Virginia Highlands Atlanta: What It's Like to Live Here
By: Gina Hannah
Trendy Virginia Highlands isn't so much a singular neighborhood as it is a string of shopping villages interspersed with charming bungalows in an appealing, pedestrian-friendly layout. Replete with restaurants, shops and night spots, Virginia Highlands, named after the intersection at two of its main roads, has become a favorite address for Atlanta residents. The area was developed in the early 1900s as a streetcar suburb, and this turn-of-the-century look is reflected in much of its architecture, although you will find a bit of new construction as well.
Just minutes northeast of Atlanta, Virginia Highlands—called VaHi by locals—offers an eclectic mix of art galleries, gift shops, jewelry, clothing and food. Residents here can also walk to one of several beauty salons, a yoga studio, a day spa and a health club.
The neighborhood boasts Atlanta's oldest restaurant, the Atkins Park Tavern, which is open for lunch and dinner and serves food until 2 a.m. Another long-time diner, Moe's & Joe's, has been open since 1947, serving burgers, sandwiches, tacos and other simple fare, as well as beer. If you're interested in a more formal meal out, check out Babette's Cafe, located in a restored bungalow on North Highlands Avenue. Alon's bakery on North Highland has been voted the best bakery in Atlanta.
With its quaint feel and strong schools, Virginia Highlands is attractive to young professionals as well as families. It is a community that has already arrived, and that is reflected in its home prices. You can expect to pay just under $200,000 for a small condominium and up to $1 million or more for single-family home with bungalow-style new construction. You can find nice single-family homes for around $500,000.
Virginia Highlands borders the 189-acre Piedmont Park. The John Howell Memorial Park on Virginia avenue is a small neighborhood park with a playground and volleyball court. Orme Park on Brookridge Drive is a wheelchair-accessible park with a playground a pedestrian bridge.
The Virginia-Highland Civic Association organizes an annual tour of homes, neighborhood clean-ups and master planning meetings. Each June, the community hosts Virginia-Highland Summerfest. The two-day festival is one of the largest in the Southeast, drawing more than 50,000 people over the course of a weekend to view the work of more than 200 artists, as well as music and a KidsFest. In December, the Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes offers tours of some of the community's most beautiful homes, plus food tastings from area restaurants.
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