Atlanta old-timers may recall when buying or renting in Old Fourth Ward was considered a cost-friendly alternative to basically every centrally located neighborhood between Grant Park and Morningside.

That affordability ship may have sailed, but on a national basis, the historic neighborhood where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born and buried is still a relatively affordable place for high living at lower cost.

That’s the main takeaway from an Architectural Digest Reviews ranking of the so-called 14 trendiest neighborhoods in American cities today, spanning from hip places such as Greenwich Village to Chicago’s West Loop and Venice Beach.

The study’s goal was to gauge what living a comfortable, cultural, and yes cool existence costs these days in each place.

The good news: O4W ranked near the bottom of the list in terms of salaries required to comfortably live in each trendy neighborhood, bested only by Austin’s South Congress (No. 13) and Philadelphia’s Fishtown (No. 14), respectively.

Also in O4W,  spending 13 percent of monthly salaries is needed for residents hoping to live it up with “social costs,” including dinners, arts, and entertainment. That’s the lowest percentage of any neighborhood on the list—and less than half of the priciest for social costs, Miami’s Wynwood, which clocks in at 31 percent of salaries.   

O4W’s price of a meal and cocktails, per the study, is “only” around $29 per person—also good for the No. 1 cheapest slot among neighborhoods on the list.

Where multiple large-scale developments have replaced surface parking, low-rise warehouses, and an urban dump around what's now Historic Fourth Ward Park.

More troubling to O4W residents who aren’t exactly raking cheddar is the fact that, per the ADR analysis, individual salaries of at least $70,760 are required to live comfortably in MLK’s old stomping grounds these days.

“Having access to the Eastside Trail and Ponce City Market is desirable, but living trendy comes with a price tag many people of Atlanta are willing to pay,” the team wrote in summary.

Below is a quick breakdown of what being O4W cool costs. (ADR assumed residents would be attending an entertainment venue and art venue once a week each, dining out and buying coffee five times a week, and enjoying a cocktail twice per week.) 

Architectural Digest Reviews

Let’s compare that with Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, the least affordable option on the list based on required salaries, where average rents are flirting with $4,300, per the ADR study:

Architectural Digest Reviews

ADR researchers pegged O4W social costs overall at $184 per person, per week. Again, that ranked near the top, as affordability metrics go.

“While it still attracts history buffs,” researchers wrote of O4W, “it has also evolved into one of Atlanta’s trendiest neighborhoods, thanks to a revamp of the Historic Fourth Ward Park and the emergence of culinary hotspots, alluring nightlife, and unique music venues, including the converted movie-theater-turned-concert-hall Variety Playhouse,” which isn’t actually in the neighborhood, but is pretty close.  


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