- Adam Kincaid for the AJC
There is a case to be made that Canton Street is the single most entertaining district outside Atlanta's perimeter.
Here are a few points to support that case:
The Third Thursday
Alive in Roswell is a weirdly nostalgic name (changed this year from Alive After Five) for the city's monthly street party. But make no mistake about it, on the third Thursday of the month Roswell's Canton Street is the wildest place in Atlanta. More of a family-friendly affair in the hours before sunset, but the vibe after 9 p.m. - simply insane. Thousands of college students and young professionals fill the bars, streets and plazas to dance, drink and generally create the OTP's best atmosphere. A straight-up structure fire of a party in Roswell. You can see for yourself at about 11 p.m. on August 18th (though July is sort of the high-water mark as college students head back to school shortly thereafter).
Open container laws
Roswell's historic district allows for the open container laws that make Bourbon Street in New Orleans such a zoo. Not just during Alive in Roswell but all the time.
Roswell's Canton Street has transformed in recent years into one of the most relevant city centers in the Atlanta metro region. Where once gift shops and art galleries sleepily sold fares to an older crowd, today stand an ever growing collection of bars and restaurants whose target audience is decidedly younger.
As home prices in-town squeeze out first-time home buyers and young families, places like Sandy Springs, Alpharetta and Roswell offer the right balance of home, area and price. The younger the cities get in median age, the more city centers like Canton Street reflect the millennial life experience.
The restaurants of Canton Street are fantastic, too. Little Alley is one of the most elite steak houses in all of Atlanta, and the upper-mid tier is well served by places like Salt, Roux and Table & Main. The Mexican food at Ceviche is on point. The wine lists at Vin 25 and Osteria Mattone are extremely sophisticated and comprehensive. The rooftop bar at Pure (and the Pure Margarita) never fails to satisfy. The burgers and beers at Moxie make it a top-15 burger joint nationwide (per Business Insider), and their porch overlooks the historic Roswell Mill.
The late night funk
Add to the food, drink, people and loose drinking restrictions a Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings-esque funk band at the bar Pasti's, and the late night karaoke spectacle that is Chaplin's and a comprehensive picture begins to emerge: Canton Street is fun —really fun.
Okay, not as fun as Crescent Avenue or Edgewood, but still Canton Street is as legitimate a nightlife destination as, say, Grant Park, Decatur or Little Five Points.
That the OTP can even say such a thing is something is, indeed, noteworthy.