What You Should Know About Decatur, Georgia
Once you’ve booked a place to stay, it’s time to poke around our home town. Part of the Atlanta metro area, Decatur sits off to the east, a short 20 minute drive from downtown. Even though it’s relatively close to the city, Decatur still maintains a small town feel with just under 22,000 residents.
Established in 1823 and named after naval war hero Stephen Decatur, the city started out as farm country, with mainly small to medium farms. Settlers from the Carolinas and even as far north as Virginia moved to Georgia to establish farms and homesteads
Shortly after its incorporation, Decatur saw its first railroad. While it brought goods and people to Decatur, it had an even bigger effect on Atlanta which soon became a regional transportation hub. Even back then, Decatur prided itself on the slower pace and less “city-like” atmosphere they offered. While the next 150 years saw the arrival of cars and other technology, Decatur remains Atlanta’s small, country hip cousin.
If you’re following along at home, you might know that there’s also a Decatur, IL. What you might not know is that there are more than 15 cities throughout the US named Decatur. And if this is your first visit, make sure you’re pronouncing Decatur correctly, too!
What Decatur’s Known For
There are plenty of things to see and do in Decatur. Here are the top 4 you should definitely check out when you visit:
The Decatur Historical Courthouse
Home to the records of Decatur’s past, you can search through genealogical docs and other archived info. The other part of the building that sees more use is their rental hall. Planning a wedding? The Knot.com’s users give it a 5 star rating!
Near the courthouse, you can grab dinner or a drink in Decatur Square. Choose from tons of options like sushi, a quick sandwich with the kids, or a pint of local beer, there’s something for everyone. Yelp reviewers give it five stars and one review on Trip Advisor calls it, “an underrated food and drink hot spot”.
Your Dekalb Farmers Market
No visit to Decatur is complete without checking out the Farmers Market. It’s the largest whole food market in Georgia, too. (Not Whole Foods, which is now owned by Amazon and will likely have drones bringing you apples some day.) If you’re staying in a place that has a kitchen you can use, I’d suggest grabbing some wild-caught fish from Trinidad or make a delicious snack from local fruits and cheeses.
Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve
Located on 28 acres in northeast Decatur, the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is home to lots of local wildlife. You can also see areas that represent Georgia’s full ecosystem, including wetlands and pine forests. Any time of the year you can see the birds, mammals – and yes, reptiles – that call Georgia home. If you prefer a more guided nature experience (instead just wandering around the woods, we all know how that movie ends), you can’t go wrong with the Nature Preserve.
Decatur hosts a number of fun things to do, especially in the summer. Is BBQ your thing (yes, please!)? Don’t miss the BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival every August or “Terrific Thursdays”, special shopping days throughout the year. If you’re visiting around the holidays, the city hosts the Decatur Tour of Homes, a guided tour to show off everything decorated in twinkling lights and animated Santas.
The Decatur Alpaca Cottage
Formerly known as The Atlanta Alpaca Cottage, it’s a short term rental nestled in small legacy farm known for the cute alpacas that roam around the beautiful gardens. Click here for more information.
Getting Around Decatur, Georgia
With its proximity to Atlanta, there are tons of transportation options if you didn’t bring your own car. The city’s served by 3 MARTA rail stations and can get you into Atlanta proper in under 40 minutes. If you’ve rented a bike (because you should, the area’s beautiful), you can even toss your bike on the MARTA. You’ll also find the usual selection of ridesharing, like Uber and Lyft, too.
While you’re still north of Florida, Georgia’s summers can be pretty warm. Record temps have hit 100+ in July. Combine that with serious humidity and it can be downright sauna-like in the summer. Winter is fairly mild which means we’re not really equipped for snow. More than six snowflakes can create a “snow week”, not just a snow day. Personally, I love spring and fall. Mild temperatures and the lovely foliage of a zillion trees (even in urban areas, we’re very serious about trees), make Decatur a picturesque place to visit.
Each area around Atlanta has its own vibe, from urban to progressive to laid-back small town. Decatur falls into those last two and is a pretty civic-minded place, too. They even hold Decatur 101 classes to help new residents get to know the town. How cool is that? The average age of a Decatur resident is 35 and nearly 50% have a college degree, which makes sense as Emory University is one of Decatur’s top employers. Young couples and families call Decatur home thanks to its great school system and low crime rate.
What To Eat & Drink In Decatur, GA
When you want to try a new restaurant/bar/insert retail establishment here, where do you look? Like 145 million DOES THIS NEED TO HAVE A LINK? of your closest friends (and me, too!), you probably head to Yelp. After almost fifteen years, there’s more than 121 million reviews posted. While not every business in every city is there, I feel like I have a fair chance of finding what I’m looking for. I love looking at the pictures of the tasty treats you can get, plus getting great info on the atmosphere. Can you can bring your pup along? Will the kids find food they like? All these questions (plus tons more) are usually answered on Yelp.
There is a huge variety of dining choices, especially near the downtown decatur hotels. From $ (inexpensive) to $$$ (pricey), you can find a little bit of everything.