Virginia-Highland is a thriving, affluent live-work-play neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia. Deriving its name from the intersection of Virginia Avenue and North Highland Avenue, the neighborhood sprang up in the early 20th century as a streetcar suburb. Virginia-Highland is known for its walkable streets lined with bungalow style homes and bustling commercial areas. This Atlanta neighborhood is the perfect mix of city energy and suburban calm. Residents and locals nicknamed Virginia-Highland as “ViHi,” “VaHi,” and “the Highlands.”
Virginia-Highland is a destination among all Atlanta residents. There is something for everyone living in Virginia-Highland: history buffs, music lovers, foodies, nature lovers will all love this neighborhood. Its laid-back suburban feel and highly rated schools make it a top-rated Atlanta neighborhood for young working families.
History of Virginia-Highland
The Virginia-Highland area was farmland until the 1880s, when Richard Peters of the Georgia Railroad worked with real estate developer George Washington Adair to create the Atlanta Street Railway Company. They began with the Nine Mile Trolley, which patrons used to visit the countryside outside the city. Some of the neighborhood’s gently curved streets are remnants of the original trolley lines.
As residents moved to the suburbs in the 1960s, Virginia-Highland fell into decline. The downturn saw a rise in less affluent residents moving in, an increase in crime, and the deterioration of buildings. The Georgia Department of Transportation proposed construction of Interstate 485 through the neighborhood to connect the Freedom Parkway and Georgia 400. In 1971, Joseph Drolet founded the Virginia-Highland Civic Association (VHCA) and joined forces with surrounding neighborhood associations to defeat the proposal. They were successful, and VaHi was saved from total decline.
The 1970s and 1980s saw revitalization of the charming suburb of Virginia-Highland. VHCA worked to renovate and restore the homes and buildings and encourage businesses to invest in the area. Properties once marked for I-485 were sold and used for housing development and the creation of John Howell Memorial Park, in memory of the ViHi resident and anti-freeway activist. The beautiful Virginia-Highland neighborhood has continued to regentrify and thrive, and since the late 90s, the suburban charm of the shopping “villages” has attracted patrons from all corners of the Atlanta area.
Location & Transportation in Virginia-Highland
Virginia-Highland is bordered by Amsterdam Avenue to the north, Ponce de Leon Avenue to the south, Briarcliff Road to the east, and the BeltLine Eastside Trail to the west. Its surrounding Atlanta neighborhoods include Morningside to the north, Emory/Druid Hills to the east, Midtown to the west and Poncey-Highland to the south. Within VaHi’s boundaries is Atkins Park, a neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though technically recognized by The City of Atlanta as its own neighborhood, Atkins Park is a part of the Virginia–Highland Civic Association.
ViHi is extremely walkable, but public transportation in Virginia-Highland is available as well. There are four city bus lines that serve the neighborhood. Bus 816 traverses the entire commercial area. Other options are Bus 36, Bus 2, and Bus 102. The Atlanta’s MARTA train system serves ViHi, but travelers should expect a sizable walk or ten minute Uber/Lyft into the neighborhood upon arriving at the Midtown or Inman Park stations. Virginia-Highland’s zip code is 30306.
Who Lives in Virginia-Highland?
Virginia-Highland is currently home to about 13,500 residents. Considered an ideal work-live-play neighborhood, it’s a laid-back, friendly suburb in Atlanta that is popular with young families. The median age is 37.5, and over half the population has children under 18.
88.88% of the population of Virginia-Highland is white. 5.2% is Black, 4.8% are of Hispanic or Latino origin, 2.2% are Asian, 3.65% are Mixed race or other, and .07% is American Indian. Virginia-Highland is an affluent community, with the median household income being $93,700. 75% of ViHi residents are employed professionals. They are well-educated too: 72.5% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Virginia-Highland is considered 43% safer than other neighborhoods in Atlanta, and 95% safer than other cities in Georgia. The extensive safety measures implemented by the Virginia-Highland Civic Association serve as a model for other places in the city. Residents are worshippers too, with six places of worship serving the area.
Things to Do in Virginia-Highland, Places to Eat, and Where to Shop
There are plenty of things to do in Virginia-Highland! With its gorgeous parklands and bustling commercial villages, it’s a destination for the entire city. Many of the restaurants and bars have been open since the early 20th century, adding to the historic charm of the neighborhood.
There is plenty of nature, parks, and green spaces to enjoy in Virginia-Highland. The neighborhood is home to one of seven “neighborhood arboreta,” or walking routes highlighting the trees in yards, sidewalk planting strips, and parks. John C. Howell Memorial Park is perfect for a stroll, a game of volleyball, or playing at the Cunard Memorial playground. Orme Park and North Highland Park serve the neighborhood as well.
Virginia-Highland is home to the landmark The Plaza Theatre, Atlanta’s running movie theatre.
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Foodies and lovers of the nightlife will find plenty of restaurants in ViHi. Residents looking for casual dining enjoy Moe’s & Joe’s Tavern and George’s. More upscale choices include Murphy’s and La Tavola. After dinner, residents can enjoy live music at Atlanta’s oldest pub, Limerick Junction. Music lovers can also post up at Blind Willie’s to hear the blues live. Anyone looking to let loose can head to Dark Horse Tavern for dancing on the ground floor or live band karaoke on the lower level.
Shopping is a big draw to Virginia-Highland, and most of the businesses are locally owned. Dakota J’s carries trendy women’s clothing and accessories. Blabla Kids sells unique, handmade children’s clothing, crib bedding, dolls & baby gifts. Shoppers looking for home goods will enjoy Urban Cottage.
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VHCA is very active in planning yearly events to fundraise and reinvest in the community. Summerfest is an annual neighborhood-wide art and music festival, as well as a 5k run. The yearly Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is also extremely popular. Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Arboretum Walking Tour is a great free activity.
- John C. Howell Memorial Park, 797 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 546-6788
- Orme Park, Atlanta, GA 30306
- North Highland Park, 780 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 775-6966
- Plaza Theater, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (470)410-1939
- Moe’s & Joe’s, 1033 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 873-6090
- George’s, 1041 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 892-3648
- Murphy’s, 997 Virginia Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 872-0904
- La Tavola, 992 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 873-5430
- Limerick Junction, 822 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 874-7147
- Blind Willie’s, 828 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 873-2583
- Dark Horse Tavern, 816 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 873-3607
- Dakota J’s, 1038 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 870-0690
- Blabla Kids, 1189 Virginia Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 220-8443
- Urban Cottage, 998 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306, (404) 815-9993
- Virginia-Highland Summerfest, Atlanta, GA 30306, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes, Atlanta, GA 30306, email@example.com
- Virginia-Highland Arboretum Tour, Atlanta, GA 30306, firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia-Highland Amenities Map
Virginia-Highland Real Estate
The Virginia-Highland housing market is somewhat competitive. Real estate prices are often higher than other neighborhoods in Atlanta, and the median sale price of a home in Virginia-Highland is $385,000. Homes stay on the market for about 32 days. In addition to the signature Craftsman bungalows, prospective residents will find a mix of English Vernacular Revival and Colonial Revival, English Cottage and American Foursquare homes in Virginia-Highland.
More than half those living in Virginia-Highland own their homes, but there are plenty of renting options from multi-unit buildings to entire single-family homes. Those moving to Virginia-Highland should expect to pay about 30% more than the US average: the median rent price in ViHi is $1560. Though the average rent for a studio apartment in Virginia Highland increased by 5.9% recently, overall rent prices remain stable, so renters should not expect much of an increase over time.
Atlanta Public Schools in Virginia-Highland are highly rated, and include Springdale Park Elementary, Inman Middle School and Henry W. Grady High School.
Moving to Atlanta? If so, consider Virginia-Highland for the ultimate live-work-play experience! When it’s time to change your address, give Wirks Moving a call. We’re the best Atlanta moving company, and we’ll take your stress away!