As part of ongoing Best of Atlanta 2023 coverage, Urbanize’s third-annual Best Atlanta Neighborhood tournament is kicking off with 16 places vying for the prestige of being called the city’s greatest. (Note: Seeding from 1 to 16 was determined by reader nominations this month—so no pitchforks, please.)

For each Round 1 contest, voting will be open for just 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one neighborhood rises above the rest in very public fashion. The eliminations begin now!

(2) Midtown

The landing page for 1072 West Peachtree's website provides a glimpse of how the project would alter Midtown's skyline when viewed from the Connector. Rockefeller Group; Brock Hudgins Architects; TVS/1072 West Peachtree

Despite its status as Atlanta’s darling of high-profile development and cosmopolitan ambitions, Midtown has never taken the crown in the Best Atlanta Neighborhood tourney—and it hasn’t even sniffed the Final Four in the Urbanize version. Could that speak to Midtown’s status as more of a booming subdistrict than a truly tight-knit intown neighborhood? Perhaps. In any case, when it comes to sheer seismic change, no place in metro Atlanta holds a candle to this midway point between downtown history and Buckhead wealth, where construction cranes have been all but ubiquitous for a solid decade.

This year alone, Midtown has seen cranes start piecing together Atlanta’s tallest building in three decades and a two-tower project over Juniper Street, among many others. Elsewhere, developments such as JPX Works’ Emmi Midtown, Society Atlanta, 1141 Peachtree, and Momentum Atlanta climbed up and topped out in ’23, helping redefine Atlanta’s skyline like Midtown has been doing for decades. Lest we forget the street-level changes, too—most notably the Juniper Complete Street Project that finally started becoming real this year.

(15) Old Fourth Ward 

A scene over ever-changing Old Fourth Ward in summer 2022, contrasting Sunbelt Rentals' construction equipment rental property with projects catered toward Atlanta's population influx. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Old Fourth Ward barely garnered enough nominations to make the Best Atlanta Tournament cut this year, slipping in with an underwhelming No. 15 seed. But that could be a cover—a means of staging a sneak attack toward glory! In any case, this eclectic, colorful, historic place has a tough road facing Midtown so early, but O4W has pulled together and brought home the hardware before, winning the full tourney in 2012. The past two years, however, it’s been ousted in the first round.

As large-scale development goes, O4W is on a roll, with the Atlanta Civic Center redevelopment’s initial phase finally showing verifiable signs of life, and Portman delivering one of the most eye-catching BeltLine buildings to date with Junction Krog District in 2023. Ponce City Market sprouted two new towers this year, and the dreaded Chick-fil-Apocalypse on Boulevard didn’t really come to pass. But the feather in O4W’s cap this year—from an architecture and public space standpoint—is clearly New City’s Fourth Ward Project, where two plazas opened, a diamond-patterned high-rise hotel topped out, an apartment venture like no other intown delivered, and offices actually got leased.