a view of downtown Atlanta, Georgia

The Best 6 Neighborhoods Where to Stay in Atlanta (From a Local)

Planning a trip to Atlanta but need tips about where to stay? Well, I’m here to help. I’ve lived near Atlanta for years and have spent many weekend getaways there. I know that deciding where to stay in Atlanta can be tricky because the “Big A” is a sprawling city and traffic is notoriously bad just about all the time now.

But, by doing the research and picking the best Atlanta neighborhood for your needs and interests, you can save time and money, because you won’t be driving around needlessly sitting in traffic. And you won’t spend an excessive amount on ride shares or taxis. You might even be able to get by without a car.

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Where to Stay in Atlanta

Before you decide where to stay in Atlanta it’s helpful to know a bit about the geography of the city so here’s a quick explanation of neighborhoods in Atlanta.

Atlanta is made up of over 240 distinct neighborhoods and is divided by two major interstates: I-75 and I-85. These two major thoroughfares join slightly north of the city and pass right through the middle dividing Downtown from Midtown. The section on the interstate is often referred to as the Downtown Connector.

There’s also an interstate perimeter that goes all the way around the city. That perimeter – Interstate 285 – circles Atlanta and serves as a geographical marker of sorts. In fact, for those of us that live in or around Atlanta, many locations are referred to as ITP – inside the perimeter or OTP – outside the perimeter.

Out of all those 240 neighborhoods in Atlanta, I recommend staying in Downtown Atlanta, Midtown Atlanta, Westside Atlanta, Old Fourth Ward or Poncey Highland or Buckhead when planning a visit to Atlanta.

How to use this map: click the icon on the top left to see the hotels in neighborhoods divided into map layers. Once you open a layer, click on a hotel or attraction for more Google info – like addresses, phone numbers and the business website. You can even get directions from there. To save the map – click the star at the end of the title to add it to your Google account.

Where to Stay in Atlanta – Downtown

Downtown Atlanta used to be a little bit boring after 5 pm but ever since Atlanta hosted the Olympics and with the growth of Georgia State University, Atlanta’s Downtown is much more fun. It’s a great area for families, couples and even solo travelers.

The bonus is even without a car it’s fairly easy to get around since public transportation, like MARTA – Atlanta’s bus and train line – is readily available. If you plan on visiting Centennial Park, the Georgia Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Museum or the Atlanta Sky Wheel, then Downtown Atlanta is the place to stay.

Staying in Downtown Atlanta but want to see more of the city and let someone else do the driving? Then why not book a sightseeing tour with stops at many of Atlanta’s most popular attractions. This one even includes Buckhead.

Overnighting in Downtown Atlanta also works well if you are attending a sporting event like a Hawks game at State Farm Arena or a concert at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

My top picks for downtown Atlanta hotels include the Westin Peachtree Plaza – they have some of the best views of the city – or the Omni CNN Center. Both of these properties are in prime spots for visiting the downtown attractions and even the Georgia Capitol Building.

For a spa experience Downtown, the W Atlanta Downtown is ideal. Their Bliss Spa and roof top pool are the ultimate weekend splurge. For budget friendly options in downtown Atlanta try the Sheraton or the Fairfield Inn.

The pool on the roof at the W Hotel one of the best places where to stay in Atlanta
The pool on the 16th floor of the W Hotel downtown Atlanta

Where to Stay in Atlanta – Midtown

Midtown Atlanta is a mix of corporate high-rises, condos, parks and hotels. It’s a little bit business with a side of fun and has the widest variety of restaurants and nightlife in all of Atlanta.

It’s the perfect neighborhood for a girls trips, romantic getaways and friends hanging out trips. There’s also there are several MARTA stations and it’s easily walkable so you don’t really need a car.

Some of the more popular spots in Midtown are Atlanta’s famous Peachtree Street and the concert venue, the fabulous Fox Theatre. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is also located in Midtown neighborhood. And art lovers will enjoy visiting the nearby High Museum of Art with its ever changing special exhibits.

When it comes to where to stay in Atlanta, Midtown is a good choice and provides some of the most trendy Atlanta hotels. One of my personal favorites is The Georgian Terrace – modern, but with a Gone With the Wind vibe.

Additionally, The Starling Atlanta (formerly the W Midtown) near Piedmont Park offers swanky public spaces and a lively bar. For families or the more budget-minded travelers, Home2 Suites in Midtown is an excellent choices.

Where to Stay in Atlanta – East Side

Just south of Midtown, the east side of Atlanta boasts more than a handful of fun neighborhoods. Places like Old Fourth Ward, Poncey Highland, Little Five Points, Cabbagetown and Summerhill are super fun areas to be in.

The east side of Atlanta is the place for hip restaurants, breweries, bars and more murals than you can count. The downside is the lack of public transportation and MARTA stations, so a car would be best for these neighborhoods.

Popular Atlanta attractions on the east side are Ponce City Market with shopping, unique eateries and easy access to the walkable Atlanta Beltline. And Krog Street Market, Atlanta’s historic food hall, is also on the east side

This side of Atlanta is also the optimal area to stay if you are in town to tour Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, visit Zoo Atlanta or tour the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

The classic Hotel Clermont with it’s rooftop bar, on famous Ponce de Leon Street is a terrific choice for the east side. Built in the 1920’s and renovated in the 2010’s, this unique hotel reopened in 2018 and is one of the most interesting historic hotels in all of Atlanta.

Similarly, the Wylie Hotel is another cozy boutique hotel with a great story, onsite restaurant and even offers a Georgia resident discount.

Not in the mood for a hotel? Since the eastside of Atlanta is made of a lot of residential neighborhoods, there are plenty of Airbnb and VRBO properties available. Here’s a couple of my favorites in Grant Park and Summerhill.

Where to Stay in Atlanta – West Side

The westside, or West Midtown, is personally one of my favorite areas in Atlanta. Maybe because I’ve watched it transform over the years from the industrial zone to a destination in its own with interesting local restaurants, exciting outdoor spaces and loads of shopping.

West Midtown is a practical choice of where to stay in Atlanta if you are planning a visit to Georgia Tech, want to tour the Trap Music Museum, Westside Reservoir Park, the Goat Farm Arts Center or even attend a concert.

The drawback is with the exception of a couple of boutique hotels, westside Atlanta just doesn’t have the quantity of hotels like Downtown and Midtown. However, it does have is one of Atlanta’s newest most attractive hotels.

The Bellyard, one of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio Hotels, is a repurposed space in what once was Atlanta’s old stockyards. The remodeled buildings work beautifully to fit in with the Westside’s modern industrial scene. Everything is gorgeous and there’s even a French bakery onsite.

Where to Stay in Atlanta – Buckhead

For the longest time, Buckhead, north of Atlanta, has been the place to stay in Atlanta. The “it” neighborhood. While it might be full of luxury, it lacks – at least in my opinion – the real feeling of what makes Atlanta, well, Atlanta. I also can’t ignore the amount of crime that has increased in the area.

That being said – it’s remains one of the absolute best places to stay in Atlanta for a relaxing weekend getaway or high-end shopping spree. You can find all the designer shops like Hermes, Dior and Jimmy Choo in Buckhead’s Lenox Mall, Phipps Plaza and Buckhead Village.

Some of of Atlanta’s most luxurious hotels are found in Buckhead as well. The prestigious St. Regis Atlanta and the Waldorf Astoria are both in this Atlanta neighborhood.

For a mid-range accommodation option in Buckhead, the InterContinental is one of my favorite options since it’s convenient to almost everything, including the MARTA station. That means you can spend some time in Buckhead and then take a short ride to Downtown or other suburbs north on the train.

For more of a budget stay in Buckhead, consider booking this Holiday Inn Express or TownePlace Suites that are located closer to the perimeter.

Where to Stay in Atlanta Near Truist Park

Straddling Atlanta’s perimeter is the Cumberland neighborhood. Northwest of the city, where Interstate 75 crosses Interstate 285 you’ll find Truist Park – home of the Atlanta Braves and ironically, located in Cobb County and not really Atlanta.

Despite that, the Cumberland Perimeter area is the perfect location where to stay in Atlanta for visitors with a vehicle. From here you have convenient access to Downtown and also activities north and northwest of the city,

Overnighting in Cumberland is fantastic for families attending a baseball game or an event at the Cobb Energy Center. It’s a fun, laid back area with lots of shopping and restaurants.

Besides baseball, Truist Park has an adjacent activity and event area called The Battery. This venue is filled with restaurants, shops and a even a hotel. Feel like bowling and games? Check out Punch Bowl Social. Rather spend an evening in Naples? Then try the pizza at Antico.

The onsite Omni Hotel (not to be confused with the CNN Center location) is in the middle of the everything at the Battery and is within walking distance to the stadium. It also has one of the best pool views in Atlanta.

Where to Stay in Atlanta FAQ

What’s the best area of Atlanta to stay in? Midtown is the best area to stay in Atlanta. You are close enough to downtown attractions but have a better variety of restaurants and bars. Although, I also think it depends on your objective in visiting Atlanta.

For example, if I was visiting Atlanta for a popular concert, to avoid traffic as much as possible, I would want to be as close to the venue as I could

Since there’s not many hotels around Mercedes Benz Stadium, besides the Reverb by Hard Rock, the next best neighborhood where to stay in Atlanta for a concert is downtown.

Is it best to stay in Midtown or Downtown? I love them both. I think it depends on what experiences you are looking for. For a first time visitor, Downtown would be best.

What’s the best way to get around Atlanta? Most people visiting Atlanta arrive via Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL) south of the city.

Although, there are plenty of hotels for any budget around the airport itself and it’s great place to stay for an overnight, it’s not the ideal location if you are visiting Atlanta’s touristy spots.

Even though traffic is bad in Atlanta, it’s fairly easy to get around. To rent a car at the airport, use RentalCars.com to compare prices.

For visitors flying in that don’t want to rent a car, Atlanta’s MARTA train system, can be accessed directly from the airport. There are convenient stations throughout the city including in nearby College Park and East Point.

For a long layover or a couple of nights, one of those neighborhoods might be a good fit. Out of the two, I prefer College Park and Hotel Indigo near its historic downtown.

What is the safest area of Atlanta to stay? There are certain areas in Atlanta that are safer than others but most tourist areas are generally secure particularly in daytime. I personally feel most safe in Midtown.

Remember to always be situationally aware and exercise caution just as you would in any other big city. Don’t flash jewelry, money or phones. Carry a crossbody or a small bag and protect your wallet, especially on MARTA trains or public situation.

The Atlanta Police Department provides a map of reported crimes in Atlanta. You’ll find that most crime is crime against property. If you drive or rent a vehicle in Atlanta, keep everything in your trunk. Don’t leave bags or luggage in plain view.

When is the best time to visit Atlanta? Honestly there’s no bad time to visit Atlanta. Even winters are generally mild. Summers are hot and humid. Spring is beautiful but it is thunderstorm season, which can be scary at times.

If I had to pick one season, late fall is the best time to visit Atlanta. The summer humidity has passed but it’s still warm and getting outdoors is really enjoyable. In fact, Atlanta makes my Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall list.

More Atlanta Tips

  • We don’t call it Hotlanta. Ever.
  • If you’re in town for a few days, consider purchasing a CityPASS which allows you to pick four popular museums and venues to visit.
  • Screenshot or download a MARTA map for convenience. You can also take MARTA right from the airport.
  • Check out this website for a map of fabulous Atlanta street art.
  • Moon Guide has a useful US Civil Rights Trail guidebook for visiting civil rights sites in Atlanta and across the south.

Planning Where to Stay in Atlanta

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Atlanta, the biggest deciding factor is how much driving and how much traffic you are willing to put up with.

Even if you fly and don’t rent a vehicle, staying near your planned activities and interests will help maximize your time and help you save money on taxis and shared rides.

What’s your go-to Atlanta neighborhood? Did I miss a great place to stay? Let me know in the comments.

See you on the road!

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