Norcross, Georgia: What It's Like to Live Here

The Atlanta suburb of Norcross has grown while maintaining its historic beauty.
Atlanta, GA. Street View : Things to Do in Norcross

Atlanta, GA. Street View : Things to Do in Norcross

Downtown Norcross offers a variety of shopping and dining experiences.

Photo by: Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Downtown Norcross offers a variety of shopping and dining experiences.

By: Gina Hannah

At around 15,000 residents, Norcross Georgia offers a small-town feel with easy access to big-city life. Located about 20 miles northeast of Atlanta, the Gwinnett County town was first settled in the 1800s and was originally considered a resort spot, as people from Atlanta flocked there by train during the summer to enjoy its higher elevation and cooler temperatures. The city's downtown area sits on the eastern continental divide, which played a significant role in Norcross's early development. Today, historic downtown is the heart of this city, its 19th-century character well-preserved. You'll find an eclectic selection of shops and restaurants here and, throughout the town, an abundance of parks and green space that make Norcross an appealing address for families.

As a suburb located outside of Atlanta's perimeter, or Interstate 285, Norcross offers a range of affordable housing options, while providing access to Atlanta's downtown via I-285 by way of Buford Highway. But this small town is a bedroom community that stands alone in its lifestyle amenities, and it provides a beautiful look into the past through its restored Antebellum mansions and Victorian homes that grace the city's historic district.

Norcross's Downtown Development Authority has worked to make the city's center a vibrant commercial area, while maintaining its historic integrity. The authority offers small business loans to merchants who qualify, and a facade grant program provides matching funds for property owners making approved improvements to the exterior of downtown's buildings.

Norcross has several outdoor parks in which families can play, some with swimming pools and ball fields or playgrounds and picnic areas—or both. Lillian Webb Community Park, located downtown, has an interactive splash pad, gazebo and volleyball area. Thrasher Park has an amphitheater for outdoor performances. Best Friend Park, which is run by Gwinnett County government, has two pools, tennis courts, a gym, playground and ball fields. Other neighborhood parks dot the landscape. Children living in Norcross have access to a number of youth sports organizations, from soccer to baseball to cheerleading and swimming.

City government has launched an effort to build relationships with the city's Hispanic community, which grew to 40 percent of the town's population after city council approved the annexation of a 2-square-mile section into the city. The Norcross Health Center is part of the County Health Departments Network in Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties, working to provide health services to area residents.

The community also has strong public and private schools. Norcross High School was the first high school in the county to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to its juniors and seniors. Brenau University, a private, liberal arts university based in Gainesville, Ga., has a campus here. Each year the city hosts the annual Slotin Folk Festival, considered to be the largest folk art festival in the world, and there is an active arts community, including the Lionheart Theatre Company and The Kudzu Art Zone, located downtown, which offers workshops, classes, studios and exhibits for the visual arts.

Keep Reading