Moving to Atlanta, GA

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Atlanta At-A-Glance

You’re in good company. The 29 counties that make up the metro added over 126,000 jobs in 2022 as the area’s unemployment rate dipped to unheard of numbers according to the state’s Department of Labor. 

Atlanta’s growth has been sharply on the rise since it hosted the Olympic Games in 1996, nearly doubling its population in 20 years (residents now number over 5 million). As the growth trend continued, the last decade saw the city invest more than $2.5 billion in new hospitality development including two new stadiums (Mercedes-Benz Stadium and SunTrust Park), new hotels and expanded attractions. A flurry of new jobs, tech start-ups, tax credits to attract industry and new developments mean that the urban sprawl shows no sign of slowing. 

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No Matter Your Interest, Atlanta Delivers

As a cultural capital of the South, Atlanta has a packed roster of events and festivals. For foodies, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Taste of Atlanta are must-visit, multi-day events that bring local and national chefs and beverage producers. Music lovers are sure to enjoy Music Midtown, Shaky Knees and Sweetwater 420 Fest, which draw top musical talent from around the world. 

Whether you’re looking for terrific Southern fare, a high-end meal or a diverse, global food scene, Atlanta has you covered. Atlanta-based chefs have gotten national attention, including Hugh Acheson (James Beard Award winner and Top Chef judge), Kevin Gillespie (Top Chef finalist) and Linton Hopkins (James Beard winner).

The metro has a huge international population, so there are terrific Korean, Vietnamese, Mexican and Chinese restaurants, concentrated along Buford Highway. Plus, a new breed of “food courts” have started popping up, such as Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market. Both are housed in historic buildings, which have been repurposed in recent years. In short, no matter what your interests, Atlanta likely has an event to suit.

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Entertainment and Tech Industries Are Attracting Top Talent in Atlanta

Thanks to serious tax credits (up to 20 percent for qualifying movies, TV shows, music videos and commercials), Georgia ranks in the top states for the entertainment industry. In fact, 2022 set a new industry record as film and television productions spent $4.4 billion in the state.

In addition to cameos in The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, A Walk in the Woods and many others, Atlanta has several mammoth film production studios as well, so celebrity-spotting is an increasingly popular pastime. For music lovers, big-time stars like Elton John, Usher, Ludacris, the Indigo Girls, OutKast and others are either from Atlanta or have homes here. 

Atlanta is also home to 16 Fortune 500 companies as well as 30 Fortune 1,000 companies, including Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, UPS, NCR, Home Depot, SunTrust and more. The 30 Fortune 1,000 companies had a combined revenue of $438 billion in 2019, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber. It’s a top city in the nation for medical device sales jobs, the business and financial services industries, aviation, and much more. With a ton of tech start-ups (like Instacart, Mailchimp, etc.), Apple Alphabet, Microsoft, and Visa are all opening offices in the city. And as a result, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce launched ChooseATL to help brand the city as a place to live, build a career and start a business.

Unemployment rate: 3.3% (as of May 2023)

Average weekly wages for all industries: $978 (as of June 2023)

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An Influx of New Residents Mean Increasing Home Prices

Atlantans love to nickname their city, so you might hear it referred to as The ATL, The A, The Big Peach, Dogwood City or Hot-Lanta. Within the more than 8,300-square-miles that make up metro Atlanta, each town or neighborhood has its own unique flavor. Atlanta is marked by a perimeter, I-285, which circles the in-town counties, including parts of Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb and Clayton counties. Residents tend to denote locations by “ITP” (inside the perimeter) or “OTP” (outside the perimeter).

Thanks to the influx of new residents, rent prices are on the rise and the real estate market is increasingly competitive. You’ll pay a median home price of $441K, which is down 3 percent compared with last year. And renters will pay an average of $1,714 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city. Because each neighborhood is unique – and the location (and its proximity to your work) can really make or break a commute – in-the-know residents recommend getting the lay of the land before putting down roots with a home purchase.

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Atlanta’s Neighborhoods Feel Like Cities Within Themselves

Given the size of the city, there’s a neighborhood to discover in every corner of Atlanta. Explore Georgia says, “What makes the city so unique is its neighborhoods, which can feel like cities within themselves.” Here are a handful of Atlant’s varied neighborhoods that can suit any living style:

Castleberry Hill

Castleberry Hill is a sought-after neighborhood for those looking for proximity to the Georgia film industry. It’s an area full of loft-style apartments and single family homes perfect for young professionals and newly married couples. 

Midtown

Aside from the downtown area, Midtown is where you’ll find plenty of green spaces and an abundance of museums for families with young children. It’s a relatively quiet community that still enjoys prime restaurants and shops. 

Druid Hills

You’ll see some of the city’s most stunning homes in Druid Hills, which was one of the earliest suburbs of Atlanta. It’s also close to nearby Decatur, which is a college town teeming with young professionals. 

Candler Park

For an eclectic neighborhood full of quirky shops and restaurants, check out Candler Park. It has a bohemian, laid back vibe sure to attract young couples and urban professionals looking for some character. 

Westside

The saying goes, “Westside is the best side,” and the development of the area proves that to be true. Warehouses are being transformed into the city’s best restaurants along with industrial spaces made into hip living options. 

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Traffic in Atlanta is Legendary, For All the Wrong Reasons

Atlanta’s gridlocks are legendary, earning it the #10 spot on the list of “worst traffic cities in the U.S.” It’s no surprise that traffic is one of residents’ biggest complaints, since the average Atlantan wasted 74 hours in traffic jams in 2022. While there is public transportation in the form of MARTA (both busses and a rail system), it’s not as extensive or convenient as other cities with similarly large populations. To combat the volume, organizations like Propel ATL are actively working to increase Atlanta’s bikeway mileage.

Atlanta is a major travel hub, thanks to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which is ranked the #1 airport in the nation, world’s busiest airport for passenger traffic and nation’s #1 most high-tech airport.

Tech Tip: While I-285, I-85, I-75 and 400 are the major thoroughfares, surface streets (including more than 70 that have a variant of “Peachtree” in the name!) and back roads can often be a much faster way to get around. Download apps like Waze to navigate more easily on the go.

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Students Enjoy a Diverse Cultural Environment in Atlanta

Despite advancements and significant improvements, Georgia’s education system still faces challenges. A recent Wallethub analysis of states with the best and worst school systems ranked Georgia in the bottom half due to a lack of spending and overall funding. 

Even though the news isn’t great for public education in Atlanta, higher education opportunities attract over 16,000 international students every year. Students enjoy a diverse cultural environment as well as benefit from ranking high on Forbes’ list of “best big cities for jobs.” Although there are 57 colleges and universities to choose from, these are the top five: Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, Spelman College, Morehouse, Georgia State University.  

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You Won’t See Scorching Temperatures in “HOT-Lanta”

The city’s oft-used “HOT-lanta” moniker is evidence of its balmy temperatures. That said, you won’t see scorching hot temperatures in Georgia’s biggest city. The area enjoys a moderate climate with four distinct seasons. Each of the seasons are unique, yielding brilliant summers, vibrant fall leaves, chilly winters and a proliferation of spring flowers. Atlanta’s myriad parks, greenways, and bike paths are well-loved as a result.

Summer Average (June – August): 88°F high, 69°F low
Winter Average (December – February): 55°F high, 36°F low

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10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Atlanta

As the largest city in the south full of culture, soul, and ever-expanding food scene, there’s plenty to explore in Atlanta. You’ll hit a little bit of everything with these 10 can’t miss things to do in this expansive city:

  1. Plan an afternoon to take in the Martin Luther King Jr. national historic site, which is a must-see attraction in Atlanta. 
  2. Take in the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest indoor aquarium in the Western hemisphere with over 100,000 creatures. 
  3. Spend all day browsing big-name retailers and small local boutiques at the Ponce City Market. 
  4. Traipse through the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which is a 30-acre center with flowers, a 600-ft canopy walk footbridge and Japanese garden. 
  5. Celebrate the life and presidency of Georgia native Jimmy Carter in his 24,000 square foot presidential library and museum. Stop by the Coca-Cola museum next for a history of the brand and the soda industry itself.
  6. Stroll along the Atlanta Beltline, which is a former railway corridor that will eventually connect all 45 neighborhoods within the city. 
  7. Eat from some of the most buzzed-about food makers and restaurateurs in Krog Street Market, a former cast-iron stove factory.  
  8. Catch a Falcons game at the Mercedes Benz Stadium (or “The Benz”) which is an architectural icon and home to a variety of events. 
  9. Have a picnic in the historic Oakland Cemetery and view the final resting place of some of the most noteworthy Atlanta residents.  
  10. Enjoy the weather at Piedmont Park, which is Atlanta’s version of Central Park. The lush greenery and calming waters are a refreshing respite from the bustling city. 

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