities like New York and San Francisco earn scores of 89 and 86, respectively, while Portland (81) and Denver (71) surpass our bike score and Boston and D.C. put our transit score to shame with rankings at 72 and 71.
Walkable Neighborhoods in Atlanta
So Atlanta doesn't look so great...
but the good news is, when you compare Atlanta to other cities with similar populations (between 350,000 and 450,000), it actually comes in 4th in terms of walkability, 5th in terms of transit and 10th in terms of biking. Plus, the neighborhoods are charming, there are a ton of beautiful trees, plenty of parks, a modern downtown chock full of cultural attractions and tons of great dining options.
In fact, people in Atlanta can walk to an average of four restaurants, bars and coffee shops in five minutes, according to WalkScore.
While Atlanta does have a walkability/transit problem in terms of getting between various neighborhoods, the city is actually home to a plethora of walkable areas (read: once you’re there, you won’t need a car to get around). In fact, in this story about the future of Atlanta’s walkability discusses WalkUPs (walkable urban places), which are a great indicator of Atlanta’s most walkable areas. The report found that Atlanta is home to 27 WalkUPs, with nine more on the horizon and 10 more potentials .
More good news—Atlanta has at least one example of each type of regionally significant WalkUP. Take a look:
- Downtown: GSU Government Center and Peachtree Center
- Downtown Adjacent: Castleberry Hill, Centennial Olympic Park, Midtown and Sweet Auburn
- Urban Commercial: Arts Center, Buckhead Village, Inman Park, The Westside
- Urban University: Atlanta University Center, Emory and Georgia Tech
- Suburban Town Center: The Downtowns of Decatur, Marietta and Roswell
- Drivable Sub-Urban Commercial Redevelopment: Buckhead Triangle, Lindbergh, Perimeter at the Center
- Greenfield & Brownfield: Atlantic Station
Likewise, the latest WalkScores reveal that many Atlanta neighborhoods rank above 70 (meaning they’re Very Walkable and most errands can be accomplished on foot).
To wit, a list of Atlanta’s ten most walkable neighborhoods:
Georgia State University
Old Fourth Ward
Other neighborhoods with high WalkScores include Cabbagetown, Poncey-Highland, Atlantic Station, West End and Virginia-Highland. You can also read our guides to the city's best neighborhoods and where you should live in the city for more information about neighborhood attractions, walkability and amenities.