Moving to Atlanta
Atlanta's no ordinary Southern city. Sure, Atlanteans enjoy a leisurely afternoon sipping on sweet tea as much as any other Southerner, but the city is also one of the fastest-growing, most vibrant metropolises in the entire country.
Atlanta boasts an extremely diverse population with residents from all different backgrounds and is a very youthful and energetic city with a median age of 35.9. The metro Atlanta area is home to 5,612,777 people who wouldn't trade the charms of this city for anything in the entire world. While the rest of Georgia is solidly conservative, Atlanta is a Democratic stronghold, which means most of the people in the city hold liberal viewpoints.
The first thing you'll probably notice about Atlanta that it's a work-in-progress. The city is constantly expanding — thousands of people move to Atlanta every year. Although the median price for a home is fairly high at $192,892, salaries are also above the median average, meaning high-quality homes are readily available.
Living in Atlanta is all about enjoying the perfect mix of work and play. The city is home to some of the world's largest Fortune 500 companies, and it also features a wide array of exciting activities, including museums, theme parks, nightclubs, and more. Read on to learn everything you could want to know before planning a move to Atlanta.
Top Atlanta Neighborhoods
If you're thinking of relocating to Atlanta, knowing the city's top neighborhoods is essential. Whether you're looking for a laid-back, walkable neighborhood away from the crowds or you prefer being in the heart of the action, there is an Atlanta neighborhood that will fit your needs.
East Atlanta Village
If you're looking for one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city, look no further than East Atlanta Village. This neighborhood is extremely popular with Atlanta's younger residents, thanks in part to its energetic atmosphere. Take a walk down any street in this neighborhood, and you'll find quaint cafés, colorful street art, and some of the top bars and nightspots in the city.
Castleberry Hill is home to Atlanta's chicest residents. The neighborhood is just a few miles away from downtown Atlanta, which means you'll be a quick bus or train ride from the heart of the city. In Castleberry Hill, you'll find a wide array of art galleries filled with breathtaking paintings and sculptures, restaurants where you can chow down on authentic Southern cuisine, and cool bars where you can meet your friends for an after-work cocktail.
Virginia Highlands is one of the more upscale neighborhoods in Atlanta. You can find some of the city's most well-heeled citizens. Throughout this neighborhood, you'll find streets lined with historic buildings, including some homes that date back to the 19th century. Virginia Highlands is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Atlanta, and when you go for a stroll, you'll see high-end boutiques and elegant restaurants.
Atlanta Food Scene
One of the best reasons to move to Atlanta is immersing yourself in the vibrant culinary scene. Atlanta is the heart of the South, which means down-home cooking is the main focus of the city's food scene. Restaurants that serve Southern comfort food abound, which means you'll be able to find a spot to enjoy a stick-to-your-ribs meal around every corner. The city also features several high-end restaurants perfect for foodies who are always interested in sampling new cuisines.
If you prefer cooking your own meals, there are countless well-stocked grocery stores in the Atlanta area where you can purchase all the ingredients you need. For home cooks who want to work with the freshest ingredients possible, there are a number of farmers markets in Atlanta where locally grown produce can be purchased every week. Some of Atlanta's top farmers markets include the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, the Grant Park Farmers Market, and the Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
Atlanta is also a great city for people who love trying out rich wines and hoppy craft beers. Around the city, you'll find several world-class wineries, including Château Élan and Frogtown Cellars. A few of the best breweries to visit in Atlanta include Orpheus Brewing, Creature Comforts, and Wrecking Bar Brewpub.
Here are some of the top restaurants you should be sure to check out after moving to Atlanta:
- The Optimist: There's no better place in the city for a mouthwatering seafood dinner. From lobster rolls that rival anything you could get in New England to smoky wood-fired oysters, you'll easily find something to enjoy at this spot.
- South City Kitchen: At this restaurant, you can find new and interesting twists to Southern staples. Best of all, you can enjoy your delectable meal next to a roaring fireplace that keeps the restaurant warm in the evening.
- Bone's Restaurant: The Atlanta staple offers an old-school feel that makes for a relaxing dining experience. It's the top restaurant to visit in Atlanta if you're in the mood for melt-in-your-mouth prime rib.
What's the Weather Like in Atlanta?
One of the best parts about living in Atlanta is that you'll enjoy four distinct seasons. It never gets cold enough for a White Christmas, but winter and fall temperatures can be brisk, which is perfect for residents who enjoy a little bit cooler weather. In the spring and summer, temperatures in Atlanta are very warm, so you'll have no trouble getting outside and enjoying the wide variety of activities that the city offers.
Winters in Atlanta can be on the cooler side, with an average temperature of 45 degrees. Typically, there's under 5 inches of precipitation during the winter months, so you shouldn't have to worry too much about dealing with snow, ice, or cold rain.
Because it's chilly in Atlanta during the winter, you may want to spend most of your time indoors. You can visit one of the area's spacious shopping malls to get your holiday shopping done as early as possible or knock off the cold with a coffee or hot chocolate at an Atlanta café.
Springtime in Atlanta brings very comfortable temperatures perfect for getting out of the house and spending time in nature. The average temperature in Atlanta during the spring is 62 degrees, and there is also 4.8 inches of rain.
Spring is warm but not as hot as the summer season, making it a great time to visit one of the city's gorgeous parks. You can go for a walk through a park filled with lush flowers, or find a dog-friendly park so both you and your four-legged friend can enjoy the warm spring sunshine.
Summer can get downright hot in Atlanta, which is why you'll rarely see locals without a frosty glass of iced tea in their hands. The average temperature for Atlanta in the summer is 79 degrees, although it's not uncommon for daytime highs to hit 90 degrees or more. It rains a fair bit in Atlanta during the summer, with an average precipitation of 5.3 inches, and strong thunderstorms are a possibility.
Some periods of the summer in Atlanta are too hot to spend any significant amount of time outdoors. Fortunately, there are a wide array of indoor activities to help you beat the heat. You can take a tour of one of the city's museums or learn more about exotic animals at the Georgia Aquarium.
Fall is one of the most comfortable seasons in Atlanta, thanks to cooler temperatures and a lot less rain. Temperatures average 63 degrees during the fall in Atlanta, and there is also an average of 4.5 inches of rainfall.
One of the best ways to have fun in Atlanta in the fall is to head over to Stone Mountain Park to check out the changing leaves. The park explodes in orange, red, and yellow, and after the sun has set, you can watch the famous laser light show.
How to Have Fun in Atlanta
Atlanta is one of the most exciting cities in the country, thanks to a wide array of thrilling activities. Whether you like spending as much time as you can in nature or you prefer having fun indoors, you'll have no problem finding something to do while living in Atlanta.
During the pleasant spring and fall months, you'll want to spend as much time as you can outdoors in Atlanta. The city itself features numerous parks where you can go for a jog, ride your bike, or simply spend some time relaxing under the shade of a dogwood tree.
If you're a committed cyclist, check out the Atlanta Beltline. This biking area features miles of well-paved trails where you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride with friends and family. If you're looking for a little exercise, you can pump your legs to see just how fast you can complete one of the loops. A trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is another great way to enjoy nature in Atlanta. There's nothing quite like going for a walk through the lush green plants and colorful trees when the sun is shining.
During the sweltering summer months or chilly winter months, you can still have a great time in Atlanta by taking advantage of one of the city's many exciting indoor activities. If you're an avid shopper, you'll want to visit one of Atlanta's spacious shopping malls filled with popular stores. The Avalon and Buckhead Atlanta are two of the newest shopping malls in the city, and visiting both is a great choice when you're in the mood for a shopping spree.
If you enjoy the sweeping music and intricate costumes of Broadway shows, spend an evening at one of Atlanta's renowned performance venues. The Fox Theatre is a great place to catch a Broadway-style show, and you can also visit the Alliance Theatre at the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center to see a play put on by some of the top stage actors in the world.
Fun With Your Kids
Having fun with your kids in Atlanta is as easy as visiting one of the many family-friendly attractions that you'll find throughout the city. From amusement parks to museums to zoos, you'll have no problem finding something to do that both you and your children enjoy.
If your kids are animal lovers, the best way to entertain them in Atlanta is a visit to the Georgia Aquarium or Zoo Atlanta. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world and features massive fresh- and saltwater tanks filled with stunning marine life. At Zoo Atlanta, you can easily spend an entire day viewing the more than 1,000 animal species that live at the zoo. In addition to housing the most gorillas of any zoo in the United States, Zoo Atlanta also has exhibits featuring cuddly pandas and playful orangutans.
For thrill-seeking families, there's no better attraction in the Atlanta area than Six Flags Over Georgia. Ride the Great American Scream Machine for optimal thrills, or take a more relaxed ride on the Log Jamboree. With a vast water park full of slides and flumes and live entertainment featuring the Looney Tunes, this fun-filled theme park is sure to be a staple in your family.
Atlanta Cultural Institutions
Atlanta is one of the top cultural destinations in the South, thanks to a number of world-class institutions. At the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, you can examine the massive skeletons of different dinosaur species, or you can learn more about the ecology of Georgia by touring one of the many science exhibits.
If you're a history buff, you'll want to take a trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. At this museum, you can learn more about the life of the historic civil rights leader and the impact that he made on the country.
For a cultural experience like no other, you can check out the Center for Puppetry Arts. At this institution, learn how to make your own puppet, view a puppetry performance, and browse exhibits featuring some of the most famous puppets in film and television history.
If you're a sports fan, you're going to love living in Atlanta. Several professional sports teams call the city home, which means you can attend an exciting game whether you're a baseball, basketball, or football fan.
Two of the city's most popular franchises, the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons, have recently moved to new, high-tech stadiums where you can enjoy both a thrilling game and first-rate amenities. While the Braves and the Falcons have the biggest fan bases in the city, the Atlanta Hawks are growing in popularity, thanks in large part to several young players who help the team compete against some of the NBA's top squads.
Top Landmarks and Attractions Near Atlanta
Atlanta is home to a variety of natural and historic landmarks that you'll definitely want to visit after moving to this city. Here are a few of the most notable landmarks you should be sure to check out while you live in Atlanta.
Historic Oakland Cemetery
Historic Oakland Cemetery is without a doubt one of the most interesting landmarks in Atlanta. The cemetery was first founded in 1850 and is the resting place of some of the city's most famous residents. In addition to the founders of the city, Margaret Mitchell, the author of “Gone with the Wind,” and Bobby Jones, a famous Atlanta golfer, are buried in this cemetery.
Georgia State Capitol
The Georgia State Capitol is another landmark in Atlanta that you'll want to visit. Construction of the building was completed in 1889, and it has undergone recent renovations that combine the past and the present. The Georgia State Capitol stands out with its timeless marble facade and golden dome, and it's open to the public for tours every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park is probably the most famous state park in the Atlanta area. In addition to lush forested areas and some of the best hiking trails in the state, Stone Mountain features the largest bas-relief in the entire world. The massive stone carving depicts three of the most notable Civil War figures — Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson — and is also the site of daily laser light shows set to toe-tapping music.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a preserved Civil War battlefield that is a must-visit for anyone living in Atlanta. Visiting the battlefield is a great way to connect with history and to learn more about the vital role that Atlanta has played in American history.
Schools in Atlanta
The majority of students in Atlanta are served by the Atlanta public school system. In addition to more than 200 public schools, the Atlanta area features nearly 400 private schools, meaning parents moving to the city have a wide range of choices when it comes to their children's education. Atlanta also offers a beneficial teacher-to-student ratio. In 2015, as estimated by the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 346,270 students to 22,782 teachers, which is a 15-to-1 ratio.
Regardless of their age, your children should be able to attend a high-quality public school. According to Niche, here are some of the top public schools in the Atlanta area:
- Settles Bridge Elementary School.
- Buford Middle School.
- Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology.
Once your child finishes high school, they may want to choose a nearby college to attend. There are several excellent colleges and universities in the Atlanta area where your child can work toward their degree:
- Emory University.
- Spelman College.
- Georgia State University.
- Georgia Tech.
Atlanta Job Outlook
Exciting employment opportunities is one of the main reasons that thousands of young professionals relocate to Atlanta every single year. The city features one of the heaviest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies in the entire country, and there are also countless midsize and small businesses where new residents may be able to find a job.
The unemployment rate in Atlanta is lower than the national average at 4.5%, and the annual average salary is a bit higher than what you would find at the national level. According to U.S. News, the average annual salary in Atlanta is $50,720.
While Atlanta is home to major companies such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, most people in the city are employed in health care. The health care and social assistance industry employs nearly 285,300 Atlanteans. The food service industry is a close second with 251,300 workers, and janitorial and waste management services takes third place with 223,400 employees.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has listed some of the top workplaces in the city for people seeking a rewarding career. The AJC lists Woodward Academy as the top large workplace in the city. Some of the other best places to work in Atlanta according to the AJC include:
- Alston & Bird.
- Automation Direct.
- Supreme Lending.
While living in Atlanta, you'll have several different options for getting around the city. Although there's been an increased focus on making the city more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists, most people in Atlanta still get around by car. Unless you live and work in one of the city's walkable neighborhoods, you'll probably need your own vehicle to enjoy Atlanta to the fullest.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is the city's public transportation system that features a combination of buses and railways. While MARTA is a valuable resource for people who live in the center of the city, the system doesn't run to the Atlanta suburbs, which means you'd need to commute by car if you live in an outer neighborhood.
Traffic congestion is common in many areas of Atlanta, especially during rush hour. On average, it's good to prepare for at least half an hour on your daily commute.
Traveling to and from Atlanta is easy, thanks to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Hundreds of flights arrive and depart the airport every single day, and because the airport is a Delta hub, you can fly to almost any location you want across the country and the world.
Annual Atlanta Events
As you would expect from a city of this size, Atlanta hosts a variety of annual events so that residents always have something fun to do. Whether you want to do a little shopping, try out unusual cuisines, or have fun with your kids, there's an annual Atlanta festival that you'll want to attend.
- Children's Christmas Parade: If you want to get in the holiday spirit, there's no better way than attending the Children's Christmas Parade, which takes place every December in Midtown Atlanta. During the parade, you'll see colorful floats make their way down the streets of Atlanta.
- Callanwolde Arts Festival: In January, hundreds of artists from around the country flock to Atlanta to take part in the Callanwolde Arts Festival. If you attend this festival, you can check out eye-catching portraits, photographs, sculptures, and more.
- Atlanta Winter Beer Festival: The Atlanta Winter Beer Festival is another event can you can attend to inject a little fun and excitement to the year's coldest months. In addition to over 100 hundred beers to sample, this festival also features exciting live music.
- Atlanta Dogwood Festival: The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is one of the most exciting spring events in the city. To celebrate the gorgeous dogwood trees that bloom in the spring, this festival gathers artists, restaurateurs, and exciting musicians from all over the country.
- Atlanta Jazz Festival: In May, the dulcet sounds of jazz music fill the air, thanks to the Atlanta Jazz Festival. For over 40 years, this festival has been one of the top annual events in Atlanta, particularly for music lovers. In addition to upbeat jazz music, the Atlanta Jazz Festival also features a wide array of vendors to check out.
- Sweet Auburn Springfest: The Sweet Auburn Springfest is an annual festival that celebrates the rich legacy of Auburn Avenue. Not only can you enjoy the Southern hospitality for which Atlanta is known, you can also check out wares from some of the city's top vendors.
- Atlanta Food and Wine Festival: For foodies, there's no better summer event than the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. Every June, some of the world's top sommeliers, chefs, and beer brewers flock to Midtown Atlanta to show off their skills to the delight of the city's residents.
- Atlanta Ice Cream Festival: Nothing says summer like an ice cream cone, and if you're in the mood for this frosty treat in July, be sure to stop by the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival. During this event, you can listen to live music while sampling ice cream from both local and national artisans.
- National Black Arts Festival: The National Black Arts Festival is another of the best summer events in Atlanta. If you attend this festival, you can celebrate the contributions that black musicians, artists, and writers have made to Atlanta's and America's culture.
- Dragon Con: Dragon Con is one of the top fall festivals in Atlanta and is a must-attend event for comic book fans, gamers, and sci-fi aficionados. At the convention, you'll see attendees dressed up as their favorite comic and movie characters, and you can also sit in on discussions related to nerd culture.
- Atlanta Chili Cookoff: If you never say no to a bowl of spicy chili, then you'll want to visit the Atlanta Chili Cookoff. Every October, the city's top chefs compete to see who cooks the best chili in Atlanta based on the people's preferences. During this festival, you can sample more than 70 different types of chili before casting your vote.
- Chastain Park Arts Festival: In the brisk November air, you can visit the Chastain Park Art Festival to interact with some of Atlanta's top artists. All proceeds from this event go to charity, meaning you can do some good while browsing gorgeous artwork.
Interesting Facts About Atlanta
Before you move to Atlanta, it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about the city, including a few interesting but little-known facts. Here are a few of the most interesting facts that you may not know about Atlanta:
- Getting around Atlanta can be a little difficult for newcomers because of the city's love of the name “Peachtree.” More than 50 streets in the city share this name, meaning your GPS may have a tough time helping you reach your destination.
- The phoenix is the symbol of Atlanta because of the city's ability to rise from the ashes. After the Civil War, the majority of the city was destroyed, but Atlanta was rebuilt and became one of the South's most vibrant metropolises.
- Atlanta isn't the first city in Georgia to serve as the state's capital. Four other cities have previously held this title: Augusta, Louisville, Milledgeville, and Savannah.
- Many people don't realize that Atlanta is a cultural powerhouse, particularly in terms of music and movies. Not only do some of the most popular rap artists in the world hail from this city, but Atlanta is also known as the Hollywood of the South since numerous movies and television shows are filmed in and around the city.
- Atlanta is a city that loves sports, and several records have been set in this town. The fastest baseball game in the world happened in Atlanta and took just 32 minutes to complete. Atlanta is also the site of the biggest blowout in football history — In 1916, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets walloped tiny Cumberland College 222 to nothing.
Atlanta is one of the country's fastest-growing cities and is an excellent place to live and work. Whether you're a young professional looking to claim your place in the world, are looking for somewhere to start your family, or want to retire in a fun-filled metropolis, moving to Atlanta is a great choice. Get started planning your move today so that you can enjoy living in this jewel of the South.