Does Atlanta call to you? Is there appeal in affordably-priced homes, a bustling economy, and a thriving creative class? Does culinary innovation, diversity, and a mild climate sound preferable to your current location? For thousands of people, Atlanta is the Siren of the South, a dynamic city promising opportunity and a great quality of life. However, is right for you? Here are 31 things to consider before moving to Atlanta…
REALLY CHEAP AIRLINE TICKETS
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, with over 95 million passengers passing though in 2012 alone. Aside from a lot of airline jobs, the upside of this is inexpensive airline tickets out of Atlanta so traveling for vacations is much cheaper. Plus, 83% of major U.S. cities are less than two hours away.
EXCELLENT DATING IN THE A.T.L.
According to the Daily Beast, Atlanta is #1 on its list of “Best Cities to Find a Date in 2012.” And even though 2012 is in the past, how much could things have changed? If it’s single women you’re interested in, then the numbers are in your favor because there for every 100 single women there are 95.4 single men living alone. Atlanta has a diverse population so odds are you can find someone that’s you’re type. Here’s a selection of dating sites to find what you’re looking for in Atlanta…
- Everybody on OkCupid
- Christian Men or Women
- Jewish Men or Jewish Women
- Black Men or Black Women
- Indian Men or Indian Women
- NFL fans
- Cat Lovers
- Sea captains
MEET YOUR NEW NEIGHBOR… FLORIDA
The great state of Georgia borders the dysfunctional mess of Florida, so that means Florida’s mayhem is only 240 miles away from Atlanta. And there’s no guarantee that what happens in Florida stays in Florida so be vigilant…
Atlanta is the 8th most dangerous city in America, although crime rates are dropping and do vary dramatically by neighborhood. Still, Atlanta endures high rates of both violent crime and property crime, and especially motor vehicle theft. The city is protected by various layers of law enforcement, as well as a controversial mall cop who tasers trespassers, and a husband/wife crime fighting duo known as the Crimson Fist and Metadata. Atlanta’s no Gotham, but it’ll definitely keep you on your toes.
DON’T BRING UP MICHAEL VICK
Seriously. Nobody wants to talk about the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and his dog fighting crimes. It’s a depressing story. Oooh, look! Corgis playing tetherball.
FAMOUS LIL’ LOCALS
There’s no shortage of famous people who grew up in the Atlanta area, so this list only includes who are 5’8″ or shorter.
- Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader Martin Luther King—5’6″
- Recording artist CeeLo Green—5’7″
- TV personality Ryan Seacrest—5’7″
- Rapper Lil Jon—5’6″
- Music producer Jermain Dupri—5’4″
- Actress Raven-Symoné—5’2″
- Rapper Big Boi— 5’6″
- Golfer Bobby Jones—5’8″
- Rapper Ludacris—5’8″
- Singer Usher—5’8″
SHOOTING THE HOOTCH
What do you think “shooting the hootch” means in Atlanta?
A). Takiing shots of moonshine with your neighbor Merle
B). A photo shoot with Tom Hanks’ dog in the 80s comedy Turner & Hooch
C). Injecting some horrible street drug made from lighter fluid, pop rocks, and butter
D). Taking a relaxing trip down the Chatahoochee River on a tube, raft, or canoe
The answer is D. Sometimes A, but usually D.
LET’S GET POLITICAL
Georgia is a red state. Not Mississippi red, but still a Republican stronghold. Both of the state’s Senators are Republican, and it voted 53.3% for Mitt Romney. Atlanta, on the other hand is solidly Democrat. In the 2012 presidential election, both counties Atlanta resides in went for Obama—64.1% of Fulton County and 77.9% of DeKalb County.
Photo Source: Wikipedia
BUYING A HOUSE IN ATLANTA
Atlanta’s real estate market was one of the hardest hit by the housing market collapse, but it’s finally begun to rebound. The median sales price for an Atlanta home is currently about $248,0000, but inventory is shrinking. You can check out Atlanta homes for sale on Estately’s real estate search site HERE. And if you’ve got a few million laying around you can buy former Atlanta Hawks’ guard Joe Johnson’s home HERE.
RENTING IN ATLANTA
With Atlanta’s housing market recovering, rental prices have started to inch up. The average rent in Atlanta is $726 per month, far lower than other major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Atlanta has an unemployment rate of 8.0 percent, higher than the national rate of 7.2 percent. Still, the city is home to the fourth most Fortune 500 companies in America, including Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, and more. Newcomers to Atlanta complain it’s challenging to find work without personal connections, particularly if you don’t root for the same college football team as your potential employer. That’s life. Nobody’s going to just hand you something. If you want that stapler you have to stand up and take that stapler. Get started by checking out the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s list of the “Top Workplaces in Atlanta 2012.”
Traffic is bad in Atlanta, but what’s not clogging the streets are ticker tape parades in celebration of Atlanta’s pro sports championships. Atlanta has no shortage of diehard sports fans, but they haven’t received much reward for their enthusiasm. The Atlanta Falcons (NFL) have zero Super Bowl trophies. The Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Atlanta Dream (WNBA) have a combined trophy count of zero. The Atlanta Braves (MLB) batted .200 in five World Series appearances in the 90s, winning the whole thing once. Don’t bring up professional hockey. The Atlanta Thrashers departed for Winnipeg in 2011.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Atlanta is short for “Atlantica-Pacifica,” a sensible alternative because the long version sounds ridiculous. Atlanta is also called Hotlanta, The ATL, City in a Forest, Dogwood City, Hip Hop Capital of the South, The Big Peach, Black Mecca, The A, My-Lanta, Thrasherville, and Zombie Capital of the World.
Atlanta is shopping paradise, and a major draw for people all over the south. From one-of-a-kind boutiques and vintage shops to high-end retailers and outlet malls, Atlanta is one of the top U.S. cities for shopping. Factor that into your budget.
ZOMBIE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Welcome to Atlanta where the zombies play, where the undead eat brains like every day. Seriously, the city is a Mecca for zombie enthusiasts. The Walking Dead is filmed here, and Atlanta hosts a zombie walk, zombie run, zombie convention, the Buried Alive Film Fest, and Atlanta Horror Fest. Even the movie Zombieland was filmed here.
Atlanta is home to media moguls Ted Turner and Tyler Perry, and this town ain’t big enough for the both of them. At some point the former CNN founder and his Madea franchise owner will have to enter the ring, or possibly have a duel on Peachtree Street. Winner gets to control the city.
The number one complaint about Atlanta is the traffic. The sprawling city’s roads are overwhelmed by commuters criss-crossing the metro area. While traffic is at least fairly predictable, you will save tons of time by living in the same part of the city you work in. Travel time is even something people take into account when deciding who to date or be friends with.
Atlanta doesn’t appear on any lists of “Best Cities for Bicyclists,” but that may soon be changing. The city just approved $2.5 million for bike projects, and it expects to double bike lanes by 2016. Bike commuting increased by 400% between 2000-2009, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. However, recreational cyclists can utilize hundreds of miles of off-road trails, along with walkers, runners, and skaters.
Thanks to Atlanta’s diverse population it’s also got itself a pretty diverse food scene. From fast food and food trucks to farm-to-table eateries featuring master chefs, people are eating well in Atlanta. Local chefs have a flair for making high-end versions of ordinary foods like hot dogs and burgers, and they routinely appear on those TV cooking competition shows that are so popular with the kids. Atlanta’s loaded with innovative bartenders who deserve some limelight of their own, and there’s no shortage of small mom-and-pop eateries. Some of Atlanta’s most acclaimed restaurants include Bacchanalia, Bone’s, Cakes & Ale, Restaurant Eugene, and Miller Union, and be sure to check out Eater Atlanta for all the latest on Atlanta’s restaurant and bar scene.
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA
If there’s one thing that slandered the good name of Atlanta’s women it’s the reality TV show Real Housewives of Atlanta. However, if you want to meet actual housewives from Atlanta—not the fake ones from the reality show, then consider AtlantaAreaMommies.com, a great resource for mom-to-mom connections. And if you want to date single moms in Atlanta you can find them at SingleParentMeet.com.
Atlanta is ringed by Interstate 285, a circular moat of freeway that separates the inner sanctity of urban culture from the blandness of safe, suburban existence. More people may live outside the perimeter than within, but they don’t count in the eyes of Atlanta.
Georgia is The Peach State, even though it grows less peaches than South Carolina and California. Atlanta pays homage to this fruit tree with over 60 streets and hundreds of businesses that include “peachtree” in the name.
ATLANTA’S LGBT COMMUNITY
Atlanta is home to a vibrant gay community and is the epicenter of the LGBT South. In 2010, Atlanta was the named the “gayest city in the nation by the Advocate.” Like anywhere in America, Atlanta has an unacceptable amount of persecution and anti-LGBT violence, but the city has a number of LGBT advocacy groups working to improve this. Unlike a handful of other states that have legalized it, same-sex marriage remains banned in Georgia. Attitudes have progressed since 2004, when Georgia’s voters voted to ban same-sex marriage by 74%. Now, slightly more than 40% of Georgians are in favor of it. Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed has voiced his support for it, but there’s still a long way to go.
Photo Source: Atlanta Pride
SUBURBAN SPRAWL IS ENDING
After years of Atlanta sprawling out in all directions in the form of suburbs, the city finally started building up instead of out. Traffic jams and long commutes remain fixtures of life in the Atlanta metropolitan area, but its getting better thanks to more construction in high-density, walkable parts of town. The city is returning to a more urban existence, with people flocking to Atlanta’s older neighborhoods.
If you’re from north of the Mason-Dixon Line and you hear people calling you “Yankee,” it’s not because anyone’s mistaking you for Derek Jeter. While the city is filled with people from around the country and world, Atlanta is still a southern city. Memories of the Civil War are stronger down south, including in Atlanta, which General Sherman burnt to the ground during his march to the sea. That being said, Atlanta doesn’t have the same level of racial tension found in other large cities in both the south and the north. Perhaps that’s because it’s the birthplace of the civil rights movement and home of the late Martin Luther King, Jr.
Keep in mind that in Atlanta it is illegal to do the following…
- Keep a donkey in a bathtub
- Change the clothes on a storefront mannequin without the shades are down
- Carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket on a Sunday
- Tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp
- Give another man a piggyback ride
FAST FOOD CITY
Atlanta is the Fast Food Capital of America in more ways than one. The city has the 13th most fast food restaurants per capita, a 28.7% obesity rate, and the area is home to the headquarters of Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, Krystal Co., Church’s Chicken, Arby’s, Hooters, Huddle House, and more. Due to its market size and numerous fast food companies, the Atlanta market is frequently used by companies to test out new products and fast-food concepts. It’s like the lab that makes fast-food dreams come true. And heart disease.
Even if you move to Atlanta, it’s unlikely local rapper 2Chainz will be grant you entrance into his inner circle. That’s just reality. Don’t count on shopping for gold chains together, no collaborating on a single, and certainly no staying up late talking about girls and stuff.
ATLANTA IS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Atlanta was recently named “The Best Place in America to Start a Business” thanks to an educated workforce, low cost of living, and a variety of other factors. It was also named the “Top City for Young Entrepreneurs.” So, if finding a job proves challenging, consider starting your own business.
Atlanta’s residents wait all winter to complain about the hot, humid summers. But despite these muggy summer months the city enjoys four distinct seasons, including winters that average 48 days a year below freezing. The city averages 50.2 inches of rainfall, no more than a couple inches of snow, but overall it’s sunny 60% of the time. The city is at risk for occasional ice storms and very infrequent tornadoes, but the climate is far milder than much of the rest of the country.
The 1972 movie Deliverance was set in northeastern Georgia, just 92 miles from Atlanta. So before you enjoy the excellent outdoor recreation opportunities, or engage in banjo competitions with mountain people, take a little time to watch some classic American cinema. After that, head to the beautiful outdoors, but be sure to watch your back and pack your bow and arrow.
Want a cool, refreshing Pepsi? Say “yes” and you’ll experience the taste of a new generation slapped right out of your mouth? Look, Atlanta is a Coke town, and while some rebellious Georgia Tech students do experiment with Pepsi and RC Cola in college, Atlanta is, and will always remain, a Coca-Cola town. The classic drink was invented in Atlanta in 1886, the company is headquartered there, and locals even use the word “Coke” as a substitute for “soda” or “pop.”
SHOPPING FOR AN ATLANTA HOME
Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments.
– – – – –
OTHER ARTICLES BY ESTATELY