Want to live in a charming, wooded town with a fascinating history and promising future? If you’re thinking of moving to Atlanta, Marietta is definitely one of the best places to live.
It offers tranquil vibes, great schools, and close proximity to downtown ATL. All that, and it’s still more affordable than other nearby neighborhoods, like Sandy Springs.
As we take a deep dive into everything you need to know about Marietta, we’ve enlisted the help of Lindsey Ramsey, a true expert on this community at the center of Cobb County, GA. A Realtor at Harry Norman, Ramsey has lived and worked in Marietta for over a decade. She shared her insight into the history, culture, and of course, the beautiful homes, that make Marietta special.
What’s it like living in Marietta, GA?
In Ramsey’s words, Marietta is perfect for those moving to Atlanta who “want to be out of the fray while still being close by.” Beautiful antebellum homes and old downtown streets give a historic flair to everyday life here. With affordable homes, solid schools, thousands of acres of parks and protected land, and plenty of lively restaurants and shops, Marietta attracts all kinds of people — from families and history buffs to artists and urban farmers.
In fact, all these characteristics landed Marietta on the list of “Top 10 Affordable Suburbs with a City Feel,” recently released by Zillow and Yelp1.
At $319,000, Marietta’s median home value is slightly higher than in Atlanta proper, where the median sale price is about $302,000. Still, homes in Marietta are significantly cheaper than in nearby areas like Sandy Springs where the median home price is $513,000 — nearly 70% more expensive than in Marietta! For reference, the cost of living is much closer to the suburbs outside Dallas than those near San Francisco.
Here’s the cost of living in Marietta by the numbers.
Cost of living in Marietta, GA
|Median sale price for homes||$319,012|
|Median household income||$54,983|
In short, you can live whatever kind of life you want in Marietta, whether it’s upscale, with a historic mansion and fancy French cuisine, or more down-to-earth with a cozy bungalow and affordable groceries. “Whether you’re looking for a million dollar luxury home or a fixer-upper, you can find it here,” says Ramsey. “The housing market is booming with low inventory and low interest rates.”
Where are the best homes for sale in Marietta, GA?
Ask any good real estate agent this question, and they’ll probably respond: “It depends on what you want.” Because there are several different sections of Marietta, and each one has its own distinct character. Ramsey shares these pointers to help you figure out which part of Marietta may be best for you.
East Cobb GA
A family-oriented suburb northwest of Atlanta, East Cobb is known for its high-quality schools and close-knit neighborhoods where residents often share activities and holidays together.
“East Cobb is full of gorgeous homes and property values tend to be higher since you get closer to Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Fulton County,” said Ramsey.
While you can still find 3-bedroom ranch homes in the $200,000s, stately traditional homes are more common in East Cobb and sell in the $400,000s. If you’ve got even more to spend, there are plenty of gorgeous mini-mansions on sprawling estates that are near the $1 million price tag.
Most commercial development in East Cobb centers around two beautiful mixed-use shopping projects — the open-air Merchant’s Walk and the pedestrian-friendly Paper Mill Village, which hosts an awesome food truck night every month.
West Cobb GA
“West Cobb is where you tend to get a lot of home for your money,” says Ramsey. For example, you can find many 3- to 4-bedroom traditional-style brick homes with modern upgrades for under $350,000.
But you won’t be stuck with the existing housing stock. With more available land in West Cobb than in nearby areas, you can still find a beautiful plot where you can build your own home from the ground up, according to Ramsey.
Residents of West Cobb will enjoy tons of shopping at destinations such as The Avenue and tasty dining at local joints like the West Cobb Diner. Cobb County’s fantastic school system serves those who live in the area.
If you’re looking for character and charm, historic Marietta may be the place for you.
“Historic Marietta is the heart of the county. It contains a lot of the city’s historic homes, Kennesaw Mountain and National Battlefield, and the historic Marietta Square, which is a thriving destination full of restaurants, entertainment, and shops,” says Ramsey.
You can nab a smaller, Craftsman-style home for under $300,000 in Historic Marietta. Or, you can purchase an enormous Colonial style mansion built in the 1800s for $1,000,000+. But it’s not just the houses that are old here.
“In this community you will find a legacy of families that have lived here for generations,” she says.
This neighborhood is served by Marietta city schools. That includes Marietta High School, home to the 2019 Georgia state 7A football champions.
Where will I find apartments in Marietta, GA?
While most residents of Marietta are homeowners, there are some apartments and home rentals available. However, Ramsey warns, “as soon as they hit the market, they are gone.”
Rentals are a hot commodity because so many people want to move to Marietta for its great schools and beautiful atmosphere. Still, if you’re able to scale down a bit, you can likely find a cozy rental for under $1,500 a month.
Average rent in Marietta, GA: $1,235
Now that we’ve touched on the high points, let’s take a closer look at everything Marietta has to offer residents, starting with great schools…
Schools in Marietta, GA
Those of you who have kids (or are expecting some), might be wondering what Marietta, GA schools are like. The short answer is: they’re good. But you probably want more than that, so we’ve got the details on the city’s two school districts right here.
According to Greatschools.org, 44% of schools in the Cobb County School District that serves Marietta score above average for the state. That’s an impressive statistic. Meanwhile, 27% of schools in the Marietta City School District score above average, which isn’t half-bad, either. Many of the city’s schools have a 10/10 rating on the site.2
Niche.com, another site that rates public schools, gives Cobb County schools a solid A grade. It gives Marietta City schools a B+.3
But before you jump to any conclusions about schools, you might want to dig a bit deeper. “My suggestion to anyone looking in this area is to call the schools, talk to the PTA, get a tour of the building, meet with the teachers,” says Ramsey. “You can’t always find accurate information online. The best thing to do is get a feel for the school yourself.”
If you’re looking for a private school in Marietta, you’re in luck. There are tons of options — both religious and secular — for private K-12 education, including over a dozen private high schools.
How far is Marietta from Atlanta?
The answer: 20-40 minutes, depending on traffic.
Those who are moving to Atlanta for a job should have no problem driving downtown from Marietta every day — if that’s where your work is located. While the city is more than just an Atlanta suburb, you won’t be alone in your daily commute.
For those without a car, you can take the CobbLinc busses and transfer to Atlanta’s MARTA transit system. It won’t be as fast as driving, but it works.
Marietta is “outside the perimeter” (OTP), which means it’s on the other side of the loop made by Interstate 285 around Atlanta’s downtown area. Despite that detail, it’s still considered an “inner-ring suburb” because it touches Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, compared to more far-flung areas like Alpharetta and Serenbe.
Marietta’s rich history
If you really want to know the history of Marietta, it’s best that you sit down and talk with one of the many “old Marietta folks” — as Ramsey calls them — who still live in the city. But, even if you can’t get the oral history directly, there are plenty of other educational opportunities.
The Marietta Museum of History is a fantastic resource for those who want to learn about the town’s first days, beginning in the early 1800s, up through the Civil War and reconstruction. Marietta was home to several pivotal events in the war, including the Great Locomotive Chase (yes, that’s what it’s called — look it up!) and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
But perhaps the best way to experience the living history of Marietta is through the architecture. Important landmarks — like the Old Zion Baptist Church, Archibald Howell House, and Kolb Farm — dot the city. Beautiful antebellum homes (we’ll talk about these more in a moment) and old downtown streets give a historic flair to everyday life.
All of this important history means that there is lots of pristine and protected land in Marietta, which brings us to our next section of focus . . .
Parks and outdoor activities in Marietta
One of the advantages of being out of the fray in Marietta is that there are tons of beautiful, undeveloped green spaces to explore. The Sope Creek trail is an oasis for bikers and runners. East Cobb Park has activities for the whole family, from playing on the jungle gym to grilling by a gazebo. Local ecology and community events draw people to McFarlane Nature Park.
And if you have a bit more time on your hands, Marietta is just “a short drive to the North Georgia Mountains if you need to get away from it all,” says Ramsey.
The outdoor opportunities are practically endless (and you couldn’t ask for better adventuring weather). But don’t worry. There’s plenty to do in Marietta for those who prefer staying indoors.
Shopping and dining
You can start with historic Marietta Square in the heart of the city, with over 30 restaurants. You’re sure to find something to satisfy your tastebuds, whether you’re in the mood for American, Thai, Greek, Southern BBQ, Italian, Colombian, or pretty much any other kind of cuisine.
Shoppers can enjoy an array of antique malls, boutique clothing stores, vintage shops, bakeries, art galleries, and more. The historic Strand Theatre offers residents an eclectic bill of events, from old movies to concerts to live theatre productions.
Between the great outdoors, delicious dining, exquisite shopping, and other attractions — like the Six Flags White Water amusement park and the Gone With the Wind Museum — there’s really no shortage of things to do in Marietta, GA.
Moving to Marietta, GA
When you’re ready to start shopping for a new home in Marietta or the Atlanta area, give Lindsey Ramsey a shout. While you’re looking, it’s a good idea to start planning how you’re going to make your move. If you’re short on time, check out these tips from an Atlanta mom, whose home went from listing to closing in just 24 days. And if you think you might rather be closer to all the big-city action, our guide to Intown Atlanta neighborhoods features some of the best places to look.
Wherever you land in the Atlanta area, we’re sure you’ll find a big, southern-style welcome to town!
- Zillow Research, “What are the Top Affordable U.S. Suburbs with a City Feel?”
- Greatschools.org, “Marietta City School District”
- Niche.com, “Cobb County Schools”
- All Median Home Value numbers are from Zillow.
- All average rent numbers are from RENTCafé.
- Median Salary information is from Data USA.
(Source for photo featured at top: Visit Marietta, GA via Facebook)
Easton Smith works as a freelance writer and researcher, reviewing technology trends and the moving industry.