Living near Duluth, GA?
December 8, 2009 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Good area for a young female near Duluth, GA?

My 22 yr. old daughter will be graduating from college in May and has accepted a position at NCR's new world headquarters in Duluth, GA (near Atlanta). What areas are fun and reasonably priced for a young person to live alone? Are there areas with lofts? She likes that idea! We'll be traveling to the area prior to Christmas to begin looking around. thanks for your help!
posted by Teri T to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How far is she wanting to commute to work? Does she want to live in Atlanta (fun, lofts) and commute out? It's a reverse commute which is against traffic but she may want to be closer to the office.
My own opinion (I am very biased pro ATL versus 'burbs)would be to do the 30 minute drive and live in the city (I'm a single gal and wouldn't live outside 285) but YMMV.
posted by pointystick at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2009

I'm an Atlantan who's quite biased toward city living.

But based on the Duluth traffic situation, I'd recommend that she live somewhere near work. Out that way, as you head west from Duluth proper, things get expensive (John's Creek, East Cobb County) and as you go east, things get cheaper (Tucker, Lilburn, Lawrenceville). Norcross is pretty nice, as far as living outside the perimeter goes. Towards town and inside the perimeter are Doraville and Chamblee. The center of these areas is on Buford Highway. This road is a center of both latin-american and asian-mostly-korean immigrant populations.

My recommendation is maybe to look at Alpharetta. She could take the "120 loop" (which changes names a few times but is known as Old Milton Parkway out that way -- it's not a loop, by the way) to Duluth and back each day, and Alpharetta is a safe area. It has a downtown which has some lofts in it. It's not cheap. It's also a bit sterile for my personal tastes.

If she lives in town, she could reverse commute, which might help some in the mornings, but evenings will still be a bear out that way. Off I-85 near Mercer university or Oglethorpe university could also be good areas for a newly-graduated student. Neither of these campuses look like picturesque college campuses (and these are mostly commuter schools), but they do have amenities that new grads might like.

G'luck! Welcome to Atlanta (where the players play, and we ride on them things like everyday).
posted by zpousman at 10:52 AM on December 8, 2009

On preview I see that pointystick and I are on the same wavelength. In terms of social life, your daughter would very likely be happier living in or closer to Atlanta than in Duluth itself. There is a concept in Atlanta called "OTP", or Outside The Perimeter, the perimeter being interstate 285 that goes around the city. If you live inside it, and you hear of something going on outside of it, a voice in your head says, "Humm, but that's OTP. I think I'll pass." Atlanta is where the stuff is and where things happen.

The downside of course would be more traffic on her longer commute. If she's willing to commute 15 or 20 miles or so, she could be in a fun area in Atlanta, Decatur, etc. I-85 leads northeast out of the city to Duluth. Note that the nexus of 85 and 285 and the areas of both interstates and feeder streets around there is in contention for worst in the city at rush hour(s).
posted by Askr at 10:53 AM on December 8, 2009

To live: definitely ITP (inside the Perimeter). Try apt. complexes off N. Druid Hills and Clairmont roads. Brookhaven as well. They're near I85 and will make the commute easier. It has been my experience that lofts in Atlanta are either pricey or in bad neighborhoods.
posted by bunny hugger at 10:54 AM on December 8, 2009

After college, I lived in the N. Druid Hills area right off I-85, and commuted to my first Real Job in Duluth. It was a reverse commute, but it was still about 45 min-1 hr both ways. I quit that job after a short while, and the #1 reason I did was because of the commute. It drove me insane.

Your daughter just needs to weigh the relative importance of living in a fun/trendy neighborhood (i.e. closer to downtown) with commuting time.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2009

Yet another Atlantan here, biased towards city living though I live FAR outside the suburbs, about an hour or more out of town and zpousman and pointystick I think both said "wtf" when I mentioned to them where I lived.

Duluth is a pretty broad locality with a couple of different major "roads" (north and south) that you could live along. I'm closer to Alpharetta than anything else. I'd advise against Johns' Creek - too conservative, too uptight. Most of the north suburbs of Atlanta are apartment-oriented, although there are a couple of loft management companies that do have things north of the city, one of them is Aderhold Properties (can't recommend for or against). Alpharetta is a very nice residential area, and there are a wide variety of housing options there.

There's a huge amount of people that are very biased on this whole ITP vs OTP thing. My statement would be that living far OTP, i've never had a real issue with going ITP, although there are a ton of things that do happen ITP and not OTP. I spend a fair amount of time ITP but living (far) OTP doesn't bother me. Traffic is the only concern, but if you pick your times carefully this isn't so much of an issue.

One of the most happenin' areas in town is the Decatur area, but it would be absolute ass to get from and to Duluth from there. If you're going to live downtown, i'd check the area closely; there are areas of downtown that are really great (low crime, nice places, good local services/shops/restaurants) and areas that are the opposite.

The Cobb area is very nice (particularly Vinings, but expensive) but totally inconvenient to anything else. An area rarely mentioned but worth checking out is the North Druid Hills & Lavista Road area, which while close to Decatur might be a little more flexible in terms of commute.

Atlanta's a great place to live with a wide variety of "ease of access" to other also awesome places to vacation in the southeast - definitely my favorite of the southern cities and I spend time in all of them, and having been in almost every major city in the US, certainly in my top four. Good luck! Feel free to memail if you have any more specific questions.
posted by arimathea at 11:43 AM on December 8, 2009

Hello Teri T -- I grew up in Alpharetta during 1-10th grade and then moved to Duluth before the 11th grade, so I am very familiar with the area. I still live there during breaks when I'm not at university.

I'd second recommendations for living in the city if she wants the social, vibrant city life. Dectaur is an awesome area but it would be a healthy commute to Duluth for work.

Sorry I don't have much more to offer about housing, but please feel free to MeMail me if she wants to hear about things to do in Duluth or recommendations for local attractions in Atlanta.
posted by fantine at 12:13 PM on December 8, 2009

I live in Alpharetta now, and I would not say that it would be fun or any better than living inside the perimeter to commute from here to there, and living here will have none of the new-college-grad perks that living in-town will have.

Doraville might be a good compromise. I have friends who live there in an old 50's/60's neighborhood (Northwoods, if you're interested), there is no shortage of excellent food there. You'd be more or less splitting the difference between work and entertainment in-town.

Personally, for myself, I would not want to drive from Cobb to Gwinnett County.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:39 PM on December 8, 2009

Teri - I have lived in Gwinnett County for the last 40 years and just want to caution you as you look for a community in Gwinnett for your daughter. Like most neighborhoods in the U.S. there are "pockets" of crime and some are much higher than others. Gwinnett County has areas where the gang activity and crime rate are not what you would want for your single daughter. Please take the time to look into the statistics of any area you are serious about. With that said, I know that there is no place that is crime free - BUT - it does not hurt to be cautious.
posted by pamspanda at 4:36 AM on December 9, 2009

OTP vs ITP is really a matter of personal preference and circumstance. There's more going on ITP, but it doesn't come free- it is in general more expensive to live there and the traffic and parking can be intense.

Reverse commuting may be an option, but I would strongly suggest staying along the I-85 corridor. And if I had to commute between Cobb and Gwinnett every day I would shoot myself. That's easily 3 hours a day in the car, especially if you're going to/from Alpharetta.

I like Gwinnett, but I will echo the advice above to look into the specific community you are interested in, as there is a fair amount of variance in a relatively small geographic area.

I Googled the location of the company, and it's located sort of near the edge where Duluth comes close to Lilburn and Norcross. She could probably get a place in any of those places and perhaps even in Lawrenceville and be good commute-wise, so look at the actual location when you're scouting locations, not just the name of the town.

Good luck!
posted by oblique red at 1:39 PM on December 9, 2009

ohmigosh, I am so appreciative of all this helpful feedback! This was my first posting on metafiler or any other site like this -- I just came across it a little over a week ago when searching about areas in Atlanta. I had to wait a week after joining before I could ask my question, but it was worth the wait. You are all very helpful. I'll pass this info on to my daughter and be back in touch with further questions. We're driving from Dayton, OH to Atlanta on Dec. 19th to begin looking around. She's nervous about moving someplace where she knows almost no one, but the job was too good to turn down. thanks, folks! Teri T
posted by Teri T at 5:51 PM on December 9, 2009

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