PRIOR TO VISITING ATLANTA I WAS E-MAILED PLACES NOT TO GO WHILE VISITING:
and MANY others
All the warnings here seem to be focused on stay out of downtown, or anywhere south of there.
This is all rubbish. How boring would life be if everyone kept North of Downtown. I came from the UK and lived in the West End for a year. Yes there were alot of bums around but I saw alot of those in England and everywhere else I have been.
I used to walk from the West End Marta to the AUC and without incident the whole time I was there. Asby Street was a bit depressing because of the prostiues and crackheads, but oh well thats life. If you walk around acting scared people will take advantage of that anywhere you are.
Atlanta being the biggest city in the southeast, it is best if you do not walk down side streets at night. You can meander down Peachtree (the main street) at 4 in the morning, no prob. But once you get off of this road there are less and less watchful eyes around.
Look for the city assistants that are wearing white pith helmets throughout downtown. they will give you any directions and suggestions that you may need.
I came to visit a friend here in Atlanta. He lives north of the 285 in Dunwoody. By reading the advice here and from his tips, it seems the places to avoid are south of the 20 (which bisects the city in half north/south) and inside the perimeter (which is basically inside the 285 which surrounds the city like a circle).
I live in Los Angeles so I'm not easily spooked. I did drive from Stone Mtn back into town all the way in on the 78 which took me into downtown Atlanta from the east side. Downtown Atlanta looks like downtown LA to me. It's busy during the today with its financial district and businesses, but is almost dead at night except for some bar and restaurants and high end hotels.
Unless you've lived in a big city and know how to recognize what areas look bad, I'd suggest to not stay in a downtown Atlanta hotel unless you plan to only stay in the hotel or leave during the day during business hours.
Personally I stayed in Marietta and stayed on the 285 perimeter most of the time during my trip. Basically pretty much what any local Los Angeles person does when they want to avoid downtown LA and only pass thru when going to Hollywood or Melrose.
If you are a tourist, I'd shy away from Underground after dark. There seems to be a marked change in the quality of people who hang there at night. Also be careful in the streets off the main drag in the downtown areas, particularly at night. There are so many gangbangers and general punks who like to shoot just to hear the bang in my opinion. Lot's to do, but like any big city, you can get hurt if you act foolishly.
When we were trying to find our way around the maze of highway, street, and sidewalks getting to the Georgia Dome we made a few wrong turns and actually ended up underneath the road in some back alleys. It did not seem very safe down there but it could also just be the eerie vacancy of all activity above.
When we were going to visit the Atlanta area, we got reservations at a motel on Fulton Industrial Blvd. When we arrived there, I was very uneasy with the location of our hotel. There were all sorts of sleazy places around our hotel, as well as an abandoned hotel right behind it. (It looked abandoned to me) So if you are looking for lodging, I wouldn't recommend Fulton Industrial Blvd. (We ended up cancelling our reservations and going up the road to Lithia Springs, which was much nicer.
It's a big city. A comedian once said that if you found yourself driving on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. you are in the wrong part of town. He was all too right. Keep your head on your shoulders and take the same precautions you would in any big city. If it looks like a bad neighborhood it probably is. It's no more or less danegerous than any other big city in the USA.
It's a big city, act accordingly. I do have to note that the city has undergone an enormous transformation since the 96 Olympics. Many of the neighborhoods where (no I'm not joking) Machine gun fire could be heard regularly throughout the 1980's are now gone. The city made a monumental effort to clean up the trouble spots around town and did a pretty good job of it. It's still a big city so all the normal precautions still apply. If your coming here ask me for advice. I'll get a map and show you the spots better avoided.
While living in Atlanta I felt very safe. But that was because I had friends that showed me around at first... Like any big city, Atlanta has areas that you just don't go. Unless you know the neighbourhood... Downtown at night, and even to some extent now, Buckhead.. Always check where you are driving into, and always feel free to ask. Most people in Atlanta are very friendly and will be helpfull. Hate saying it girls, but females should never travel alone, especially Downtown and Buckhead... Anywhere for that matter?
I am male, but even some of the nicest areas spooked me from time to time!
Just be carefull!....
Crime in Atlanta is serious and rampant. As in the case of most US cities, Atlanta is plagued by poverty and a massive overflow of weaponry, particularly guns. Generally, every week brings at least one murder and a couple of rapes. Therefore, pay attention. Be careful at night. Do not walk alone. Stay in well-lit areas. Protect your valuables -- don't carry them at all, and if you do, put them in your front pocket. Just be careful, and stay NORTH of the East-West MARTA line when possible. It could save your life. Not to scare you or anything.
The biggest risk always seemed to be getting outside of the tourist area, which is obvious, in downtown Atlanta. Also, don't walk around by yourself in a place called Bankhead. It is immediately west of Georgia Tech University.
Atlanta is like any other big city, we have our bums, pickpockets and crime. Don't be out at night alone, don't ride Marta alone, and when driving, keep your doors locked.