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Best New Thing About Atlanta: Beltline

Staff Pick

Not a strip of sod or a splotch of asphalt has been laid for the BELTLINE. But only months after local governments gave it the go-ahead, Atlanta’s most ambitious public-improvement project ever is transforming our landscape. In June, Atlanta purchased the 300–acre Bellwood Quarry to turn it into the city’s largest park. And private developers already are announcing plans for projects that (mostly) complement the tighter, more transit-oriented development the Beltline is designed to encourage. More than that, the Beltline is giving city and civic leaders a powerful tool to reimagine how we’ll live in the future. The project — which envisions a 22-mile transit corridor, along with parks and new development around the urban core — is sure to test our ability over the next couple of decades to make the right choices. Already, bitter disagreements are breaking out: Buses or light rail? Skyscrapers or midrises? But that’s much better for the city than being mired in great dreams that never become reality. If we do the Beltline well, it could be the best thing to happen to Atlanta since the Civil Rights Movement.

Best Annual Event

National Black Arts Festival

Atlanta is a city of festivals. There’s the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park, Pride Week, the return of the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Downtown Festival »more

Best Athlete

Andruw Jones

It wasn’t so long ago that ANDRUW JONES walked into the office of Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz without his agent and agreed to »more

Best Beach Retreat

Cumberland Island

With rapid construction overtaking Atlanta’s already jammed streets, there’s no better way to escape than to cruise down to CUMBERLAND ISLAND. It’s Georgia’s biggest barrier »more

Best Bizarro News Story

John Mark Karr

Atlanta’s tangential relationship to the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey just gets stranger and stranger. JonBenet was born here and is buried here, even though »more

Best Celebrity

Cee-Lo

This time last year, CEE-LO was another B-level celebrity known as much for his role as the indulgent father on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” »more

Best Columnist

Cynthia Tucker

Ever the fair-minded, we excluded CL’s own columnists for critics’ consideration in this category. But that shouldn’t detract from our admiration for AJC Editorial Page »more

Best Country Radio Station

Eagle 106.7 (WYAY-FM)

Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Del McCoury, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss — don’t you wish there was a »more

Best Crash and Burn

Atlanta Braves

Last time we checked, the ATLANTA BRAVES had won 14 straight division titles. But last time we checked this year, they were more than 15 »more

Best Ear to the Ground

Richard Eldredge

For years, the AJC’s Peach Buzz gossip column was a fluffy time-killer that served to keep readers abreast of the latest celebrity sightings and highbrow »more

Best Golf Course

North Fulton Golf Course

If you’re a golf snob, then you don’t mind the drive to some of Georgia’s premiere golf courses with lush grounds, breathtaking views and heart-stopping »more

Best Guilty Pleasure (And Best Party)

Atlanta Peach

While nobody really reads Ocean Drive magazine, it sure looks pretty on the coffee table, and it has gorgeous pictures of the “beautiful people” inside. »more

Best Intown Park

Grant Park

Perennially overshadowed by its flashier Midtown sibling, the 131-acre GRANT PARK has something of a split personality. On its western side, the city’s oldest park »more

Best Jogging Path

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

For years, cross-country teams have jogged on the rooted paths and trekked up the grueling hills of KENNESAW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK. The park offers »more

Best Local Do-Gooder(s)

Carol and Boake Moore, Chelsea Butler, and Stan King

After the killing waters of Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and Mississippi, Atlantans reached out to help. Among them were CAROL AND BOAKE MOORE, who »more

Best Local Hero

Judith Curry

When Hurricane Katrina tore into the Gulf Coast, it created a perverse, but tempting, chance to make a point about global warming. Scientists had long »more

Best Local Politico

Nan Orrock

Georgia has no lack of bad politicians. Linda Schrenko, Bill Campbell, Ralph Reed. You name ’em. What’s often missed is that we have some damn »more

Best Local Television Anchor

John Pruitt

Because he’s sat next to a shining star such as Monica Kaufman for all these years, it’s been too easy to overlook JOHN PRUITT. But »more

Best Local Troublemaker

Joe Parko

Meet JOE PARKO, and you think “ordinary guy.” The retired Georgia State professor is anything but. Behind a gentle smile and shock of white hair »more

Best Morality Tale

Bill Campbell

If you didn’t believe BILL CAMPBELL was a crook when he was mayor, then you weren’t paying attention. A puzzling jury verdict acquitted the slickster »more

Best Mountain Escape

Chattooga River

BEST MOUNTAIN ESCAPE

In the early 1970s, the CHATTOOGA RIVER was officially dubbed one of the nation’s first “Wild and Scenic Rivers.” That remains an »more

Best Nana-Na-Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye!

Ralph Reed

We Georgians may be a little slow occasionally, but at least we’re not dumb enough to elect RALPH REED lieutenant governor. Reed cut his teeth »more

Best Neighborhood Festival

Inman Park Festival

We know it’s won several years in a row, and we like to vary our picks when possible. But the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL proves it’s »more

Best New Building

Terminus 100

TERMINUS 100 may not be quite finished yet, but when it’s completed in the spring, the 26-story glass-and-steel high-rise will bring a Fifth Avenue vibe »more

Best New Thing About Atlanta

Beltline

Not a strip of sod or a splotch of asphalt has been laid for the BELTLINE. But only months after local governments gave it the »more

Best Non-Commercial Station

Radio Free Georgia, WRFG-FM (89.3)

Back when RADIO FREE GEORGIA, WRFG-FM (89.3), went on the air in 1973, people who listened were like a secret society. The signal didn’t go »more

Best Old Thing About Atlanta

Oakland Cemetery

It’s tough to find much of anything in Atlanta older than OAKLAND CEMETERY, and arguably no place in this city wears its age more gracefully. »more

Best OTP Park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

The name Kennesaw comes from the Cherokee word “gah-nee-sah,” which means burial ground. Fitting, since the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain ended the lives of an »more

Best Overall Radio Station

Album 88

Year after year, as other radio stations fall in and out of favor and change formats and call letters, ALBUM 88 never seems to change. »more

Best Person You Hate to Love

Clark Howard

He’s corny and occasionally hokey. His sincerity seems too good to be true. He’s too nerdy to be cool. But WSB-AM (750)’s CLARK HOWARD has »more

Best Person You Love to Hate

Neal Boortz

Well, if it isn’t our own John Sugg, then it has to be Atlanta’s contribution to big-league talk radio, NEAL BOORTZ. Whether Boortz is trumpeting »more

Best Place to Bike

Silver Comet Trail

Named after a passenger train that ran along the same route from 1947 to 1968, the SILVER COMET TRAIL is a gorgeous stretch of pavement »more

Best Place to Mountain Bike

Yellow River Mountain Bike Trail

The beautiful part of the YELLOW RIVER MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL is its accessibility. No, we’re not talking about how close it is to town (although »more

Best Place to Splish Splash

Ocoee River

For continuous whitewater fun within a couple of hours of a major city, it’s hard to match the OCOEE RIVER. Just north of the Tennessee »more

Best Place to Spot Celebs

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Now that Vision has closed, where do you go to see Britney, K-Fed, Nelly and Usher? Sure, the newly minted, über-plush B.E.D. is becoming something »more

Best Playground

John Howell Park

Across from Inman Park Middle School, JOHN HOWELL PARK features two playgrounds: one for tots and one for school-age kids. Though neither playground is particularly »more

Best Quirk About Atlanta

Most Adults Who Live in Atlanta ain't From Around Here

Hang out in Atlanta long enough and you’ll discover that MOST ADULTS WHO LIVE IN ATLANTA AIN’T FROM AROUND HERE. Just ask around. Atlanta sucks »more

Best Radio DJ

Marvin Evangelista

He stumbles over words. He screws up his PSAs. He’s a total spaz. And he undoubtedly grates on some listeners’ nerves. But those people are »more

Best Real TV Journalist

Dale Cardwell

You’ve heard the jokes about TV newspeople. The “blow-dries.” The “news babes.” The “rip-and-read” anchors. The “if it bleeds, it leads” sensationalists. They’re all true, »more

Best Reason to Believe in Atlanta

Shirley Franklin

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN was elected mayor in 2001. The city was in shambles. She faced a budget crisis and — even more — City Hall faced »more

Best Reason to Look Before You Leap

The King Papers Sale

The way politicians and the media congratulated each other when the city stepped in to pay $32 million for the papers of the Rev. Martin »more

Best Reason to Suspect There's Something in the Water

Overpass Jumpers

The least welcome Atlanta fad of recent years has got to be the legions of OVERPASS JUMPERS who hold up rush-hour traffic while threatening to »more

Best Rock Station

Dave-FM (92.9)

“Rock is dead, they say,” was the Who’s infamous proclamation in the ’70s, and they may have been more prescient than they realized. It’s no »more

Best Sign Atlanta Isn't like L.A.

Or are we...?

Maybe we should start with the things that are similar. Smog. Check. Traffic. Double-check. Self-absorbed stars. Check. L.A. is surrounded by ocean and desert, but »more

Best Sign Atlanta Isn't Like the Rest of Georgia

Pride Week

In a state where there was going to be a special session of the friggin’ Legislature to reinstitute a ban on gay marriage — a »more

Best Sign of the Changing Political Landscape

April 10 Rally

Last spring, as the state Legislature crafted one of the nation’s most Draconian immigration bills, a new and surprising political force was born. Metro Latinos »more

Best Sportscaster

Fred Kalil

A few years ago, when WXIA-TV/Channel 11’s FRED KALIL made his return to the Braves clubhouse at Turner Field following his recovery from surgery to »more

Best Street Character

Baton Bob

Certainly the city has edgier street people and those who have been around longer. But in the two years since he arrived intown, BATON BOB »more

Best Suburb

Clarkston

There’s no suburb in Atlanta where you’ll hear Vietnamese, Somali, Urdu and Serbo-Croatian as commonly spoken as it is in CLARKSTON. The town popped up »more

Best Swan Dive

Cathy Cox

When she kicked off her quest to become governor last year, Georgia Secretary of State CATHY COX had everything going for her. She’d raised more »more

Best Urban Radio Station

Hot 107.9(WHTA-FM)

Check the playlists at some of the urban stations in the A, and it’ll seem as if the program directors are stationed in New York. »more

Best Use of a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card

Dallas Austin

DALLAS AUSTIN, dude, what were you thinking? We’ll wait to see whether Austin’s bust earlier this year in Dubai will damage the good-guy reputation the »more

Best Wi-Fi Location

Teahouse 11:11

With everyone seemingly owning a laptop and Wi-Fi coffee shops popping up all over town, more and more people are escaping the office or classroom »more

Best Annual Event

National Black Arts Festival

Atlanta is a city of festivals. There’s the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park, Pride Week, the return of the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Downtown Festival »more

Best Athlete

Andruw Jones

It wasn’t so long ago that ANDRUW JONES walked into the office of Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz without his agent and agreed to »more

Best Beach Retreat

Cumberland Island

With rapid construction overtaking Atlanta’s already jammed streets, there’s no better way to escape than to cruise down to CUMBERLAND ISLAND. It’s Georgia’s biggest barrier »more

Best Bizarro News Story

John Mark Karr

Atlanta’s tangential relationship to the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey just gets stranger and stranger. JonBenet was born here and is buried here, even though »more

Best Celebrity

Cee-Lo

This time last year, CEE-LO was another B-level celebrity known as much for his role as the indulgent father on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” »more

Best Columnist

Cynthia Tucker

Ever the fair-minded, we excluded CL’s own columnists for critics’ consideration in this category. But that shouldn’t detract from our admiration for AJC Editorial Page »more

Best Country Radio Station

Eagle 106.7 (WYAY-FM)

Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Del McCoury, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss — don’t you wish there was a »more

Best Crash and Burn

Atlanta Braves

Last time we checked, the ATLANTA BRAVES had won 14 straight division titles. But last time we checked this year, they were more than 15 »more

Best Ear to the Ground

Richard Eldredge

For years, the AJC’s Peach Buzz gossip column was a fluffy time-killer that served to keep readers abreast of the latest celebrity sightings and highbrow »more

Best Golf Course

North Fulton Golf Course

If you’re a golf snob, then you don’t mind the drive to some of Georgia’s premiere golf courses with lush grounds, breathtaking views and heart-stopping »more

Best Guilty Pleasure (And Best Party)

Atlanta Peach

While nobody really reads Ocean Drive magazine, it sure looks pretty on the coffee table, and it has gorgeous pictures of the “beautiful people” inside. »more

Best Intown Park

Grant Park

Perennially overshadowed by its flashier Midtown sibling, the 131-acre GRANT PARK has something of a split personality. On its western side, the city’s oldest park »more

Best Jogging Path

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

For years, cross-country teams have jogged on the rooted paths and trekked up the grueling hills of KENNESAW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK. The park offers »more

Best Local Do-Gooder(s)

Carol and Boake Moore, Chelsea Butler, and Stan King

After the killing waters of Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and Mississippi, Atlantans reached out to help. Among them were CAROL AND BOAKE MOORE, who »more

Best Local Hero

Judith Curry

When Hurricane Katrina tore into the Gulf Coast, it created a perverse, but tempting, chance to make a point about global warming. Scientists had long »more

Best Local Politico

Nan Orrock

Georgia has no lack of bad politicians. Linda Schrenko, Bill Campbell, Ralph Reed. You name ’em. What’s often missed is that we have some damn »more

Best Local Television Anchor

John Pruitt

Because he’s sat next to a shining star such as Monica Kaufman for all these years, it’s been too easy to overlook JOHN PRUITT. But »more

Best Local Troublemaker

Joe Parko

Meet JOE PARKO, and you think “ordinary guy.” The retired Georgia State professor is anything but. Behind a gentle smile and shock of white hair »more

Best Morality Tale

Bill Campbell

If you didn’t believe BILL CAMPBELL was a crook when he was mayor, then you weren’t paying attention. A puzzling jury verdict acquitted the slickster »more

Best Mountain Escape

Chattooga River

BEST MOUNTAIN ESCAPE

In the early 1970s, the CHATTOOGA RIVER was officially dubbed one of the nation’s first “Wild and Scenic Rivers.” That remains an »more

Best Nana-Na-Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye!

Ralph Reed

We Georgians may be a little slow occasionally, but at least we’re not dumb enough to elect RALPH REED lieutenant governor. Reed cut his teeth »more

Best Neighborhood Festival

Inman Park Festival

We know it’s won several years in a row, and we like to vary our picks when possible. But the INMAN PARK FESTIVAL proves it’s »more

Best New Building

Terminus 100

TERMINUS 100 may not be quite finished yet, but when it’s completed in the spring, the 26-story glass-and-steel high-rise will bring a Fifth Avenue vibe »more

Best New Thing About Atlanta

Beltline

Not a strip of sod or a splotch of asphalt has been laid for the BELTLINE. But only months after local governments gave it the »more

Best Non-Commercial Station

Radio Free Georgia, WRFG-FM (89.3)

Back when RADIO FREE GEORGIA, WRFG-FM (89.3), went on the air in 1973, people who listened were like a secret society. The signal didn’t go »more

Best Old Thing About Atlanta

Oakland Cemetery

It’s tough to find much of anything in Atlanta older than OAKLAND CEMETERY, and arguably no place in this city wears its age more gracefully. »more

Best OTP Park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

The name Kennesaw comes from the Cherokee word “gah-nee-sah,” which means burial ground. Fitting, since the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain ended the lives of an »more

Best Overall Radio Station

Album 88

Year after year, as other radio stations fall in and out of favor and change formats and call letters, ALBUM 88 never seems to change. »more

Best Person You Hate to Love

Clark Howard

He’s corny and occasionally hokey. His sincerity seems too good to be true. He’s too nerdy to be cool. But WSB-AM (750)’s CLARK HOWARD has »more

Best Person You Love to Hate

Neal Boortz

Well, if it isn’t our own John Sugg, then it has to be Atlanta’s contribution to big-league talk radio, NEAL BOORTZ. Whether Boortz is trumpeting »more

Best Place to Bike

Silver Comet Trail

Named after a passenger train that ran along the same route from 1947 to 1968, the SILVER COMET TRAIL is a gorgeous stretch of pavement »more

Best Place to Mountain Bike

Yellow River Mountain Bike Trail

The beautiful part of the YELLOW RIVER MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL is its accessibility. No, we’re not talking about how close it is to town (although »more

Best Place to Splish Splash

Ocoee River

For continuous whitewater fun within a couple of hours of a major city, it’s hard to match the OCOEE RIVER. Just north of the Tennessee »more

Best Place to Spot Celebs

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Now that Vision has closed, where do you go to see Britney, K-Fed, Nelly and Usher? Sure, the newly minted, über-plush B.E.D. is becoming something »more

Best Playground

John Howell Park

Across from Inman Park Middle School, JOHN HOWELL PARK features two playgrounds: one for tots and one for school-age kids. Though neither playground is particularly »more

Best Quirk About Atlanta

Most Adults Who Live in Atlanta ain't From Around Here

Hang out in Atlanta long enough and you’ll discover that MOST ADULTS WHO LIVE IN ATLANTA AIN’T FROM AROUND HERE. Just ask around. Atlanta sucks »more

Best Radio DJ

Marvin Evangelista

He stumbles over words. He screws up his PSAs. He’s a total spaz. And he undoubtedly grates on some listeners’ nerves. But those people are »more

Best Real TV Journalist

Dale Cardwell

You’ve heard the jokes about TV newspeople. The “blow-dries.” The “news babes.” The “rip-and-read” anchors. The “if it bleeds, it leads” sensationalists. They’re all true, »more

Best Reason to Believe in Atlanta

Shirley Franklin

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN was elected mayor in 2001. The city was in shambles. She faced a budget crisis and — even more — City Hall faced »more

Best Reason to Look Before You Leap

The King Papers Sale

The way politicians and the media congratulated each other when the city stepped in to pay $32 million for the papers of the Rev. Martin »more

Best Reason to Suspect There's Something in the Water

Overpass Jumpers

The least welcome Atlanta fad of recent years has got to be the legions of OVERPASS JUMPERS who hold up rush-hour traffic while threatening to »more

Best Rock Station

Dave-FM (92.9)

“Rock is dead, they say,” was the Who’s infamous proclamation in the ’70s, and they may have been more prescient than they realized. It’s no »more

Best Sign Atlanta Isn't like L.A.

Or are we...?

Maybe we should start with the things that are similar. Smog. Check. Traffic. Double-check. Self-absorbed stars. Check. L.A. is surrounded by ocean and desert, but »more

Best Sign Atlanta Isn't Like the Rest of Georgia

Pride Week

In a state where there was going to be a special session of the friggin’ Legislature to reinstitute a ban on gay marriage — a »more

Best Sign of the Changing Political Landscape

April 10 Rally

Last spring, as the state Legislature crafted one of the nation’s most Draconian immigration bills, a new and surprising political force was born. Metro Latinos »more

Best Sportscaster

Fred Kalil

A few years ago, when WXIA-TV/Channel 11’s FRED KALIL made his return to the Braves clubhouse at Turner Field following his recovery from surgery to »more

Best Street Character

Baton Bob

Certainly the city has edgier street people and those who have been around longer. But in the two years since he arrived intown, BATON BOB »more

Best Suburb

Clarkston

There’s no suburb in Atlanta where you’ll hear Vietnamese, Somali, Urdu and Serbo-Croatian as commonly spoken as it is in CLARKSTON. The town popped up »more

Best Swan Dive

Cathy Cox

When she kicked off her quest to become governor last year, Georgia Secretary of State CATHY COX had everything going for her. She’d raised more »more

Best Urban Radio Station

Hot 107.9(WHTA-FM)

Check the playlists at some of the urban stations in the A, and it’ll seem as if the program directors are stationed in New York. »more

Best Use of a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card

Dallas Austin

DALLAS AUSTIN, dude, what were you thinking? We’ll wait to see whether Austin’s bust earlier this year in Dubai will damage the good-guy reputation the »more

Best Wi-Fi Location

Teahouse 11:11

With everyone seemingly owning a laptop and Wi-Fi coffee shops popping up all over town, more and more people are escaping the office or classroom »more

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