1. It’s Sweet Tea, Not Tea With Sugar Optional
Source: Flickr user Randy OHC
If you order iced tea in an Atlanta restaurant, expect it to be sweet. You’ll have to specify “unsweet” if you really want it, and be warned that you might (read: Will) be quietly judged.
Also, don’t order unsweet tea and ask to add sugar. Just don’t. Atlantans know that sweet tea is most delicious when the sugar is added while it’s hot.
2. Food Isn’t Food To Atlantans Unless It’s Fried And/Or Greasy
Source: Wikimedia commons, user Zach Klein
Southerners are not exactly known for their pension for health food, and Atlanta is no exception. In Atlanta, chicken is always fried and macaroni and cheese is basically a vegetable. Restaurants like Busy Bee Café and Paschal’s offer up some of the best soul food you’ll ever taste.
Plus, the largest fast food joint in the country, the Varsity, is located in Atlanta. The burgers and chili dogs are quite literally dripping with grease, but they are so, so worth it.
3. Moving The Braves Was Kind Of A Huge Deal To Atlantans
Source: Wikimedia commons, user elb2000
The Braves decided in 2013 to construct a new stadium in Cobb County, just northwest of Atlanta, and leave their current location at Turner Field, south of downtown.
The move sparked a major reaction among Atlantans, with some applauding the decision and its potential to bring nightlife to Cobb County and others decrying it as a racist decision (Turner Field is located in a primarily-African American neighborhood, and Cobb County is primarily white and not accessible by public transportation).
Either way, if you ask someone in Atlanta about the move, you’re going to get an...um, enthusiastic response.
4. If Someone Says They’re From Atlanta They’re Probably Lying
Source: Flickr user TheodoreWLee
The Atlanta Metropolitan Area contains a whopping 140 cities and towns, most of which are outside the so-called “Perimeter” formed by the interstate highways around Atlanta.
Most people who live in places like Marietta, Alpharetta or Dunwoody will just forego their hometowns and say they’re from Atlanta when asked—even though unlikely they’ve actually ever lived inside the city limits.
The urban sprawl has makes traffic horrendous, and many of these faux-Atlantans work, eat and shop in Atlanta but aren’t able to use public transportation.
5. Ditto If They Say “Bless Your Heart”
Source: Flickr user jramspott
When you’re in Atlanta you can say just about any awful thing you want about someone as long as it’s followed by “bless his/her heart.” Atlantans are overly polite and courteous, so if an insult simply has to be made, this pretty much always follows it up.
For example: “She’s such a sweet girl but she’s as big as the side of a house, bless her heart.”
6. Atlantans Are All Walking Coca-Cola Advertisements
Source: Flickr user Seth Werkheiser
The soft drink giant’s headquarters are located in Atlanta, and the city has commemorated it with a museum. The World of Coca-Cola features the history of the soda and a much-beloved room with samples of soda flavors from around the world.
And while Coke is the natural soft drink of choice for most Atlantans, it’s also completely acceptable to use the word “Coke” to reference any kind of soft drink.
“What do you want to drink?”
7. Atlanta Sports Fans Don’t Know When To Quit
Source: Flickr user rsmdc
Atlantans religiously follow their Braves, Hawks and Falcons, even though the teams hardly ever make it very far. But that doesn’t stop fans from loyally cheering them on and making their disappointment, ahem, widely known on Facebook.
When Braves legend Chipper Jones’ number was retired in 2013, fans turned out en masse to Turner Field. And Falcons fans, much like Cubs fans, are always telling themselves at the start of football season, “This could be the year, guys.”
8. Atlantans All Have An Unhealthy Love Of Trees
Source: Flickr user dionhinchcliffe
Atlanta has a reputation as a “city in a forest” because a whopping 36 percent of the entire city is covered in trees. Atlantans love them in the summer for shade, and love them in the fall when they erupt in color.
But the trees they were given naturally aren’t enough—they always want more. The non-profit Trees Atlanta has planted and distributed more than 75,000 shade trees in the city since 1985. And the tree lovin’ isn’t just limited to the citizens of Atlanta. The city government has awarded $130,000 in grants to neighborhoods to plant even more trees.
9. If You Live In Atlanta You Automatically Hate MARTA
Source: Wikipedia, user Scott Ehardt
MARTA is roundly criticized by Atlantans, and for good reason. The “train to nowhere” doesn’t reach most of the residential areas surrounding the city, so traffic is awful for those with cars and commutes are almost impossible for those without.
The train also has a reputation for attracting more of the city’s shady characters, since people with almost any other form of transportation avoid it.
10. Everyone Can Thank Atlantans For Hip-Hop
Source: Ciara via Facebook
Hip-hop exploded in Atlanta in the 1990s with Lil Jon producing “crunk” music, and famous labels like LaFace Records and So So Def Records cropping up. And the craze kept going like a freight train, with big names like Outkast, Ciara, Lil Jon and T.I. topping the charts.
And the significance of Atlanta to the genre isn’t just obvious to Atlantans. In 2009, the New York Times declared that after 2000, Atlanta became hip-hop’s “center of gravity.” The New York Times, guys!
Hip-hop has become so precious to Atlantans that the city now throws a variety of concerts and music festivals throughout the year to feed their need, including the infamous A3C Music Festival, which has been called the “preeminent hip-hop festival in the U.S.”