Atlanta - or Hot 'Lanta as The Allman Brothers Band popularized - is the largest city in Georgia and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the southeastern United States. Atlanta has a population of more than 420,000, while the metropolitan area has over five million.
Atlanta is a huge business hub: It ranked fourth in the US in number of Fortune 500 companies. Companies such as Coca Cola, Turner Broadcasting, UPS, Home Depot, Delta and others call Atlanta home. In the suburbs, other large companies employ Atalantans, including Equifax, EarthLink, Arby’s, Georgia Pacific and, most importantly, Waffle House.
Those moving to Atlanta have a large number of prospective employers and an even larger selection of activities. The city is also home to the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech, Morehouse College, The High Museum of Art and much more. Clearly a great place to live, keep in mind the following points when planning your move to Atlanta:
- A city with five million surrounding a center of less than half a million should conjure images of traffic gridlock. You do not want to try to move about in Atlanta during morning or afternoon rush hour.
- Moving in the fall is best, with favorable temperatures and less likelihood of a swelteringly hot day. Moving in the winter can be problematic. Atlanta doesn’t have extreme weather but if there is even a little snow or ice, the city can come to a standstill. Atlanta is not used to responding to frigid temperatures.
- Be sure to know your area before planning a move date. If it is one with lots of college students, don’t move the same week school starts.
- There are a lot of neighborhood festivals in Atlanta, and while they’re certainly something to look forward to after moving to ATL, you will not want to move in when one is occurring. Be sure to check the dates of Atlanta neighborhood festivals.
- Be sure to change your address with the US Post Office so that your mail will be forwarded from your old address. You can conveniently do so by filling out an online change of address form.
Atlanta has, literally, hundreds of neighborhoods. You’ll find areas in the city to accommodate any budget and any taste. There are neighborhoods with homes and cobblestone streets, hip artsy neighborhoods, new subdivisions, high rises and more. And the city is only part of the story. Numerous cities and subdivisions sprawl outward around Atlanta as well.
Your neighborhood choice will depend, in part, on budget, but it should also take into account where you work (Atlanta traffic can be painful) and your personal tastes. Some neighborhoods are quiet and others bustling. Some cater to business people and others to artists.
Full Neighborhood Report
Cost of Living
The American Chamber of Commerce Research Association’s Cost of Living Index, which has a national average of 100, has Atlanta at 94.2.
For comparison, they list New York City as 217.2, San Francisco as 162.9 and Denver as 102.9. The index uses the prices for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, housing and other goods for comparison.
As you can see, the cost of living in Atlanta compares favorably to other large cities.
It almost goes without saying that finding a job before moving is a good idea. If you are looking for a job in Atlanta, the city has a large number of options. Atlanta has the fourth largest number of Fortune 500 companies of cities in the USA. It also has a vibrant arts community and a number of small businesses. Opportunities for entrepreneurs abound as well.
Job Search and Relocation Advice
If you’re moving to Atlanta, you’ll want an idea of what to expect from the local news outlets. Here’s an overview.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
With an average estimated readership just over 400,000 strong, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (shortened to just AJC by locals) is also the only big-league newspaper published on a seven-day-per-week basis in the entire Atlanta metropolitan area. Although the hyphen in its name has only been there since 2001, when The Journal and The Constitution officially merged into a single printing, the newspaper’s origins date all the way back to 1868 with the founding of The Atlanta Constitution. The Journal came along not too long after that, in 1883.
Politically, the newspaper has a reputation for leaning left in its editorials and op-eds. It carries local metro news, statewide news, national news, world news, business news, weather, sports and a living section containing movie reviews, show times, crosswords, Sudoku and comics.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
One critical resource for those moving to Atlanta who want to dive right into the city’s colorful culture is the weekly publication Creative Loafing Atlanta. With a print circulation of roughly 80,000 and a combined print and online readership of well over half a million people, Creative Loafing Atlanta is the metro area’s leading source for local arts, music and theater news.
Owned and published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Georgia Bulletin is the largest Christian publication in the city and is published twice monthly to a circulation of close to 80,000 Atlanta residents.
Vida Latina is the premiere Spanish-language newspaper in the Atlanta area, with a circulation close to 80,000 strong. It offers a wide range of news, entertainment and sports coverage.
The Atlanta Inquirer
Founded in 1960, The Atlanta Inquirer’s roots came about during the height of the civil rights movement as a platform for change. The Atlanta Inquirer’s proud history of publication has built it up to be one of the most frequently read ethnic newspapers in the Atlanta metropolitan area, with an estimated readership of over 60,000. The newspaper also has an online presence that covers community news stories, local sports and editorials.
Local TV News Channels
You can keep yourself updated on all happenings in Atlanta by tuning in to local news channels:
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority is responsible for bus and train transportation in the Atlanta area. MARTA is one of the ten largest rapid transit systems in the United States with 48 miles of train track and 38 stations. The bus and rail systems service mostly Fulton and DeKalb County. There are buses that go into Cobb County and a train stop at Hartsfield International Airport in Clayton County.
There has been rail service in Atlanta for over 30 years. Today, trains run from 4:45AM to 1AM on weekdays and 6AM to 1AM on weekends. On weekdays between 6AMand 7PM, trains come every 15 minutes; from 7PM to 1PM, every 20 minutes. On weekends, all trains come every 20 minutes. After 7PM, the Red and Green Lines do not stop at all stations. Those moving to Atlanta can find out more about MARTA at their official website. There are additional rapid transit systems that partner with MARTA to service other Atlanta areas; you can find out more here.
The Atlanta BeltLine is an ongoing redevelopment project that will add trails and transit along a 22-mile railroad corridor that circles downtown Atlanta. In total, 45 of Atlanta’s neighborhoods are connected by this BeltLine. The project links the neighborhoods with parks and aims to break down barriers between Atlanta’s pockets of development. When areas are connected, they can interact and thrive. The BeltLine will have transit along the rail line, which will connect with MARTA. There will be a 33-mile network of pedestrian-friendly trails linked to the rail segment and parks. Before moving to Atlanta, check out the proximity of the BeltLine project to your home.
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports—by some metrics the busiest. Since 2005 it has had the most take-offs and landings of any airport and serves just shy of 90 million passengers per year. Hartsfield is a hub for Delta and AirTran. The airport has almost 199 gates and you can get to the airport via Atlanta’s rail system, MARTA. When you move to Atlanta, you will always be on the world’s doorstep.
Atlanta has three interstates: I-85, I-75 and I-20. I-675, referred to as the “Perimeter” is an over-60-miles-long road that encircles the city. I-75 and I-85 merge downtown to become the “Downtown Connector,” which is usually marked as 75/85 on maps. To make things more fun, these two join I-20 downtown at Turner Stadium. People moving to Atlanta may find the roads can be a little confusing the first few times they drive them. Be sure to have a look at a map before your first commute. Learning traffic patterns in the city can also make your life easier.
Atlanta’s climate is generally temperate. Summers can get hot, but winter is rarely frigid. The rainiest month is March with 5.8 inches of precipitation, followed closely by July with 5 inches. The average temperature in the coldest month, January, is 41 degrees. The average temperature in the warmest month, July, is 78.8. That may not sound particularly hot, but July in Atlanta averages 13 days with temperatures over 90. January averages 16 days per month below freezing. Those moving to Atlanta will find it can get even hotter or colder with recorded temperatures topping 100 and extreme lows below zero. These extremes are, however, relatively rare.
The generally moderate temperatures are partially due to a slightly higher elevation than areas to the immediate south, and Atlanta’s proximity to the ocean. Although temperatures below freezing are rare, heavy snow or icing can cause serious issues. Every so often there is an ice storm that shuts the city down. In Atlanta, there is no pressing need for salt trucks most of the time, so on those rare snowy, icy days, the city is unprepared and roads can be dangerously slick.
Atlanta and Georgia have a number of useful sites for new residents, full of everything from cultural event information to voter registration tools.
- The City of Atlanta website can help in a number of ways. You can find out about traffic delays, pay parking tickets and city bills (water & sewer) and more.
- The Georgia Secretary of State website can let you change your voter registration, look up a corporation, apply for a professional license and more. Business owners and entrepreneurs moving to Atlanta will find the site especially useful.
- The Georgia Department of Driver’s Services allows drivers to make reservations, change their address and has information for drivers new to the state.
- Moving with kids? The Atlanta Public Schools website has the information you’ll need.
- The Georgia Attorney General’s website has information on consumer issues for Georgia residents.
- For information on taxes in Georgia go to the Georgia Department of Revenue website.
- From public policy to Atlanta sports, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce can help arm new residents with a variety of information.
- Apply for your library card to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System here.
Atlanta Public Schools opened in 1872, and have developed into a diverse system encouraging rigorous academic standards. Many of Atlanta’s most famous citizens attended public schools in the city...
The Atlanta school system today includes 99 schools: 59 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, 14 high schools, seven charter schools, one adult learning center and two non-traditional programs. There are a number of school systems extending into the greater Atlanta area, as well. Some of the better schools in Atlanta and Fulton County include:
Notable Atlanta Elementary Schools
- Findley Oaks Elementary School (Atlanta)
- Crabapple Crossing Elementary School (Alpharetta)
- Shakerag Elementary School (Atlanta)
- Mountain Park Elementary School (Roswell)
- State Bridge Crossing Elementary School (Alpharetta)
Notable Atlanta Middle Schools
- Autrey Mill Middle School (Alpharetta)
- Fulton Science Academy (Alpharetta)
- River Trail Middle School (Duluth)
- Northwestern Middle School (Alpharetta)
- Webb Bridge Middle School (Alpharetta)
Notable Atlanta High Schools
- Northview High School (Duluth)
- Milton High School (Alpharetta)
- Early College High School at Carver (Atlanta)
- Johns Creek High School (Johns Creek)
- Chattahoochee High School (Alpharetta)