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 this Round 1 contest, which is publishing on a Friday, voting will be open until noon on Monday. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one neighborhood rises above the rest in very public fashion. The eliminations begin now!

(3) West Midtown*

Plans for the Stella project's west (left) and south facades. Courtesy of Allen Morris Company; designs, Oppenheim Architecture; architect of record, Dwell Design Studio

* Before you unleash that super-clever hate mail about “West Midtown” being a fictional place, well… of course it is. But it’s an established fictional place! And it’s the contestant name that nominators wanted this year. “I’ll second West Midtown,” wrote reader Will Trimble during the nominations phase. “Not sure there’s a better name for the cohesive neighborhood that’s formed from the Marietta Street Artery and the west half of Home Park. And forcing it to be split in two doesn’t feel right.” Okay, fair enough—y’all asked for it.

So here’s West Midtown, where big-time ventures like Interlock’s second phase and eye-catching Stella at Star Metals are making a mark—and Howell Mill Road’s status as a car-packed small intestine finally shows promise of improving. Way back in 2011, during the very first year-end neighborhood tournament, “West Midtown” actually made it to the championship, losing in a route to Inman Park. Could 2023 be the year “West Midtown” finally avenges that loss? We’ll see.  

(14) Hapeville 

Artisan Built Communities/Serenity

Throughout the pandemic and post-pandemic era, historic and artsy Hapeville has emerged as the darling of south ITP growth, owing in no small part to its next-door proximity to the world’s busiest airport and the gravity of Porsche’s North American Headquarters, among other factors. And for a city of less than 7,000 people, it’s also a fiercely proud, neighborly place. (Yes, ITP cities are allowed in the tournament, as always).

This year saw Hapeville add a nifty public greenspace and splash pad fed by natural springs. Just a few blocks from the city’s charming downtown, Porsche’s second phase debuted in 2023 with a new 1.3-mile handling circuit that’s nothing short of exhilarating. Elsewhere, the thoughtful remake of a 1950s gas station came alive, while Hapeville’s residential explosion continued with projects such as Signal and Serenity. Surprisingly, this year marks Hapeville's tournament debut. Could it be a dark horse, revved up and hungry for glory?