If you know anyone who lives in Atlanta, chances are they might not live within the city limits. After all, Metro Atlanta runs far and wide, encompassing 13 counties, with a diverse list of towns and neighborhoods, some more rural than others. If space is on your wish list and city living isn't, don't worry because you'll have a plethora of choices for suburban living in Atlanta. These areas are some of the best Atlanta suburbs to call home.
1. Sandy Springs
With a population that hovers around 100,000 and continues to grow, Sandy Springs is Georgia's sixth largest city. The town sits about 15 miles north of downtown Atlanta, convenient to I-285 and GA 400, as well as two MARTA (transit) stations – Sandy Springs and North Springs. The heart of the town is "City Springs," and its multi-purpose development located at the intersection of Roswell Road, Johnson Ferry, Sandy Springs Circle, and Mt Vernon. Sandy Springs offers more than 300 eateries, excellent shopping, and plenty of acreage for nature enthusiasts, making it one of the best places to live in Georgia. While it's in a desirable location with a 19 percent lower crime index than the US average, Sandy Springs is pricey in terms of real estate. The median home cost is $550K according to realtor.com.
For old southern charm, drive on Highway 400 until you land in Roswell. There's tons of history in this town that's perched north of Sandy Springs – it dates as far back as the Civil War – however, today's Roswell maintains character but adds modern flavor. The most charming piece is the historic district boasting a slew of terrific restaurants, shops, and galleries along Canton Street. Roswell features well-rated public schools, more than 900 miles of parkland and seven miles of trails along the Chattahoochee River. It's easy to understand why Frommers named Roswell one of the best cities in the country for families. According to Redfin.com, the median list price of homes is $480K, so real estate isn't a bargain, of course.
Just minutes from downtown and close to hip Atlanta neighborhoods like Virginia-Highland and Candler Park, Decatur is indeed its own small southern town. While it has a more urban energy than the other Atlanta suburbs on this list, you won't find honking horns or high rises here. You will discover one of Georgia's most talked-about dining destinations, so don't be surprised when you can't decide where to eat or drink on a Saturday night. Incredibly family-friendly, the City of Decatur offers some of the most reputable schools in the state. How expensive is living in Decatur? Expect to pay about $230K for a small two-bedroom house.
4. Avondale Estates
Tudor-style architecture dominates the streetscape of Decatur's eastern neighbor. Named after Stratford-upon-Avon, England, Avondale Estates was founded as a planned community in 1924 by landowner George Francis Willis. He and his wife developed the town, drawing inspiration from their travels in England, so much of the Avondale Estates from days gone by remains. For instance, the downtown corridor still assumes a small village feel. The community is remarkably arts-driven too – Avondale houses Academy Theatre, the state's longest running professional theater. It's also where the first Waffle House opened in 1955, and today that outpost is the Waffle House museum. The downtown was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, so if you choose an address in Avondale Estates, history abounds. The average cost of a home is $399K.
5. Johns Creek
If you're looking for one of the safest places to live in Georgia, Johns Creek should crown your list. Not only is the crime rate unbelievably low, but this Atlanta suburb was named one of the best cities to live in America by 24/7 Wall St. What makes life here so attractive? The poverty rate hangs around five percent, putting it in the bottom 10 percent of the country. Stellar amenities like access to an array of restaurants, movie theaters, and the Chattahoochee River and its national park only increase the town's appeal. Plus, it's tough to top public education in Johns Creek – about 88 percent of high school grads go on to complete a four-year college degree. Looking to buy property? Expect to pay at least $420K for a house.
6. Peachtree City
The only south Atlanta suburb in this lineup, Peachtree City provides more than 100 miles of paved multi-use paths designed so residents can leave their cars parked and travel around the area in golf carts. Yes, golf carts! Supposedly, more than 9,000 households own one of the little buggies. The idea is to de-stress and slow down (we are in the South, aren't we?) and enjoy all the offerings of this Fayette County neighborhood without succumbing to Atlanta's traffic. Besides drivers, runners, and cyclists, pedestrians also use the paths. Similar to Johns Creek, Peachtree City's crime rate is low, and it's one of the state's safest cities. Since it's located about 30 miles south of downtown Atlanta, you'll get a little more space for your money. Three-bedrooms start in the $250K range.