When I go to a new city I want to know which neighborhoods are the most authentic with walkable attractions and restaurants so I don't end up in, say, the equivalent of Times Square NYC when I usually want more of a Village feel. Here are my suggestions. Please suggest...
  1. Midtown
    With high-rise living or homes close to Piedmont Park, Midtown is highly walkable and bike-able. Attractions include High Museum, Fox Theater and Piedmont Park. Public Transportation to downtown via MARTA train.
  2. Sweet Auburn
    Part of Old Fourth Ward, this hood is very close to downtown but residential. Attractions include MLK center and birth-home, Beltline access, great nightlife at Boulevard and Edgewood, walkable to streetcar that can take you downtown.
  3. Inman Park
    A little farther away from downtown is the upish-scale hood of Inman Park that is authentic and still down to earth. Main attractions are Little Five Points funky shops and restaurants, access to Beltline, Krog Street Market, Variety Playhouse with Dad's Garage improv. Take MARTA train downtown or easily bike able .
  4. Grant Park
    You'll have to drive from here if you need to go downtown, but there is plenty in this hood if you want a quiet place to stay and stroll. Features include Atlanta Zoo and the beautiful park, funky restaurants and shops, and the Historic Oakland Cemetery.
  5. Virginia Highlands
    Suggested by @michaelsokol Va Hi is a great location especially if you have biz in Midtown, Emory or the CDC. Buckhead is accessible via back roads from there too. Va Hi is very walkable w boutiques, restaurants, bars, parks, and lots of cute homes.
  6. Decatur
    Suggested by @markravina Downtown Decatur has an adorable square with, again, tons of independent local restaurants, bars, and shops. MARTA train can be accessed from the square to take you Downtown.
  7. Not Buckhead, unless...
    Unless you have the opportunity to stay in one of those mansions, the classic ones on Habersham, not the new McMansions. Otherwise, you are surrounded mostly by luxury chains you can find in any big city.