When it comes to walkable, versatile development patterns, Suwanee is doing (almost) as well as any other suburb in America, according to a new nationwide analysis.

Known for its vibrant Town Center, eclectic festivals, and extensive nearby trail system, the Gwinnett County city of 21,000 landed at No. 6 in STORAGECafé’s annual ranking, “The Best U.S. Suburbs For City-Like Living.” (Not coincidentally, Suwanee also made the Final Four in our inaugural Suburban Smackdown tournament to determine metro Atlanta’s best city centers in March.)

STORAGECafé, an online service for storage spaces, studied more than 900 suburbs around the country’s 100 most populated cities. (Their logic: Self-storage helps maximize home space in urban-ish environments, enabling a “modern lifestyle”.) Criteria included crime rates, prevalence of restaurants and shopping, housing affordability, median household income, and public schools rankings.

Growing suburbs with sustainable, mixed-use development that caters to anyone from WFH young professionals to multi-generational households scored extra points. Transportation options and overall business environment were also considered. Only places with populations between 10,000 and 100,000 were studied.


Suwanee shined in the fields of education, residential, and business sector, counting 42 businesses for every 1,000 residents, per the analysis. Town Center Park’s 25-acre expansion and Suwanee’s “array of culture and entertainment amenities” were also noted.

“[It’s] an excellent place for raising a family, mainly thanks to its well-performing schooling system,” analysts wrote.  

Suwanee—located in northwestern Gwinnett, just south of Lake Lanier—has seen its population nearly triple since 2000. Its heralded greenspace counts an amphitheatre, interactive fountain, and a connection to the Suwanee Creek Trail, a 4.5-mile paved path full of scenic boardwalks through the woods. 

Suwanee's master-planned city center and greenspace, a haven for festivals. Shutterstock

Another Gwinnett County city with a burgeoning downtown, Duluth, was ranked 50th on this year's countdown. 

Decatur landed at number 70 on the list of “suburban” hotspots—likely much to Decatur’s chagrin.

Researchers pulled data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Yardi Matrix, Department of Education, FBI, and Trust for Public Land to determine which places offered the best combo of “sought-after suburban atmosphere and the benefits of big-city living.”

Curiously, Alpharetta ranked as Georgia’s highest city on the list last year at No. 19 but didn’t make the Top-100 cut in 2023. A wild guess, but maybe condos costing $3.5 million (and up) pushed Alpharetta’s affordability metric in the wrong direction.


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