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Best Of Atlanta 2009 Cityscape Large


Cityscape

Best down-to-Earth place in Atlanta

Little Five Points
Intown Atlanta’s renaissance was a welcome change, but it posed a conundrum for some neighborhoods: As newcomers settled in, the urban villages began the slow brewing process of finding their identity. Thank God that LITTLE FIVE POINTS doesn’t care if it has a cohesive one. Though best known as themore...
Intown Atlanta’s renaissance was a welcome change, but it posed a conundrum for some neighborhoods: As newcomers settled in, the urban villages began the slow brewing process of finding their identity. Thank God that LITTLE FIVE POINTS doesn’t care if it has a cohesive one. Though best known as the go-to ’hood for music, brews and tattoos, it’s also one of the most homegrown hamlets in Atlanta: Next to Virginia-Highland, no other intown neighborhood offers more independent businesses (community-owned credit union, anyone?). Through white flight and gentrification, L5P has been a welcome reprieve from the plastic Buckhead and the quick-built Atlantic Station. You can nurse (or pound) a beer at Corner Tavern or the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, or you can stop by for an impromptu concert at Criminal Records. Undeniably, home prices have gone up, but the well-inked and laissez-faire vibe remains the same. Euclid and Moreland avenues. www.l5p.com. less...

Best muckraker in lean media times

Jim Walls
The prediction is that online “citizen journalists” will one day replace daily newspapers. There could be something to that if there were more free-range Internet scribes like JIM WALLS, the admitted “ink-stained wretch” behind Atlanta Unfiltered. Having overseen themore...
The prediction is that online “citizen journalists” will one day replace daily newspapers. There could be something to that if there were more free-range Internet scribes like JIM WALLS, the admitted “ink-stained wretch” behind Atlanta Unfiltered. Having overseen the AJC’s investigative reporting unit for 12 years until taking a buyout in 2008, Walls is the master of the public records search. Since launching his site in late March, he’s beaten his old employer on several news stories, including the messy firing of DeKalb Police Chief Terrell Bolton; an illegal attempt by the state Public Service Commission to switch chairmen; and a costly legal malpractice decision against a DeKalb state lawmaker. We’re not sure how Walls makes a living, but having a guy like him on the beat is a benefit to us all. www.atlantaunfiltered.com. less...

Best person you love to hate

John Oxendine
We all knew he had goofy hair and was a terrible driver. But until JOHN OXENDINE began running for governor, we didn’t realize just what kind of Christian conservative whack-job our state insurance commissioner seems to be. Since he launched his campaign, Oxendine has publicly opposed Sundaymore...
We all knew he had goofy hair and was a terrible driver. But until JOHN OXENDINE began running for governor, we didn’t realize just what kind of Christian conservative whack-job our state insurance commissioner seems to be. Since he launched his campaign, Oxendine has publicly opposed Sunday alcohol sales; proposed that MARTA be privatized; made a video in which he promises to run Planned Parenthood out of business; advocated Georgia’s secession from the United States; and plumbed new depths of banality through Twitter. Favorite Ox tweet: “We finished the nursery for baby Jake. The room is Confederate Gray. Reminds me of why I am running.” Were they out of Antebellum Apricot at Pottery Barn Kids? Anyway, with each fresh lunacy, the Ox has become the most entertaining Georgia political figure since former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones, and is certain to keep us smiling — until we actually have to go to the polls. www.johnoxendine.com. less...

Best private-school education for public-school cost

Henry W. Grady High School Henry W. Grady High School
It’s no surprise why Atlanta parents are always angling to send their child to HENRY W. GRADY HIGH SCHOOL in Midtown. Named after the pioneering Atlanta Constitution editor who urged progress through cooperation after the Civil War, Grady High School prides itself on diversity, educational offeringsmore...
It’s no surprise why Atlanta parents are always angling to send their child to HENRY W. GRADY HIGH SCHOOL in Midtown. Named after the pioneering Atlanta Constitution editor who urged progress through cooperation after the Civil War, Grady High School prides itself on diversity, educational offerings and a faculty so beloved you’d think parents wanted to adopt the teachers as well. More than 62 percent of its student body is African-American, and 91 of the last school year’s 234 graduates came from economically disadvantaged homes. Its well-regarded magnet program hammers the importance and power of communications and journalism, and a health science career academy introduces students to a promising field. And while disparities do exist among students’ testing scores, this intown gem is a public-education standout that believes in giving the city’s children the tools they need. srt5.atlantapublicschools.us/grady/site/default.asp. less...

Best slice of prime-time schadenfreude

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta”
Say what you will about Bravo’s “THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA” — they’ve kept the city (or more specifically, Duluth) in the national media spotlight. The housewives — former Xscape singer Kandi Burruss, obligatory-wife-of-an-athlete Lisa Wu Hartwell, socialite NeNe Leakes,more...
Say what you will about Bravo’s “THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA” — they’ve kept the city (or more specifically, Duluth) in the national media spotlight. The housewives — former Xscape singer Kandi Burruss, obligatory-wife-of-an-athlete Lisa Wu Hartwell, socialite NeNe Leakes, divorcee and would-be designer Sheree Whitfield, and “country singer”/wig lover Kim Zolciak — ferry themselves to parties, charity events and restaurants while offering up varying degrees of fabulosity, vanity and over-the-top interpersonal relations. (Burruss, a new addition to the cast and a Grammy-winning songwriter who co-wrote “No Scrubs” for TLC, seems egregiously grounded. Here’s hoping she catfights someone in a fountain by season’s end.) The franchise is founded on two principles: Shiny things are better when they’re expensive, and oblivious people make wonderful television. www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-atlanta. less...

Filthy Pick: Best way to explore the city without spending a dime

Bike culture
Atlanta has always been known as a car-centric city. And with its endless hills, dangerous intersections and crazy drivers, it’s never been a particularly hospitable place for cyclists. Yet, despite all hindrances, BIKE CULTURE persists and even thrives here. And it’s not simply spandex-cladmore...
Atlanta has always been known as a car-centric city. And with its endless hills, dangerous intersections and crazy drivers, it’s never been a particularly hospitable place for cyclists. Yet, despite all hindrances, BIKE CULTURE persists and even thrives here. And it’s not simply spandex-clad racers or gear-headed mountain bikers taking to the streets. The current two-wheel craze has become a low-tech, egalitarian social movement that embraces all kinds of bikes — three-speeds, fixies, cruisers, road bikes, junkers — for the purpose of riding for recreation and basic transportation. Neighborhood rides have become commonplace all across the city, most notably the monthly Critical Mass gatherings, in which sometimes hundreds of riders take over the streets of downtown Atlanta. Because that’s how we roll. less...

Rich Pick: Best place to commune with nature

Sweetwater Creek State Park
The most beautiful — and predictably, the most tourist-heavy — of the local parks, SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK is still best experienced by leaving aside the official trails and activities. With nine miles of hiking, it isn’t hard to set your own path. For the athletic, the creekmore...
The most beautiful — and predictably, the most tourist-heavy — of the local parks, SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK is still best experienced by leaving aside the official trails and activities. With nine miles of hiking, it isn’t hard to set your own path. For the athletic, the creek — especially post-rainfall — makes for an excellent kayaking run. For a more peaceful Sweetwater experience, there’s usually ducks to feed along the reservoir, not to mention multiple docks for fishing. And while not technically a part of nature, the New Manchester Manufacturing Co., a textile mill burned during the Civil War, connects the site to the area’s conflicted history and provides an imposing spot to take photos, have a picnic, or use as a landmark during treks. 1750 Mt. Vernon Road, Lithia Springs. 770-732-5871. www.gastateparks.org/info/sweetwater. less...

Best answer to Atlanta’s problems that’s still decades away

Beltline
Regular CL readers know that we love us some BELTLINE. It’s always Beltline this, Beltline that, Beltline cure for cancer, etc. There’s just one hitch: It doesn’t exactly exist yet — and won’t for years to come. The city recently inked some land deals in themore...
Regular CL readers know that we love us some BELTLINE. It’s always Beltline this, Beltline that, Beltline cure for cancer, etc. There’s just one hitch: It doesn’t exactly exist yet — and won’t for years to come. The city recently inked some land deals in the southwest quadrant, but half the Beltline property has yet to be acquired and some of it is still being used for freight traffic. City poobahs say the Beltline will have full-on light-rail transit, but many skeptics believe it simply will be a greenway and bike path. And the financing proposals are more than a little shaky. So, what’s the Beltline ever done for us? Well, it gives us something to hope for and dream about — it gives us a reason to believe that, someday, Atlanta will be a better place.www.beltline.org. less...

Best local blog

Decatur Metro
Frustrated that metro Atlanta’s most walkable burg didn’t have its own daily news source, the quasi-anonymous resident behind DECATUR METRO decided to take matters into his own hands. Little did he know that his first post in September 2007 would give birth to the city’s most prolific news source.more...
Frustrated that metro Atlanta’s most walkable burg didn’t have its own daily news source, the quasi-anonymous resident behind DECATUR METRO decided to take matters into his own hands. Little did he know that his first post in September 2007 would give birth to the city’s most prolific news source. Half community newsletter, half sounding board for city issues, Decatur Metro is hyperlocal to the core. Daily posts — which are really closer to conversations — have probed the enigmatic aroma that wafts through Your DeKalb Farmers Market, protested the strange garbage juice leaking from a downtown Dumpster, and even veered into coverage about the city’s school system and annexation proposals. The site has become such a destination that even city officials chime in on discussions and answer questions. For his nose for news, clever writing, and creating a needed community, we raise a glass of the Brick Store’s finest. www.decaturmetro.com. less...

Best local political figure

Kwanza Hall
Local elected officials — especially in Georgia — usually have to push a resolution proclaiming President Obama the Antichrist if they want to get their constituents’ attention. So give credit to ATLANTA CITY COUNCILMAN KWANZA HALL for reaching out, many times via his Blackberry.more...
Local elected officials — especially in Georgia — usually have to push a resolution proclaiming President Obama the Antichrist if they want to get their constituents’ attention. So give credit to ATLANTA CITY COUNCILMAN KWANZA HALL for reaching out, many times via his Blackberry. Thanks to an ability seemingly to be several places at once — due partly to his 140-character missives to the Twitterverse — the business development director has managed to achieve the unachievable: actually get residents in his district to care and become more engaged. The first-term councilman’s been a tireless advocate for his historic and gentrifying district, which includes Poncey-Highland, Auburn Avenue and the eastern edge of Cabbagetown. And as a member of City Council’s finance and executive committee, he’s on the team that’s set to unravel Atlanta’s messy budget situation. It’s no wonder that Hall, whom city political observers say is destined for higher office, is running unopposed for a second term. apps.atlantaga.gov/citycouncil/bios/2.htm. less...

Best posterchild for grassroots show of community

Kyle Keyser
On Dec. 17, 2008, L5P resident KYLE KEYSER was lying face down in a North Avenue Pizza Hut parking lot, a gun aimed at his head. While picking up takeout as a favor for a friend, he found himself the victim of a mugging. Thanks to chance, the video producer’s life was spared. But Keyser didn’tmore...
On Dec. 17, 2008, L5P resident KYLE KEYSER was lying face down in a North Avenue Pizza Hut parking lot, a gun aimed at his head. While picking up takeout as a favor for a friend, he found himself the victim of a mugging. Thanks to chance, the video producer’s life was spared. But Keyser didn’t sit on his hands, and after the January 2009 murder of bartender John Henderson, he and a few friends launched Atlantans Together Against Crime, a nonprofit citizens’ group that quickly attracted more than 6,700 members on Facebook and became the loudest voice to raise awareness about the city’s public safety problem. On Sept. 2, he announced his candidacy for Atlanta mayor. Whether brandishing a bullhorn at monthly rallies around the city or posing questions to the Atlanta Police Department’s top brass at press conferences, Keyser’s been the voice that the city too busy to act sorely needed. <a href=”http://”www.atlantanstogether.org”>www.atlantanstogether.org, www.kyle.tv. less...

Best pretentious place in metro Atlanta

Serenbe
Eco-conscious baby products. Free-range fried chicken with locally grown, organic veggies. Rows of pristine townhomes built to EarthCraft specifications. Environmentally sustainable sewers. For some, a visit to SERENBE could be a PC nightmare, with no convenience store or burger joint in sight. But atmore...
Eco-conscious baby products. Free-range fried chicken with locally grown, organic veggies. Rows of pristine townhomes built to EarthCraft specifications. Environmentally sustainable sewers. For some, a visit to SERENBE could be a PC nightmare, with no convenience store or burger joint in sight. But at its best, Serenbe is a meticulously planned, beautifully realized vision of a small-town community within an idyllic rural setting. Most small towns, however, can’t boast two regional destination restaurants; a well-appointed country inn; a thriving organic farm; miles of peaceful walking trails; a collection of upscale boutiques and galleries; and a nonprofit cultural institute that sponsors artists in residence, lectures, monthly film screenings and performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. That Serenbe is basically in the middle of nowhere, 40 minutes from downtown, only adds to its showy allure. www.serenbe.com. less...

Best underrated local athlete

Ilya Kovalchuk
Since being drafted first overall in 2001, hockey player ILYA KOVALCHUK has put together the longest sustained run of excellenceξ — 38 or more goals every season since 2002, exceeding 50 goals twice — by an Atlanta athlete since Greg Maddux and Dominique Wilkins were in their prime.more...
Since being drafted first overall in 2001, hockey player ILYA KOVALCHUK has put together the longest sustained run of excellenceξ — 38 or more goals every season since 2002, exceeding 50 goals twice — by an Atlanta athlete since Greg Maddux and Dominique Wilkins were in their prime. Overshadowed or forced to share the spotlight at various points in his career with superstars Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa, Kovalchuk put together arguably his most impressive campaign last season when he was the team’s sole source of offensive firepower, scoring 43 goals and netting a total of 91 points — the second-highest total of his career. Kovalchuk’s sustained level of dominance in his sport place him on a tier far above any other current local athlete, including Braves all-star Brian McCann and Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan. Keep your fingers crossed, though — 2009 was the last year in his contract and it’s unknown if he’ll renew with the team. thrashers.nhl.com. less...

Best ’hood to find treasure among someone else’s castoffs

Virginia-Highland
In these hard times, yard sales are a great way to inexpensively furnish your house, find a new bike, build your record library or simply get a bunch of cool crap. You’ll see yard sales all over town, but VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND is nearly always worth the drive. It’s got a wonderfully broadmore...
In these hard times, yard sales are a great way to inexpensively furnish your house, find a new bike, build your record library or simply get a bunch of cool crap. You’ll see yard sales all over town, but VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND is nearly always worth the drive. It’s got a wonderfully broad range of demographics: a good mix of upscale houses and itinerant apartment-dwellers; a dynamic blend of young hipsters and estate-sale seniors; acquisitive newcomers and eccentric old-timers. Best of all, on a good weekend, it has the highest yard-sale occurrence per capita of any place in Atlanta, so you won’t waste half your time in the car. less...

Best off-the-beaten-path tourist destination

Your DeKalb Farmers Market Your DeKalb Farmers Market
Since 1977, YOUR DEKALB FARMERS MARKET has been offering everything from heirloom tomatoes to durians, barracuda to buffalo in its bustling ailes and well-stocked display cases. The noticeably quirky outpost — Check your bags! No right turns! — is a go-to spot for drop-ins hankeringmore...
Since 1977, YOUR DEKALB FARMERS MARKET has been offering everything from heirloom tomatoes to durians, barracuda to buffalo in its bustling ailes and well-stocked display cases. The noticeably quirky outpost — Check your bags! No right turns! — is a go-to spot for drop-ins hankering for a quick lunch fix or gourmands searching for quality ingredients. If your out-of-towner is fascinated by the inner workings of a farmer’s market, you can schedule a tour. If they’re enamored by helping the environment, the onsite recycling center — with compost how-tos at its entrance — will make their green heart flutter. 3000 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-377-6400. www.dekalbfarmersmarket.com. less...

Best overall neighborhood

Decatur
Ah, DECATUR. The apple of an urban planner’s eye. The most family-friendly of locales that doesn’t involve sitting in traffic on I-75. Homeowners there weren’t as hard hit by the recent economic tsunami, the schools are considered top-notch, and a well-staffed police force keeps tabs onmore...
Ah, DECATUR. The apple of an urban planner’s eye. The most family-friendly of locales that doesn’t involve sitting in traffic on I-75. Homeowners there weren’t as hard hit by the recent economic tsunami, the schools are considered top-notch, and a well-staffed police force keeps tabs on goings on in its neighborhoods. City officials’ plans to make a pedestrian-friendly square and downtown area have noticeably paid off, allowing residents and visitors to follow fare at such standout restaurants as Watershed and Cakes and & Ale, with choice drinks nearby at Brick Store Pub and the Grange. Can’t drive home? Take MARTA, which has a stop below the square. Summer brings a seemingly endless array of public events to entertain the city’s estimated 29,000 residents, including the nationally known book festival that’s attracted such talents as Rick Bragg and Salman Rushdie. And while the urban ’burb might catch flak from hardened intowners for its sometimes stroller mentality, it’s still the kind of place you’d secretly like to call home. Decatur, you marvelous son of a bitch, you win again. www.decaturga.com. less...

Best overall radio station

WRAS-FM (88.5)
All the hallmarks of college radio are there: Songs you’ve never heard but want to hear again, monotone DJs, and ubiquitous public-service announcements. And thankfully, WRAS-FM (88.5), “the Student Voice of Georgia State University,” is bringing it free of charge to Atlantans. Such specialtymore...
All the hallmarks of college radio are there: Songs you’ve never heard but want to hear again, monotone DJs, and ubiquitous public-service announcements. And thankfully, WRAS-FM (88.5), “the Student Voice of Georgia State University,” is bringing it free of charge to Atlantans. Such specialty shows as “Dot Dash,” “Houseworks,” “Martinis Con Queso,” “Mighty Aphrodite,” “The Blue Note” and “Soul Kitchen” play all of the post-punk, house, lounge, new wave, jazz and everything else you won’t hear on big-money mainstream stations. And if the trusty Shazam on ye olde iPhone doesn’t recognize the eclectic array of musical selections emanating from your speakers, the spry, young DJs have been known to rehash their setlists via e-mail or phone. 66 Courtland St., University Center, Room 280. 404-413-9727. www.gsu.edu/~www885. less...

Best person you hate to love

Shirley Franklin
Sure, she’s become prickly, thin-skinned and defensive in the last year or so, but you gotta say this about our mayor: SHIRLEY FRANKLIN keeps it real. Even when she’s gettin’ all Philly with the press, or community activists (or her online detractors, etc.), the little ladymore...
Sure, she’s become prickly, thin-skinned and defensive in the last year or so, but you gotta say this about our mayor: SHIRLEY FRANKLIN keeps it real. Even when she’s gettin’ all Philly with the press, or community activists (or her online detractors, etc.), the little lady with the big flower on her lapel always calls it like she sees it, unlike countless other politicians we could name. There’s something of an unvarnished air about her, a genuineness that keeps her down-to-earth and relatable — even when you don’t agree with what she’s saying. www.atlantaga.gov/Mayor. less...

Best street character

Prince Daweed
After noticing him for the last few years, you might think the seemingly ubiquitous PRINCE DAWEED is a bit … off. Sure, he’s a fabulous dancer. But what person in his right mind leaps, bounds, gyrates and grooves on such a drab dance floor as Atlanta’s smog-filled street corners?more...
After noticing him for the last few years, you might think the seemingly ubiquitous PRINCE DAWEED is a bit … off. Sure, he’s a fabulous dancer. But what person in his right mind leaps, bounds, gyrates and grooves on such a drab dance floor as Atlanta’s smog-filled street corners? We’ll tell you who: A person who’s at peace with himself, filled with joy, and just plain happy. Weird, huh? But honestly, it makes sense. You’d be in a perpetual good mood, too, if — as Daweed has confessed to CL — you spent all day getting pumped up on the Bee Gees, Hall and Oates, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Earth, Wind and Fire. less...

Best place to ride your bike

Silver Comet Trail

Runner-up
Freedom Park
1500 Clifton Terrace N.E., 404-817-6813, www.freedompark.org

Best posh preschool

Riverstone Montessori Academy

Runner-up
Paideia
1509 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-377-3491, www.paideiaschool.org

Best street character

Baton Bob

www.batonbob.com


Runner-up
Bicycle shorts man

Best tree to climb

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
Decatur Recreation Center
231 Sycamore St., Decatur, 404-377-0494, www.decaturga.com

Best affordable day care

Runner-up
Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, 678-812-4000, atlantajcc.org

Best bizarro local news story

Parking deck collapse

Runner-up
Bestiality with a dog

Best down-to-earth place in Atlanta

Decatur

www.decaturga.com


Runner-up
Little Five Points

Best jogging path

Freedom Parkway Trail

Runner-up
Silver Comet Trail
Lake Road and Mavell Road, 404-875-7284, www.pathfoundation.org

Best local athlete

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons

Runner-up
Chipper Jones

Best marching band

Seed and Feed Marching Abominable

Runner-up
Grady High School
929 Charles Allen Drive, 404-802-3001, www.gradyhighschool.org

Best morning drive-time show

“The Bert Show” on Q100 (99.7 WWWQ-FM) Q100

Runner-up
“Morning Edition” (90.1 WABE-FM)
www.pba.org/

Best neighborhood for nightlife

East Atlanta

eaca.net


Runner-up
Virginia-Highland
www.virginiahighland.com

Best people you hate to love

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta”

Runner-up
Neal Boortz

Best pretentious place in Atlanta

Buckhead

www.buckhead.org


Runner-up
Phipps Plaza
3500 Peachtree Road N.E., www.simon.com

Best uplifting local news story

Cabbagetown post-tornado

Runner-up
Jenn Hobby’s dog

Best country music radio station

Kicks 101.5 (WKHK-FM)

Runner-up
94.9 The Bull (WUBL-FM)
1819 Peachtree Road, Suite 700, 404-875-8080, www.bullatlanta.com

Best grassroots show of community

Atlantans Together Against Crime (ATAC)

Best jazz radio station

91.9 (WCLK-FM) WCLK-FM 91.9

Runner-up
107.5 (WJZZ-FM)
101 Marietta St., 404-765-9750, www.smoothjazzwjzz.com

Best local personality to follow on Twitter

Whynatte

twitter.com/whynatte


Runner-up
Neal Boortz
twitter.com/Talkmaster

Best local sports team

Atlanta Braves

braves.mlb.com


Runner-up
Atlanta Falcons
www.atlantafalcons.com

Best local TV, magazine or newspaper reporter

David O’ Brien, ajc.com

Runner-up
Richard Elliot, Channel 2/WSB-TV
www.wsbtv.com

Best mountain escape

Blue Ridge Mountains

Runner-up
Asheville, N.C.

Best neighborhood to live in

Decatur

Runner-up
Virginia-Highland
www.virginiahighland.com

Best new thing about Atlanta

Georgia Aquarium Georgia Aquarium

Runner-up
Beltline
www.beltline.org

Best overall radio station

88.5 (WRAS-FM)

www.gsu.edu/~www885


Runner-up
90.1 (WABE-FM)
740 Bismark Road N.E., 678-686-0321, www.pba.org

Best person you love to hate

Mayor Shirley Franklin

Runner-up
Cynthia McKinney

Best playground

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
John Howell Park
869 Virginia Ave. N.E., 404-817-6744, www.atlanta-midtown.com

Best radio DJ

Mara Davis, Dave FM 92.9 (WZGC-FM)

Runner-up
Bert Weiss on Q100 (99.7 WWWQ-FM)
780 Johnson Ferry Road N.E., 404-741-7100, www.q100atlanta.com

Best annual event

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

www.dogwood.org


Runner-up
Atlanta Pride Festival
atlantapride.org

Best building

Bank of America Plaza

Runner-up
The Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree St. N.E., 404-881-2100, www.foxtheatre.org

Best diverse school

Georgia State University Georgia State University

Runner-up
Paideia
1509 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-377-3491, www.paideiaschool.org

Best free thing to do in Atlanta

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
Screen on the Green
1071 Piedmont Ave. N.E., 404-875-7275, www.tcm.com

Best intown park

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
Grant Park
451 Cherokee Ave. S.E., 404-523-8900, grantpark.org

Best local celebrity

Jane Fonda

Runner-up
Elton John

Best local sports radio show host

Steak Shapiro, “Mayhem in the A.M.,” WQXI-AM (790)

Runner-up
Buck Belue

Best neighborhood festival

Inman Park Festival

www.inmanparkfestival.org


Runner-up
Virginia-Highland Summerfest
www.vahi.org

Best neighborhood for yard sales

Virginia-Highland

Runner-up
Candler Park

Best neighborhood to get a house for a steal

East Atlanta

Runner-up
Kirkwood

Best off-the-beaten-path tourist destination

Oakland Cemetery Oakland Cemetery

Runner-up
Little Five Points
www.l5p.com

Best place to people-watch

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Runner-up
Little Five Points
www.l5p.com

Best rock radio station

99X (97.9 WWWQ-FM) 99X (97.9 WWWQ-FM)

Runner-up
Dave FM 92.9 (WZGC-FM)
1201 Peachtree St., Suite 800, 404-741-0929, www.929dave.fm

Best suburb

Decatur

Runner-up
Dunwoody

Best underrated thing about Atlanta

Restaurants

Runner-up
Dance

Best local blog/blogger

Tessa Horehled, DriveAFasterCar.com

driveafastercar.com


Runner-up
Jennifer Zyman, BlissfulGlutton.com

Best local blogger

Jennifer Zyman

BlissfulGlutton.com


Runner-up
Tessa Horehled, DriveAFasterCar.com

Best local rabble-rouser

Neal Boortz

boortz.com


Runner-up
Cynthia McKinney

Best non-commercial radio station

90.1 (WABE-FM) WABE-FM (90.1)

Runner-up
88.5 (WRAS-FM)
66 Courtland St., University Center Room 280, 404-413-9727, www.wras.org

Best OTP park

Stone Mountain Stone Mountain Park

Runner-up
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Center
1978 Island Ford Parkway, 678-538-1200, www.nps.gov/chat

Best overall neighborhood

Virginia-Highland

Best overrated thing about Atlanta

Georgia Aquarium Georgia Aquarium

Runner-up
Atlantic Station
1380 Atlantic Drive N.W. # 14250, www.atlanticstation.com

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Best place to ride your bike

Silver Comet Trail

Runner-up
Freedom Park
1500 Clifton Terrace N.E., 404-817-6813, www.freedompark.org

Best posh preschool

Riverstone Montessori Academy

Runner-up
Paideia
1509 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-377-3491, www.paideiaschool.org

Best street character

Baton Bob

www.batonbob.com


Runner-up
Bicycle shorts man

Best tree to climb

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
Decatur Recreation Center
231 Sycamore St., Decatur, 404-377-0494, www.decaturga.com

Best affordable day care

Runner-up
Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody, 678-812-4000, atlantajcc.org

Best bizarro local news story

Parking deck collapse

Runner-up
Bestiality with a dog

Best down-to-Earth place in Atlanta

Little Five Points
Intown Atlanta’s renaissance was a welcome change, but it posed a conundrum for some neighborhoods: As newcomers settled in, the urban villages began the slow brewing process of finding their identity. Thank God that LITTLE FIVE POINTS doesn’t care if it has a cohesive one. Though best known as themore...
Intown Atlanta’s renaissance was a welcome change, but it posed a conundrum for some neighborhoods: As newcomers settled in, the urban villages began the slow brewing process of finding their identity. Thank God that LITTLE FIVE POINTS doesn’t care if it has a cohesive one. Though best known as the go-to ’hood for music, brews and tattoos, it’s also one of the most homegrown hamlets in Atlanta: Next to Virginia-Highland, no other intown neighborhood offers more independent businesses (community-owned credit union, anyone?). Through white flight and gentrification, L5P has been a welcome reprieve from the plastic Buckhead and the quick-built Atlantic Station. You can nurse (or pound) a beer at Corner Tavern or the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, or you can stop by for an impromptu concert at Criminal Records. Undeniably, home prices have gone up, but the well-inked and laissez-faire vibe remains the same. Euclid and Moreland avenues. www.l5p.com. less...

Best down-to-earth place in Atlanta

Decatur

www.decaturga.com


Runner-up
Little Five Points

Best jogging path

Freedom Parkway Trail

Runner-up
Silver Comet Trail
Lake Road and Mavell Road, 404-875-7284, www.pathfoundation.org

Best local athlete

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons

Runner-up
Chipper Jones

Best marching band

Seed and Feed Marching Abominable

Runner-up
Grady High School
929 Charles Allen Drive, 404-802-3001, www.gradyhighschool.org

Best morning drive-time show

“The Bert Show” on Q100 (99.7 WWWQ-FM) Q100

Runner-up
“Morning Edition” (90.1 WABE-FM)
www.pba.org/

Best muckraker in lean media times

Jim Walls
The prediction is that online “citizen journalists” will one day replace daily newspapers. There could be something to that if there were more free-range Internet scribes like JIM WALLS, the admitted “ink-stained wretch” behind Atlanta Unfiltered. Having overseen themore...
The prediction is that online “citizen journalists” will one day replace daily newspapers. There could be something to that if there were more free-range Internet scribes like JIM WALLS, the admitted “ink-stained wretch” behind Atlanta Unfiltered. Having overseen the AJC’s investigative reporting unit for 12 years until taking a buyout in 2008, Walls is the master of the public records search. Since launching his site in late March, he’s beaten his old employer on several news stories, including the messy firing of DeKalb Police Chief Terrell Bolton; an illegal attempt by the state Public Service Commission to switch chairmen; and a costly legal malpractice decision against a DeKalb state lawmaker. We’re not sure how Walls makes a living, but having a guy like him on the beat is a benefit to us all. www.atlantaunfiltered.com. less...

Best neighborhood for nightlife

East Atlanta

eaca.net


Runner-up
Virginia-Highland
www.virginiahighland.com

Best people you hate to love

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta”

Runner-up
Neal Boortz

Best person you love to hate

John Oxendine
We all knew he had goofy hair and was a terrible driver. But until JOHN OXENDINE began running for governor, we didn’t realize just what kind of Christian conservative whack-job our state insurance commissioner seems to be. Since he launched his campaign, Oxendine has publicly opposed Sundaymore...
We all knew he had goofy hair and was a terrible driver. But until JOHN OXENDINE began running for governor, we didn’t realize just what kind of Christian conservative whack-job our state insurance commissioner seems to be. Since he launched his campaign, Oxendine has publicly opposed Sunday alcohol sales; proposed that MARTA be privatized; made a video in which he promises to run Planned Parenthood out of business; advocated Georgia’s secession from the United States; and plumbed new depths of banality through Twitter. Favorite Ox tweet: “We finished the nursery for baby Jake. The room is Confederate Gray. Reminds me of why I am running.” Were they out of Antebellum Apricot at Pottery Barn Kids? Anyway, with each fresh lunacy, the Ox has become the most entertaining Georgia political figure since former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones, and is certain to keep us smiling — until we actually have to go to the polls. www.johnoxendine.com. less...

Best pretentious place in Atlanta

Buckhead

www.buckhead.org


Runner-up
Phipps Plaza
3500 Peachtree Road N.E., www.simon.com

Best private-school education for public-school cost

Henry W. Grady High School Henry W. Grady High School
It’s no surprise why Atlanta parents are always angling to send their child to HENRY W. GRADY HIGH SCHOOL in Midtown. Named after the pioneering Atlanta Constitution editor who urged progress through cooperation after the Civil War, Grady High School prides itself on diversity, educational offeringsmore...
It’s no surprise why Atlanta parents are always angling to send their child to HENRY W. GRADY HIGH SCHOOL in Midtown. Named after the pioneering Atlanta Constitution editor who urged progress through cooperation after the Civil War, Grady High School prides itself on diversity, educational offerings and a faculty so beloved you’d think parents wanted to adopt the teachers as well. More than 62 percent of its student body is African-American, and 91 of the last school year’s 234 graduates came from economically disadvantaged homes. Its well-regarded magnet program hammers the importance and power of communications and journalism, and a health science career academy introduces students to a promising field. And while disparities do exist among students’ testing scores, this intown gem is a public-education standout that believes in giving the city’s children the tools they need. srt5.atlantapublicschools.us/grady/site/default.asp. less...

Best slice of prime-time schadenfreude

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta”
Say what you will about Bravo’s “THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA” — they’ve kept the city (or more specifically, Duluth) in the national media spotlight. The housewives — former Xscape singer Kandi Burruss, obligatory-wife-of-an-athlete Lisa Wu Hartwell, socialite NeNe Leakes,more...
Say what you will about Bravo’s “THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA” — they’ve kept the city (or more specifically, Duluth) in the national media spotlight. The housewives — former Xscape singer Kandi Burruss, obligatory-wife-of-an-athlete Lisa Wu Hartwell, socialite NeNe Leakes, divorcee and would-be designer Sheree Whitfield, and “country singer”/wig lover Kim Zolciak — ferry themselves to parties, charity events and restaurants while offering up varying degrees of fabulosity, vanity and over-the-top interpersonal relations. (Burruss, a new addition to the cast and a Grammy-winning songwriter who co-wrote “No Scrubs” for TLC, seems egregiously grounded. Here’s hoping she catfights someone in a fountain by season’s end.) The franchise is founded on two principles: Shiny things are better when they’re expensive, and oblivious people make wonderful television. www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-atlanta. less...

Best uplifting local news story

Cabbagetown post-tornado

Runner-up
Jenn Hobby’s dog

Filthy Pick: Best way to explore the city without spending a dime

Bike culture
Atlanta has always been known as a car-centric city. And with its endless hills, dangerous intersections and crazy drivers, it’s never been a particularly hospitable place for cyclists. Yet, despite all hindrances, BIKE CULTURE persists and even thrives here. And it’s not simply spandex-cladmore...
Atlanta has always been known as a car-centric city. And with its endless hills, dangerous intersections and crazy drivers, it’s never been a particularly hospitable place for cyclists. Yet, despite all hindrances, BIKE CULTURE persists and even thrives here. And it’s not simply spandex-clad racers or gear-headed mountain bikers taking to the streets. The current two-wheel craze has become a low-tech, egalitarian social movement that embraces all kinds of bikes — three-speeds, fixies, cruisers, road bikes, junkers — for the purpose of riding for recreation and basic transportation. Neighborhood rides have become commonplace all across the city, most notably the monthly Critical Mass gatherings, in which sometimes hundreds of riders take over the streets of downtown Atlanta. Because that’s how we roll. less...

Rich Pick: Best place to commune with nature

Sweetwater Creek State Park
The most beautiful — and predictably, the most tourist-heavy — of the local parks, SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK is still best experienced by leaving aside the official trails and activities. With nine miles of hiking, it isn’t hard to set your own path. For the athletic, the creekmore...
The most beautiful — and predictably, the most tourist-heavy — of the local parks, SWEETWATER CREEK STATE PARK is still best experienced by leaving aside the official trails and activities. With nine miles of hiking, it isn’t hard to set your own path. For the athletic, the creek — especially post-rainfall — makes for an excellent kayaking run. For a more peaceful Sweetwater experience, there’s usually ducks to feed along the reservoir, not to mention multiple docks for fishing. And while not technically a part of nature, the New Manchester Manufacturing Co., a textile mill burned during the Civil War, connects the site to the area’s conflicted history and provides an imposing spot to take photos, have a picnic, or use as a landmark during treks. 1750 Mt. Vernon Road, Lithia Springs. 770-732-5871. www.gastateparks.org/info/sweetwater. less...

Best answer to Atlanta’s problems that’s still decades away

Beltline
Regular CL readers know that we love us some BELTLINE. It’s always Beltline this, Beltline that, Beltline cure for cancer, etc. There’s just one hitch: It doesn’t exactly exist yet — and won’t for years to come. The city recently inked some land deals in themore...
Regular CL readers know that we love us some BELTLINE. It’s always Beltline this, Beltline that, Beltline cure for cancer, etc. There’s just one hitch: It doesn’t exactly exist yet — and won’t for years to come. The city recently inked some land deals in the southwest quadrant, but half the Beltline property has yet to be acquired and some of it is still being used for freight traffic. City poobahs say the Beltline will have full-on light-rail transit, but many skeptics believe it simply will be a greenway and bike path. And the financing proposals are more than a little shaky. So, what’s the Beltline ever done for us? Well, it gives us something to hope for and dream about — it gives us a reason to believe that, someday, Atlanta will be a better place.www.beltline.org. less...

Best country music radio station

Kicks 101.5 (WKHK-FM)

Runner-up
94.9 The Bull (WUBL-FM)
1819 Peachtree Road, Suite 700, 404-875-8080, www.bullatlanta.com

Best grassroots show of community

Atlantans Together Against Crime (ATAC)

Best jazz radio station

91.9 (WCLK-FM) WCLK-FM 91.9

Runner-up
107.5 (WJZZ-FM)
101 Marietta St., 404-765-9750, www.smoothjazzwjzz.com

Best local blog

Decatur Metro
Frustrated that metro Atlanta’s most walkable burg didn’t have its own daily news source, the quasi-anonymous resident behind DECATUR METRO decided to take matters into his own hands. Little did he know that his first post in September 2007 would give birth to the city’s most prolific news source.more...
Frustrated that metro Atlanta’s most walkable burg didn’t have its own daily news source, the quasi-anonymous resident behind DECATUR METRO decided to take matters into his own hands. Little did he know that his first post in September 2007 would give birth to the city’s most prolific news source. Half community newsletter, half sounding board for city issues, Decatur Metro is hyperlocal to the core. Daily posts — which are really closer to conversations — have probed the enigmatic aroma that wafts through Your DeKalb Farmers Market, protested the strange garbage juice leaking from a downtown Dumpster, and even veered into coverage about the city’s school system and annexation proposals. The site has become such a destination that even city officials chime in on discussions and answer questions. For his nose for news, clever writing, and creating a needed community, we raise a glass of the Brick Store’s finest. www.decaturmetro.com. less...

Best local personality to follow on Twitter

Whynatte

twitter.com/whynatte


Runner-up
Neal Boortz
twitter.com/Talkmaster

Best local political figure

Kwanza Hall
Local elected officials — especially in Georgia — usually have to push a resolution proclaiming President Obama the Antichrist if they want to get their constituents’ attention. So give credit to ATLANTA CITY COUNCILMAN KWANZA HALL for reaching out, many times via his Blackberry.more...
Local elected officials — especially in Georgia — usually have to push a resolution proclaiming President Obama the Antichrist if they want to get their constituents’ attention. So give credit to ATLANTA CITY COUNCILMAN KWANZA HALL for reaching out, many times via his Blackberry. Thanks to an ability seemingly to be several places at once — due partly to his 140-character missives to the Twitterverse — the business development director has managed to achieve the unachievable: actually get residents in his district to care and become more engaged. The first-term councilman’s been a tireless advocate for his historic and gentrifying district, which includes Poncey-Highland, Auburn Avenue and the eastern edge of Cabbagetown. And as a member of City Council’s finance and executive committee, he’s on the team that’s set to unravel Atlanta’s messy budget situation. It’s no wonder that Hall, whom city political observers say is destined for higher office, is running unopposed for a second term. apps.atlantaga.gov/citycouncil/bios/2.htm. less...

Best local sports team

Atlanta Braves

braves.mlb.com


Runner-up
Atlanta Falcons
www.atlantafalcons.com

Best local TV, magazine or newspaper reporter

David O’ Brien, ajc.com

Runner-up
Richard Elliot, Channel 2/WSB-TV
www.wsbtv.com

Best mountain escape

Blue Ridge Mountains

Runner-up
Asheville, N.C.

Best neighborhood to live in

Decatur

Runner-up
Virginia-Highland
www.virginiahighland.com

Best new thing about Atlanta

Georgia Aquarium Georgia Aquarium

Runner-up
Beltline
www.beltline.org

Best overall radio station

88.5 (WRAS-FM)

www.gsu.edu/~www885


Runner-up
90.1 (WABE-FM)
740 Bismark Road N.E., 678-686-0321, www.pba.org

Best person you love to hate

Mayor Shirley Franklin

Runner-up
Cynthia McKinney

Best playground

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
John Howell Park
869 Virginia Ave. N.E., 404-817-6744, www.atlanta-midtown.com

Best radio DJ

Mara Davis, Dave FM 92.9 (WZGC-FM)

Runner-up
Bert Weiss on Q100 (99.7 WWWQ-FM)
780 Johnson Ferry Road N.E., 404-741-7100, www.q100atlanta.com

Best annual event

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

www.dogwood.org


Runner-up
Atlanta Pride Festival
atlantapride.org

Best building

Bank of America Plaza

Runner-up
The Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree St. N.E., 404-881-2100, www.foxtheatre.org

Best diverse school

Georgia State University Georgia State University

Runner-up
Paideia
1509 Ponce de Leon Ave., 404-377-3491, www.paideiaschool.org

Best free thing to do in Atlanta

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
Screen on the Green
1071 Piedmont Ave. N.E., 404-875-7275, www.tcm.com

Best intown park

Piedmont Park Piedmont Park

Runner-up
Grant Park
451 Cherokee Ave. S.E., 404-523-8900, grantpark.org

Best local celebrity

Jane Fonda

Runner-up
Elton John

Best local sports radio show host

Steak Shapiro, “Mayhem in the A.M.,” WQXI-AM (790)

Runner-up
Buck Belue

Best neighborhood festival

Inman Park Festival

www.inmanparkfestival.org


Runner-up
Virginia-Highland Summerfest
www.vahi.org

Best neighborhood for yard sales

Virginia-Highland

Runner-up
Candler Park

Best neighborhood to get a house for a steal

East Atlanta

Runner-up
Kirkwood

Best off-the-beaten-path tourist destination

Oakland Cemetery Oakland Cemetery

Runner-up
Little Five Points
www.l5p.com

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