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: 17,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 19 miles
Secret sauce: Buford Highway, a culinary wonderland, is just around the corner
Unlike other Best OTP Downtown contenders that have sprung to life overnight, the historic commercial center of Norcross has been vibrant and pretty—some might say picturesque—for ages. Ever proud of its railroad roots (see: The Crossing Steakhouse in a converted depot), downtown Norcross does a stellar job of blending eclectic culinary offerings (Mojitos for Cuban, Zapata for Mexican, and Taste of Britain… self-explanatory) with historic preservation and greenspace (Lillian Webb Park literally makes a splash). Social Fox Brewing is a newer addition, and the future looks bright with the South End entertainment development making creative use of old buildings and an alley.
Estimated city population: 38,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 14 miles
Secret sauce: Drastically more affordable than DeKalb brethren Decatur, on the flipside of the Interstate 285 line
As another contestant located just outside the I-285 Perimeter loop (and thus eligible to play), Downtown Tucker has long been a destination for intown expats seeking more living space and budget-friendlier prices than much of what exists a few miles west. Buzz for Tucker’s restaurant scene has only enhanced the allure. Additions such as Ford’s BBQ and High Card Brewery (RIP, Hot Betty’s) have joined the ranks of stalwarts like Local No. 7 and stone-cold classic Mathews Cafeteria (dishing comfort food for almost 70 years). To burn off those calories, stroll down the finished portions of PATH Foundation’s multi-use downtown trail, which plans call for one day connecting to a reimagined Northlake Mall.
(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated, and congrats to Tucker, which advances to the 2023 Elite Eight round.)