Virginia Highland is a historic neighborhood in the midtown area of Atlanta, five minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta. It is easily accessible from the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector and is served by several bus routes. Virginia Highland is home to charming, vintage houses, elegant and unique shops and some of Atlanta's finest restaurants and bars. The neighborhood's name comes from the fact that it is centered around the intersection of Virginia and Highland Avenues.
The Virginia Highland area was once filled with farms that sat on the outskirts of Atlanta. In the first years of the 20th century, trolley lines were laid from downtown Atlanta to the "suburbs,'' which quickly developed into residential and commercial neighborhoods. Around each trolley stop, a small group of commercial establishments would be built. Fanning out from these would be residential streets. This pattern now gives Virginia Highland its pedestrian-oriented, "village'' atmosphere. Between 1908 and the mid-1920s, Virginia Highland filled in with homes, many of them built in the Craftsman bungalow style for which the neighborhood is famous.
Virginia Highland is one of Atlanta's prime destinations for shopping and eating. Among its varied restaurants and bars are:
La Tavola Trattoria - Consistently voted one of Atlanta's best restaurants, La Tavola Trattoria offers upscale, fine Italian cuisine.
Cafy di Sol - Cafy di Sol is a casual eatery featuring small plates and entrees of mostly Mediterranean influence.
Blind Willie's - Blind Willie's is one of the premier blues bars in Atlanta, with live blues every night except Sundays and featuring both local and nationally known acts.
Moe's and Joe's - An "Atlanta institution,'' Moe's and Joe's is a hole-in-the-wall dive that has delighted Atlantans with cheap beer and hot dogs since 1947.
Noche - Noche, overseen by one of Atlanta's top chefs, is a Spanish-style tapas bar that is also known for its fabulous margaritas.
The shopping in Virginia Highland is world class. Highlights include Bella Cucina Artful Food, a boutique offering Italian homemade food gifts; the Gems of Africa Gallery, featuring African jewelry, clothing and art; Mitzi & Romano, a designer women's clothing store; and Ten Thousand Villages, an internationally known store which offers fair-trade crafts from around the world. The area is filled with many other shopping venues, including antique stores, men's and women's clothing and original art galleries.
Every June, Virginia Highland celebrates Summerfest. Summerfest is a street festival that offers up food from neighborhood restaurants and live musical performances. There is also a 5K run and Kidsfest, an area of the festival just for children. The most notable part of the festival, however, is the artist's market, featuring over 200 artists from all over the Southeast.
Virginia Highland is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Atlanta. Its homes are sought after, and its shopping and dining have made it a tourist destination. Because of this, the area is unfortunately plagued by traffic and parking issues. Many residents complain that they cannot get in and out of their own driveways on weekends. Nonetheless, this area of Atlanta is expected to continue to thrive as a prime example of in-town living for years to come.