Everything You Need to Know About Living in Atlanta, GA

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes the Big Peach so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Atlanta, Georgia Research Report to review all of the details.

Atlanta, GA: Fast Facts

Atlanta is the 37th most populous city in the US and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. It’s also known as the Big Peach and The Gate City, because of its railroad station hub or “terminus” in Atlanta that could travel in any direction to any other city or destination of consequence in the South.

Atlanta’s rich artistic culture and key role in the Civil Rights Movement are the foundation of its vibrant atmosphere. It’s also a bustling tech hub and perhaps the most promising city for programmers in the region. Atlanta is home to dozens of high-tech startups, along with many large employers.

Atlanta’s tech-talent labor pool is the ninth largest nationally at 146,720 workers, which amounts to 5.3 percent of the overall Atlanta workforce, significantly higher than the national average of 3.7 percent. Atlanta has seen a 27.8 percent increase in the tech talent labor pool over the last 5 years. Atlanta’s competitive wages and lower cost of living make it an excellent place to start a tech career.  

Atlanta is made up of a very diverse population. We have people from all over the world. People from other countries also bring their cultures with them and it makes Atlanta a fascinating place to live.

Baron R.

Atlanta Neighborhoods

Virginia Highland, sometimes called VaHi, combines vibrant city living with small-town community charm. Located east of Ansley Park and close to Downtown, the area consists of four distinct villages connected by walkable blocks. With over 100-year-old homes, Virginia Highland is one of Atlanta’s most sought-after places to live. Styles range from charming bungalows to beautiful Victorians to modern townhouses. Just east of Ansley Park, close to Midtown and Downtown, VaHi offers numerous attractions including the Beltline, Ponce City Market and Piedmont Park. Historic Virginia-Highland is Atlanta’s most popular neighborhood for art, shopping, dining, and nightlife.

Located north of Midtown and south of Brookhaven, Buckhead is a prestigious area known as the Beverly Hills of the South. Here residents can find fine dining, endless entertainment and numerous renowned cultural centers—such as the Atlanta History Center and Chastain Park Amphitheatre, the largest park in Atlanta. It’s also one of the city’s biggest shopping districts, home to both boutiques and big name stores at Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. For people moving to Atlanta with kids, Buckhead makes an ideal destination due to its top-quality schools and family-friendly amenities in the area

The Old Fourth Ward is one of Atlanta’s hippest new communities. This young and affordable neighborhood is the perfect destination for students and young professionals. Located east of Downtown and south of Midtown, the area is experiencing a significant resurgence thanks to the Beltline and Ponce City Market, bringing in new dining and retail. It’s also one of the most bike- and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. 

For people moving to Atlanta and looking for convenience, Midtown is the place to be. Known as the city’s cultural epicenter and one of the most desirable areas to live in Atlanta, the neighborhood offers easy access to transportation, parks (including Piedmont Park), restaurants, and the thriving Midtown Arts District. It’s home to the Woodruff Arts Center, Fox Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Arts. Midtown offers all of these attractions right around the corner, with ample walkways and bike paths throughout the neighborhood.

Druid Hills is one of Atlanta’s most prestigious neighborhoods, originally created as a streetcar suburb. The area is one of the major works by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted—designer of landscapes for the US Capitol, New York City’s Central Park, and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. With Georgian homes, elegant estates and beautiful landscapes, the area is a quiet, respectable neighborhood that’s heavily populated with Atlanta’s elites. Located about five miles east of Downtown Atlanta, Druid Hills has around 15,000 residents and some of the area’s top schools. The Druid Hills Civic Association works relentlessly to preserve the neighborhood’s beauty and history. 

Kirkwood is the perfect example of a family-friendly community offering affordable, quality housing minutes from downtown Atlanta. Located east of Atlanta, Kirkwood offers ample parks and trails—making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also conveniently located close to the airport, Emory University, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and interstate highways I-20 and I-75/I-85. For people moving to Atlanta that prefer to get around by train, Kirkwood is right on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) east rail line. Kirkwood offers affordable prices, a diverse community, and a variety of housing options. 

Home to the campuses of Agnes Scott College and Emory University as well as the Centers for Disease Control, Decatur is a large neighborhood with wide appeal. Technically a city in its own right, this area has a strong community, with popular events like the Decatur Book Festival and live music at Eddie’s Attic, a longtime venue. Downtown Decatur is walkable and boasts everything from brunch spots to ice cream to craft breweries and distilleries. Served by three MARTA rail lines and the highway, the downtown area is also very pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Residents can walk to popular restaurants and shops. There are many types of homes including cozy bungalows, modern ranches, and apartments.

Located just southwest of Downtown Atlanta, Adair Park is an up-and-coming area. This neighborhood has also become really popular as more people have opted for car-free lifestyles—it’s right next to the West End MARTA rail station and has a Bike Score of 72, making transportation quick and easy. Conveniences include walkable streets and its location within three miles of Downtown Atlanta. It’s only five miles from the world’s busiest airport and within proximity to major highways.

Doing Business in ATL

Atlanta has the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country, and it’s only growing.

Key Industries: FinTech, logistics and supply chain, healthcare information technology, advanced manufacturing

Major Employers: Delta Airlines, Emory University & Emory Healthcare, The Home Depot, Northside Hospital, Piedmont Healthcare, Publix Super Markets, WellStar Health System, The Kroger Co., AT&T, UPS, Marriott International, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Cox Enterprises, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Coca-Cola Company

Major Tech Companies with Offices in Atlanta: Fiserv, Secureworks, NCR, Cox Automotive, Global Payments, Cricket Wireless, iMedX, PGi, Equifax, FleetCor

Major Financial Services and Insurance Companies with Offices in Atlanta: SunTrust Bank (now Truist), Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America, Synovus Bank, Branch Banking & Trust Co.

If you are a business owner, Atlanta offers a diverse and well educated workforce for employment. Georgia Tech, Emory and Georgia State University are all in the city and the University of Georgia is only an hour away. If you are looking for work, the economy is robust. Atlanta is a professionally dominated work landscape that has little reliance on any manufacturing related industry. There is a very robust high tech environment for IT professionals and a decent healthcare/biotech landscape.

Stuart G.

Cost of Living in Atlanta

Atlanta is more affordable than other major cities in the US. The cost of living is one percent lower than the national average, and housing expenses and utilities are six and 15 percent lower. The median household income is $66,657.

In Atlanta, the median rent is $1,199 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,206 for a two-bedroom. Atlanta rents have increased 0.5 percent over the past month, but have remained steady at 0.2 percent in comparison to the same time last year. This is the fourth straight month that the city has seen rent increases after a decline in November of last year.

Similar cities saw increases, including Memphis (+8.5 percent) and Dallas (+1.0 percent). Median 2BR rents in these cities go for $994, $1,215, and $1,193 respectively.

In October 2020 Atlanta passed the Renter’s Choice Bill, which allows tenants to choose to pay for their security deposit in three monthly installments or get LeaseGuarantee which covers a landlord’s rental losses. A security deposit alternative, like LeaseGuarantee, is typically a low cost policy on a lease agreement that can be purchased in addition to or instead of a security deposit. Landlords with a security deposit alternative can file a claim in the case of a rental loss such as nonpayment of rent, legal fees, or damages. Rather than pay a security deposit of one or two months of rent, tenants pay a non-refundable fee annually or monthly for the LeaseGuarantee which comes out to a fraction of a normal security deposit. 

What Atlanta Renters Want

Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property:

  • Roof deck
  • Dog grooming area
  • Quartz countertops
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Bike storage
  • Concierge
  • Stainless steal appliances
  • Fire pit
  • Lobby
  • Fitness Center

Life in Atlanta is what you make of it. The mountains are less than two hours away. They are not good for skiing, but are delightful to escape to in the summer, temperatures being 10 to 20 degrees F cooler than the city. Beaches are 4 to 6 hours away, and are pretty nice.

Chris L.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Atlanta

Atlanta is full of engaging museums dedicated to cultural growth. Atlanta’s strong art scene is visible at institutions such as the High Museum of Art, in notable public art pieces, and in the bold and funky street art that wallpapers the city. Take-in the musical vibe with Grammy award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, theatre classics, and musicals. Feel the creative heartbeat of Atlanta and explore the authenticity of the city’s arts and culture. 

The City of Atlanta sets aside 1.5 percent of capital improvement funding for the development of public art. The city also provides educational programming to children and underserved communities, coordinates programming such as the Atlanta Jazz Festival, and manages several culture facilities.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival is regarded as one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals. It is an annual musical showcase that celebrates jazz legends and up-and-coming jazz greats in venues throughout metropolitan Atlanta during the entire month of May. The festival culminates each Memorial Day weekend with show-stopping performances at Piedmont Park. 

Atlanta’s neighborhood communities love to find any reason to gather for food, music and family fun. The city features festivals all year long. Atlanta is known for both scenery and greenery, and at the first signs of spring we head outdoors. Pay homage to our beautiful blooms at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. Hot Southern summers are no match for the city’s seasonal festivities. Whether you’ll be celebrating Independence Day with fireworks at Stone Mountain Park, soaking in culture at the National Black Arts Festival or indulging in downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week, there is no shortage of ways to beat the heat. Get back to school but not back to the grind. Find free-time festivities at the Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain Park. And for the foodie in all of us, Taste of Atlanta is a smorgasbord of local fare, followed by the Atlanta Greek Festival, which provides an authentic taste of tradition. As Atlantans bundle up for winter, the city still warms any visit with Southern hospitality. Get into the holiday spirit with the Alliance Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” and enjoy a wonderland in Centennial Olympic Park, complete with ice skating. 

The City of Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) was established in 1974 to encourage and support Atlanta’s cultural resources. The initial mission was to solidify the role that arts and other cultural resources play in defining and enhancing the social fabric and quality of life of Atlanta citizens and visitors. They seek to make the arts available to everyone through three core initiatives:

  • Preserving and Promoting the Arts – through artistic festivals, public art and cultural programming.
  • Creating Access to Cultural Opportunities – through gallery exhibitions, performances and art centers.
  • Supporting the Professional Arts Community – through the provision of grant funding and other resources for artists and not for profit organizations.

Read the full research report: Atlanta, GA. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

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