What It's Like Living in Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta
The Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta—or O4W for those in-the-know—is rich in history and culture, if not for the fact alone that it’s the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. Besides being the home of the most important civil rights leader in history, it’s got a hip, artistic, down-to-earth vibe, plenty to explore, and clutch location just east of Downtown.
Once a more unassuming neighborhood, in recent years Old Fourth Ward has seen lots of development, new housing, and rising real estate prices—as is the trend with many Atlanta neighborhoods. Despite the rapid development and increased popularity, O4W has largely maintained its unique character.
The Best Restaurants in Old Fourth Ward
Everyone has their favorite neighborhood for dining in Atlanta—it’s arguably one of the best food cities in the country—and O4W tops most lists. The star of the O4W restaurant scene is undoubtedly Staplehouse. Staplehouse is a seasonally focused farm-to-table restaurant known for tasting menus composed of artfully crafted small plates. The dishes here almost look too good to eat, and the quality of the food is as impressive as the presentation.
Other O4W restaurant standouts include A Mano, which offers Italian food and wine and weekly pop-up dinners. A fixture of these dinners is chef and nutritionist Seung Hee Lee, known for her cookbook and her popular Instagram page.
Amazza is one of the best places for pizza in Atlanta, specializing in gourmet, Neapolitan-style pizza topped with fine cheeses, fresh veggies, and locally cured meats. Following the Italian trend, Noni’s is an O4W favorite with house-made pastas, paninis, garlic parmesan fries, and a solid cocktail list in a casual setting with an outdoor patio and a lively late-night scene.
A list of O4W restaurants and attractions would be remiss to exclude Ponce City Market, the mammoth mixed-use dining, shopping, workspace and residential complex bordering O4W where it meets the Poncey-Highland neighborhood. This historic industrial building, once the Sears headquarters, reopened in 2012 with a complete modern renovation. The highlights of the market’s food hall include H&F Burger, Botiwalla (an outpost of the Indian street food restaurant Chai Pani), Biltong Bar, and Root Baking Co.
Parks and Greenspaces to Explore
The Old Fourth Ward, while urban in nature, has many parks and greenspaces that provide peaceful respite in the middle of the city. It’s home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, which includes the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden, King’s childhood home, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King first began preaching.
The Historic Old Fourth Ward Park, one of the stops on the Atlanta BeltLine, includes fountains, a skate park, a lake, a splash pad and playgrounds. With a location just behind Ponce City Market, the park is worth spending a whole afternoon exploring. Also within the neighborhood is Central Park, a small park with views of Atlanta’s skyline that hosts indie-rock music festival Shaky Knees in May.
The BeltLine that runs through the Old Fourth Ward connects the neighborhood to miles of trails for pedestrians and bikers and the attractions located along it.
Old Fourth Ward Real Estate
This is an in-demand neighborhood, but with a median home price in the mid-$300s, according to Neighborhoods.com data, it’s less expensive than other cool Atlanta neighborhoods like Cabbagetown and East Atlanta.
The inventory here is a mix of older single-family bungalows and new factory-style loft buildings, the most well-known being the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts. Most smaller single-family homes sell in the $300,000-$400,000 range, and the larger, modern new-builds can reach up to $1 million.
Getting around is easy in this walkable neighborhood, and it’s also ideal for biking—and now scootering, with the recent migration of Bird scooters in Atlanta. O4W is in a convenient location, adjacent to Downtown and Midtown for easy access to major MARTA train and bus stations. The BeltLine offers a convenient option for walkers and bikers, connecting O4W with other busy areas nearby. For drivers, I-85 is close and accessible from the neighborhood.
Old Fourth Ward is a historic Atlanta neighborhood close to Downtown with strong roots. It’s considered to be one of the hottest neighborhoods in Atlanta, in large part due to the development of Ponce City Market. The neighborhood boasts a high walkability score given its location along the BeltLine Eastside Trail and proximity to in-demand attractions.
With murals and street art covering Old Fourth Ward, the neighborhood is one of the most vibrant and distinct in Atlanta. Old Fourth Ward is a neighborhood where the old merges with the new.