12 Best Cities in Georgia to Live in and Visit
Whether it’s the rich history, delectable food scene or lower cost of living, it’s easy to see why many come and few leave the Peach State. With an array of historic small towns, featuring quaint downtown streets and easy access to the outdoors, Georgia has plenty to offer those seeking a quiet life.
But with major cities in Georgia that are home to Fortune 500 companies and vibrant college towns, families and young professionals will have a full slate of opportunities to choose from. Whether that be in downtown Atlanta or in the many surrounding suburbs that offer a strong sense of community and local attractions.
Flooded with lush urban parks, eighteen to be exact, and a beautiful historic downtown, Roswell brings a lot to the table. Within Fulton County, Roswell has a population just shy of 100,000. However, the city has a more rural vibe with a strong sense of community that belies its size.
Just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, Roswell enjoys a lower cost of living than much of the metropolitan area while also experiencing a higher than average rate of employment.
The historic downtown district is renowned across the United States, with long-term residents often embarking on yet another walking tour. This part of town is a hive of activity every third Thursday between April and October.
The Alive in Roswell festival also brings the community together for great food, live music and an array of vendors.
Having such a short drive to downtown Atlanta isn’t the only reason people love to live in Marietta. The 60,000 strong population can also make the most of the cultural attractions within walking distance, including museums and old-time theaters. Both of which are complemented by a selection of public gardens and parks.
To stretch your legs, you can explore the nearby Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park with almost 20 miles of hiking trails.
Marietta has quality public education, including one of the best schools in the state. Combine that with a cheaper housing market than central Atlanta and you can see why Marietta is popular with families and young professionals.
Known as Fountain City, Columbus is home to a vast number of water features installed in the early 1900s. But that’s far from the only interesting thing in Columbus. The town that brought Coca-Cola to the world has a vibrant downtown lined with stunning Antebellum homes by day and a great selection of nightlife and community events by night.
Speaking of events, not a week goes by without a fabulous farmers market, a music or food festival. Residents and visitors also love the RiverWalk, which shows off the city’s rich history. Columbus is also alongside a major Army base, Fort Benning, with over 120,000 military and family on-site.
An hour north of Atlanta, Gainesville is a paradise for the outdoorsman. Having played host to rowing events during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the town features the stunning Lake Lanier.
Offering a plethora of outdoor activities on water and in the surrounding foothills, Gainesville is just 45 minutes from downtown Atlanta and 35 minutes south of the Georgia Mountains. Life here is all about having the best of both worlds.
As a major hub for north-east Georgia, Gainesville has strong economic opportunities with a decent cost of living and median house price. This allows residents to enjoy the luxuries of life amongst beautiful nature. The overall work/life balance is inviting for couples and families who want to enjoy the country lifestyle while maintaining ties to the city.
Part southern metropolis, part country town, Augusta balances big-city amenities with access to nature. The cost of living in the home of the Masters is 10% below the national average, providing a nice difference to the state’s other big city, Atlanta. With parks and recreational activities just around the corner, Augusta is a family-friendly destination.
Along the banks of the Savannah River, Augusta is the oldest city in Georgia, a fact easily recognizable thanks to the beautiful buildings down 8th and Broad Street. The spacious Broad Street is home to eclectic boutiques, while 8th Street hosts the Augusta Market, featuring regional artisans and tasty treats.
As the state’s capital city, Atlanta is a hub for major industry along with having a strong grassroots music scene. Residents and visitors will also have easy access to the vast selection of tourist attractions from the Georgia Aquarium to the Coca Cola Museum. While the city is also represented in all major sports besides the NHL.
There’s never a reason to be bored in Atlanta with many free things to do, from Piedmont Park to walking along the Beltline Trail. You can clearly see how your calendar will quickly grow crowded.
As the city continues to expand, so too does the development of trendy restaurants and bars, along with the improvement of local suburbs like Buckhead. The city also features 18 Fortune 500 companies and is a hub for Delta Airlines. This makes domestic travel from Atlanta a breeze.
In central Georgia, Macon provides a lovely balance of lifestyle to go with its accessible location. Like Athens below, Macon is a college town providing residents with a happening downtown featuring diverse restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.
More than just a social town, Macon is home to several major museums, including the Tubman Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The city also has strong musical connections to soul and Southern rock, leading to a variety of music festivals and the development of the Allman Brothers Band Museum.
Those in Macon can also visit the historic Ocmulgee National Monument which has the only example of a spiral mound in North America.
As the starting point of Georgia’s Antebellum Trail, history buffs and those fond of old architecture will love Athens. But perhaps what makes modern-day Athens a wonderful place to live and visit is the University of Georgia. The first public university in the United States, it’s also home to the Georgia Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art.
With a spirited university population to complement the history and culture of Athens, residents also enjoy an energetic dining and nightlife scene with events held almost every weekend. With all this within walking distance, while being only an hour from Atlanta, the low median house price is the cherry on top of the cake.
In the foothills of the wondrous Blue Ridge Mountains, Canton is one of the fastest growing towns in Georgia. A mix of cultural and social opportunities, not to mention the vast selection of outdoor activities on offer, has fueled Canton’s rapid growth.
Far from being overwhelmed with fresh development, Canton still feels like Canton. This is because of the several historic buildings, such as the century-old Canton Theater and the city’s connection to the Cherokee Nation.
Canton remains enveloped by the surrounding nature, and combined with the Etowah River, residents can enjoy a swath of healthy fun. The local school district is very strong, with plenty of local events to keep the young ones entertained.
Along the moss-lined streets that shroud the historic buildings and iconic landmarks is an undeniable charm. Savannah, beside a river of the same name, combines modern convenience, dining and nightlife with old antebellum mansions and Forsyth Park.
Often called the “Hostess of the South” newcomers will quickly fall in love with the local architecture, prominent museums and hauntingly beautiful cemeteries, rivaled only by those found in New Orleans. Despite its southern roots, the local food scene is remarkably diverse.
At night wandering along River Street will bring a party atmosphere that contrasts to the quiet cobblestone alleys around the corner. With the powder-white sands on Tybee Beach just a short drive away, it’s easy to see that Savannah has a little something for everyone.
It’s been said that “everything is greener in Decatur”, and the cozy town in DeKalb County will give you no reason to think otherwise. The leafy suburb is a splendid spot for young families thanks to a high level of education and an abundance of outdoor activities, dining and shopping on offer.
The small population of just 27,000 allows residents and visitors to enjoy the town as it is without the crowds. This is all despite Decatur’s fantastic proximity to all the amenities and attractions in downtown Atlanta.
The main streets in Decatur are lined with inviting bars, boutique restaurants and unique shops. They all combine to make the higher median house prices a little easier to swallow.
Thanks to a revitalization project, downtown Alpharetta is now a hub of culture, fun and fantastic dining. A suburb of Atlanta, Alpharetta has a personality all of its own. The local population of around 60,000 residents can make the most of a plethora of nearby attractions including the Avalon, an expansive community center.
The center is a place to shop, do some morning yoga on the outside lawn or watch a blockbuster film at the theater. But like many suburbs in North Atlanta, Alpharetta has an adorable downtown, with a wonderful mix of live music, art galleries and plenty of choices for foodies.
Throughout the year, locals and visitors can take part in art festivals, community events and the town’s extensive farmers market.