In the spirit of March Madness, Urbanize Atlanta’s first-annual Best OTP Downtown tournament kicked off last week with 16 places vying for the prestige of being called the metro’s greatest.
Now, for each Elite Eight contest, voting will be open for just 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one suburban city center rises above the rest in very public fashion. The quest to crown a champion resumes now!
Estimated city population: 93,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 21 miles
Secret sauce: Impressive hiking a stone’s throw from downtown at the 3.4-mile Vickery Creek Trail, which feels more like North Georgia than the northern ’burbs
Round 1: Roswell strode confidently past historic downtown Covington earlier this week
As much as any OTP place, Roswell has risen to prominence in recent years as a bona fide destination for intowners seeking a refreshing, change-of-pace daytrip 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 major new developments in the works promise to add more than a hundred new housing options and a long-needed boutique hotel without squashing historical charms.
Estimated city population: 32,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 27 miles
Secret sauce: A pioneer in downtown open-container districts—and the development of city center greenspaces
Round 1: Duluth showed Stone Mountain the exit with 57 percent of almost 800 votes
Built around an important railroad route (and named for the Minnesota city where those tracks led), Duluth in this century was an early adopter of suburban downtown regeneration/creation efforts—all anchored by a versatile, centerpiece greenspace with an amphitheater and splash pad. Today the growing slate of attractions in Gwinnett County's second-largest city includes the Red Clay Music Foundry (from Eddie Owens of Decatur’s Eddie’s Attic fame), Good Word Brewing and Public House, and former intown favorite O4W Pizza. Duluth is also known for making good use of its downtown, with festivals and events for virtually every season.
(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated, and congrats to Duluth, which advances to the 2023 FINAL FOUR round!)