As some important scholar may have said… “Midtown Atlanta is poppin’.”
Midtown is the region of Atlanta, Georgia that lies sandwiched north of downtown and south of Buckhead, the most desirable region of Atlanta (according to most Midtowners). Maybe as a result of its location, Midtown has the best of both worlds. This region contains a plethora of neighborhood eateries, athletic venues, and clubs, complemented by a modern blend of residential areas and businesses. Also, home to one of the nation’s premier engineering and technology institutions, Georgia Institute of Technology, Midtown Atlanta feels young, has proven to be financially successful, and only continues to grow.
As a part of my visit to see Georgia Tech a few weekends ago, I briefly explored Midtown, walking between my hotel, Renaissance Midtown Atlanta, and the university. My father and I met with family friend Quincy Jones (not the music producer), who lives in Atlanta, to catch up and to learn about Midtown. According to Jones, there is “definitely a thriving young adult population in Midtown,” and Georgia Tech’s undergraduate and graduate programs more than prepare students for jobs in the STEM industry. With fifteen Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Atlanta, the job market is more than adequate. Speaking highly of Georgia Tech’s programs, Jones mentioned that he annually drops by campus to explore the recent batch of startup companies, in search of products and business ideas that he deems feasible and worth some investment.
The focus of my trip to Atlanta was to tour Georgia Tech, so on the night my father and I arrived we walked into the setting sun towards campus. We crossed over a short bridge on our walk over, and, stepping off, it felt as if we had entered a whole new region of the city.
Met with lush greenery and glassy modern buildings and facilities, we were immediately impressed. As an institution that prides itself as one of the top technology and engineering schools nationwide, I expected the high-tech laboratories and modernized study spaces, but not a four-story auditorium and student commons area with a full garden occupying the roof. Even more impressive was the quiet, peaceful atmosphere.
For a college in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, Georgia Tech sure does not sound the part. From most of the upper floors of the buildings, halls, and outdoor rooftop spots, you have a full view of the city skyline not too far away. If you are on the southern half of the campus, Coca Cola’s headquarters loom, seemingly just across the street. On the walk home, my dad noted that, “Midtown seems like a hip place. Also, the cleanliness and tree-lined streets give the area a very different feel,” from other cities he’s visited.
Once you leave the campus, there is never a dull moment or a lull in public activities. According to the city website, Midtown is home to the High Museum of Art, Alliance Theater, and Fox Theater, which boasts “performances ranging from ballet to rock & roll and Broadway.” When it comes to athletics, Georgia Tech’s Division I ACC teams practice and play in Midtown. Branching out into Atlanta, the city is home to several professional sport teams, such as the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta Hawks. As far as food, Atlanta has always been a contender for the South’s “foodie capital.” Specifically in Midtown, the original Varsity lies a couple blocks away from Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium. While I did not have the chance to visit the Varsity, the mere mention of its name immediately grabbed the attention of my fellow Match staffers and teachers who raved about their world-famous hotdogs.
My trip to Georgia Tech and Atlanta was eye-opening. The feel of the city is so starkly different from Richmond and other more northern cities. Midtown offers a nearly ideal urban college setting and a comfortable environment for young adults and families.
All photos by Destana Herring.