The once-sleepy area just south of Midtown is Atlanta's latest place for cold daytime treats and hot nightlife.

Next Great Neighborhood
Old Fourth Ward's nightlife is just a few blocks from downtown Atlanta.
| Credit: Art Meripol

After declining in the 1960s when many of its inhabitants moved to the suburbs, Old Fourth Ward (or "O4W" to locals) is buzzing again. With the opening of the roughly $50 million Historic Fourth Ward Park last summer and a planned $180 million project that will turn the Ponce City Market into a mixed-use area (expected to be completed by 2014), there's no question the legendary neighborhood—birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Margaret Mitchell—has made a comeback. It had been a while since we'd been back to O4W, so we recently rediscovered its unique personality at these five spots.

1. Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium
This irreverent (but all in good fun) art gallery does double duty as a bar. 466 Edgewood Avenue SE;

2. The Sound Table
Music, food, and drink are elevated at this restaurant/nightclub serving dishes such as oxtail tacos. 483 Edgewood Avenue SE;

3. Irwin Street Market
Don't leave without trying one of Jake Rothschild's 190-plus ice-cream flavors. (We like fig-and-cognac.) 660 Irwin Street NE;

4. Highland Bakery
The cinnamon rolls pay tribute to the original Highland Bakery, which served this neighborhood in the twenties. 655 Highland Avenue NE;

5. Historic Fourth Ward Park
Seventeen acres of industrial space were replaced with scenic walking trails, an outdoor theater, and a skate park. 665 North Avenue;