Atlanta, Georgia

(11 reviews)


“I hated but learned to love Atlanta”

Pros:

Back when I was nine years old, I could remember car rides from the New York suburbs to Key West, Florida over annual family summer vacations. I truly dreaded the drive through Georgia. With bad memories of the summer heat and long boring roads, even at that time I swore I would never ever live in Georgia. Frankly, if anyone were to ask me at that time, "What is your favorite place in the world to live?" Atlanta was not it! In fact, I had decided that unless I was driving to Florida, I would not be caught dead in Atlanta - let alone live here. Less than ten years later - as fate would have it - a Georgia Tech college scholarship and later marriage to a local southern boy I changed my mind completely. I now can admit that I love Atlanta.
Why?
As a professional adult with persnickety tastes for the finer things (at affordable prices), I can now appreciate Atlanta as a good place to live and raise a family. Whether it is the low cost of living or the availability of cultural and sporting events or access to great universities, Atlanta stands high above many other metropolitan U.S. cities.
Perched above a sea of green, its modern skyline seemingly emerges from a forest of Georgia Pine, making it one of the most beautiful cities. The fresh and warm smell of pine is almost everywhere. You cannot find that in Manhattan or Los Angeles! If Atlanta had been a coastal city, no other city could compare.

Cons:

Atlanta's Gone with the Wind "southern hospitality" is a myth, particularly since Atlanta seems to have more New Yorker ex-pats (like me) living here than native Atlantans. I could overlook Atlanta's rising crime rates, its high temperatures and humidity between the months of May and October, but the lack of gentility was a disappointment for me. As a native New Yorker myself, I got over that. Recent news of the loss of accreditation by City of Atlanta public elementary schools notwithstanding, there are several difficult things to accept about life in Atlanta.
Atlanta is a great city, but you cannot possibly appreciate it fully without owning a car. Its lack of accessible and logically placed public transportation is almost legendary for a city of its stature and size. Moreover, entertainment options are limited to a handful of usual (albeit enjoyable/great) suspects, like the Fox Theater, the High Museum, and seasonal favorites like the Atlanta Braves baseball and the Atlanta Falcons football events. However, one of my chief complaints is its lack of multi-national cultural-ism, which is the benchmark of most world-class cities.

Best Neighborhoods

Atlanta has great neighborhoods for almost every taste. When I was single, the Buckhead neighborhood was the best. Noted for its posh Peachtree Road location, city vibe, access to the hottest restaurants and bars, and beautiful condominium and apartment living, Buckhead is best for singles. Now that I am more settled with a family, great homes with amenities like access to local shopping, family style activities, North Atlanta's Brookhaven, Peachtree Hills, West Paces Ferry, and Garden Hills are on my wish list. These neighborhoods are all neat, close-knit communities that boast fabulous palatial homes (at a fraction of LA or NYC's costs), better schools and access to high-end shopping malls. Nevertheless, for now, I am happy in South Atlanta among other professionals in an area characterized by unassuming, upper-middleclass, quiet back porch living.

Popular Activities

I give Atlanta kudos, awarding it my "Best City to Entertain Friends from Out of Town" honor. I know I have all of the ingredients for a perfect day in Atlanta. When I playing host-est-with-the-most-est for visiting friends and family, I love to take them to my favorite spots. What's the itinerary for the perfect day? At 8 AM, I would make breakfast at home so we can sit on the back porch and breathe in the fresh air and smell of pine trees. By 9 AM, we would bike along Atlanta's many trails for about a half hour before heading out to the DeKalb Farmer's Market for an international culinary excursion to gather fresh loaves of bread, wine and cheeses, seafood (on ice) and a wonderful variety of meats, fruits and vegetables. After a quick nibble, we would drop off the food, and drive to the Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest aquarium to visit the sharks and dolphins and take in an IMAX movie. The visit to the aquarium would undoubtedly build up an appetite for dinner at one of the many wonderful area restaurants, like the Atlanta Fish Market. For my guy friends, the evenings call for tickets to the Atlanta Falcons or the Atlanta Braves (if we can stand the heat). For my gal pals, nothing less than the Atlanta Ballet or a Broadway show at the Fox Theater will do. For a romantic double date, an outdoor concert at Chastain Park Amphitheater never disappoints at the end of a busy day in Atlanta.

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“Atlanta is the New York of the south”

Pros:

For those seeking to embark upon a new phase and escape the conundrum of everyday life, the opportunities in Atlanta, Georgia, appear to be absolutely boundless. Although another well-known city has already been awarded the title - Atlanta is truly the "city that never sleeps". For those brave enough to venture from the comfort of their homes and tackle the streets, the city awaits. The time of day is itself inconsequential and the intrepid explorer will soon discover that his every moment could be consumed with activities, if he so desired. The types of activities themselves range in from skydiving to cooking classes, and from fine dining to small restaurants that can only be described as unique.

Even more appealing is the fact that Atlanta is essentially a hub of diversity. For people with open minds, possible careers practically present themselves, and with a population that encroaches on millions, there is always room for a niche industry to be created. It is a place for education, whether one's penchant is for exposure to a diversity of people and cultures, or whether one prefers the more traditional route. It's a place where one can reinvent oneself or become immersed in any number of "worlds" with a clear conscience. It's no wonder many celebrities call Atlanta home.

Cons:

Were one to direct this query to any Atlanta resident, they need only dare you to traverse any number of major city highways between the hours of 7:00-10:00 am or 3:30-7:00 pm. Choose to accept the dare, and the answer becomes immediately clear: Traffic.

Behind the shields of cars, normally kind-hearted and friendly people instantly transform into fearsome, honking, hulking creatures that hide behind the steering wheel, making the occasional appearance to flippantly flip each other the bird. If one doesn't perfectly time traveling plans, the commute can be disheartening. Couple that with the high cost of living, and a sprawling city, and it seems as if a majority of the Atlanta resident's time is spent in the car. Nevertheless, it seems to be a risk many are willing to take.

Best Neighborhoods

Midtown Atlanta, Buckhead and Virginia highlands are the best areas for singles, professionals and those attending universities. The living spaces are undoubtedly more expensive, but worth the price, especially as driving isn't always necessary. One can usually walk to have one's basic needs met, or, if preferable, make use of the affordable transit system, MARTA.

The outlying cities (which, oddly enough, still constitute Atlanta) like Gwinnett, Norcross and Sandy Springs are more appropriate for raising a family. They are more spread out and farther away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Popular Activities

In terms of entertainment, the name "Atlanta" conjures up many images - Atlantic Station, Fox Theater, dance studios, arts festivals, downtown Decatur, and the numerous bowling alleys like 300 Atlanta which, at night, miraculously turn into clubs. There's also the drive-in theater at Starlight Six, a rare sight nowadays, where patrons can see two new releases for a paltry $7.00.

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“Hands down the most vibrant city in the south”

Pros:

Living in the Atlanta area has many benefits. Almost anything you could want or need is within driving distance. Great restaurants and shopping spots abound and a plethora of services are available should specific needs arise in your life. There are tons of employment opportunities available in the Atlanta area in such job fields that would be hard to find in smaller cities. The night life and music scene thrives like nowhere else in the south. For people of faith, churches and ministries are always close by to uplift and inspire.

Cons:

The cons of living in Atlanta are few but the ones that exist are glaring. Traffic is a major problem. The gridlock that occurs in the 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. rushes to and from work are sometimes unbearable and the amount of one-way streets downtown can make traveling through the city difficult without precise directions. Construction seems to always be occurring on the streets and interstates, making travel in certain areas a pain. It is also impossible to go into certain parts of town without being approached by homeless or needy people looking for a handout. While it is never a bad thing to help people in need, sometimes you want to enjoy a nice night out without being bothered.

Best Neighborhoods

One of the best neighborhoods is the Vinings Community. Nestled very close to Atlanta, Vinings offers easy access to nearly everything you could need, while at the same to providing a small town atmosphere. Families can enjoy the sense of community, while singles will enjoy being so close to the city. Piedmont Park is another spot that people from all walks of life can enjoy. Boasting an impressive green space, Piedmont Park is home to great events. A relaxing experience can also be had there anytime by taking a walk or catching up on your favorite book under a tree.

Popular Activities

For fun, Little Five Points downtown is hard to beat. It offers a variety of shops, restaurants and bars that cater to the more eccentric side of the city. A good band is always playing there and a unique experience can always be counted on. For a more subdued day or night out, Atlantic Station is a great spot. Atlantic Station is home to a great movie theatre and a green space that holds unique events on certain days. Great clothing stores and restaurants are there as well.

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“Atlanta is Great for Singles and Professionals”

Pros:

Living in Atlanta is great because there is always something to do here. Music, art, food, sports, theater, nature, history - there is something for everyone right here in the city. I also love that Atlanta is so close to everything. In a few short hours, you can be at the beach and in less than an hour, you can be in the mountains. If you prefer a night out in the city, it's all right here at your fingertips. Due to the variety, you never know who you'll run into. The diverse population is another great reason to live here.

Cons:

If you ask anyone what the worst part of living in Atlanta is, you'll probably hear the same answer: traffic. At certain times of the day, many major roads and expressways become very parking lot-like, especially if you have to commute outside of the city. Another strike against the city is the weather, especially if you do not enjoy heat and humidity. In July and August, temperatures can reach 100 degrees or higher which makes for long, miserable days. And don't expect too much of a winter. Atlanta can go years without seeing snow on the ground and residents can experience 80 degrees in December.

Best Neighborhoods

Atlanta is definitely a great place for singles and young professionals. While there are a number of families in the city, many of them choose to live in the suburbs, or outside of the confines of I-285, Atlanta's perimeter. Students and young families often flock to East Atlanta neighborhoods such as Candler Park because of great schools, inexpensive housing, and their proximity to downtown. Virginia Highlands is a popular neighborhood for young professionals, but it can be a little more costly. Decatur and the Emory area are also great for students and families alike. If you're into the party scene and nightlife, you might opt to live in the Buckhead neighborhood. Little Five Points is another popular area that attracts people who are into the alternative scene. With so much diversity amongst Atlanta residents, there are niches and neighborhoods where almost anyone will fit in.

Popular Activities

When it comes to fun things to do, Atlanta is the place to be. One of my favorite places to visit and take out-of-town guests is Stone Mountain. From history to hikes and rides to restaurants, the historic landmark has so much to offer, no matter how old you are or what your interests are. The Georgia Aquarium is fairly new to Atlanta, but it's quickly becoming a local favorite, and of course, if you like animals, there's the Atlanta Zoo, home to a couple of world-famous pandas. I'm a big sports fan and love going to Braves, Falcons and Hawks games. There are also numerous college and minor league teams in the area. Shopping is plentiful here. Whether you prefer the unique shops of Little Five Points or upscale retail shopping at Lenox Square Mall or Phipps Plaza, you won't be disappointed if you like to shop 'til you drop. Foodies also enjoy Atlanta because there are so many great restaurants.

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“A Great New Place to Live”

Pros:

The natural beauty of Atlanta is evident everywhere. Hosing is very affordable and there is a new re-birth to the area surrounding downtown. Many young professionals are moving to the city and areas like Midtown and Decatur offer an urban existence without the commute. The suburbs are beautiful but the communute to anywhere is terrible. The colleges and universities are excellent particularly for the South and Atlanta is becoming the intellectual and financial capital of the South.

Cons:

Traffic from the suburbs is terrible. The city is still somewhat segregated. Downtown really doesn't have much to offer.

Best Neighborhoods

Midtown, Decautur, Buckhead are great for the young professionals and many of the suburbs are extremely nice and are located in all sides of town. Northern Atlanta is probably the prettiest but the most congested.

Popular Activities

The mountains of North Georgia are spectacular for easy getaways. There are great museums and parks for families. Major univerisities have lots of activities. There are great clubs in Buckhead, Virginia Highlands and Midtown.

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“Atlanta Safe”

Pros:

My husband and I moved to Candler Park last year and would recommend it without hesitation. It is very safe and the schools are good quality. Our children both attend Henry Grady HS and like the classes and extracurricular activities.

Cons:

The cons for us would be traffic and the worry about city crime coming from a small Midwestern town to Atlanta.

Best Neighborhoods

Candler Park has golf for my husband and walking trails for us both. We also have to fly out of town with our jobs and the airport, while huge, services everywhere

Popular Activities

We have actually started spending more time at Lake Claire on the weekends and the kids even go with us there with their friends which is quality time for us.

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“Midtown Match”

Pros:

I moved to Druid Hills 6 months ago and since I work in Midtown it has worked out nicely for me. I like the green space-two parks close to my apartment-Medlock Park and Olmstead Park. I was able to land a good paying job without too long of a wait which was not my experience elsewhere, believe me!

Cons:

rent prices are just okay.

Best Neighborhoods

My son goes to school in the Dekalb Co SD which I think is great with strong academics and the parent group is strong.

Popular Activities

I walk in the parks a lot with my son and we definitely go to our Atlanta games together-as much as we can.

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“Lots to Do”

Pros:

I live in what's called Buckhead? Great part of the city and would definitely recommend it for anyone moving here. Lots of clubs/nightlife to check out and great places to take a date! Good access to get to work on I-75/85. All types of singles/families live here but professional types mostly?

Cons:

It may just be me but I have been here five years and I swear Atlanta is getting colder in the winter-what's up with that? Some of the sections of Buckhead are definitely on the very affluent-pricey side of the housing market and out of my league. Private schools and high-end living.

Best Neighborhoods

I love Atlanta which still has greenery and trees! Lots to do for singles without a doubt.

Popular Activities

I enjoy distance running with friends and then a different kind of running on the w/e with friends-to the clubs. Tons of great places to eat out too with every type of food imaginable

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“Midtown Mix”

Pros:

We live in Mid-town and like the energy of the area with many professional couples living here. At the same time we found a quiet section of streets with a safe quiet feeling. Rapid transit-MARTA-goes thru Midtown too which is a plus.

Cons:

I guess the biggest negative to Atlanta, but probably found in all major cities, is the homeless population. A negative because they are so many people living on the streets- it's discouraging- and we do go downtown every weekend and get asked for money-a lot.

Best Neighborhoods

Midtown has a good little mix of residential and businesses-clubs and restaurants. Plus we wanted to live near Georgia Institute of Technology where I attend part time.

Popular Activities

My wife loves to shop-lots of places here and we both go to Piedmont Park to walk every day-very nice (and safe).

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“We love Atlanta”

Pros:

My husband and I live in Marietta. We chose this particular suburb after looking at a lot of Atlanta neighborhoods and wanting one with an easy way to get to work ( we both hop on I-75) plus one with good schools (Cobb Co SD) and one with diversity as well.

Cons:

Our problem is the traffic which can be backed up frequently on I-75. Housing was also costlier than we had anticipated.

Best Neighborhoods

We unabashedly love Atlanta, the weather for the most part is pretty great, we found positions in our fields, and itâs a progressive city with a lot of educated residents that want something better in life for their families.

Popular Activities

We both work at different universities and are involved pretty heavily in campus life. But we definitely take in the professional sports scene as well as much as we can.

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“Good City Bad Traffic”

Pros:

My husband and I live in Marietta. We chose this particular suburb after looking at a lot of Atlanta neighborhoods and wanting one with an easy way to get to work ( we both hop on I-75) plus one with good schools (Cobb Co SD) and one with diversity as well.

Cons:

Our problem is the traffic which can be backed up frequently on I-75. Housing was also costlier than we had anticipated.

Best Neighborhoods

We unabashedly love Atlanta, the weather for the most part is pretty great, we found positions in our fields, and it's a progressive city with a lot of educated residents that want something better in life for their families.

Popular Activities

We both work at different universities and are involved pretty heavily in campus life. But we definitely take in the professional sports scene as well as much as we can.

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