Decatur is in the southeastern United States in the state of Georgia and DeKalb County. Decatur is located east of midtown Atlanta and west of Stone Mountain. This article focuses primarily on downtown Decatur, the most tourist friendly and safe area within the city, and the nearby Oakhurst business district. It also references the historic Druid Hills neighborhood to the west, Emory University to the northwest, the Indian community to the northeast, the historic planned community of Avondale Estates to the southeast and Atlanta's eclectic Candler Park/Lake Claire neighborhood to the southwest.
South view of the DeKalb County, Georgia, courthouse.
Decatur is the county seat of DeKalb County. This historic city was founded in 1823 - before neighboring Atlanta. It has beautiful homes, historic places of worship and several institutions of higher learning. Centered on the historic Decatur Courthouse, Decatur has become a hot destination for college students and young professionals who want hip bars, great restaurants, and walkable neighborhoods, as well as for families who are drawn to the excellent independent school district. In addition to the single-family homes in old neighborhoods surrounding the central business district, in recent years there have been several mid-rise condominium developments in the downtown area, breathing new life into the downtown community.
While it may appear to be a typical southern city, Decatur marches to the beat of a different drummer. It declined to become a railroad transportation hub for the southeast in the 19th Century, resulting in the founding of Atlanta to its west. Both delegates from DeKalb County voted against secession in 1861. Decatur is one of the few parts of the sprawling Atlanta area that blends a small-town feel with an open-minded, freewheeling, artsy sensibility.
Decatur remains notable for its diversity. Founded by Scotch/Irish/English immigrants, the city remains majority Caucasian, but there is also a substantial African-American population, a lesbian community and recent Ethiopian immigrants. North of the city is a Greek-American community, and northeast of the city (around Church St., Scott Blvd./Lawrenceville Hwy. and DeKalb Industrial Blvd.) is a thriving Indian community with restaurants and retail outlets.
Decatur is also notable for its location. Atlanta and Decatur are Georgia's only county seats inside the "Perimeter" interstate (I-285) that encircles the metro area. Atlanta is an international city with corporate headquarters, world class convention facilities and a fast pace, while Decatur has retained a small city feel and a slightly slower pace. Decatur is surrounded by the city of Atlanta on its south and west sides. It is closer to Atlanta's business, retail and cultural destinations than many Atlanta neighborhoods, and is easily mistaken for an intown neighborhood of Atlanta.
Decatur experiences hot and humid summers, with temperatures frequently above 90°F/32°C. It is close enough to the north Georgia mountains that the city is cooler than other parts of Georgia, but the "heat island effect" of metro Atlanta can cause the temperature inside the perimeter (ITP) to be higher than outlying areas (OTP). Shorts, short-sleeve shirts and sandals/flip-flops are commonly worn during the summer in non-work settings to stay cool. The best time to visit the city is in the spring and fall, when the temperature is very pleasant. A jacket is generally all that is required. During the summer and fall, the city is impacted by hurricanes from both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. However, the hurricanes are generally downgraded to tropical storms by the time they hit the metro area. Winters are comparatively mild; ice storms occasionally hit the city, but snowstorms are very rare. Check the forecast from NOAA , but visitors typically need no more than a heavy-weight, lined jacket in the winter (rather than a winter coat).
Clarke, Caroline McKinney. The Story of Decatur, 1823-1899, DeKalb Historical Society (1996).
Gay, Mary. Life in Dixie During the War, Mercer University Press (2001). A first person account of the Civil War in Georgia - including Decatur - by a Decatur resident living in the city during the war.
Mason, Herman, Jr. African-American Life in DeKalb County, GA, 1823-1970 (Images of America), Arcadia Publishing (1998).
Price, Vivian. Historic DeKalb County: An Illustrated History (Georgia Heritage Series), Historical Publishing Network (2007). A coffee table book covering 184 years of DeKalb County’s history.
Church Street entrance to the Decatur, Georgia, MARTA station
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (IATA: ATL), in neighboring Atlanta is the primary airport for commercial carriers. MARTA's Airport Station (S7) is at the airport, as are car rental companies, limousines and taxis. Decatur is accessible by MARTA rail service from the airport with one transfer at MARTA's Five Points Station.
DeKalb Peachtree Airport (IATA: PDK) , 2000 Airport Rd. (Clairmont Road), is the nearest airport for those arriving by chartered plane. MARTA bus service and taxis service this airport.
MARTA: Downtown Decatur is on the east-west Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) rail line to the Decatur Station (also called E6). The station is directly behind the Courthouse (under Decatur Square) and has two access points. Exit east (Church St.) for the pedestrian and taxi entrance to the station; exit west (Commerce) to transfer to MARTA buses. The city of Decatur includes two additional MARTA rail stations: East Lake (E5) and Avondale (E7). Avondale Station is located at the southern end of the Decatur Heights neighborhood, and not the City of Avondale Estates. During peak hours there is a 10 minutes train frequency, while normally the period between trains is every 15 minutes. It takes 13 minutes to the Five Points Station in the middle of Atlanta. There are connecting MARTA buses to neighborhoods within the city of Decatur, as well as north Decatur and south Decatur. NOTE: Bicycles are permitted on MARTA trains, but MARTA's website requests patrons not to board a full train.
Amtrak has a depot at 1688 Peachtree St. in Atlanta's Brookwood Hills neighborhood. Take a MARTA bus from the depot to Marta's Arts Center Station. (Brookwood Hills is upscale, comparatively safe area.)
Greyhound: Decatur no longer has an interstate bus terminal. The nearest Greyhound terminal is at 232 Forsyth St., Atlanta, +1 404 584-1731 or +1 800 231-2222. This terminal is located in a marginal area at the southern edge of downtown Atlanta. However, Greyhound patrons can access MARTA rail at the adjacent Garnett Station (S1), and travel to Decatur after transferring at MARTA's Five Points Station.
Decatur is accessible from Atlanta via Ponce de Leon Ave. (pronounced "Ponce d'Leon"), as well as the "Perimeter" interstate (I-285) via several exits. However, parking is limited in downtown Decatur.
Decatur is also accessible via the PATH walk/bike trail. The trail runs from Atlanta to Stone Mountain through the city of Decatur.
American "English" is the primary language spoken in Decatur. The "southern" dialect has historically been spoken - more specifically the "Georgia drawl" – but this has been diluted by the influx of new residents in recent decades. Buford Highway (north of Decatur) is linguistically the most diverse commercial district in the metro.
Schematic map of Decatur, GA.
Decatur is highly walkable, though visits to the Farmer's Market will require a private car, taxi or a ride on the MARTA bus that runs from Decatur Station toward Clarkston. MARTA buses leave from each of the three Decatur rail stations to various points in the county.
Taxis are available in Decatur - they include:
Decatur Best Taxi Service, +1 404 377-0340.
Decatur Yellow Cab, +1 404 371-0776.
DeKalb Taxi, +1 404 371-4535.
Car rental companies are located in Decatur, primarily near the auto dealers NE of the city. They include:
Enterprise, 2742 N Decatur Rd, +1 404 299-3245 or +1 800 261-7331 .
Enterprise, 1695 Church St, +1 404 294-1706 or +1 800 261-7331.
Hertz, 1486 Scott Blvd, +1 404 270-9812 or +1 800 654-3131 .
Decatur participates in Flexcar, a national program where environmentally-friendly cars are located throughout the downtown area that members may rent by the hour. If you are a member from one of the 16+ other participating cities, this may be an option. Decatur locations are on the municipal website. :
The Decatur Square plaza located above the MARTA station.
Your Dekalb Farmers Market, 3000 Ponce De Leon Ave., +1 404 377-6400, . A must see. A signficant tourist attraction in Atlanta, this international market first opened in 1986. It is 140,000 square feet, employs people from around the world (their name tags tell the languages they speak) and has nearly any type of meat, vegetable, fruit, spice, or otherwise edible item you could imagine. There is a cafeteria with low prices and international fare. Open 7 days a week.
DeKalb History Center, Decatur Courthouse, 101 East Court Square, maintains a small museum of DeKalb County history [. Step outside on the north side of the courthouse to view the "seated statues" and the south side to view the C.S.A. obelisk. Walk down to West Trinity Place to see the History Center's historic complex of three antebellum structures.
The Decatur Cemetery, on Commerce Drive about two blocks northeast of the square, is one of the oldest operating cemeteries in Georgia. Check out the Civil War graves (to your left at you enter), sit in the pleasant gazebo, or take a stroll around the lake. Look out for the ducks, which are aggressive. Also check out the circa 1880 Fraser Building, at the Church Street entrance to the cemetery.
The Fernbank Natural History Museum, 767 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, + 1 404 929-6300, , is located immediately west of the city. Also visit the museum's IMAX theatre, and hike through the adjacent 65-acre Fernbank Nature Preserve.
Emory University is located northwest of the city. Check out the excellent Michael C. Carlos Museum, 571 South Kilgo Cir., +1 404 727-4282 . Walk around the English Renaissance Lullwater House and nearby Candler Lake (formerly Lullwater Lake). The Lullwater House, located at 1463 Clifton Rd. on Emory's campus, is the official residence of Emory University's president and is not open to the public. However, the tree-lined loop road around the house is open to staff, students and escorted visitors.
Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., a private college for women, is located 3/4 mile south of Decatur Square. Agnes Scott frequently hosts lectures, concerts, and other cultural events. A walk around the beautiful campus, which was featured in Scream 2, is also a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Nearby Columbia Theological Seminary on Columbia Avenue also has a beautiful campus.
Bradley Observatory, 141 E. College Ave., (404) 471-6266, , Agnes Scott College. Visit the observatory (and planetarium) during one of their "Amature Astronomy" open houses.
MAK Historic District (McDonough, Adams, Kings Highway), Decatur's oldest historic district is located immediately west of Agnes Scott College. Some of the oldest homes (on Adams Street) were developed from 1905 to 1912. Television show October Road and Hollywood movie Stomp the Yard were filmed on location in the MAK Historic District.
The historic Druid Hills neighborhood is located west of the city. This upper-class enclave includes several mansions owned by the Candler family of Coca- Cola fame, historic churches, a picturesque country club and provided the setting for the movie Driving Miss Daisy.
The Atlanta Preservation Center, 327 Saint Paul Ave., Atlanta, +1 404 688-3353 , offers walking tours of the Druid Hills neighborhood.
Check out some of the historic mansions built by the Candler family. Visit the circa 1917 Callanwolde Fine Arts Center at 980 Briarcliff Rd.  (built by Charles Howard Candler); attend the circa 1916 St. John Chrysostom Melkite Church at 1428 Ponce de Leon Ave.  (built for Lucy Candler in the style of a Roman villa - the peristyle court is now the sanctuary); and drive by the circa 1920 Asa Candler Mansion at Emory's Briarcliff campus, 1256 Briarcliff Rd.
In addition to the tree-lined estate homes in this affluent neighborhood is historic Olmsted Linear Park. The park consists of 50 acres broken up into six segments along Ponce de Leon Ave. The neighborhood and park were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. in the 1890s. The park is being restored based on Olmsted's original plans.
Original Waffle House & Museum, 2719 East College Ave.[] Visit a re-creation of the first Waffle House, which opened in Avondale Estates in 1955. The museum includes a 13-stool diner, vintage equipment, displays of old uniforms, exhibits of memorabilia and a jukebox. Open by appointment during the week, with limited weekend hours.
The Decatur Square gazebo located south of the historic DeKalb County Courthouse. The gazebo is used for music-related events throughout the year.
Decatur events  and festivals are scheduled through-out the year. Phone +1 404 371-9583 for information.
AJC Decatur Book Festival - book sales, readings by authors (books and poetry), lectures and other activities. One of Decatur's major festivals - held in late summer each year, usually over Labor Day weekend, with venues all around downtown. Reported to be the largest book festival between Washington DC and Miami, typically drawing over 200 authors and 50,000 festival goers. 
Decatur Arts Festival - Annual event held for over 20 years over Memorial Day weekend in late spring by the Decatur Arts Alliance that has arts and crafts exhibits. Another of Decatur's major festivals - Ponce de Leon Avenue is closed for this event. 
Great Decatur Beer Tasting Festival - A maximum of 5,000 people may sample hundreds of local, national and international beers for a set admission fee on the downtown Square. Proceeds benefit community organizations - over $200,000 in grants have been distributed over the years. Held in October of each year, usually on the third Saturday. 
Beach Party - One of Decatur's major annual events - held in midsummer. Ponce de Leon Avenue is closed and tons of sand is dumped on it. Food and drink vendors, as well as a bandstand, supplement the building of sandcastles. Includes a children's play area.
Bar-B-Que, Blues and Bluegrass Festival - Another, somewhat smaller, festival held annually in late summer in the Oakhurst section of south Decatur. Features local blues and bluegrass as well as local food and drink. Proceeds benefit community organizations. 
Wine Tasting Festival - A maximum of 1,500 people may sample over a hundred wines from around the world. Held in downtown Decatur in late fall of each year, usually the first Saturday in November.
Listen to a hot local act at neighborhood institution Eddie's Attic,directly south of the square. Bands usually play an all-ages and an adults-only show. Eddie's Attic is located at 515 N. McDonough (on the second floor of the former Belk's Department Store).
Java Monkey, on Church Street directly east of the square, has live music or an open mic every night of the week. (Sit outside for the music.)
Maddy's Rib & Blues Joint - blues music at a good barbecue joint adjacent to Suburban Plaza on Scott Blvd. (Sit inside for the music.)
AMC North DeKalb Mall 16 Theatres, 2050 Lawrenceville Hwy., +1 404 816-4262 . The nearest indoor movie complex is one mile north of the city. The theatres are clean, but are in a struggling mall.
OnStage Atlanta, Suburban Plaza, 2597 North Decatur Rd., +1 404 897-1802 . 36 years old/Atlanta's 3rd longest running theatre.
PushPush Theater, East Decatur Station, 121 New St. (at College Ave.), +1 404 377-6332 . Known for pushing boundaries, this live theater has almost 300 events a year and hosts the "New Street Art House".
Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, +1 404 727-5050,. Emory University, multi-use performing arts center in a building was designed by Michael Graves.
Starlite Six Drive-In Theatre, 2000 Moreland Ave., +1 404 627-5786 . Modern, but retro-style drive-in theatre with good sound system - go west on Ponce de Leon Ave. & turn south on Moreland Ave.
Theatre Decatur, (formerly Neighborhood Playhouse), 430 West Trinity Place, +1 404 373-3904 . Local, live performances.
Galleries/arts & crafts
Alexia Gallery, 335 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 373-1969 . Jewelry and hand painted crafts.
By Hand South, 112 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 378-0118 . Contemporary American craft gallery. Recommended by Southern Living (9/2002).
Dalton Gallery, 141 E. College Ave., +1 404 471-5361 . Gallery at Agnes Scott College.
Mingei World Arts, 427 Church Street,+1 404-371-0101 . Antiques, folk art, jewelry, and fine craft from the world over.
Predicate Gallery, 121 Church St., +1 404 370-6050. Studio and meeting space.
Sycamore Place Gallery & Studios, 120 Sycamore Place, +1 404 377-7747. Twelve artist studios and gallery space.
The Seen Gallery, 415 Church Street, +1 404 377-0733 . Recently relocated to Downtown Decatur.
Bike/Run/Walk: The tree-lined streets can make for a great run or bike ride, but be advised that central and northern metro Atlanta has steep, hilly terrain. Also, while there are several nice bike paths, many routes are limited to very narrow sidewalks along very dangerous roads.
Decatur Walking Tours The city of Decatur and the Decatur Development Authority have six digital walking tours of the city - phone +1 404 371-8386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Printed brochures are available at the Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St., +1 404 377-0494; the Downtown Development Authority, +1 404 370-4100; and some local shops (i.e., One Step at a Time in Oakhurst).
Decatur Bike Tours The city of Decatur has three bike routes mapped out on their website.
Bicycle South, 2098 N. Decatur Rd. (at Clairmont Rd.), +1 404 636-4444,  has a webpage that lists area bike rides offered by Atlanta's Southern Bicycle League . Bicycle South does not rent bikes, but it sells and repairs bikes - a good resource if your need a repair during a visit.
REI, 1800 Northeast Expy (I-85 between Clairmont Rd. & North Druid Hills), +1 404 633-6508, . North Decatur location of the premier outdoor gear store for sports enthusiasts.
Candler Park Golf Course, 585 Candler Park Drive, +1 404 371-1260 . The closest 9-hole public golf course to Decatur.
The Charlie Yates Golf Course at East Lake, 2575 Alston Dr., +1 404 373-4655 , is a par 58, mid-length municipal course. The closest 18-hole public course to Decatur.
Suburban Lanes, 2919 North Decatur Rd. (lower level of Suburban Plaza), +1 404 373-2514 . Decatur's only bowling alley.
Tree Climbers International, 290 Arizona Ave., southwest of Decatur, +1 404 377-3150 . Offers tree climbing classes for those who love trees, as well as beginner group climbing events, including birthday parties and church, scouting, and school outings. Climb in the "Founder's Grove", where some of the trees have names!
Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave, is an independent national liberal arts college for women affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It has approximately 900 students, and is located south of downtown Decatur.
Art Institute of Atlanta - Decatur, 1 West Court Square (Decatur Square). The Art Institute of Atlanta (6600 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Sandy Springs) has opened a campus in downtown Decatur.
Columbia Theological Seminary, 701 S. Columbia Dr. Columbia is a seminary affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It is located south of downtown Decatur.
DeVry University, 1 West Court Square. Private, for-profit university with over 20 campuses nationwide that offer Associate's to Master's level courses in business administration and professional studies.
Emory University, 201 Dowman Dr., located northwest of downtown Decatur. Emory is one of America's top universities, and is home to nine major academic divisions. The University also includes a graduate school of arts and sciences; professional schools of medicine, theology, law, nursing, public health, and business. It was founded by the Methodist Church in 1836.
The city of Decatur does not have a shopping mall or a large retail shopping center. However, Decatur is not short on trendy boutiques. Most are located on or around Ponce de Leon.
Decatur may have more used bookstores than any other community in metro Atlanta. Bookstores selling new books are also listed.
Blue Elephant Book Shop, 2091 N Decatur Rd., +1 404 728-8955 . New books, large mystery section. Opened in 2008.
Books Again, 225 N. McDonough St., +1 404 377-1444, . Used & rare bookstore in downtown Decatur.
Book Nook, 3073 North Druid Hills Rd., +1 404 633-1343. Large used bookstore which also has comic books, rock-related literature, CD's, LP's, DVD's, VHS and cassettes. Book Nook first opened in 1973.
Eagle Eye Book Shop, 2076 North Decatur Rd., +1 404 486-0307, . Over 50,000 books.
Indie Coffee & Books. See listing below under coffee.
Little Shop of Stories, 133 East Court Square (next to Starbucks), +1 404 373-6300 . Specializing in children's books & gifts.
Wordsmiths Books, 545 N. McDonough St., +1 404 378-7166 . 3,000 sf bookstore with coffee shop. Located downtown.
Decatur has an eclectic mix of small clothing and accessory stores, from classic casual to artsy and eclectic.
Boogaloos, 246 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 373-3237. Men's and women's clothing store.
Carpe le Scarpe, 415 Church St., +1 404 373-1049. Functional but funky small shoe store.
Classy Fashion, 410-A Church St., +1 404 373-3937.
Dresscodes, 201 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. #117, +1 404 373-2894.
Eviva, 335-C W.Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 370-7606. Shoe boutique.
Fabutique, 335-D W. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 377-6363.
Kaleidoscope Boutique, 252 W Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 378-1214.
Lily Moon, 308 Ponce De Leon Pl., +1 404 373-9864. Part vintage and part new clothing store.
One Step at a Time, 652 East Lake Dr., +1 404 377-1030. Run/Walk shoe store.
Peggy's Boutique, 308 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 370-9888. Women's clothing.
Squash Blossom, 427 Church St., +1 404 373-1864. Women's clothing store featuring natural fibers.
WHIT'S END-A, 431 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. #2, +1 404 377-3310,  Casual Store for affordable men's clothing, gifts and accessories. Gifts, and accessories for everyone, some kids, and unisex clothing.
Decatur has pharmacies, jewelry stores and other retail establishments located throughout the city, but the following are notable:
Hoopla, 414 Church St., +1 404 371-9485. Fun stuff for kids.
Natural Body Spa and Shop, 225 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., +1 404 370-1330. Sells pleasantly-scented organic products, and gives massages.
Stella Bella ($$) 225 E Ponce de Leon Ave. Cosmetic boutique with custom-blended mineral cosmetic and bath and body treatments.
Malls & shopping centers
There are two small malls northeast of Decatur (North DeKalb and Northlake), but neither are tourist destinations. There is also a new urban shopping center (Edgewood Retail District) southwest of the city, and unique shops along Highland Avenue west of Decatur. The nearest upscale shopping malls are Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, which are close to the DeKalb County line in neighboring Atlanta (northwest of Decatur).
Highland Avenue, Virginia-Highlands (neighborhood), Atlanta. Highland Avenue has several small, unique, upscale retail shops (north of Ponce de Leon Ave. & south of Rock Springs) in a trendy, upscale residential neighborhood west of Decatur.
Moreland Avenue (south of Ponce de Leon Ave.): Check out funky Little Five Points (Moreland Ave. and Euclid Ave.), a retail and restaurant cluster known for tattoos and piercings. This counter-culture landmark is a throw-back to the 1960's with some vintage shops, and is comparatively safe.
Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree St. (at Lenox), Atlanta. Includes Macy*s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Crate & Barrel. MARTA's Lenox Station (N7).
Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree St. (at Lenox), Atlanta. Includes Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Barney's Co-op, Versace and AMC Theatres. MARTA's Lenox Station (N7).
The music shops in Decatur have a good selection of used and new albums and CD's.
Book Nook, 3073 North Druid Hills Rd., +1 404 633-1342. See other listing.
Decatur CD , 356 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 371-9090. Stocks alternative and rock music. Frequent in-store performances by musicians in town to perform at area venues.
Vibes Music and More, 145 Sycamore St. # B, +1 404 373-5099.
Wuxtry Records, 1.5 miles north of downtown Decatur (intersection of N. Decatur and Clairmont Rds), +1 404 329-0020. The oldest record shop, specializing in all types of music with great depth in jazz, classic and alternative rock, international music and alt country /bluegrass.
Decatur is known for its outstanding locally-owned restaurants, and patrons drive in from all over metro Atlanta. Despite the presence of Ted's Montana Grill & Ruby Tuesday's, the national chains are not prevalent here. There are over 70 restaurants and pubs - primarily clustered in the downtown area, Oakhurst and north of Decatur. (Pubs and taverns are listed under "Drink".) There are also sandwich shops, pasta restaurants and local chain pizza joints that have great food, but they are not listed below.
Downtown (Ponce/Decatur Square)
The restaurants are located on or near picturesque Ponce De Leon Avenue and around the Decatur (courthouse) Square. Here are some of the better restaurants:
Cafe Alsace, . Excellent small Alsatian (French with German influence) restaurant with limited outdoor seating - one of Decatur's finest restaurants.
Cakes & Ale, . New restaurant in downtown Decatur specializing in local organic, sustainable cuisine - started by a former Sous-Chef from Watershed.
Cafe Lilly, . Excellent American/Eclectic/Mediterranean cuisine. One of Decatur's finest restaurants.
Eurasia Bistro, . Excellent Thai-fusion (Asian, French, Pacific Rim) menu. One of Decatur's finest restaurants.
Raging Burrito, , +1 404 377-3311. Wide variety of tasty burritos and related fare. Very large open-air dining section in the back, secluded from the hustle of Decatur.
Sage on Sycamore, . Broad based contemporary cuisine in casually elegant, loft-style atmosphere overlooking the square. A good choice for great food, but not too funky or exotic.
Taqueria del Sol, . Upscale southwestern/Mexican. Great salsa, nice pulled-pork enchiladas; lunch and dinner. Line can be long, but it moves along and the food is worth the wait. Unusual outdoor seating area.
Watershed, . Decatur's best-known restaurant, one of its finest restaurants, reviewed nationally and as pricey as might be expected. Freshly prepared regional ("New Southern") cuisine. Chef Scott Peacock was named 2007 "Best Chef in the Southeast" by the James Beard Foundation.
SW of Decatur Square
The Flying Biscuit, (Candler Park), 1655 McLendon Ave. (at Clifton Rd.), . One of the best breakfast spots in the metro area. This place takes breakfast so seriously it has a custom apple butter topping for its outstanding biscuits.
The historic Decatur, Georgia, train depot, built in 1891. It has been renovated into a restaurant. The train tracks, still operational, are located on the opposite side of the depot.
SE of Decatur Square
The restaurants are clustered north and south of the railroad tracks. The north side centers on Decatur's old train depot and old ice house, both renovated for adaptive reuse. The south side includes two developments - the larger East Decatur Station at East College Avenue & New Street, which houses restaurants, a pub, coffee house, live theatre, salon and church - and the smaller development at 313 East College Avenue, which contains a tavern and furniture store.
Depeaux. Cajun/Creole cuisine created by a Louisiana native - located in the old train depot - great ambiance.
Feast, . New American with a mediterranean twist; charming and cozy bistro, affordable and eclectic wine list, and a garden inspired outdoor patio.
Carpe Diem, . American/Eclectic/International at the Ice House Lofts. Sister restaurant to Apres Diem in midtown Atlanta.
The restaurants are located in Oakhurst Village historic buildings surrounded by the eclectic Oakhurst residential neighborhood.
Billy Goat's Cantina, 653 East Lake Dr., + 1 404 687-0007. Oakhurst restaurant - dishes from Oaxaca, Veracruz, Baja and the Yucatan with Ameri-Mex..
Steinbeck's Oyster Bar, . In Historic Oakhurst, Steinbecks is an intimate bar with a great patio. One of the few, and best places for casual seafood meals and an excellent beer selection!
Wahoo Grill, , 1042 West College Ave., + 1 404 373-3331. Eclectic menu that focuses on seafood with a southern twist - great sunroom & courtyard in rear. (North of Oakhurst Village near MARTA's East Lake Station.)
N of Decatur Square
These restaurants are located in strip shopping centers clustered near the intersection of Clairmont Rd. & North Decatur Rd.
Bhojanic, , 1363 Clairmont Rd. Fusion/home-style Indian restaurant (known for north Indian dishes).
Mexico City Gourmet, . Very good Mexican restaurant.
Mediterranean Grill, 2126 North Decatur Rd., . Greek/Mediterranean food.
Rise-N-Dine, 1565 North Decatur Rd. Not your parent's diner - breakfast includes sweet potato pancakes, goat cheese omelet, gourmet bacon, fresh OJ. (Emory Village, west of the above intersection.)
The Golden Buddha, . Very good Chinese restaurant (with Japanese & Sushi) at 1905 Clairmont Rd.
Ice Cream, Bakery, Chocolate . . .
Paolo's Gelato, 1025 Virginia Ave. (at Highland Ave.), +1 404 607-0055. Italian ice cream in nearby Virginia-Highlands. Reviewed by Bon Appétit, Food Network, Condé Nest Traveler, Delta's Sky, . . .
The Chocolate Bar, , 201 W Ponce de Leon Ave. A chocolate and wine bar (along with coffee and champagne) in the heart of Decatur.
Alon's Bakery & Market, 1394 N. Highland Ave. (at University), +1 404 872-6000 . Fantastic bakery & deli in nearby Morningside.
Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, 1393 North Highland Ave. (at University), +1 404 885-1010 . One of the few U.S. locations for the 70 year old Swiss confectioner. Reviewed by the New York Times and Bon Appétit.
NE of Decatur Square
While several of the restaurants are excellent, most are located in older strip shopping centers near automobile dealerships and along highways.
Choppati, Scott Village Shopping Center, 1707 Church St. (at Lawrenceville Hwy.). Vegetarian Indian restaurant.
(Inchin's) Bamboo Garden, Scott Village Shopping Center, 1707 Church St. (at Lawrenceville Hwy.). Chinese /Indian (Calcutta & Bombay) fusion restaurant.
Maddy's Rib & Blues Joint, near Suburban Shopping Center. Great barbecue & blues at Scott Blvd. and North Decatur Rd. with limited outdoor seating. This restaurant is closer to downtown than the other NE Decatur restaurants.
Saravana Bhavan, North DeKalb Square, 2179 Lawrenceville Hwy. (at North Druid Hills Rd.). Indian vegetarian restaurant. North of the Decatur city limits, its location in a well-aged shopping plaza belies its reputation as one of metro Atlanta's best Indian restaurants.
Udipi Cafe, 1850 Lawrenceville Hwy. (at DeKalb Industrial Way). South Indian vegetarian restaurant.
Zyka The Taste, 1677 Scott Blvd. . If you can get beyond the unusual use of styrofoam cups and plates, this is a very good sit-down Indian restaurant.
Pubs & bars
Brick Store Pub, 125 East Court Square, +1 404 687-0990, . Recognized as one of Atlanta's best pubs in terms of craft beer selection, Brick Store Pub features 17 international beers on tap (including some that are native to Atlanta), 65 bottled beers and a "Belgian bar".
The Corner Pub, . A pub at East Decatur Station which relocated from Oakhurst.
Kavarna, 707-A East Lake Dr., Oakhurst's newest wine, coffee and food establishment that opened in 2007. The food is light (salads, hummus, cheese, etc.), but is beautifully presented and is designed to go with their wine and beer list.
Palate, 321 W. Hill St., . A wine bar in Oakhurst that also serves a limited but good menu. Thursdays are live jazz nights.
Tastings, 335 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., +1 404 373-3244, . Wine bar with food menu. The Leanne Laine Fine Art Gallery shares space with Tastings.
Twain's Billiards and Tap, Church St. and Trinity Pl., . Has a solid beer selection and quality pool tables; wifi.
Chocolate' - North Decatur & Clairemont; one of the better coffee houses with good indoor seating, but outdoor seating overlooks a strip center parking lot; wifi.
Indie Coffee & Books, , 340 Ponce De Leon Ave., +1 404-378-7110; coffee house and bookstore; wifi.
Java Monkey, . Across Church St. from Decatur Square; one of the better coffee houses and very popular. It also has a limited food menu and a large outdoor seating area; wifi.
Dancing Goats. Decatur's newest coffee house - slick retro design on W. Ponce de Leon Ave.
Mocha Match Coffee Bar, , East Decatur Station, 627 East College Ave., +1 404 377-7788; wifi.
Starbucks, Decatur Square, . The national chain has prime corner location on Decatur Square with outdoor seating; wifi (charge).
Local Calls: Decatur residents and businesses have historically been assigned area code 404, which is the traditional area code for ITP (inside the perimeter) addresses. However, area codes throughout metro Atlanta are now 404, 770 or 678. All 10 digits of the phone number are required when making local calls. NOTE: Some signs and advertisements abbreviate by only listing the first number of the area code (ie, "6" instead of 678), which can be confusing to visitors and new residents.
Directory Assistance: dial 411.
Emergency Assistance: dial 911.
U.S. Post Office: Decatur's main post office is located downtown at 520 West Ponce De Leon Ave. Although addresses throughout central DeKalb County may list a "Decatur, GA" address, 30030 is the zip code for the city of Decatur.
Georgia is in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).
The Decatur Police Department protects the city of Decatur . The department headquarters is at 420 W. Trinity Place in downtown Decatur. The non-emergency number is +1 404 373-6551, but call 911 in an emergency. Decatur police also have a precinct in Oakhurst at 707-C East Lake Dr.
Outside of the city of Decatur in unincorporated DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Police Department has jurisdiction. The main department's non-emergency number is +1 404 294-2000, but call 911 in an emergency.
Areas to avoid
Metro Atlanta has over 5 million residents; visitors are advised to exercise caution throughout the metropolitan area. Downtown Decatur and the historic Oakhurst business district have indoor and outdoor activities during the day and late into the evening. The small town feel - outdoor cafes, residents window-shopping on Ponce de Leon, well-lit public spaces and affluent surroundings - make Decatur feel more secure to visitors. However, visitors are advised to exercise the same prudence they would when traveling to any other large metropolitan area.
Visitors to Decatur should avoid neighborhoods immediately east and south of Memorial Drive. The primary DeKalb County jail and DeKalb County's new Juvenile Justice Center are located east of Memorial Drive (near I-285). MARTA's Kensington Station (E8), which is west of Memorial Drive, is within walking distance of these facilities. Areas immediately east and south of Memorial Drive, as well as the Kensington MARTA station, are not tourist-oriented and are best avoided. NOTE: MARTA has police patrolling their rail stations.
Mosquitoes are a significant problem in summer and early fall in metro Atlanta. Bring along mosquito-repellant, particularly if you are going into a wooded or low-lying area.
Sunscreen, along with baseball caps and hats, are recommended for summer travel to metro Atlanta.
More than fifty nations have a consulate in metro Atlanta. A complete list can be found at georgia.org .
There are four medical centers near Decatur. Emergency care for the general public is available at three of them. While 911 can be dialed in Decatur for an emergency, the following list includes the main switchboard phone number for each medical center:
Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston (Emory Campus), 1405 Clifton Rd. NE, +1 404 785-6000. One of the leading children's hospitals in the United States.
DeKalb Medical Center (North), 2701 North Decatur Rd., +1 404 501-1000. A respected hospital that has recently expanded. DeKalb also has a satellite location in downtown Decatur (Decatur Hospital), but its full-service facility is on North Decatur Road. NOTE: 1.2 miles north of MARTA's Avondale Station (E7).
Emory University Hospital (Emory Campus), 1364 Clifton Rd. NE, +1 404 712-2000. A nationally-respected teaching hospital, and one of several Emory-run hospitals in metro Atlanta.
This is a partial list of medical and dental walk-in clinics for non-life-threatening conditions:
Primary Care Center, 2891 N. Decatur Rd. Suite C, +1 404 298-0008. Private medical clinic located near DeKalb Medical Center (North).
Toco Hills Urgent Care, 1276 McConnell Dr. Suite A (off Clairmont Rd. in north Decatur), +1 404 325-2100. NOTE: This private medical clinic is not located in the Toco Hills Shopping Center.
Atlanta Emergency Dental Center, 4060 Lavista Rd., +1 770 934-0770. This private 24 hour dental emergency clinic is located 7 miles from Decatur Square, near Northlake Mall. (Located at the intersection of Lavista Rd. & Briarcliff Rd.).
While local vets may work your pet in during office hours, the following clinic is open evenings, nights and weekends:
Animal Emergency Clinic of Decatur, 217 N. McDonough St., Decatur, GA. +1 404 371-9774, . A new emergency vet clinic that shares space with The Village Vets of Decatur.
FedEx Office (formerly Kinko's), 2088 N. Decatur Rd. # A, +1 404 321-3990. Provides computers for internet access (with charge), fax machines and copying services. This is a 24-hour location used extensively by Emory students.
Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore St., +1 404 370-3070. At the top of the curved stair on the second floor are computers with free internet access. Visitors are allowed to use the terminals for a short period of time, even if they do not have a library card - check with the staff member at the desk.
Decatur Wi-Fi Access Program (WCG): Decatur began offering free wifi access to residents, students and visitors. The initial coverage area includes one square mile centered on Decatur Square, but the program is scheduled to expand.
In addition to coffee houses and restaurants listed elsewhere, free wifi is also available at Krystal and McDonalds fast food restaurants.
Print: Decatur does not have a daily newspaper, but the following publications are available in the city:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, daily, the largest local newspaper by circulation in metropolitan Atlanta, with a news bureau in Decatur. Available at virtually all newsstands and retail outlets.
Atlanta Magazine, monthly, mainstream magazine on where to go, what to eat and getaways in the metro area. Most issues have several articles helpful to tourists. Available at magazine stands.
Creative Loafing, weekly, non-mainstream newspaper focusing on local culture, events and entertainment. The annual "Best of Atlanta" issue is an excellent resource for tourists and locals, alike.
Decatur Living, a local magazine (similar to Southern Living) mailed free to Decatur residents.
DeKalb Neighbor, county newspaper covering local events, delivered free to DeKalb residents.
The Profile, Agnes Scott College's student newspaper.
Decatur Inn & Suites, 921 Church St., +1 404 378-3125, +1 404 (404) 378-3765 - an economy motel (some rooms have kitchens) located a few blocks northeast of Decatur Square.
Garden House Bed & Breakfast, 135 Garden Lane, +1 404 377-3057, . In the Clairemont/Great Lakes neighborhood north of Decatur Square.
Holiday Inn Select Conference Center, 130 Clairemont Ave., +1 404 371-0204, . The best hotel in downtown Decatur; has an indoor pool; one block from Decatur Square and near MARTA's Decatur Station.
Super 8 Motel, 917 Church St., +1 404 378-3765, . An economy motel located a few blocks northeast of Decatur Square.
Sycamore House Bed & Breakfast, Innkeepers: Ren and Judy Manning, 624 Sycamore St., +1 404 378 0685, . $110-$125. This is in the center of Decatur - a few blocks from MARTA"s Decatur Station.
Emory Conference Center Hotel, 1615 Clifton Rd., north of Decatur on the Emory University campus, +1 404 712-6000, . Good hotel, but not within walking distance of Decatur Square. NOTE: Emory began a large construction project on land south and west of this hotel in 2008!
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 2183 N. Decatur Rd., +1 404 320-0888, . Located 1.5 miles north of Decatur Square in a cluster of nondescript strip shopping centers.
Laurel Hill Bed & Breakfast, 1992 McLendon Ave., +1 404 377-3217, . Technically in the Lake Claire/Candler Park neighborhood of Atlanta, but closer to Decatur's Oakhurst neighborhood and downtown Decatur Square than midtown Atlanta.
Mileybright Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast, 3244 Covington Hwy., +1 404508-6060 . Located in the historic planned community of Avondale Estates immediately SE of Decatur, this B&B was originally the country gentlemen's farmhouse of Judge John S. Candler.
University Inn at Emory, 1767 N. Decatur Rd., in the Druid Hills neighborhood adjoining Emory University, +1 800 654-8591, . Within walking distance of Emory University, but not Decatur Square.
There are no campsites within the City of Decatur. The nearest public campground is conveniently located off Stone Mountain Freeway, 12 miles east of Decatur Square:
Stone Mountain Family Campground, Stone Mountain Park, +1 770 498-5710 or +1 800 385-9807. 441 wooded campsites and other amenities.
Visit other small towns in north Georgia:
Dahlonega. Take 400 north and visit a genuine 19th Century gold mining town.
Helen, Georgia. Take I-85 north and visit an alpine village with 200+ shops. Festivals are held through the year, but the Oktoberfest is the best known. Charming, but in a Gatlinburg/Disneyworld sort of way.
Athens. Head east to the home of the University of Georgia. The college town of Athens is nicknamed the "Liverpool of the South" for its contributions to rock, country and bluegrass music.
Attend a major league sporting event in metro Atlanta:
MLB Atlanta Braves, Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Dr., Atlanta. (Requires MARTA rail/bus transfer).
NFL Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Dome, Georgia Dome Dr., Atlanta. MARTA's Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station (W1).
NBA Atlanta Hawks, Phillips Arena, 1 Phillips Arena Dr., Atlanta. MARTA's Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station (W1).
USL Atlanta Silverbacks, DeKalb Memorial Stadium, 3189 Memorial College Ave., Clarkston.
NHL Atlanta Thrashers, Phillips Arena, 1 Phillips Arena Dr., Atlanta. MARTA's Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station (W1).
Georgia Aquarium. The largest indoor aquarium in the world - don't miss the whale sharks! Located in downtown Atlanta near Olympic Centennial Park, CNN headquarters and the Coca-Cola Museum. MARTA's Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center Station (W1).
High Museum, Peachtree St. & 16th St., midtown Atlanta, MARTA's Arts Center station (N5). Atlanta's finest museum.
Stone Mountain Park, U.S. Highway 78 East, Exit 8, Stone Mountain, +1 770 498-5690 or +1 800 401-2407. A granite-domed state park of 3,200 acres with trails, lake, golf course, railroad, laser show and other family activities. A large granite carving of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson on the side of the dome is used as the screen of the laser show. The park is open to the public, and is east of Decatur.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, 431 Depot St., Blue Ridge, GA, +1 800 934-1898.  Twenty-six mile, four-hour train ride begins in a 1905 historic depot, and travels through McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN.
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