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Neighborhood Guide: Buckhead, Atlanta

February 26, 2021

The walkable, hip, and trendy Buckhead is home to high-rises and luxury apartments that lie just north of Downtown Atlanta. This upscale Atlanta neighborhood has earned the reputation of "The Beverly Hills of the South."

Buckhead is also one of the few Atlanta neighborhoods where you don't need to rely on a car to enjoy the ritzy shops and thriving nightlife scene. If you're ready to pack up and move to the lap of luxury in Atlanta, here's what to know about Buckhead and whether it's right for you.

Buckhead History

Buckhead was initially occupied by Cherokee and Creek Indian tribes before Andrew Jackson's military occupied it. In 1838, Henry Irby bought over 202 acres for $650 and got to work developing the area. He built a tavern and grocery store at the now trendy Peachtree Road and Paces Ferry.

Eventually, the area became a hot spot for wealthy families looking for a place to summer or escape the city. The neighborhood quickly grew into a year-round community, and became a part of the city of Atlanta in 1952.

What's Buckhead Like Today?

Buckhead earned a reputation as a stylish and affluent neighborhood with upscale malls, art galleries, and chic restaurants. It's easy to see why it earned its nickname as the "Beverly Hills of the South." You’ll find some of the most desirable malls and elite shopping areas in the heart of Buckhead.

Buckhead is also the place to shop for antiques along Bennett Street and Miami Circle. Off-the-beaten-path boutiques attract well-heeled locals looking for designer goods from local and international brands.

The Buckhead Village District is the place for a culinary experience, high-end retailers, and browsing interactive art installations throughout the community. You can score a nice apartment right next to this hot spot.

Beyond shopping, Fortune 500 companies and high-rises apartments now make up the landscape of Buckhead. Despite all of the development, you can still find pockets of wilderness and tree-lined streets. This gives you the best of both worlds.

Although the pandemic curbed some of Buckhead's development, it's still a desirable place to grow new business and apartment complexes. Projects include the posh Graydon Buckhead condo buildings where rentals will likely be offered.

Buckhead Location

Buckhead is situated north of Midtown and South of Sandy Springs. It’s 7.1 miles from downtown Atlanta's core attractions. These include the Georgia Aquarium, Coca-Cola Museum, Football Hall of Fame, and Civil Rights Museum.

Buckhead is also home to its own attractions, like the stunning Chastain Park. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays in the park's outdoor amphitheater during summer months. A private horse park, pool, and tennis courts are popular stops for locals.

Although Chastain Park welcomes award-winning artists, including John Legend, there’s a noise ordinance in the area. Locals can still soak up music under the stars, then go home and enjoy some peace and quiet at a decent hour.

The Atlanta History Center is also situated in Buckhead. It’s among the city's best attractions.

Gorgeous gardens surround the museum, where you can learn more about Atlanta's history. For more history, the Margaret Mitchell House isn't far. It’s also part of the Atlanta History Center.

Buckhead Demographics

Over 86,000 people call Buckhead home. There’s a relatively even ratio of male to female residents. Professionals climbing the career ladder and families make up a large chunk of Buckhead's population.

Buckhead's pockets of walkability make it an attractive option for seniors looking to retire near the action. You'll also see college students scattered around who attend one of the 57 colleges and universities in the Atlanta region.

According to Best Places, the cost of living index in Buckhead is 113.2. That’s well above the US average of 100.

Reports also indicate you need $90,879 a year to live comfortably in the neighborhood. Of course, renting an apartment with roommates will reduce your costs and make it easier to live in this desirable location.

The average rent for an apartment in Atlanta is $1,180. However, you should expect to pay more for a Buckhead apartment.

High-rise apartments loaded with amenities like rooftop terraces and pools are common and come at a higher premium. It's still possible to find cheaper rents away from the action in older complexes and edging towards the Lindbergh area.

Atlanta is a driving city, and parking around Buckhead is expensive and not always easy to come by. Make sure to rent an apartment with covered parking to avoid the dusting of pollen in spring and inclement storms that travel over from Florida and Louisiana. Fortunately, covered parking is easy to find at most apartment complexes. It’s worth the splurge.

Buckhead Transportation

Buckhead is accessible by I-75, Atlanta's city streets, and MARTA. Atlanta's public transportation is decent. However, it frustrates locals who can't get beyond the city core without a lot of transfers and hopping onto the bus.

Traffic is not for the faint of heart around Atlanta. Rush hour is as intense as you've heard. It can start as early as 3:30 p.m. on a Friday. Choosing your surface streets carefully and figuring out the best route is a must when you live in the city.

Fortunately, Buckhead offers a stronger public transportation option than most Atlanta neighborhoods. It's easy to connect to surrounding areas and get to the shopping malls, Midtown, Downtown, and the airport on MARTA.

If you're hoping to explore Decatur or Brookhaven areas, you'll need to transfer and start looking into public bus service.

Buckhead is also one of the more walkable neighborhoods around Atlanta. Locals walk to work if their apartment or townhouse is convenient to one of the major employers in the area. Buckhead has a robust job market.

Schools are also well-regarded around Buckhead. Keep in mind that kids sit in traffic whether they’re in the car or bus. Choosing an apartment near a school can save time if you're also trying to jet off to work on time.

Is Buckhead Safe?

Buckhead is considered a safe, upscale area, although some pockets are considered more dangerous than others. Staying close to the center of activity is a safe bet. There are some caveats. Buckhead's Lindbergh area isn't regarded as safe for walking or venturing out solo in the evening without exercising some caution.

Townhouses and apartment complexes around Buckhead are usually gated. That offers an added safety layer to the neighborhood. Families also move into Buckhead for its reputation for quality schools, safety, and access to amenities.

Keep in mind that Atlanta as a whole is not considered a safe city. Buckhead has had its share of serious crime spikes over the years.

Locals will advise you to stay off MARTA at night unless you're with a group and going to an area you already know. Ultimately, it's best to rely on rideshares and go out in groups to make the most of the neighborhood.

Buckhead’s Major Employers

Buckhead is home to Fortune 500 companies and major corporations including Home Depot and Cox Communications headquarters. One Capital City Plaza is also the birthplace of Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds’ LaFace records that launched careers like Outkast.

Buckhead attracts techies looking to launch their startup with the help of Atlanta Tech Village. The incubator complex is located in the Lenox area of Buckhead. It’s home to nearly 200 startups and entrepreneurs called "Villagers."

Hospitality and retail is also a big business around Buckhead. Locals work at antique stores, Lenox and Phipps Plaza, and hotels like The Ritz Carlton.

Atlanta has seen a dip in employment during the pandemic. However, growth and development are still relatively strong compared to similar-sized cities. As conditions ease, the job market is expected to gain speed.

Things to Do in Buckhead

You are paying a premium to live in a premier Atlanta neighborhood, now what? There’s plenty to do around Buckhead. Here are a few things to check out first.

Spend a Day Shopping

Shopping is a big draw around Buckhead, with stops like Lenox Mall and the affluent Phipps Plaza with high-end boutiques and luxury retailers. Atlanta's go-to movie theaters and LEGOLAND can also be found inside of Phipps Plaza.

The Buckhead Village District, once called Streets of Buckhead, offers nine acres of mixed-use development. The district is designed to hold over 1.5 million square feet of retail, residential, and restaurant space. Shopping, fine dining, and nightlife stretch across eight blocks.

Experience the Atlanta Nightlife

You’ll find some of the best nightlife in Buckhead, including the nightclub Tongue & Groove. The Havana Club ATL also offers a Latin flair for mingling, and the Gold Room invites locals to its glittery bar. There are scores of pubs to choose from in Buckhead, including Whiskey Blue and SkyLounge.

Eat Your Way Through the Neighborhood

For dining, locals choose the economic Buckhead Diner in a retro structure. The Capital Grille and Blue Ridge Grille are upscale options with a luxurious backdrop. Holeman & Finch Public House serves famed cheeseburgers that delight even the most discerning foodies.

You could eat out and go drinking and dancing nearly every night of the week in Buckhead and never run out of places to go. And if you do, Midtown and Downtown Atlanta aren't far away.

Get a Sense of the Culture

Buckhead moves fast, but you can still live a low-key lifestyle. Visit the galleries, like The Bill Lowe Gallery, and enjoy an outdoor reprieve. The Buckhead Path 400 takes visitors along a peaceful path situated above Atlanta's busy roads. Biking, rollerblading, and walking are popular while sight-seeing along the vistas.

Chastain Park is also a popular spot for community recreation, picnics, and outdoor concerts. There are also gorgeous out-of-the-way greenspaces in Buckhead.

If you're in with the locals, they may share their secret about Duck Pond Park. It’s nestled in the nearby Peachtree Heights East and Garden Hills area.

Is Buckhead Right For You?

Buckhead is a vibrant neighborhood known for its upscale amenities and lively nightlife. Young professionals will feel right at home in Buckhead, as well as families who are looking to settle into an urban lifestyle without compromising green space and safety.

Ready to find your next home in Atlanta? Start apartment hunting today with the quiz above!

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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