Welcome to Decatur
Anyone who lives in Atlanta will tell you that Decatur is one of the most popular and sought-after suburbs. Located just minutes from Downtown, it offers some of the benefits of small-town living without adding minutes to your commute. Often referred to as one of the most progressive and hippest cities in Metro Atlanta, Decatur is a place where citizens get involved in the community and befriend their neighbors in the process. It is home to hundreds of shops and restaurants, prestigious colleges, some of the best schools in the state, and beautiful historic homes on large lots and tree-lined streets. People in the area often say “Everything is greater in Decatur,” and it may very well be true. It is difficult not to fall in love with the city after one quick walk or drive around town.
History of Decatur
Named for naval officer Stephen Decatur, Decatur’s roots date back to 1823. By 1830, the Western and Atlantic Railroad wanted to make the city the southernmost stop on the line, but it ended up choosing Atlanta instead. While Atlanta grew into a major city and transportation hub, Decatur remained small and quiet yet prosperous, and the locals liked it that way. It wasn’t until after the Civil War that Decatur began to grow, both commercially and residentially. When cars became popular around the turn of the century, people who previously lived in Atlanta began leaving the city behind for suburbs like Decatur where homes sat on bigger lots away from the roads and had garages on the property. Many of those homes and neighborhoods are still attracting newcomers today.
- Population: 21,000
- The PATH walk/bike trail runs from Atlanta to Stone Mountain right through the city of Decatur.
- Several colleges are located in Decatur and the surrounding unincorporated areas, including Emory University, Agnes Scott College, Columbia Theological Seminary, and Georgia Perimeter College.
- Decatur is also home to the Centers for Disease Control.
- Even though Decatur is a quick drive into Atlanta, many people choose to stay in the city to work. The top jobs are largely academic, government, and medical, including employers like Emory University Health Systems, the United States Postal Service, DeKalb County Government, DeKalb Medical Center, Wells Fargo, Agnes Scott College, and the Decatur Board of Education.
- Community involvement is big in Decatur, and the city holds many annual events, such as the Decatur Arts Festival; Decatur Beach Party; a July 4th parade, fireworks, and concert; a garden tour, beer and wine tasting festivals, and several Christmas and other holiday events.
The average age of Decatur residents is 39, and the average household income is around $63,000. Almost 30 percent of homes have children under the age of 18. Decatur is a well-educated city. 56 percent of residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Decatur is just minutes from all of Atlanta’s famous attractions, but residents love to stay home and take advantage of the things to do in their own backyards. The city is home to over 200 shops and restaurants, 57 acres of parks, and several cultural activities.
- Brick Store Pub – Serving the area since 1997, Brick Store is Decatur’s neighborhood pub. The beer menu is the main attraction, but don’t discount the good food, friendly atmosphere, and excellent service. It is one of Decatur residents’ favorite destinations in town.
- Leon’s Full Service – Another favorite spot is Leon’s Full Service. The gastropub was opened with the kind of full service and hospitality you used to get at an old gas station in mind. From lamb chops to grilled chicken and salads to burgers, the menu offers something for everyone and includes vegetarian and gluten-free options. Leon’s also has an extensive drink menu with wine, cocktails, beer, and spirits.
- Farm Burger – Farm Burger is one of Decatur’s favorite burger joints, and residents love that it uses fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients and grass-fed beef as much as they love the food. The hand-cut fries are just as popular as burgers.
- 246 – At first glance, you may have no idea what to expect from No. 246, but once you try the high-quality Italian cuisine, you will find yourself coming back again and again. Named for the historic plot of land on which the eatery is located, the restaurant grows some of its own ingredients right outside the back door and infuses Georgia traditions — peaches, anyone? — with old-world Italian family recipes.
- The Iberian Pig – When you find yourself in the mood for Spanish food, you must try the Iberian Pig which has become something of a landmark in Decatur. The menu focuses on cured meats, flat breads, salads, Spanish cheese, and tapas, while the wine list is made up of bottles from Spain and South America.
- Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport> – Decatur is approximately 20 miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport via Interstate 285. The busiest airport in the world handles 2,500 daily departures and arrivals.
- MARTA – Decatur residents have plenty of access to Atlanta’s public transportation system, MARTA. The city is home to three rail stations and is on several bus routes.
- Interstates – Decatur is just minutes from all of Atlanta’s main interstates, including 285, 85, 75, and 20. It also sits within Interstate 285’s boundaries, making it an ITP or inside the perimeter neighborhoods.
- North DeKalb Mall – Decatur is home to North DeKalb Mall which opened in 1965. It is undergoing renovations, but you can still shop at stores like Macy’s, Marshalls, Burlington, Ross, and dozens more. It also has a food court and movie theater.
- Your DeKalb Farmers’ Market – Sometimes it feels more like a stadium than a farmers’ market, but Your DeKalb Farmers’ Market is a popular destination for residents and people from all over Metro Atlanta. The world market has a reputation for providing fresh, high-quality food, ranging from produce to meat to beverages. The market restaurant is also a great place to grab a bite to eat. It is open seven days a week.
- Downtown Decatur – If big box mall stores are not for you, you might find sanctuary in Decatur’s thriving Downtown area. From clothing and book stores to gift shops and galleries, there is a little bit of everything for sale here. Some popular shops include Collage, Decatur Bikes, Kismet, Feather Baby, Squash Blossom, Ariel La Boutique, One Step at a Time, Books Again, Little Shop of Stories, Wild Oats & Billy Goats, and Decatur Market and Gallery.
Real Estate Information
Decatur real estate is a lovely mixture of historic and established homes from various periods throughout the last century sprinkled with some new construction. You will find several neighborhoods with large mid-century brick ranches and two-story homes that have been well-maintained and have large, mature trees lining the streets. In neighborhoods like Decatur Heights, you will find small cottages and bungalows from the 1910s and 1920s. Most of the neighborhoods are walkable which just adds to Decatur’s appeal.
Average Price of Homes
The median home value is around $410,000, and those home values are on the rise in this trendy city. New home buyers can usually find a bungalow for around $250,000 or larger estates and historic homes all the way up in the multi-millions.
Entertainment, Nightlife & Things To Do
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History – The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is one of Atlanta’s favorite museums. It has the biggest IMAX screen in the state and a large fossil collection from the world’s biggest dinosaurs. There is a star gallery, a garden, a 65-acre forest, and many changing exhibits throughout the year.
- Decatur Parks – The city owns over 57 acres of developed parks, including three dog parks. You will find youth sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, hiking trails, skate parks, concessions stands, gardens, and green spaces among them.
- Eddie’s Attic – Eddie’s Attic has been an Atlanta-area staple for aspiring musical talent for years, and it’s a great venue for hearing live music, too. Acts like John Mayer, Sugarland, The Civil Wars, and Shawn Mullins got their start there, and musicians like Sheryl Crow, Indigo Girls, India Arie, Glen Philips, Edwin McCain, Brandi Carlile, The Black Crowes, and even Justin Bieber have graced the stage.
- Stone Mountain Park – Stone Mountain is just a few miles east of Decatur, and it’s one of Atlanta’s most popular destinations for family fun. Attractions include the Summit Skyride to the top of the mountain, a museum, miniature golf, an antebellum plantation, Geyser Towers rope bridges, a scenic railroad, boat rides, and more.
- OnStage Atlanta – There are many places to experience the theater in Atlanta, but at OnStage Atlanta, you can do it at home in Decatur. Serving the area since 1971, its professional ensemble of actors, directors, writers, and technicians put on a unique series of plays and productions each year.
- Decatur Heights
- Ponce de Leon Heights
- College Heights
- Midway Woods
- Westchester Hills
- Adair Park
- Chelsea Heights
- South Candler
- Downtown Decatur
- Clairemont Estates
- EverGreen Forest
- Glennwood Estates
- Lenox Place
- Ridgeland Park
Decatur has its own school district, and most students in the city attend Decatur City Schools. Some students in unincorporated areas may attend schools in the DeKalb County School District.