Living in Atlanta is a hot idea right now, but you may not want to call the city “Hotlanta.” Although some residents have come to embrace the term, most find that it is far from reflective of what you can actually experience when this city becomes your home.
Atlanta is a city that has a fantastic music scene. There is an interesting history to explore when you start living here. You will discover professional sports franchises that have a reputation for success. When you add in the great beer, food, and everything else there is to do in the city and the surrounding region, it is easy to understand why so many people are giving in to the temptation to move.
The history of Atlanta goes back to 1836 when Georgia decided that it was important to build a railroad to the Midwestern states. A location needed to be chosen for the terminus of the route, so this city was given the honor of being the zero-mile post. It only took two years for homes and a store to be built at this location. By 1854, rail lines were arriving from four different directions to encourage even more growth.
After hosting the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Atlanta became a global city that was ready to enter the next phase of its existence. The pros and cons of living in this city ask if you are ready to join that forward progress.
List of the Pros of Living in Atlanta
1. The nightlife in Atlanta is always hopping.
In many cities, the definition of a strong nightlife means going out with your friends, having a few drinks, and then maybe a little dancing. You can do that in Atlanta too if you wish, but there are some far better options to consider as well. Alongside the bustling bar scene is a thriving live music community, dance-only clubs, comedy options, and lots of other opportunities to explore.
Venues like The Masquerade, Eddie’s Attic, and The Tabernacle are all world-class venues that are impressive options which will help you to fall even more in love with the city.
2. You will find that the job market in Atlanta is incredibly strong.
There are numerous companies rated in the Fortune 1000 which have their headquarters located in Atlanta. Global companies with more revenues that some nations offer job opportunities which can help your relocation process go more smoothly than you might expect. Brands like the Coca-Cola Company, UPS, and Home Depot are all regularly advertising positions that can help you to find that better jobs.
There are several different industries which have a solid foundation in the Atlanta metro area as well. It is the home of CNN studio headquarters, lots of manufacturing opportunities, and retail positions as well.
3. Businesses face a low cost of entry when getting started in Atlanta.
If you own a business and are thinking about a move, then you are going to want to make the move to Atlanta. The cost to start a business in the city is relatively low compared to others of the same size across the country. Georgia offers a friendly structuring process if you want to incorporate, a strong consumer base who loves to purchase local goods and services, and an international foundation of industry that can bring a lot of experience into the workplace. This diversity makes it one of the best places to be an owner in the country today.
4. The cost of living in Atlanta is relatively low.
Even though Atlanta was the first city in the United States to really emphasize the idea of paying workers $15 per hour, the cost of living here is still 2% lower than the national average. That means your expenses after establishing a residence here are fairly similar to what you would experience in Dallas, Oklahoma City, Omaha, and Chicago. It is significantly cheaper than living in Miami, New York City, or Los Angeles.
Renting an apartment in Atlanta will cost you about $1,200 per month for about 800 square feet. Groceries, restaurants, and internet costs are all relatively competitive with the rest of the United States. It is a little cheaper to purchase fuel and other utilities in the city compared to the U.S. west, but you’ll save even more if you can find a spot to live that is closer to the suburbs.
5. There are some excellent outdoor spaces available in Atlanta.
When you move to Atlanta, then you will find that there are several public parks which can provide you with some peace and quiet even though you are living in the heart of a thriving metropolis. One of the best options for this advantage is Centennial Olympic Park, which commemorates the city hosting the 1996 Olympic Games. You will find 21 acres of green space available to use, offering plenty of spots for picnics, hiking, or a game of Frisbee golf with your friends.
The kids can have fun playing in the splashpad (technically they are fountains) which are shaped like the five Olympic rings. If you want to go to Chastain Park, then that is the perfect place for dinner and a show. Piedmont Park is where many go to hang out when they want to relax.
6. You can embrace the sports life when living in Atlanta.
Although you wouldn’t describe Atlanta as a sports mecca, there are several options from which to choose for the average household to enjoy. The five major professional sports leagues in the United States are located here, allowing you to see the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and MLS when they are in season. You will find that the people in this city are passionate about their sports as well, so you can still catch your favorite teams when they come for a visit after moving.
And if you were hoping to move to a city where you could become invested in the local fan base, then you will definitely enjoy the atmosphere that can be found in the ATL.
7. If you can survive the summer, then you will love the winter.
The summers can be downright brutal some years down in Atlanta. You will also discover that if you can survive those days of stickiness that the winters become extremely nice. Snowstorms are very rare when living in the city. You can still find skiing and sledding within a couple hours of the metro area too if you love to be active in the winter. The bad news is that because no one is used to seeing snow, the entire city can shut down even if only a couple of inches reaches the ground.
8. The neighborhoods in Atlanta are exquisitely charming.
You will find that there are several charming neighborhoods to consider when you contemplate living in Atlanta. Grant Park, Decatur, and Inman Park are some of the most popular options because of their proximity to dining and shopping opportunities. Many of them are a part of the historic districts in the city, allowing you to explore at leisure while getting an opportunity to enjoy the stories of the past. You can even walk or cycle in some of the areas if you want to get some fresh air.
What is unique about Atlanta is that it has more trees that most other big cities around the world. At one point in time, the nickname of the metro area was even the City in a Forest. There is certainly an element of peace and relaxation that you will encounter when you get the chance to kick back and relax.
9. The property tax rates in Atlanta are extremely competitive.
The average effective tax rate in the state of Georgia is 0.93%, which equates to about $1,400 per year. The owner of a $200,000 home in the state will pay about $2,000 in property taxes. Some of the homes that are in the Atlanta area have a slightly higher rate, but it is also still exceptionally competitive with what you can find across the United States. You can expect to pay about $800 less in property taxes when living here compared to the average destination you would choose across the country.
10. Most of the people who live in Atlanta are transplants.
Unlike some of the other large cities across the United States, Atlanta is more of a home to transplants than true locals. That means you will not encounter the same level of cliques or false friendliness that you can find in other southern communities. The hospitality that you experience here is authentic. You can actually know who is local or not when living here because natives identify themselves by the hospital where they were born. If someone describes themselves as a Northside baby, then you can source some good local info.
11. Festivals are a way of life in Atlanta.
After you move to Atlanta, you will discover that festivals are a way of life in the city. You will find seasonal celebrations, large music gatherings, and even neighborhood get-togethers that make living here feel like you’re in a small town. There are plenty of arts and crafts fairs that you can find throughout the city, farmer’s markets that offer local goods, and plenty of additional options to consider. You can attend film festivals, culinary gatherings, and beer gardens to enjoy too.
Another great option to consider when living in Atlanta is Dragon Con. It began as a science-fiction convention, but it has morphed into an entire event where everyone dresses up in their favorite costumes, even if the cosplay is not related. You can find plenty of merch to enjoy, talk with artists, and take pictures with all of your favorite superheroes.
12. Atlanta offers an amazingly diverse environment.
There are some pockets in the United States where the South as a reputation for being filled with rednecks, white nationalists, and people who love to fly the Confederate flag. Although there are a few pockets in Georgia where that stereotype might be true the reality of this city is that it is remarkably progressive. You will find plenty of people who follow different lifestyles, even when you visit a place like Stone Mountain which honors elements of the past that some people may find to be offensive.
You can wear your pride colors, sport a hijab, or show off your latest Jesus t-shirt without encountering a high level of resistance. People here respect you for the choices that you make, the work ethic you have, and how much you’re willing to make the world a better place.
List of the Cons of Living in Atlanta
1. The traffic in Atlanta is terrible. Not LA bad, but still not a pleasant experience.
The overwhelming disadvantage that Atlanta residents say that they experience from their time in the city is the traffic. People feel like they must purchase a car when living here because the public transportation options are so bad. Unless you leave near the downtown area, can walk to work, or have a direct connection between home and your employer with Marta, the entire experience is something to be desired. Most drivers rely on the interstate system to move around as quickly as possible.
If you live here, you will definitely need to add some time to your commute to ensure that you make it to work on time.
2. Owning a car in Atlanta isn’t always a pleasant experience either.
The trick to living in Atlanta is to try to find a balance with your transportation needs whenever you can. Although you can walk some places, there is a lot of driving that you will need to get everyone where they need to go. If you are moving to the city with kids, then expect to be their chauffeur as you travel to practices, games, and other extracurricular activities. It is not unusual to have a 45-minute commute each way, spend that time being a parent taxi, and then get home at the end of the night with about zero free time to yourself.
3. Some industries in Atlanta are failing to thrive.
Although there are plenty of opportunities to find work in Atlanta, the retail sector is really struggling right now. Tech jobs and traditional manufacturing positions are thriving, but there are some problems with entry-level positions. Some of this disadvantage may be due t the fact that the city was the first to offer a livable wage, so employers are struggling in some ways to manage their labor costs.
Blue-collar positions are also growing less than other positions, but don’t let that be a discouraging fact. Atlanta is frequently ranked in the top 10 for job seekers in the United States. You may just find that your industry is not growing as much as some other options.
4. Some people never get used to the climate of Atlanta.
Atlanta is literally hot in the summer. It can also bake you in the late spring and early fall as well. As with most southern climates in the United States, you will find a hot, subtropical climate waiting for you when moving to the ATL. It is not unusual for temperatures to average in the mid-90sF throughout most of the summer months. The humidity makes things super sticky, especially in July and August. You will want to purchase a home or rent a place which offers an excellent air condition system to survive.
5. You almost need to live in the right neighborhood to accomplish specific goals.
Atlanta is clearly a driving city, even if they are investing into park space and new infrastructure options. Many of the advantages of living here will shift in 2030 and beyond as these projects are completed. Until then, you will find that if you wish to follow a specific lifestyle, then you must commit to a particular neighborhood.
Let’s say that you want to walk to work or your favorite restaurant. The only places where that is reasonably possible are Decatur and Virginia Highlands. If you want to live somewhere that offers pedestrian malls and specific shopping districts, then this might not be the best city for you right now.
6. There is a lot of urban sprawl with which to content in Atlanta.
Atlanta is a land-locked city, so any of the growth that happens will result in some type of sprawl. There are no other options for the community. Although that makes the process of building easier for planners and engineers, that also means that your commutes get longer as you look for affordable housing options away from the congestion. The metropolitan area encompasses over 8,000 square miles, which is approximately the size of the state of Massachusetts. There are 50 different municipalities and 14 counties that are all technically part of the entire city complex.
7. The people in Atlanta like to use a lot of short codes and jargon.
When you first move to Atlanta, you will discover that there are times when people seem to be speaking a different language. That is because there is a lot of jargon and shorthand that comes into play when speaking or describing circumstances. One example is how people communicate the various area codes that are in the city. There are three of them: 404, 770, and 678. Instead of writing out all three numbers, most people will only use the first digit – and then share their phone number.
Another communication issue you might run into when living in Atlanta is the “What’ll you have?” command. It is not a.question which suggests that you have time to wait. If you’re not ready to place your order, then you might find some grumbling starting to happen while you are standing in line.
8. Even the highways require you to learn the lingo.
If you are driving on the Connector, then you are where I-75 and I-85 converge in the city in the downtown area. If you are on the Perimeter, then that means you’re driving on the I-285 bypass. The Top End is the northern arc of I-285. Although every city experiences this issue to some extent, it becomes part of every communication. If you tell someone that you are driving on I-285, then they may look at you with a confused look on their face until you use one of the familiar terms.
The pros and cons of living in Atlanta create a balance between ease of access and a growing job market with the compromises of potential weather issues and congestion. Some people find that this city is one of the best places on the planet to live. There are a few who find that the negatives sometimes outweigh the positives because of their specific situation. Before finalizing any decision, be sure to review each key point with your household needs to ensure that you can find the perfect home.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.