The city of Atlanta is so much more than the bustling downtown area. It actually sprawls out in all directions, although you won't have to go far to find quaint, Southern towns rooted in history, lakefront living or stylish town squares with unique shops and local restaurants.
It's all about deciding to live OTP, or outside the perimeter of the 285 highway. You'll quickly pick up the differences between living OTP and ITP (inside the perimeter) once you start familiarizing yourself with the local area, then it's up to you to pick where specifically to call home.
Jump on any of the major highways crisscrossing the city, drive less than an hour and you'll hit one of these 10 cities near Atlanta where you should considering living.
Its proximity to Stone Mountain Park offers residents great hiking in warm weather and snowy slopes perfect for tubing all winter. The city also offers up a variety of other parks including Lenora Park and Briscoe Park.
An ethnically diverse city, Snellville attracts a lot of professionals working in computers and math, more than most other cities in the U.S.
Situated near the Atlanta Motor Speedway, a world-class NASCAR race track, McDonough is a great place to live to get your fill of live car races.
For a little less noise in your day, Historic McDonough Square serves as a hub of activity year-round with festivals, live entertainment and plenty of quaint shops and restaurants. The city even hosts an annual Geranium Drop every New Year's Eve.
McDonough boasts that it's a town for all seasons. Their calendar is definitely full enough to keep you occupied all year long.
The first thing you notice about Peachtree City is the paved golf cart paths. They stretch for more than 100 miles to provide residents with access to a variety of local activities, scenic views and shopping.
As you cruise around in your own golf cart, keep an eye out for celebrities. Peachtree City has grown into an attractive spot for films, having hosted movie productions like Sweet Home Alabama and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Pinewood Studios, where Marvel likes to film, is also just a few miles away.
Celebrity sightings aside, Peachtree City has all the amenities you could want. From parks and recreation facilities to great shopping to one of the top public school systems in the state, Peachtree City attracts families, singles, couples and seniors to its relaxed community.
Considered one of the fastest-growing cities around Atlanta, Villa Rica offers an assortment of activities that tackle history, wine tasting and outdoor recreation. It's also home to the oldest commercial structure in West Georgia, Wick's Tavern.
Known as the “City of Gold," Villa Rica is home to the first gold rush in Georgia. Here you can walk the trails the miners took on their way to pan for gold and gems.
A safe and diverse community, living here you'll experience history, culture and the arts all rolled into one. This combined with high employment opportunities and a low cost of living makes this city a popular one for many.
Living in Suwanee, you'll experience a true mix of activities. This progressive city combines over 600 acres of parkland with boutique shops and restaurants.
You can visit Old Town to view historic homes and commercial buildings, which date back to the 1870s. Then, take a stroll along the city's Greenway, which extends into four miles of woods and wetlands.
With a variety of housing options, and the largest public school system in Georgia, residents of every age happily find their niche living here.
Sometimes called the “City of Homes," Newnan has six separate historic districts within the city limits. These include more than 40 recognized historic structures, from beautiful homes to functional commercial buildings.
A growing city, here you'll feel the history and culture everywhere you go thanks, in part, to the Antebellum and Victorian architecture throughout. This is especially true right in downtown, where Ashley Park, the outdoor mall, delivers on all kinds of antiques and treasures.
Once you've seen enough of the local buildings, you can continue enjoying the outdoors along the newly-established Chattahoochee Bend State Park, with 12 miles of wooded trails on stand-by
There's a little something for everyone to enjoy here, with a mix of upscale restaurants and shops, free outdoor movies and concerts and ticketed plays and events. Also close by is Lake Lanier, which offers all kinds of water sports, camping and more.
Buford combines small-town friendliness with scenic beauty and a well-developed infrastructure. There's major shopping at the Mall of Georgia as well as a major feat of engineering on display at Buford Dam Park.
The charm of Buford and its modern amenities make it one of the favorite cities near Atlanta.
Catering to those interested in living an active, outdoorsy life, Cumming provides access to 963 acres of hiking, climbing and more at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve. There's also swimming, fishing and boating at Lake Lanier.
This picturesque and vibrant community completes its scenic landscape with historic covered bridges and local fairgrounds. There are also plenty of activities geared toward residents and visitors of any age.
A city that continues to evolve, Cumming is also in the process of establishing a new city center near downtown to serve as an entertainment and gathering spot for locals, while infusing the area with even more Southern charm.
Offering up a little bit of everything, Cartersville is close to both Allatoona Lake and Red Top Mountain State Park. You can hike or swim, go kayaking or camping all without traveling far from home.
Sticking closer to the city center, you'll find there is a wealth of culture to explore through local museums. Cartersville boasts being home to the Smithsonian Affiliates Booth Western Art Museum, the Tellus Science Museum and a variety of museums focused on Native American culture and local history.
Downtown is home to a vibrant shopping and dining district as well, so you're never without the everyday amenities of city life either.
Containing the Guinness-certified, longest zip line in the world, Carrollton is another great city for active people. It's especially ideal for those who want more than hiking trails to beckon them outside.
Besides zipping down the Screaming Eagle, the town has a disc golf course ranked the best in Georgia and the Georgia Greenbelt, the longest closed-loop bike trail in the state.
Situated near the Alabama border, this Georgia city features a Main Street complete with Southern appeal, historic architecture, funky shops and fun eateries. It's a cozy spot to call home with plenty of options to pick from when planning a day's itinerary.
No matter which direction you travel from Atlanta's city center, less than an hour away are hidden gems with affordable housing, quaint and cozy communities, rich history and plenty to do and see.
When you're ready to find your next apartment in one of the many cities near Atlanta, let us be your guide.