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16 Things to Know About Living in Atlanta

Thinking about a move to Atlanta? Georgia’s capital city offers plenty of professional sports teams, job opportunities, diverse food, a thriving arts scene, and endless fun things to do. Here are 16 things to know about living in Atlanta!

Big-City Living at an Affordable Price

Want the hustle and bustle of city life but not the empty wallet that usually comes with it? Then Atlanta could be the right fit for you! Though the cost of living in Atlanta is just 7% higher than the national average, living in the ATL could be more affordable than living in a similar-sized city like Miami, where the cost of living is 11% more expensive than the national average. For those looking to purchase a home in The Big A, you can find one for a relatively low median purchase price in safe, affordable Atlanta neighborhoods like Candler Park or North Buckhead. Looking to rent in Atlanta? The average rental rate is around $1,812, compared to Miami’s average rental rate of $2,132. Prospective residents can also expect to save money on property taxes, utilities, and groceries—and benefit from not having any tax on Social Security in the Big Peach.

The ATL Is a Great Place to Work

Glass skyscrapers in Buckhead Atlanta for office employees. Photo by Instagram user @wanderdrone.

Photo via @wanderdrone

With the large variety of jobs in Atlanta, it’s easy to see why Dogwood City is one of the best places to live in Georgia! Not only is the unemployment rate in Atlanta lower than the national unemployment rate, but workers in A-Town have an average salary that’s about $20,000 higher than the U.S. national average. Plus, Atlanta is a hub for Fortune 500 companies, with 15 of the F500 companies in Georgia inside Atlanta’s city limits. The Home Depot, United Parcel Services (UPS), Delta Air Lines, and The Coca-Cola Company are just a few leaders that call The Big A home. If you’re interested in media jobs in the ATL, residents can find opportunities at CNN headquarters. Or join the ranks of Stranger Things and Marvel productions while benefiting from tax incentives for filming in Atlanta in the city famously known as the “Hollywood of the South.”

Earn Quality Education at Atlanta Universities

With 57 colleges and universities to choose from, Atlanta offers education for all. Enroll at Georgia State University for popular programs like social sciences, computer science, or visual and performing arts. Learn about engineering, business administration, aerospace, and other ways to advance society at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prepare yourself for a career in accounting, supply chain management, or healthcare at Clayton State University. If you’re looking for a small, close-knit college, consider Oglethorpe University, Atlanta’s only co-ed private liberal arts school. Expand your artistic skills in areas like visual design, interior design, fashion, and more at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Dive into political science, biology, and physical education at Emory University. Explore English literature, mathematics, and international studies at Spelman College, an HBCU and women’s college. Or expand your knowledge at one of the nation’s premier women’s liberal arts institutions, Agnes Scott College, with programs like creative writing, history, public health, and biochemistry.

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Use Atlanta Transportation

Sunset drone shot of Atlanta train. Photo by @jerrito1.

Photo via @jerrito1

Because the Atlanta metro is large and sprawling, residents in the ATL usually require cars to get around—or public transportation! One of the best options for getting around is MARTA, the public transportation system in Atlanta. MARTA operates bus and rail lines throughout the city and its surrounding Atlanta suburbs. MARTA also operates the Atlanta Streetcar, which is an excellent option for those traveling through downtown and neighborhoods east of downtown like nearby Sweet Auburn. Atlanta residents can also keep their car keys at home and rent loaner bikes through Atlanta’s bike share program HOPR. And frequent travelers can fly around the globe for business or pleasure with ease at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the second-busiest airport in the world.

Explore Atlanta’s Green Spaces

Atlanta’s climate maintains a moderate to hot temperature ranging from 35 to 86 degrees—and with an annual dusting of snow and 49.7 inches of annual rainfall, Atlanta provides over 3,000 acres of parkland for residents to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Keep cool in the Fountain of Rings and spend time with the kids on the playgrounds at Centennial Olympic Park. Marvel at the beautiful outdoor Skyline Garden, relax in the tranquil Storza Woods, or admire a living sculpture and the largest permanent collection from Dale Chihuly at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Gaze at the Downtown Atlanta skyline in climate-controlled gondolas with glass floors at SkyView Atlanta. Bike or walk on the Big Creek Greenway trailhead, shop at specialty boutiques, eat delicious meals, and have a blast with events like Groovin’ on the Green and Farm Animal Yoga at Halcyon. Breathe in nature, raft through the rocky shoals, and fish the misty waters of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Stay fit on the trails, compete on the tennis courts, or swim laps in the pool at the 268-acre Chastain Park and Amphitheater. Or bring your furry friend to Piedmont Park, a green space designed by the same architect as New York City’s Central Park.

Family-Friendly Activities in Atlanta

Two people look at a large water tank filled with sharks. @brandisisson

Photo via @brandisisson

Atlanta is packed with activities the whole family will enjoy! Check out lions, giant pandas, giraffes, and the largest lowland gorilla population in North America at the Atlanta Zoo. See Atlanta built out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta, where families can also enjoy a 4-D movie experience, pedal the enchanted cart in Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, and immerse themselves in The Great LEGO Race VR Experience. Get up close to sharks and rays at the Georgia Aquarium and take a behind-the-scenes look on the Behind the Seas Tour! Grab a few blankets and pillows and watch a movie in comfort at the classic Starlight Drive-In Theatre. Feel a rush of adrenaline on rides like Acrophobia, Blue Hawk, and the Gold Town Racer Go-Karts at Six Flags Over Georgia—just a short 15-minute drive from Atlanta. Or take your shot at the Atlantic Station Bowlero Bowl, with blacklight lanes and arcade games galore!

Cheer for Atlanta Sports Teams

Atlanta Dream player cheering on the basketball court. Photo by Instagram user @atlantadream

Photo via @atlantadream

Atlanta has several professional sports teams to root for! Put on the red-and-black jerseys to support the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), or see the Atlanta United FC (MLS) control the pitch with ease at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Wave your foam finger and watch the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) rain down three-pointers at the State Farm Arena. Watch the Atlanta Dream (WNBA) dominate at the Gateway Center Arena at College Park. Take your friends out to enjoy America’s favorite pastime by seeing the Atlanta Braves (MLB) at Truist Park. Experience a college game-day atmosphere at the Georgia State Panthers men’s and women’s basketball games at Georgia State University. Or spectate on the bleachers at the Atlanta Open, a stop on the USTA’s U.S. Open series.

Explore Atlanta Museums

Family looking up at dinosaur skeleton. Photo by @fernbankmuseum

Photo via @fernbankmuseum

If you have a passion for learning, then the ATL is the right city for you! Explore 33 acres of gardens, award-winning exhibits, and historic houses at the Atlanta History Center. Attend curriculum-based workshops, enchanting performances, and a hands-on museum at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Take a step back in time at the Fernbank Museum with exhibits like Giants of the Mesozoic. Appreciate the largest ancient art collections in the Southeast at Emory College’s Michael C. Carlos Museum. Charge your phone for the Original Selfie Museum, where you’ll find colorful backdrops for visitors to take social-media-worthy pictures and professional videos. Dive into the history of college football at the Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame by viewing a giant wall of football helmets at The Quad, or get active on the indoor playing field. Admire more than 18,000 works of art including sculpture, photography, new media, African Art, and more at the High Museum of Art.

Birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Known as the “cradle of the Civil Rights Movement,” Atlanta played a key role in history with widespread support for prominent leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK’s road to becoming the champion of the Civil Rights Movement started when he was born in Atlanta in 1929. Get an in-depth look at his legacy via the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. Then, go downtown to Auburn Ave, a successful Black business community during the Civil Rights Movement, to see The Atlanta Daily World, the first Black daily newspaper in the country. Check out Fire Station No. 6, one of the first desegregated firehouses in the South. Listen to Dr. King’s speeches and sermons at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Make a stop at The King Center, which continues to spread the nonviolent ministry through Dr. King’s preserved works. While at the center, you can pay respects to Dr. and Mrs. Kings’ tomb and view the eternal flame.

A Lively LGBTQ Community

People celebrating in a pride parade. Photo by @ktcooperphoto

Photo via @ktcooperphoto

The “LGBTQ capital of the South” shows its pride in the local LGBTQ community with employment benefits, several non-profit organizations—like Southern Fried Queer Pride and Lost-n-Found Youth—non-discrimination laws, diverse representation, and more! Feel at home year-round in “gayborhoods” including active Downtown, historical Westside, and artsy Midtown—home to Atlanta’s rainbow crosswalks. Educate yourself with webinars, attend symposiums, and participate in an LGBTQ Business Forum to help maintain and grow Atlanta’s LGBTQ community at the LGBTQ Institute. Support queer-owned businesses like Charis Books and More, or head to exhibition showings throughout the year at Kai Lin Art. Enjoy regular drag-and-dine events like cabaret specials at LGBTQ venue, Future Showbar and Restuarant. Find fun, community, and unique events like Church Organ Karaoke and Tuesday Tarot Girl readings at Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium. Watch amazing premier movies by diverse creators at the Out on Film Festival. Listen to live music and enjoy a variety of food at Atlanta Black Pride Weekend each September. Or watch the Pride Car and Motorcycle Show, march in the Atlanta Pride Parade, move your hips to upbeat music, and view inclusive art at The Atlanta Pride Festival, the largest pride event in the Southeast.

Check Out Live Entertainment in The ATL

Looking for live entertainment in Dogwood City? Catch live performances in Atlanta! Munch on British pub food and see Shakespeare performances at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Catch film screenings like Disney’s Frozen and Broadway’s Wicked, or laugh at comedy acts at the Fox Theatre. Make a trip to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre to view classic Broadway musicals, ballets, operas, educational shows, and more. Enjoy live blues music, dinner, and drinks six days a week at Blind Willie’s Blues Club. Be showered in state-of-the-art lights and sounds on the balcony during a production at Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre. Or have a night of classical magic and good laughs at Atlanta Magic Theatre.

An Atlanta Festival for Everyone

Renaissance festival member interacting with family. Photo by Instagram user @the_samiew

Photo by @the_samiew

Atlanta is a hub for year-round festivals, so Atlantans will always have a full social calendar! March with Stormtroopers, mingle with Klingons, and partake in panel discussions at Dragon Con, the nation’s “largest multi-media, pop culture convention.” Enjoy authentic Greek dishes, traditional dances, and music at the Atlanta Greek Festival. Spend the long weekend at Atlanta’s aquatic-themed Imagine electronic dance festival at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Take your pick of authentic German food, beverages, and goods at the Atlanta Christkindl Market. Learn to juggle, ride a camel, watch twirling acrobats and jousting knights, or hit your mark at Robin Hood Archery at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Raise money for the Atlanta parks system, listen to excellent music, fill up at Atlanta food trucks, and saddle up to full bars at the Candler Park Music Festival. Or snap along to international jazz musicians at the free annual Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Shop the Big A

There are plenty of Atlanta shopping outlets to fulfill your every shopping need! Stop into more than 50 stores or sidewalk cafes at one of the best malls in Atlanta, Atlantic Station. Channel your inner fashionista at specialty clothing stores in Atlanta like Aritzia, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and more at Lenox Square. Snack on gourmet popcorn from CaJa Popcorn or purchase unique home decorations from EcoHome Atlanta inside a well-known outlet mall in Atlanta, Peachtree Battle Shopping Center. Browse fine art at The Galleries of Peachtree Hill, a five-building complex that contains 32 distinct art and antique galleries. Window shop at Lululemon, Free People, or other great boutiques in Atlanta at the Westside Provisions District. Or go to more Atlanta outlets like Krog Street Market for fresh produce and Indian cuisines like Samosa Chaat and Vegetable Pakoras from Jai Ho.

Dine at Atlanta Restaurants

Atlanta has plenty of options when it comes to great places to eat. Indulge in Crispy Fried Chicken & Waffles, Gulf Shrimp & Grits, or Buttermilk Pancakes from one of the best breakfast spots in Atlanta at Atlanta Breakfast Club. Head over to local vegan kitchen Herban Fix for outside seating and platters like Spicy Ramen Noodles or Lemongrass Tofu. Tuck into a Chili Burger, Cheese Burger, Chicken Nuggets, or Fried Peach Pie at the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, The Varsity. Try some healthy options like a Chicken Shawarma Bowl with Baba Ghanoush & Pita or Falafel at Aviva by Kameel. Visit the restaurant with the best views of the metro at 9 Mile Station, which cooks up Vegetable Curry, Roasted Chicken, Sesame Crusted Tuna, and more. Savor Latino flavors like Fried Quesadillas or Carnitas, Mole Poblano, and Aquachile Tostada Tacos at Supremo Taco. Or devour soul food like BBQ Ribs, Chicken & Waffles, Fried Chicken, or Peach Cobbler at Busy Bee Cafe.

Experience Atlanta Nightlife

two people looking at each other and playing a vintage arcade game. Photo by Instagram user @flojabbani

Photo by @flojabbani

If you’re looking for things to do in Atlanta at night or on the weekends, Dogwood City has something for everyone! Dial a secret phone number in the red phone booth to enter the swanky 1920s-style cigar lounge, Red Phone Booth. Experience live music in Atlanta or take center stage for karaoke at the Dark Horse Tavern. Play fun arcade games like Crazy Taxi, Mortal Kombat, or Galaga while enjoying signature cocktails like a Banana Old Fashioned, Jack Rose, or Smoke Show at Joystick Gamebar. If you’re in the mood for some late-night tunes, then pay a visit to Old Fourth Ward’s music venue Venkman’s to groove to jazz and funk. Dance your heart out at The Basement. Or if you want to be front and center for some of the best drag shows in Atlanta, show up early and order Frozen Cosmos or Atlanta Peach shots at Lips Drag Queen Palace.

Try ATL Craft Brews

two people sitting across from each other and drinking a beer. Photo by Instagram user @orpheusbrewing

Photo via @orpheusbrewing

Want to try out some of the best breweries in Atlanta? Enjoy a McNerney’s Irish Nitro Stout or Purple People Eater seltzer by the fireplace at Glover Park Brewery, an Atlanta institution since 1930. Venture out to the two-storied Bold Monk Brewing Co. for a Walk On Water Witbier, Slay The Dragon cocktail, or classic Rosé. Sample barrel-aged whiskey with a complex taste, and enjoy classic Southern gin at Old Fourth Distillery. Visit and try the Mango Tyrannosaurus Flex Hazy DIPA or their Haze Dipper at New Realm Brewing Company. Sample brews like the Transmigration of Souls Double IPA or the Do or Die Oatmeal Cream Stout at Orpheus Brewing. Or throw an axe and throw back a Billet Blood Orange Ale or the Too Legit to Wit Witbier at Ironmonger Brewing Company.

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