Yes, it’s a district. And yes, it’s a neighborhood. That’s the tricky thing about “Midtown,” says Tony Rizzuto, professor of architecture at Kennesaw State and president of the Midtown Neighbors Association who has lived there for 30 years. “It’s our official, legal name, but it’s also the area between downtown and Buckhead.” So let’s consider the neighborhood: It’s one of the city’s most populous, with residents in single-family houses, condos and apartments and represented by the neighborhood association. It’s also one that’s seen dramatic changes. “In the ’60s and ’70s, we were the Haight-Ashbury of the East Coast,” says Rizzuto.
“Then we transitioned into a yuppie neighborhood in the late ’80s.” Today, Midtown is the hub of technology, with Georgia Tech nearby and a plethora of start-ups and tech firms calling the neighborhood home. The area’s wealth of undeveloped land contributes to its energy. “We have about 8,000 new residential units coming out of the ground over the next three years because we have the lots to do that,” Rizzuto says.
“We’re also developing an arts walk that connects public spaces throughout the neighborhood and are looking at areas around Crescent Street where we could commission works of art.” And though not technically in the neighborhood, Piedmont Park “is a big part of our identity,” Rizzuto adds, since residents are impacted by major, metro-wide events such as the Atlanta Dogwood Festival every April and the Atlanta Jazz Festival over Memorial Day weekend. Supporting the neighborhood is the Midtown Alliance and the Midtown Improvement District, both designed to meet the needs of property owners and businesses.
Midtown is Atlanta’s leading arts district, with more than 30 cultural institutions, including the Woodruff Arts Center, the High Museum and the Fox Theatre. They fit in Midtown’s broad geographical span that extends south from the Brookwood split on Peachtree down to North Avenue. Other highlights include the restored Margaret Mitchell House and Rhodes Hall, headquarters of The Georgia Trust and a prime example of a structure built from Stone Mountain granite.
Take a break from the art and history action to dine at curbside tables at Tap, on the deck at Ecco or in the elegant dining room of Park 75, the restaurant of the Four Seasons Hotel. Other notable eateries here include South City Kitchen, Livingston in the Georgian Terrace and Chef Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South.