You may not know it by the name “South Downtown”, but you’ll know where it is — south of Marietta and Decatur Streets, west of the Connector, north of I-20, and east of Castleberry Hill. It has been called many different names over the years — South CBD, Government Walk, the Railroad District — and it’s also been called “the most interesting square mile in Atlanta.” It’s at the historic and geographic heart of Atlanta — both the city and the metro region.
With a history that stretches all the way to the origins of the city, South Downtown boomed in the 19th & 20th centuries as a bustling center of commerce — one that saw streets lined with retail outlets, produce stands, and more. As evidence of its key place in Atlanta’s history, all eras of the city’s economic and cultural growth can be read through the varied architecture of the neighborhood. It’s a place with a rich and complex story that is still being written today.
The gold dome of Georgia’s Capitol and Atlanta’s City Hall stand prominently on the skyline here. This is a neighborhood that has long been recognized as the seat of state, county, and city government offices. But South Downtown is also a mix of other vibrant and diverse communities. Residents live in lofts and apartments here alongside historic churches, nonprofit organizations, and long-time retail outlets. An important, emerging community is comprised of arts organizations that have recently embraced the neighborhood and have brought new vitality to it.
Arts organizations like Living Walls and Elevate Atlanta have taken note of the amazing potential for turning the exterior walls of South Downtown’s buildings into canvases for eye-catching murals. The alligator painted at the corner of Forsyth and Mitchell Streets by Belgian artist ROA is a popular example. It has quickly become an iconic symbol of the neighborhood’s growing arts community, which includes venues such as Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, FUSE Arts Center, and Mammal Gallery.
Founded in 2014 in South Downtown, CCI connects Atlanta’s civic innovators to the decision makers in their communities, helping to break down barriers they experience in their efforts to solve social problems.