Folks, the Final Four round has arrived, and it’s a battle between top seeds and a true dark horse in '24!

Following more than 520 votes last week, the top four vote-getters in this March Madness-style quest to be crowned the Best OTP Downtown are now facing off. All three top seeds—as determined by reader nominations—made the cut, with a feisty No. 16 seed also in the mix.

Those are the reigning 2023 champ, Alpharetta, followed by Roswell, Marietta, and Trilith, the growing southside mixed-use and TV/film studio hub, which raked in nearly one-fourth of all Round 1 voting.

Voting for this round will close promptly at 11 a.m. Friday.

The top two finishers in the Final Four will earn a spot in the Championship early next week, with the winner to be crowned in front of thousands across the metro.

Now, let's quickly meet our Suburban Smackdown Final Four contestants—and then cast a vote: 



Blocks of recent development around formerly sleepy Alpharetta City Center. Courtesy of Awesome Alpharetta

Estimated city population: 68,000

Distance from downtown Atlanta: 25 miles

Secret sauce: 120-acre Wills Park boasts a large dog park, public pool, 18-hole disc golf course, and an equestrian center considered among the Southeast’s best

How fitting the No. 1 seed in this quest for OTP Downtown greatness (as determined by reader nominations) is not only one of the largest cities but also has “Alpha” in its name. (Kismet?) Ask locals, and they’ll say downtown Alpharetta was sleepy—if not outright boring—not too long ago. That all changed in 2019, when the final components of Alpharetta City Center were opened on former parking lots and strip centers, lending the North Fulton city an open-container central green, dozens of new shops and restaurants, upscale apartments—and a new identity. Outward growth has only continued, with the city’s first boutique hotel, new mixed-use ventures, and now wildly expensive condos popping up on the Alpha Loop trail en route to nearby Avalon.  


Explore Georgia

Estimated city population: 93,000

Distance from downtown Atlanta: 21 miles

Secret sauce: Great hiking a stone’s throw from downtown at the 3.4-mile Vickery Creek Trail, a little slice of North Georgia in the northern ’burbs

As much as any OTP place, Roswell has risen up in recent years as a bona fide destination for intowners seeking a refreshing, change-of-pace day trip without sacrificing big-city sophistication. Little Alley Steak, Gate City Brewing Company, Salt Factory Pub, Variant Brewing—they’ve all contributed to buzz for a walkable core that’s not so much centered around a square as spread across many leafy blocks. Two significant new developments in the works promise to add more than a hundred new housing options and a long-needed boutique hotel without tainting historical charms. A soccer-anchored mixed-use district could be coming, too.



Estimated city population: 61,000

Distance from downtown Atlanta: 19 miles

Secret sauce: Proximity to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, a 3,000-acre gem for outdoor recreation

The backdrop of countless movies, TV shows, and commercials, Marietta Square and its surrounding, lively streets have charm to spare—and typically almost no vacant commercial space, which is definitely a good thing for Best OTP Downtown purposes. Highlights include Cool Beans Coffee Roasters (one of our favorite coffeehouses in the metro), the rustic-cool confines of Glover Park Brewery, and Sweet Melissa Records, a can’t-miss for vinyl heads. Lest we forget Marietta Square Market (one of the first Krog Street-style food halls to pop up OTP), the paved Mountain-to-River Trail, and yes that big iconic fountain. Organic walkability lives and thrives here.   



Trilith's de facto Main Street. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Estimated city population: 1,000+ (with a goal of 5,000 one day)

Distance from downtown Atlanta: 26 miles  

Secret sauce: Nearby downtown Fayetteville, located just to the southeast, is small but charming in a more traditional sense. Just ask Zac Brown

As recently as 2017, Town at Trilith was little more than rolling wheat fields—with a massive filmmaking complex across the street. What’s sprouted from that fertile Fayetteville soil is a master-planned, 235-acre (and growing) small town that’s leveraged Georgia’s TV and film industry (and tax credits) like no other, creating streets that brim with engaging residential architecture that stress connections to greenspace and neighbors. Today, Trilith’s Town Centre counts a variety of businesses, including Northern Italian hotspot ENZO, Barleygarden Kitchen and Craft Bar, Piedmont Wellness Center, and Nourish + Bloom, the South’s first autonomous grocery store. Trilith's first multifamily piece, Premiere Lofts, opened in 2021. Another crucial component—the long-promised Trilith boutique hotel—arrived in January. And the forecast calls for a major soccer hub opening in time for the 2026 World Cup.