A virtual road trip through Georgia's 6th District

A road trip through the 6th district.

No matter where you live, you've likely heard the buzz around the special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

The polls are incredibly tight in this district, which has leaned Republican for several decades, but which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by only 1.5 percentage points.

Politics aside, at the heart of this election is an incredibly diverse, 3-county part of northern Atlanta. The 6th District is also home to one of the wealthiest African-American majority counties in the U.S., a host of Fortune 500 companies, a highly-educated populace, and some of the most historic and affluent neighborhoods in the South -- celebrities included.

So for both those just getting to know the 6th and longtime residents alike, here's a trip through the district in the nation's spotlight:

1. Roswell:

Much of the 6th District, especially the northern portion, is divided into cities as well as small towns with their own distinctive characters.

One of the largest of those population centers is Roswell, a historic town in north Atlanta that is also the state's 7th largest city. The area around Roswell was once rolling plantation land surrounding one of the state's largest mills, which is now in ruins. To this day, the town retains some of that classic old southern charm.

Ironic as it may be, the brain behind "You might be a redneck if...," comedian Jeff Foxworthy, actually grew up Roswell -- not the boonies.

2. Cobb County

Cobb County, on the western side of the 6th District, is home to former U.S. Congressman Newt Gingrich, who served as the District's House Representative from 1979-1999. A Democrat hasn't been elected to represent this 6th District since Gingrich took office.

The portion of Cobb in the 6th district is 76% white and leans the most Republican of the three counties, according to fivethirtyeight.com.

Cobb has been ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau as one of the top 100 wealthiest counties in the U.S and as the most educated in the state of Georgia.

3. Chattahoochee National Recreation Area

"The Hooch," as Georgians tend to call it, cuts a swath from its source in the mountains of north Georgia down south where it forms portions of the Alabama/Georgia/Florida lines. The river served as the dividing line between the indigenous Cherokee and Creek populations that lived in north Georgia until they were forced out in the 1800s.

Jimmy Carter designated the land around the Chattahoochee north of Atlanta as a National Recreation Area in 1978.

4. Sandy Springs

If you've been to Atlanta you've probably seen the infamous "King and Queen" towers, which light up in appropriate colors for various holidays.

But the city of Sandy Springs in northern Fulton County has also received a lot of buzz nationally because of its unique private-public government structure. The majority of the government's services -- excluding some departments such as firefighters, police and some city management -- are contracted by private companies.

The city regularly hosts delegations from other cities who are interested in the model.

5. Home of Mercedes-Benz

The slick new American headquarters of the German luxury car manufacturer is currently under construction in Sandy Springs, the largest city within the 6th District.

This is precisely why the new downtown Atlanta stadium for the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons bears the automakers' name.

6. Buford Highway

Buford Highway, considered Atlanta's international corridor, runs through the northern part of DeKalb County.

Buford Highway is situated near Korean, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Central American, Somali and Ethiopian populations. Among other charms, this is the place to go for incredible, authentic ethnic food.

The area's diversity all comes together a few miles up the road at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market -- where you can buy everything from dragonfruit to durian.

7. Asia in Atlanta

We tend to think of New York City or the Bay Area when considering locations of large Asian-American populations. Atlanta, however, is home to an estimated 50,000 Asian-Americans.

In Chamblee, a city in the north Atlanta suburbs along Buford Highway, you'll find the area's unofficial Chinatown, with miles of restaurants, Asian supermarkets and shops.

8. Plaza Fiesta

Chamblee isn't just home some of Atlanta's best Asian cuisine. In fact, 58.5% of the city's population is Hispanic.

One of its most bustling areas is Plaza Fiesta, a 350,000-square-foot strip mall that is the beating heart of the Hispanic population in the area.

The colorful market is where you can enjoy all things Latino culture, from restaurants and shops to large outdoor music and dance festivals.

9. Dunwoody

Reality TV and radio hostest with the mostest Ryan Seacrest was born in Dunwoody in 1974 (and, incidentally, grew up watching Channel 2).

Dunwoody incorporated as an official city 2008. Along with Brookhaven, it is one of the largest cities in Dekalb County. The only major daily newspaper in Atlanta, the AJC, moved from its headquarters in downtown Atlanta to Perimeter Center in Dunwoody in 2010.

10. Johns Creek

In 2017, Johns Creek ranked third on the USA TODAY list of "50 Best Cities to Live In" and had an average household income (as of 2010) of $137,271.

In the middle of this affluent north Atlanta city is Country Club of the South, an exclusive and uber-posh neighborhood that boasts a handful of celebrity homeowners. Rumored to be on that list over the years? Whitney Houston, L.A. Reid and a who's-who of Atlanta athletes.

12. Alpharetta

Alpharetta considers itself the "tech hub of the south" and boasts over 600 companies, including offices for Microsoft, Siemens and UPS.

The city also has its fair share of enormous houses and has been home to a handful of celebrities, including Usher, Akon, Jeff Foxworthy and the late Bobbi Kristina Brown.

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