Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, often gets talked about thanks to its busy airport, the Olympics back in 1996 or because an Outkast song came on the radio. But there's so much to explore within its city limits if you're thinking of living in Atlanta.
You'll be hard-pressed to find an Atlanta native — most residents are transplants or from the suburbs. According to a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau report, 36 new residents move to the metro Atlanta area every day.
Even then, those locals take pride in their neighborhood and everything that it has to offer. Each city neighborhood has a different personality, making them extra fun to explore.
Atlanta's mild winters and beautiful springs are sure to captivate hearts so much that they overlook the horrendous traffic. Keep on reading to see if ATL, as the locals call it, is the right home for you.
Just make sure to get your ITP and OTP right when you land here — more on that below.
Between June 2020 and April 2020, Atlanta experienced a 4.41 percent decrease in rent versus past years when it was less than one percent. On average, you'll find a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta for $1,643 a month, depending on the neighborhood.
Living in the city remains mostly affordable as gas prices remain under the national average. Sales tax is 8.9 percent across the state and groceries can be obtained from several places to fit your budget. The city has several groceries, small markets and hosts several farmers' markets. A beer at a bar will hover between $7-8, and a meal at a sit-down restaurant will set you back $50, on average.
When looking for your next neighborhood, you'll want to know where in the perimeter it is. The perimeter is the circle the I-285 bypass makes around the city — everything ITP (inside the perimeter) is considered metro Atlanta, and OTP (outside the perimeter is everything else.
If you're looking for a family-friendly, tree-lined quiet neighborhood ITP, your best bet is to start looking in Kirkwood, Inman Park and East Chastain Park. You'll have easy access to walking trails, restaurants and playgrounds for the kids. The eastside of Atlanta remains popular due to its proximity to city amenities like the Atlanta BeltLine.
For those looking for more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and nightlife, take a look at Old Fourth Ward, Castleberry Hill and Midtown. The average rent in these three neighborhoods hovers between $1,700 to $2,300 for a one-bedroom apartment. You'll have access to bars, nightclubs and easy commutes by foot or bike.
If you want to be closer to the city's business district, you can look in Buckhead for a luxury apartment that costs $1,966 per month, on average. Apartments in the area often offer fitness centers, spas, pool access and other amenities.
While the city does get the occasional tropical storm and unexpected blizzards, Atlanta's weather remains mild throughout the year. Winter weather brings the city to a standstill, so enjoy the days off and the snow.
Sure, Atlanta has earned the god-awful nickname of "Hotlanta" for the right reasons — summers in the South are brutally hot and humid. While fans on porches and blasting A/C units help, it's still something to get used to. Luckily, the Chattahoochee River and other nearby lakes provide a small reprieve from the heat through river-tubing.
Most of all, Atlanta's beautiful fall season hovers around 70 degrees and turns the tree-filled city into a red/orange painting as the leaves change. This is the perfect time to schedule your picnics, ride your bike down the Atlanta BeltLine and go hiking at the many trails nearby. Festival season also launches, including chili cook-off Chomp 'N Stomp in Cabbagetown.
Atlanta boasts some of the best universities in the country. Right downtown, you can find the Georgia Institute of Technology, which has graduated some of the greatest minds in engineering and technology and Georgia State University, ranked as second-most innovative in the country. Elsewhere in the city, you can find Emory University, famous for its outstanding healthcare and history work.
With private and charter school options and public schools in DeKalb, Fulton and Cobb counties, families have a variety of options to pick the best one for their children as they grow up.
Atlanta is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies, with 4 in the top 100 — Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, United Parcel Service and The Coca-Cola Company. Atlanta also continues to grow as a technology hub as startups continue to succeed here. The Atlanta Tech Village, a hub of hundreds of growing startups in Buckhead, is the fourth-largest tech space in the U.S.
The most prominent industries currently thriving in the city are finance, logistics and entertainment, with Invest Atlanta, the city's Economic Development Authority attracting more every day. The entertainment industry exploded when more big blockbuster movies started filming here a decade ago. Several studios have opened like Tyler Perry Studios, and in 2019, 399 productions were filmed in Georgia — equaling $2.9 billion invested in the state.
Atlanta is relatively safe with a few pockets of crime. Like any other city, it's important to stay vigilant late at night. Broken windows due to valuables left in cars are standard, along with other petty crimes. There are many up-and-coming neighborhoods on the west of the city, where crime remains high, but community efforts have helped reduce it.
However, it's safe to walk around in several eastside neighborhoods and those north of the city center. Just stay vigilant, and you'll stay safe.
While Atlanta hasn't earned a Michelin star, restaurants and chef talent have captured the James Beard Awards and listicles worldwide. Staplehouse has impressed with its tasting menu, "Top Chef" Kevin Gillespie's Gunshow has a rotating roster of young talent ready to impress and 8ARM's approach is local food with a Mexican twist. That's just three spots out of hundreds.
Creativity also comes in the form of pop-ups. Chefs show up at restaurants after hours with special menus and fun dishes that you couldn't get anywhere else. A few restaurants like Gato in Candler Park host chefs a few times a week to help them grow their audience and incubate their ideas. Two James Beard Award semi-finalists — Jarrett Steiber and Parnass Savang — hosted their pop-ups there and now have full-fledged restaurants in Summerhill.
Let's not forget about Atlanta's thriving international community on Buford Highway. This long stretch of highway between Atlanta and Chamblee houses restaurants worldwide — from Mexican to Szechuan and Vietnamese, Malaysian and Colombian. There's no shortage of good food in Atlanta; you just need enough time (and space!) to eat it all.
Is Atlanta a sports team city? It depends on who you ask. The Atlanta United soccer team fired up the city and its fandom less than five years ago and now plays at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, along with the Atlanta Falcons, the city's football team. The Atlanta Hawks play right next door at the State Farm Arena.
Both stadiums host musical events, concerts and big stars coming through on tour. The Tabernacle down the street hosts more indie appearances and smaller bands, and it remains a popular venue. The Fox Theatre in Midtown brings touring plays and acts to play under the stars in the Moorish-inspired building.
Music Midtown and Shaky Knees Festival bring bands from around the world to play in the city during the summer. But bars and smaller venues around the city host intimate shows, where many of the city's bred celebrities caught their break.
While every city has its parks, Atlanta is closer to nature than most. Within 30 minutes of the city, you can find outdoor trails at Sweetwater Creek State Park, Morningside Nature Preserve, Stone Mountain Park and Arabia Mountain. You can also go further north as the Appalachian Mountains in Blue Ridge and Ellijay are only 90 minutes away.
If hiking isn't your thing, you can also float down the Chattahoochee River through the city or rent a boat at Lake Lanier in the summer. In Midtown, Piedmont Park also hosts festivals, has a large pool and even dog park fun next to several breweries and the city's botanical garden.
It's impossible to ignore the traffic in Atlanta, especially coming into the city. No matter what interstate you're on, the rush hour traffic here captures listicle after listicle.
Now that we got that out of the way (and you've added half an hour to your commute time) know that Atlanta's MARTA rail and bus system operates around the city, and it's a great way to get around. If you work downtown, you can also hop on the Atlanta Streetcar and head to the nearest MARTA station and make your way home that way.
The Atlanta BeltLine also connects 45 in-town neighborhoods so you can join the hundreds of commuters every day that use it to reach their offices in Midtown, Buckhead and elsewhere.
Moving to Atlanta, especially if you're not from the South, can feel a bit unfamiliar. But trust us, the city "that's too busy to hate" will welcome you with open arms. Whether you're single or bringing your family to ATL, you'll find a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle and the community to go with it.
The city is always evolving and growing as trends emerge, and new transplants influence the city. Atlanta is worth getting to know — give it a try.