In the spirit of March Madness, Urbanize Atlanta’s first-annual Best OTP Downtown tournament kicked off this month with 16 places vying for the prestige of being called the metro’s greatest.
Now, for each FINAL FOUR contest, voting will be open for just 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun, positive, and fair, as one suburban city center rises above the rest in very public fashion. The quest to crown a champion resumes now!
Estimated city population: 66,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 25 miles
Secret sauce: 120-acre Wills Park is the crème de la crème of city greenspaces, with a large dog park, 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. But 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.
Estimated city population: 43,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 39 miles
Secret sauce: The Redneck Gourmet restaurant—approachable, affordable grub in a pretty old downtown setting, as once featured on CNN; noteworthy architecture galore
Tourney performance: Following two ejections from tourney play, the lone southside contestant, No. 12-seed Newnan, advanced to the Final Four as the third-leading vote-getter from its side of the bracket; in Round 1, Newnan narrowly lost to Woodstock by 148 votes
Do Southern courthouse squares get more picturesque? Newnan thinks not. Situated southwest of Atlanta, the county seat of Coweta County escaped Civil War torches and retains an impressive collection of antebellum architecture (though the city’s famed Classical Revival-style courthouse came later). Downtown counts an array of enticing dining options—and at least one seriously sweet loft-home conversion. Newnan’s population has nearly quadrupled since 1990, so it sounds like the secret’s out.
(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated, and congrats to ALPHARETTA, which advances to the 2023 FINALS!)
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