Is a move to Atlanta, Georgia on your mind? If so, you’re not alone. To help you with your move, here’s a newcomer’s guide to our dynamic city that will make your transition just peachy!
Location, Location, Location
With its placement along the 33rd parallel north of the equator, Atlanta has a pleasant, humid sub-tropical climate. The average high temperature is 89° F (in July), and the average low is 34° F (in January).
Per year, Atlanta receives 217 days of sunshine and 51 inches of rain, but only one inch of snow. The climate is perfect for hardwood trees, which is why Atlanta is known as a “city in a forest.” Summers can be hot and muggy, but there’s a trade-off in its mild winters.
Atlanta is centrally located in the southeastern section of the United States, making it a convenient place to live and work. In addition to the many attractions within the metropolitan area, you’ll find rolling hills, scenic mountains, and rivers close by.
If you want to venture farther, there are several beaches close to Atlanta, including those on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. St. Simons Island, Myrtle Beach, and Hilton Head are just a few of the more famous ones.
The Atlanta International Airport is a hub for major airlines and is the busiest airport in the world. There are many non-stop flights from Atlanta to many U.S. cities and nearly every corner of the globe, including South America, South Africa, and South Korea.
In 2015, Atlanta’s growth curve was the third highest in the nation, just behind that of Houston and Dallas. Its metropolitan area is now the 7th largest in the U.S., with a population of almost 5.8 million. Within Atlanta’s city limits, however, that number is slightly less than 500,000.
As newcomers have arrived from other states and countries, Atlanta has become a diverse, cosmopolitan city, while still retaining its southern sensibilities. This is especially true when comparing it with other large southern U.S. cities.
Cost of Living
According to Sperling’s Best Places and Forbes Magazine, Atlanta’s cost of living index is just 2% above the national average. It is thought to be one of the more affordable big cities in the United States.
Economy and Commerce
Atlanta is home to the global headquarters of Coca-Cola, Home Depot, AT&T, UPS, Chick-fil-A, and Delta Airlines. Among Fortune 500 companies, 18 of them make their homes in Atlanta.
Atlanta’s skyline is sleek and modern, having undergone significant changes since the Civil War. Surrounding the downtown area, you’ll find numerous neighborhoods to explore, each with its own unique personality. Because the city itself has no natural boundaries such as mountains and rivers, the population has spread out into a wider geographical area.
Atlanta is home to several tourist attractions that you’ll want to visit. Here’s a partial list:
- Georgia Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in the world.
- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. This site includes a visitor center, Dr. King’s birth home (complete with a guided tour), the “I Have A Dream” World Peace Rose Garden, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King delivered sermons, The King Center, and the “Behold” Monument.
- Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, where you can tour Ms. Mitchell’s home and learn all about the life and times of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Gone With the Wind.”
- World of Coca-Cola, an interactive museum about the world’s most famous soft drink.
- College Football Hall of Fame, where you can gaze upon the Helmet Wall, visit the indoor field, interact with displays, and pay tribute to your favorite players and coaches. Over 300 college teams are represented.
- Fox Theatre, also known as the Fabulous Fox, is a grand performing arts venue featuring Islamic and Egyptian architectural styles.
- Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, which houses the Carter Center, presidential papers, and other Carter Administration materials, including a full-scale replica of the Oval Office.
Atlanta is the only American city with two Nobel Peace Prizes on display. One is at the King Center, and the other is at the Carter Center.
Parks and Gardens
There is a wide variety of green spaces in Atlanta that you can enjoy. For a refreshing change of pace, make sure you check out these locales after your arrival:
- Piedmont Park. Located in the heart of Atlanta, it offers places to walk, jog, picnic, swim, and play tennis. It also hosts the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta Dogwood Festival, and Gay Pride Festival.
- Centennial Olympic Park. This 21-acre oasis was created for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and is now open to the public.
- The Atlanta Beltline. This network of parks, trails, and transit lines is built on an old railroad corridor that circles the downtown area.
- The Atlanta Botanical Garden. This lovely 30-acre park is adjacent to Piedmont Park.
Government and History
As the state capital, Atlanta is a center of government activity. The Georgia State Capitol building, modeled after the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
In the 1960s, Atlanta was a major center of the American civil rights movement. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the many historical landmarks associated with this movement, including the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a museum with a focus on the American civil rights movement and global human rights issues.
Big cities have great food, and Atlanta is no exception. When it comes to dining, Atlanta combines the old with the new and offers a heaping variety of options. Ask the locals what foods Atlanta is known for, and they’ll tell you: barbecue, biscuits and gravy, pralines, Korean, and—of course—peach cobbler.
Whether you’re in the mood for Southern comfort food, ethnically diverse offerings, or something in between, you’ll have many award-winning restaurants to choose from. Bacchanalia has been called the city’s best restaurant, but reservations must be made well in advance.
Krog Street Market is a trendy option that offers a variety of culinary delights under one roof, as is Ponce City Market, located in the historic Sears, Roebuck, & Co. building. Then, too, maybe food trucks are more your style.
If you’re interested in sports, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a list of Atlanta’s foremost teams, and where they play:
- Major League Baseball: Atlanta Braves (SunTrust Park)
- National Basketball: Atlanta Hawks (Philips Arena)
- National Football: Atlanta Falcons (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
- Major League Soccer: Atlanta United FC (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
- National Women’s Basketball: Atlanta Dream (Philips Arena)
Educational opportunities abound in Atlanta. There are over 30 higher-education institutions located within the city, including the well-known Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and Atlanta University Center. As of 2014, 45% of Atlanta’s adult residents had at least four-year college degrees (the national average is 28%).
How to Get There
When you’re ready to make your move to Atlanta, getting there can be a piece of cake (or a slice of peach pie, if you will). Whether you’re planning a short trek or a long haul, professional movers can make the job easier and less stressful for you.
Hopefully, this guide has given you a better idea of what you can look forward to as you settle into your new life in Atlanta, the “city in a forest.”