29 Things To Know About Atlanta Before You Move ThereAtlanta is a great place for food, fun, festivals, etc. But there are many other things to explore before you move there.
1. Atlanta Is Nirvana For Foodies
From the weekly farmers' markets spread all over town to the plethora of authentic ethnic eateries found along Buford Highway to the ever-growing food truck movement to a dynamic restaurant scene that includes establishments run by celebrity chefs like Kevin Rathbun and Richard Blais, foodies will be in heaven in Atlanta
2. "Scattered, Smothered And Covered" Will Become Part Of Your Lexicon
The Waffle House chain, ubiquitous in the Southeast, is headquartered in the Atlanta area. You can't throw a rock without hitting a Waffle House. And you will dine there at some point, probably at 3 a.m., so learn how to order the hash browns.
3. Natives Are Rare And Identify Themselves By Hospital
If you hear someone refer to themselves as a Grady baby, Northside baby, et. al., they're talking about what hospital they were born at. You won't meet too many of these people when you first get here. Atlanta's a place where everyone is from somewhere else.
4. It’s Greater In Decatur
Beautiful young hipsters serving craft beer and locally-sourced menu items to the townsfolk in some of the Atlanta area’s best restaurants, bars and brewpubs; a pedestrian-friendly downtown with tons of boutiques and some hip coffeehouses around the old courthouse square; a school system people are dying to get their kids into; a nightclub—Eddie’s Attic—that helped to launch some of the biggest music stars of the 21st century… Seriously, what’s not to love?
5. There's A Festival For That
Atlantans love them some festivals—smallish neighborhood festivals, big music festivals, seasonal festivals, arts festivals, film festivals, beer festivals, culinary festivals—they can't get enough. A few of the don't-miss biggies are ….
6. Dogwood Is Divine In Springtime
April’s Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s welcome party for spring. Lots of arts and crafts and food and live music and, of course, all those dogwood trees in the park creating a backdrop.
7. Get Your Geek On At Dragon Con
It’s not just for sci-fi geeks anymore. The annual parade at Dragon Con in late summer draws huge crowds lining the streets to see the costumed participants marching. You see your typical stormtroopers, superheroes, and zombies marching, but the best part is all the creative mashups of the participants, so come get your geek on and have a blast while doing so.
8. Summerfest Is Sublime In Va-Hi
In early summer, the Virginia-Highland Summerfest is another long running seasonal festival featuring arts, food and music. Virginia-Highland, or Va-Hi, is an intown neighborhood where people love to live and others love to visit for its shopping, dining and picturesque streets, and parks.
9. The Atlanta Film Festival Just Keeps Getting Better
What began as a small independent film festival in 1976 has steadily blossomed into a major cinema event in town each spring. This growth has paralleled Georgia’s overall rise as a major player in the film industry in the 21st century, with Atlanta serving as its hub.
10. And Music Midtown Is Back!
Back in the 1990s Music Midtown was the major outdoor music festival in town, bringing top name acts in to play on multiple stages spread throughout closed city streets. Then, it went on a long hiatus, but now it’s back and in Piedmont Park rather than on city streets, still bringing major acts to town every September like Coldplay, Pearl Jam, and Eminem.
11. There's A Shorthand For Local Area Codes
The 3 major area codes for the Atlanta area are 404, 770 and 678. No one writes out all three numbers, they just use the first one, followed by the 7-digit phone number, a practice that confuses newcomers.
12. "What'll Ya Have?" Isn't A Question, It's A Command
The most famous fast food joint in town is The Varsity, in business since 1928. As soon as you mosey anywhere near the counter you will be barked at—"What'll ya have? What'll ya have?"—until you place your order. It's also a good idea to know the lingo to help the process go smoother, but that's a whole 'nother article.
13. Atlanta’s An Amazingly Diverse Place In The Deep South
Hike to the top of Stone Mountain, drive down Buford Highway, stroll through Midtown, and you'll see people who are nothing like you happily going about their business, whether they're wearing a hijab, sporting rainbow Pride colors or crowded into a restaurant with a sign you can't understand because it isn't written in English. That's Atlanta for ya.
14. Underground Atlanta Isn't Underground
You may have heard about Underground Atlanta and thought that it sounded like a subterranean place. It's not. It was created when they built an overpass over some downtown streets in the early 20th century that made the street level rise to the second level of many buildings. Now, you can go shopping and dining in the “underground” mall downtown.
15. Buckhead Is Different, And The Same
The vaunted Buckhead nightlife scene died in the early aughts, but today, the Andews Entertainment District is attempting to bring it back full force. Buckhead is still the place to go for high-end shopping and fine dining, just like always.
16. Centennial Park Is Where Atlantans Take Their Kids
Some of Atlanta's major tourist attractions are in and around this park, including the Georgia Aquarium, the CNN Center and the World of Coca-Cola. It's the must-visit place when family comes to town, or to take your kids to play in the dancing, illuminated waters of Fountain of Rings. Make sure the kids wear a swimsuit underneath their clothes, and bring a towel.
17. Piedmont Park Is The Park They Actually Hang Out In
Piedmont Park is to Atlanta what Central Park is to New York City. It's like Atlanta's big back yard where you'll always find locals strolling, jogging, skating, biking, picnicking, and throwing Frisbees to their dogs. It's also where many concerts and festivals take place.
18. And Chastain Park Is Where Atlantans Go For Dinner At The Show
Chastain Park Amphitheater is one of the best places to see concerts in Atlanta, but the table seating setup makes the shows more of a social event than a musical one. People are allowed to bring their own wine and dinner into the venue. Don’t forget a tablecloth, candelabra and the wine.
19. It’s Got More Trees Than Other Big Cities
Despite its rampant growth of the last few decades, Atlanta still has a lot of tree cover for such a large city. Its nickname used to be "The City in a Forest" in a bygone era and from the top of Stone Mountain it almost still looks that way.
20. Southern Hospitality Exists On The Sidewalks
People in Atlanta really do show Southern hospitality, as long as they aren't in their cars.
21. To Understand Traffic Reports You'll Need To Learn The Lingo
Here's a basic primer to get you started: The Connector: where I-85 and I-75 converge through downtown. The Perimeter: the I-285 bypass circling the city. The Top End: northern arc of I-285. Spaghetti Junction: intersection of I-285 and I-85. These are all places you never want to be anytime close to the rush hours.
22. The Beltline And The Perimeter Are Two Very Separate Things
The Beltline is a relatively new thing in Atlanta —the old rail corridor circling the city is being turned into a linear greenspace. And the sections that are completed so far are wonderful and have transformed intown neighborhoods.
23. If You Currently Pronounce "Ponce de Leon" Correctly, You Won't After A Few Years In Town
It's an avenue, not a famous Spanish explorer. You'll figure it out when you get here.
24. The Braves And The Falcons Are Moving To New Digs
Atlanta’s two major pro sports teams each play in different stadiums—the Braves at Turner Field and the Falcons at the Georgia Dome—but they will be in two new stadiums by 2017.
25. Atlanta Natives Have No Problem Navigating All The Streets Names Peachtree
Streets with some variation of Peachtree in the title are all over Atlanta. Natives and longtime locals have no problem with this but you and your GPS might.
26. And They’re Not Confounded By The Fact That The City Doesn't Really Have That Many Peach Trees, Nor Did It Ever
The name Peachtree as it concerns Atlanta is a misnomer. There aren't that many peach trees here. The Creek Indians, who used to call the area home, harvested sap, or "pitch," from pine trees, or "pitch" trees, as they were called. Over the years pitch morphed into peach.
27. Atlantans Will Shut Down A Street At The Drop Of A Hat For Hollywood
Hollywood now films more movies in Georgia than it does Hollywood, thanks to the generous tax breaks the state gives to the productions, and Atlanta is ground zero. Celebrity sightings and street closings are now commonplace.
28. It's The World Headquarters To Major Corporations You've Done Business With
Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, UPS and Home Depot are all headquartered in Atlanta, just to name a few.
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29. Locals Don’t Call It "Hotlanta"
That term is only used by outsiders and bad travel writers. "The ATL" is much more acceptable, but still kinda dumb. There really isn't a good, popular nickname for Atlanta that everyone agrees on. What do you love about living in Atlanta? Tell us in the comments below!
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