This isn’t your typical suburb. Sure, large houses stretch themselves out on grassy plots of land, but you won’t find the usual spattering of strip malls, chain restaurants and subpar entertainment options in this bustling ’burb. For a city of fewer than 60,000 residents (as of 2014), Alpharetta has proven itself a worthy destination—and Forbes magazine has taken notice. In 2009, the magazine named Alpharetta the best place to move in the nation; in 2012, it named the city one of America’s Friendliest Towns; and, in 2013, Alpharetta was deemed the sixth fastest growing city in the U.S., again according to Forbes.
The city’s progression is clear. With the opening of the 86-acre retail and residential complex Avalon last year, Alpharetta’s destination appeal has grown even more. A 22-mile drive north of Atlanta’s downtown unveils a charming and stylish city that’s home to 23 hotels, 175 restaurants and nearly 300 things to do.
Alpharetta is brimming with delicious, local restaurants, many owned by some of Atlanta’s most respected chefs. Locals flock to tried-and-true favorites like Pure Taqueria, La Casa Italian Grill & Restaurant and Smokejack BBQ, while newcomers to the dining scene—like Made Kitchen & Cocktails, Oak Steakhouse and Colletta—are rapidly gaining a steady following. You’ll also find outposts of some of Atlanta’s favorite restaurants, including Bocado, Marlow’s Tavern and Antico Pizza Napoletana, which are all located in newly opened Avalon.
If you could summarize Alpharetta’s best visitor recreation options in one word it would be “golf.” Thanks to the affluence of its residents (with a median household income of $95,888) and its excellent topography, Alpharetta’s golf industry is booming. Locals and visitors alike swarm to the lush city’s 13 courses, driving range and high-tech golf entertainment complex, TopGolf.
For a small city, Alpharetta’s craft brew options are impressive. In 2013, the city got its first-ever brewery, Jekyll Brewing, which has already made a stellar name for itself. This microbrewery seems to have it all—delicious craft brews, a tasting room, tours and and a fun ambience. Tours are available Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 to 9 pm and Saturdays from 1 to 9 pm. Tours cost $12 and include a Jekyll Brewing glass and six tasting tickets. Other great options for beer aficionados are Hop Alley Brew Pub, which offers an extensive food menu and Sunday brunch; The Beer Growler, which offers five locations in Metro Atlanta and 40 taps of craft beer, cider and soda to fill up your $5 growler; and 5 Seasons North, a local favorite with a fantastic food menu and laid-back ambience.