In the spirit of March Madness, Urbanize’s first-annual Best OTP Downtown tournament is kicking off with 16 contenders vying for the prestige of being called the metro’s greatest. (Note: Seeding from 1 to 16 was determined by reader nominations this month, so no pitchforks, please.)

For each Round 1 contest, voting will be open for just 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one OTP city center rises above the rest in very public fashion. The eliminations begin now!




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.   




Estimated city population: 56,000

Distance from downtown Atlanta: 13 miles

Secret sauce: Relatively easy bike-ability (or even walkability) to The Battery Atlanta’s mixed-use utopia, via the M2R Trail  

The closest contestant to the home of the Atlanta Braves, who play about three miles to the east, the Jonquil City’s master-planned downtown expansion remains a work-in-progress at the moment, but that doesn’t mean aspects (hello, Atkins Park’s sister location and that central park for pop-up markets) aren’t sweet today. An interactive greenspace is under construction, and all signs point to Suwanee’s StillFire Brewing opening an outpost along the park in the future. Back in 2018, Smyrna cracked Money magazine’s top 50 for "The Best Places to Live in America.” Bonus points (smile emoji) for being almost ITP.

(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated, and congrats to Marietta, which advances to the 2023 Elite Eight round.)