7 of the coolest places in DeKalb (not in Decatur)

4:25 p.m Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 Arts & Culture
JOSHUA SHARPE/JOSHUA.SHARPE@AJC.COM
Pallookaville Fine Foods in Avondale Estates. 

Google “dekalb ga hip” and the first results are doctors who do hip and knee replacements. 

But don’t be fooled — DeKalb ain't that old yet. It's very hip. If that even is the word anymore? Whatever. Cool, rad, lit. On fleek? Bae?

Choose any word you like. DeKalb is that

And we’re not even just talking about Decatur, the home of artisanal everything, where fusion tacos reign supreme and thick beards flow in the breeze outside the MARTA station.

In fact, for the purposes of this article, we’ll put Decatur aside and focus on other spots around the county where you can get hip or whatever.

Avondale Estates: This place is like if a handlebar mustache started a city. Just stop by Pallookaville Fine Foods and see the circus memorabilia and monster corn dogs. Or visit the quirky new art installation near downtown, the Waffle House museum, the old school barber shop. The town is even home to the local headquarters of Paste Magazine.

Pine Lake: DeKalb’s smallest city is known as one of Georgia’s most eclectic places. It’s popular among musicians, visual artists, poets and other creative types. Even the city government features a number of such folks. Every year, the city is host to LakeFest featuring food and art. Every second Saturday, the Pine Lake Lounge has live music.

Pine Lake, shown in a 2010 photo from the city's Facebook page. 

Buford Highway: Yes, Fulton and Gwinnett might try to lay a claim to this foodie haven known far and wide for pho, bubble tea, tacos and halal meats, but most of BuHi’s goodness is planted squarely inside DeKalb. 

Pho Dai Loi #2, which anchors the Little Saigon shopping mall, is known as one of Atlanta’s best pho restaurants. (Wyatt Williams)

Downtown Chamblee: Check out Antique Row. It’s one of metro Atlanta’s coolest strips. True to the name, Antique Row is lined with some of the area’s best treasure troves for those who prefer a musty mid-century modern sofa to a new La-Z-Boy any day. For that, check Antique Factory. For living, check the lofts on Peachtree Road. For the best kind of culture shock, try the Atlanta Chinatown shopping center.

Chamblee's Antique Row District includes more than 350 dealers offering antiques and collectibles. (Photo courtesy of Discover DeKalb)

Kirkwood: Mhmm. Kirkwood is the city of Atlanta, but it’s part of the city which is technically in DeKalb. And thank goodness, because it’s covered with street art and murals, and features one hip event after the next. You might try The Pullman, a neighborhood bar, where you can hear bluegrass during brunch, that hipsterest of hipster meals. 

Jenni Girtman
The historic designated community of Kirkwood comes together at Kirkwood Road and Hosea Williams Drive. 

Arabia Mountain: Nature is cool. See: the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, where you can enjoy hikes on miles of trails and plenty of peaceful spots around the ancient monadnock, upon which you can lounge with the latest issue of Mother Jones or Pitchfork. Or snap a new shot for Instagram.

Eric Champlin

Clarkston: The town, often billed as “the most diverse square mile in America,” is known across the country for its welcoming stance toward refugees. The result has been a small but mighty hamlet with a variety of ethnic businesses and restaurants, which are pretty hip. And, hey, psst. Psst. Psst, man. Are you cool? Because the city recently slashed the fine for possession of less than an ounce of pot down to just $75. I'm not saying anything. Just sayin'...

JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL
Jungha Kim (center) performs during the World Refugee Day celebration at the Clarkston Community Center in Clarkston on Saturday, June 21, 2014. The celebration included food, performances and a naturalization ceremony for 20 refugees and asylees from 12 different countries including Ghana, Iraq, Iran, Bosnia and Kenya. 
View full experience