Welcome to the vibrant city of Atlanta, Georgia – a place where history meets modernity, and Southern hospitality intertwines with urban energy. Whether you’re considering a move to Atlanta or have recently become a resident, you’ll quickly find there’s so much more to this city than the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola. The city is full of vibrant culture, international flavors, and historic neighborhoods to explore.
However, making the transition to a new city can be both exhilarating and challenging. If you’re looking to buy a house in Atlanta or rent an apartment in the city, you’re most likely interested in hearing what Atlanta residents have to say about the city. In this Redfin article, we’ll provide tips and advice backed by ATL locals to ensure a smooth transition so you can live your best life in Atlanta, GA.
1. Live near the MARTA
MARTA, short for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, is the city’s primary public transportation system. It encompasses buses and a rapid transit network, including heavy and light rail services. MARTA offers convenient connectivity throughout Atlanta, reducing traffic congestion and providing an eco-friendly transport option for residents and visitors.
“If you’re an avid traveler or have to be at the airport a lot for work, you’ll definitely want to live near MARTA,” suggests Jessica Camerata, Owner of An Indigo Day, an Atlanta-based lifestyle blog. “While Atlanta unfortunately lacks a great public transportation system, getting to and from the airport is a breeze if you’re near a Marta stop. It’s one of the best ways to avoid our infamous rush hour traffic when you need to jet off.”
2. Neighboring cities are worth the day trip
The Duluth community is exceptionally diverse with activities, events, and businesses that meet all levels of interest. The city has some unique thrifting experiences such as Wellspring Living Treasures, an upscale resale store with high-end clothing, quality furniture, and goods. It’s also a hub for communities to engage with their work and be a part of the solution to help restore lives of survivors of exploitation and coercion.
Other nearby cities worth exploring include Decatur, Sandy Springs, Marietta, Alpharetta, and Roswell.
3. Understand the cost of living
“While the city provides a range of housing options catering to diverse budgets, the cost of living in Atlanta can differ significantly from one area to another,” explains digital content creator, Arkeedah McCormick. “Research becomes an essential tool in navigating this spectrum. By understanding neighborhood-specific costs and amenities, you can better tailor your budget, making informed decisions that align with your financial goals. Whether you’re drawn to the heart of the city’s pulse or seeking a quieter suburban haven, a well-researched budget ensures you can fully enjoy all that Atlanta has to offer without sacrificing your financial comfort.”
While the median sale price for homes in Atlanta reached $439,650 in June 2023, almost 3.5% more than the national median sale price, Atlanta home prices are still much lower than other major cities. For example, Seattle and Boston both have a median sale price over $800,000. Or, there are plenty of affordable suburbs in Atlanta if you’d rather live on the outskirts of the city.
4. Explore Atlanta’s neighborhoods
“Atlanta’s tapestry is woven with a rich diversity of neighborhoods, each boasting its own distinct personality,” explains digital content creator, Arkeedah McCormick. “From the historic charm of Inman Park to the artistic allure of Little Five Points, the city caters to an array of lifestyles. It’s a canvas where modern high-rises stand alongside quaint bungalows, and bustling commercial districts coexist with serene residential pockets. Researching the different neighborhoods becomes pivotal in discovering your ideal fit. Whether you seek a vibrant urban scene, a family-friendly environment, or a tranquil retreat, diving into the character, amenities, and local attractions of each neighborhood can guide you toward a place that resonates with your preferences and lifestyle. Each corner of Atlanta is a world of its own, waiting to welcome you into its unique embrace.”
5. Atlanta loves local
“Atlanta has an incredibly rich community around good, clean, and fair food,” shares Lisa Nguyen, Communications Co-Chair for Slow Food Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that promotes local food and traditional cooking. “There are so many ways to tap into local agriculture and support the region’s farmers and producers. Stock up on local produce at one of the many community farmers markets in Atlanta’s circuit, or follow the trail of snail-approved food and beverage businesses.”
6. Be prepared for the traffic and the subtropical climate
“Prepare to embrace Atlanta’s scorching summers, as the city’s climate infuses its vibrant character into daily life,” states Armanko Photography Studio, specializing in business branding. “The intense warmth becomes more than weather; it’s the backdrop to outdoor festivals, picnics, and al fresco dining. While exploring Atlanta’s neighborhoods and attractions, brace for occasional traffic congestion. As a bustling urban center, the city experiences particularly high traffic levels during rush hours and events. Adapt by planning routes, using public transport, or exploring on foot.”
7. Familiarize yourself with the Beltline
“If you haven’t yet decided where in Atlanta you want to put down roots, I’d recommend somewhere near the Atlanta Beltline,” says Malika Bowling, blogger at Atlanta Restaurant Blog. “It is super unique to Atlanta. It’s a 33-mile paved trail of walking and bike paths that connects in town neighborhoods in a loop around the city with parks, street art, food halls and neighborhood architecture to glimpse along the way. I love to park and walk to my favorite brunch spot and then walk off brunch afterwards.”
8. Explore Georgia’s food scene
Exploring the food scene is a can’t-miss Atlanta bucket list item for new residents. “Georgia’s allure owes much to its rich and diverse culinary landscape,” says Danny Kim, Owner of Local Expedition Wood Fired Grill. “It rivals any big city, offering an array of ethnic cuisines. The days of being limited to chicken wings and visits to the iconic Waffle House are long gone. Instead, newcomers will find themselves stepping into Michelin-starred dining establishments that seamlessly coexist with hidden gems tucked away in unassuming corners. From upscale venues to the humble yet mouthwatering delights served at local “hole in the wall” establishments, Georgia’s food scene promises a journey that caters to every palate and sense of culinary exploration.”
“One of the things I love most about being here is the food,” explains Cristy Lenz, owner of Food Tours Atlanta. “I always say you can find good food at any price point in the city and burbs. From tacos and pho, to Korean BBQ and Persian, Atlanta has it all. What’s harder to find is traditional southern food like fried chicken and mac n cheese. For that you need to go to The Colonnade, South City Kitchen, Busy Bee Cafe,or Matthews Cafeteria. Some of my favorite places to eat in the city are near my own neighborhood. I head to Krog Street Market for Little Tart, Jai Ho, and Ticonderoga Club. Ponce City Market is home to El Superpan, H&F Burger, Atrium, and Bottiwalla. Lyla Lia is my go-to for the short rib ravioli, Kimball House for the oysters, and Hotel Clermont for Tiny Lou’s and the spectacular rooftop views.”
“After moving to an Atlanta suburb 15 years ago from the Northeast, we quickly became infatuated with Southern cuisine,” says Adam, founder of Ramble Atlanta, a resource for all things Atlanta. “Many of our favorite restaurants are located in historic buildings, nestled in the many walkable city centers scattered around the suburbs of Atlanta. To name a few, Milton’s Cuisine and Cocktails in Milton, Table and Main in Roswell, South Main Kitchen in Alpharetta, and Century House in Woodstock. These restaurants blend historic charm and simple, yet delicious flavors that keep us coming back time and again. Of course, the fried chicken too.”
9. The city caters to car enthusiasts
“For car enthusiasts, Atlanta ranks as one of the best in America,” states Rod Worley, publisher and editor at Vettes of Atlanta Magazine. “The vibrant car community showcases the full range from purists to custom designers, racers to casual meetups. From the SAVOY automobile museum, Road Atlanta, NASCAR’s Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Atlanta Motorsports Park, there is something here for everyone. Also, for those who enjoy spirited driving, the world-famous “Tail of the Dragon” mountain pass and the breathtaking North Georgia mountains are not to be missed.”
10. Don’t miss Amalfi Cucina & Mercato
Amalfi Cucina & Mercato is a traditional Italian restaurant with locations in Downtown Atlanta and Buckhead. Owners Stephen de Haan and Greg Grant trained with Italian Pizzaiolo Maestros in Naples and studied in the Associazione Verace Pizza Napolentana. They introduced refined Italian street food to Atlanta through Amalfi Cucina & Mercato, offering classic Italian dishes like Chicken Parmigiano and traditional pastas, alongside shareable appetizers, salads, and original desserts. Their restaurant includes a full bar, craft cocktails, and wines chosen by a sommelier.
Known for Neapolitan-style pizzas, their signature, Pizza Amalfi, is a standout. These pizzas begin with dough made from D.O.P. ingredients and are cooked in wood-burning brick ovens imported from Italy. Amalfi Cucina & Mercato’s pizzas earned recognition from the Food Network and a spot in Association Vera Pizza Napoletana. The Italian menu was reimagined by Executive Chef Santiago Echavarria, a 25-year veteran.
11. Be ready for the incredible arts and music scene
“If you’re contemplating a move to Atlanta, you’re in for a dynamic urban experience with a rich cultural scene and diverse communities,” shares Grant Eshback, founder of Open Home Mortgage, Inc. “Atlanta’s arts and music scene vibrantly thrives with diverse galleries, theaters, and venues. From the High Museum of Art to iconic stages like the Fox Theatre, the city offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences. The music scene, spanning genres from hip-hop to classical, finds its home in venues like the Tabernacle and Variety Playhouse. Atlanta’s creative pulse ensures both art enthusiasts and music aficionados can immerse themselves in an inspiring journey.”
Moving to Atlanta: final thoughts
“This city is a melting pot where different cultures intersect, creating a rich tapestry of traditions, languages, and perspectives that make Atlanta a good place to live. Its cultural scene pulsates with energy, inviting residents and newcomers alike to immerse themselves in a world of possibilities,” shares Arkeedah McCormick. “From the soulful rhythms of its music to the captivating strokes of its art, Atlanta’s creative expressions reflect its cosmopolitan essence. Culinary enthusiasts can savor global flavors in every corner, as the city’s diverse neighborhoods offer a delightful array of international cuisines. Embrace this melting pot of cultures, and allow yourself to explore the rhythm of life in Atlanta through its thriving music venues, captivating galleries, and a culinary scene that celebrates the world’s palate.”