Atlanta is the capital of Georgia, and one of the largest cities in the southern United States. On paper, the population stands just below 550,000. In reality, though, the city includes a wide, bustling metro area of about 6 million people. There's never a lack of things to do in Atlanta, no matter what your hobbies are. You can shop in one of the boutiques in Virginia-Highlands, head to work downtown, catch a concert at Piedmont Park in Midtown and then head out to Lake Lanier for weekend boating. This newcomers guide to Atlanta will help you decide where to live and work.
Most of the people who call Atlanta home don't actually live within the city. Instead, they reside in the suburbs and in a series of commuter towns that lie outside of the city. The largest of these are Alpharetta, Chamblee, Decatur, Dunwoody, Fayetteville, Kennesaw, Marietta, Norcross, Roswell, Peachtree City and Sandy Springs. All of these cities offer single family homes, townhouses, condos and apartment rentals. They are connected to downtown through major interstate highways.
Atlanta is known for its long commutes, and if there is a downside to living outside the city this is it. This is one reason that living in town is becoming more popular, both for singles and for families. Many singles and young couples rent apartments or buy townhomes in the Buckhead, Downtown, East side, Little Five Points, Midtown or Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods.
Many families prefer single-family housing and having a yard. If they wish to stay in Atlanta, it may be better to move to the Brookhaven, Candler Park, Collier Hills, Inman Park, Morningside, Oakhurst or Peachtree Hills areas.
These in-town, family-friendly neighborhoods also offer some of the best schools in the city, both public and private. Atlanta's public schools can vary widely, and you may want to carefully consider the quality of schools before choosing a neighborhood. There are many private schools in and around the city, but tuition can be steep. It's important to note that the suburbs tend to have less expensive private schools.
Atlanta has a larger concentration of Fortune 500 companies than most cities twice its size, boasting 10 of the top 500, and 4 of the top 100. These include some of the largest employers in the area: Aflac, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, The Home Depot and UPS.
Atlanta has several business districts where most of the population reports to work. These areas are hubs for thousands of companies, and feature high-rise offices. The neighborhoods that host these districts are Alpharetta, Buckhead, Downtown, Midtown and the Perimeter area, which is near Dunwoody.
Entertainment and recreation is important to many of the city's residents. Atlanta has several world-renowned restaurants and hundreds of bars and clubs. Sports teams include the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball, the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons and The Atlanta Hawks basketball team. Atlanta no longer hosts an NHL team, but if you want to get out on the ice yourself, there is a recreational adult league in the city called the Atlanta Amateur Hockey League.
The Atlanta metro area boasts a low cost of living when compared to many other cities of its size. You can save even more money by choosing a house in the suburbs and commuting into town for work. If you do choose to relocate to Atlanta, it would be advisable to do your homework. Find out the best neighborhood to live in, the cost of living, and anything else that will make your relocation stress free. If you would like help with your relocation, we at Canuck Abroad have everything you need to relocate to your new residence.