Duluth, GA is a vibrant city located in Gwinnett County, northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. With its roots as a railroad town in the 1870s, Duluth has transformed into a diverse community of over 29,000 residents. This mid-sized city blends small-town Southern charm with urban conveniences thanks to its location adjacent to Atlanta.
Known as “The Heart of Gwinnett,” Duluth is the perfect place to experience both city and suburban life. Its quaint downtown has historic buildings and local shops, while the rest of Duluth offers modern amenities like shopping malls and sports complexes. Families are drawn to excellent schools, recreational activities, and a friendly atmosphere. With a blend of nature, arts, dining, and more, Duluth appeals to residents and visitors of all ages.
Duluth has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s when it was first founded as “Duluth Station” along the railroad line between Atlanta and Charlotte. It was named after Daniel Duluth, a French trader who helped establish trade routes in the area in the 18th century.
The city was officially incorporated in 1821 in Gwinnett County and functioned primarily as an agricultural community up until the late 1800s. Cotton, corn, and wheat were major crops grown in the surrounding areas. During the Civil War in 1864, parts of Duluth were destroyed during the Battle of Peachtree Creek fought between Union forces led by William T. Sherman and Confederate troops led by General John Bell Hood.
After the war, Duluth was rebuilt and continued to grow as a small rural town. The economy shifted with the rise of the textile and manufacturing industries in the late 1800s. The city became an important railroad junction connecting lines between Atlanta and Charlotte. Duluth remained a modest small town until experiencing rapid suburban growth in the 1970s and onwards as the Atlanta metropolitan area expanded.
Duluth is conveniently located in Gwinnett County, about 35 kilometers northeast of downtown Atlanta. It sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Chattahoochee River, providing scenic views and an abundance of outdoor recreational activities.
The city is easily accessible via Interstates 85 and 985, which run along Duluth’s eastern border. It’s also connected to Atlanta by Georgia State Route 120 and Gwinnett County’s bus system. Located just outside the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, Duluth offers a small-town vibe while still remaining close to the big city.
Duluth’s prime location allows it to benefit from the business growth of Metro Atlanta while retaining its own unique identity. Residents enjoy suburban comfort coupled with natural beauty. They also have the advantage of access to Atlanta’s arts and culture, sports teams, major airport, and more – all within a short drive from home. Duluth’s enviable location makes it an appealing suburb for people seeking the perks of a major metro without the noise and congestion.
Duluth is home to around 30,000 residents, making it one of the most populous cities in Gwinnett County. The median age in Duluth is 35 years old, indicating a solid mix of young professionals, families, and retirees. The population is quite diverse, with just over 50% identifying as white, 25% as Asian, 15% as Black or African American, and around 10% as Hispanic or Latino.
The largest Asian ancestries in Duluth are Korean and Indian, owing to the many immigrants who call the city home. Duluth also has a sizable international community, with over 20% of residents being foreign-born. This multicultural fabric is one of the things that makes Duluth such a vibrant, welcoming city in the Atlanta metro area. With a highly educated populace and skilled workforce, Duluth has a bright economic outlook going forward. It’s an attractive destination for companies and families alike.
Duluth has a robust and diverse economy anchored by several major industries and employers. As one of the largest cities in Gwinnett County, Duluth serves as a regional hub for business and commerce.
Healthcare is a driving force of Duluth’s economy. Major medical providers like Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Gwinnett Medical Center, and Northeast Georgia Medical Center have large campuses located in the city. These hospitals employ thousands of medical professionals and support staff.
Technology and manufacturing are also strong sectors that provide jobs and boost economic activity in Duluth. NCR Corporation, a Fortune 500 tech company, is headquartered in Duluth and employs over 3,500 people in the city. Other tech firms with major operations in Duluth include Asbury Automotive Group and LexisNexis. On the manufacturing side, AGCO has a large manufacturing plant that produces equipment for the agricultural industry.
Retail is a third major employer in Duluth. With over 4 million square feet of retail space, the city has become a shopping destination in the region. Major shopping centers like Gwinnett Place Mall, Sugarloaf Mills Mall, and The Forum on Peachtree Parkway have outlets for national retailers along with dining and entertainment. These malls provide thousands of retail and hospitality jobs.
The strength of Duluth’s diverse industries and major employers has fueled steady population and economic growth over the past several decades. These core industries along with Duluth’s prime location in the Atlanta metro area ensure the city will continue to thrive economically.
Duluth is home to a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy. From cultural destinations to outdoor recreation, there is something for everyone, including many top rated Air BnBs
The city has a vibrant arts scene. The Red Clay Theatre is a community theater that puts on various productions throughout the year. For visual arts, the Hudgens Center for Art & Learning features rotating exhibitions in its galleries. The center also offers art classes for both children and adults.
Music lovers can visit Eddie’s Attic, an intimate listening room hosting live shows almost every night. The Duluth Fall Festival celebrates the town’s musical heritage with performances on an outdoor stage. The Infinite Energy Center is a major venue hosting concerts and events.
Parks and Recreation
Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty of green space to enjoy in Duluth. Shorty Howell Park has walking trails, playgrounds, and sports fields set among 100 acres. For water sports, there is kayaking and canoeing on the Chattahoochee River. McDaniel Farm Park provides a look at the city’s agricultural past with an 1840s era living farm museum.
The Southeastern Railway Museum lets visitors explore historic trains and railcars. Bunten Road Park has a wooded nature preserve ideal for hiking. For golf, Berkeley Hills Golf Club offers an 18-hole public course with a scenic landscape.
Duluth boasts a vibrant and diverse dining scene with numerous restaurants offering a wide array of cuisines. From downhome Southern cooking to exotic global flavors, Duluth has something to satisfy every palette.
Some of Duluth’s most notable restaurants include:
- Mary Mac’s Tea Room – This Atlanta staple opened a location in Duluth, serving up classic Southern dishes like fried chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, and banana pudding.
- Blue Moon Cafe – Specializing in contemporary Southern cuisine with dishes like shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and jambalaya.
- Bella Italia Ristorante – Elegant Italian restaurant with handmade pastas, seafood, veal dishes, and an extensive wine list.
- Olive Garden – Part of the popular chain, with classic Italian fare in a casual setting.
- Swad Indian Restaurant – Authentic North and South Indian cuisine including tandoori dishes, curries, biryanis and more.
- Tamarind Seed – Elevated Indian food in a contemporary atmosphere. Known for samosas, tikka masala, and vindaloo.
- Nama Sushi Bar – Trendy sushi restaurant with specialty rolls and Japanese small plates.
- Akashi Sushi – Intimate sushi bar offering high-quality fish and traditional Japanese dishes.
- Taqueria Tsunami – Lively Mexican cantina serving tacos, fajitas, margaritas and more.
- El Azteca – Traditional Mexican dishes in a family-friendly setting. Known for enchiladas, burritos, and churros.
Other Notable Restaurants
- Panda Express, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Chick-Fil-A
Duluth offers an array of shopping experiences to satisfy every taste and budget. With several major shopping centers and quaint boutiques sprinkled throughout the city, you’re sure to find the perfect item while supporting local businesses.
Popular Shopping Centers
- Gwinnett Place Mall – Anchored by major department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s, Gwinnett Place Mall features over 130 specialty retailers like H&M, Victoria’s Secret, and Express. Enjoy dining options like the food court when you need a shopping break.
- Infinite Energy Center – In addition to hosting concerts and events, Infinite Energy Center has a mall-style retail area. Shop popular stores like Old Navy, ULTA Beauty, and Kay Jewelers.
- Sugarloaf Mills Mall – One of metro Atlanta’s largest malls, Sugarloaf Mills Mall houses over 200 outlet stores. Brands like Kate Spade, Cole Haan, and Fabletics offer discounted prices in an indoor outlet setting.
In addition to the major shopping centers, Duluth has a charming collection of locally-owned boutiques:
- Iris BookCafe – Part bookstore, part cafe, Iris BookCafe is the perfect spot to browse books while enjoying coffee and light fare.
- Sweet Repeats Duluth – Find amazing deals on gently used clothing and accessories at this popular resale boutique.
- The Sleepy Poet Antique Mall – Housing over 100 antique dealers, this mall is antique-hunter’s paradise.
No matter your shopping style, Duluth offers retail therapy for all tastes and budgets. From major department stores to quaint antique shops, it’s a shopper’s paradise.
Duluth is home to a diverse set of residential neighborhoods that offer something for everyone.
Abbotts Bridge Place – A newer neighborhood with custom homes built in the 2010s. Located near Abbotts Bridge Road, residents enjoy amenities like pools, playgrounds, and walking trails.
Howell Wood – A peaceful community filled with traditional suburban homes on large wooded lots. Great for families seeking good schools and outdoor recreation.
Riverbrooke – Sitting along the Chattahoochee River, this neighborhood features luxury homes in a tranquil natural setting. Outdoor enthusiasts appreciate the kayaking and fishing opportunities.
Sweet Bottom Plantation – One of Duluth’s most exclusive communities with multi-million dollar estates on large lots. Offers private country club amenities.
Cardinal Lake Estates – A mid-range neighborhood built in the 1990s around a centerpiece lake. Attracts middle-class families with amenities like tennis courts and a clubhouse.
Berkley Hills Country Club – A private country club community with golf course views. Popular with retirees and empty nesters seeking an active lifestyle.
Enclave at Riverbrooke – Higher-end townhomes and condominiums near the Chattahoochee River. Appeals to professionals and couples without children.
Duluth’s diverse neighborhoods cater to families, professionals, retirees and everyone in between. With housing options ranging from cozy starter homes to grand luxury estates, Duluth offers residential options for all walks of life.
Duluth has convenient access to several major highways that connect it to metro Atlanta and beyond. Interstate 85 runs along the southern border of Duluth, providing direct access to downtown Atlanta just 30 minutes away. Georgia State Route 120 and Georgia State Route 141 also pass through Duluth, offering east-west connections.
Within Duluth, Pleasant Hill Road and Buford Highway function as major arterial roads. Pleasant Hill Road serves as a connector between I-85 and GA-120, while Buford Highway connects Duluth to nearby Berkeley Lake, Suwanee, and Sugar Hill.
Public transportation in Duluth consists primarily of bus service provided by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). While Duluth does not currently have its own MARTA rail stations, residents can access the Doraville and Chamblee stations nearby. Key MARTA bus routes serving Duluth include Route 147, Route 140, and Flex Route 284. These routes connect Duluth commuters to the wider Atlanta region and MARTA rail network.
For travel within Duluth itself, the city offers DULUTH OnDemand, an on-request shuttle service that picks up riders at their location and takes them anywhere within city limits for just $3 per ride. This innovative public transit option provides increased mobility for Duluth residents without access to a personal vehicle.