Moving to a different part of the country can be a big switch, especially if you’re changing climates and cultures. But if you’re heading down south, prepare to be charmed by all that Atlanta, Georgia has to offer. It’s what you might call…a real peach of a city.
1. Prepare to get lost figuring out which Peachtree street you’re on
Peachtree Street, Drive, Avenue, Circle…they’re everywhere in Atlanta. This will be tough at first, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Until then, the GPS is your best friend.
2. Light snow = zombie apocalypse
A light dusting of snow may look pretty, but don’t be deceived. Even when it snows less than an inch, get ready to see the grocery store get raided as if the The Walking Dead wasn’t just a TV show filmed in Atlanta. Welcome to winter in the South.
3. Chick-Fil-A is everywhere
Chick-Fil-A was founded in the great state of Georgia. You’ll be able to get your waffle fry fix all over town.
4. It’s Atlanta, not Hotlanta.
Just don’t, unless you want everyone to know you’re not from around here. The only time it’s acceptable to say “Hotlanta” is if it’s immediately followed by you rolling your eyes.
5. OTP = outside the city
OTP might stand for something else where you’re originally from, but in Atlanta it simply means “on the perimeter” — as in outside the perimeter of Atlanta city limits, AKA the suburbs. ITP stands for…you guessed it…inside the perimeter!
6. If you ever plan on flying home, get to the airport a day before
Airports are busy these days, and that goes double for Atlanta — Hartsfield–Jackson is the busiest airport in the United States. This means you’ll have to get your flight at least two hours before take off to get home.
7. A Greasy hotdog from The Varsity is heaven
“What’ll ya have?” Get ready to hear that three times in a row when you get to the biggest drive-thru restaurant in the world. One of the cool things about The Varsity is they make most of their menu items from scratch with local ingredients.
8. The highway is…not the fastest way to get there
In other cities, highways are used to get around quickly. In Atlanta, taking the highway is reserved for when you actually want to be late to dinner with your in-laws. Avoid the “spaghetti junction” (where I-285 meets the I-85) at all costs during rush hour.
9. You’re no longer allowed to drink Pepsi
Sorry, friend, but this is a Pepsi-free zone. The headquarters of Coca-Cola is in Midtown Atlanta, which means Coke is on tap anywhere and everywhere. But don’t worry — after a few months in Atlanta, you’ll actually spend time convincing people back home why they should drink Coke over Pepsi.
10. Being a sports fan has its ups and downs
Are you a masochist? Well, you’ve moved to the right town. Every year it seems like either the Falcons, Braves or Hawks will bring home a trophy for the city. Then the seasons start and Atlanta fans are disappointed again. But hey, things may be looking up…the Braves brought home a World Series championship in 2021!
11. It’s actually pronounced “Atlanna” (no, really)
We know that’s not what it looks like…but you’ll notice pretty quickly that locals drop the second “t” when saying Atlanta.
12. Be prepared for more Southern speak, too
You’ll get used to people saying other things in a uniquely Atlanta way, too. Take “Ponce de Leon,” for instance. It’s the not famous explorer you learned about in history class. Rather, it’s a popular avenue, which is usually just referred to as “Ponce.”
13. The Underground is not the place to be…yet.
The city is in the process of revamping The Underground, a downtown destination for shopping and more that hasn’t always been a local favorite. But soon there will be a hotel, live music, restaurants, and more. For now, skip the shopping and check out the Banksy exhibit!
14. Locals identify themselves by the hospital in which they were born
Be prepared to be asked if you’re a Grady, Emory or Northside baby.
15. Atlanta is home to the greatest touchdown dance ever
Over 20 years later, Atlanta still isn’t over it. Flashback to 1999 and Jamal Anderson. You can do this dance after any victory in your own life, especially if you move to Atlanta.
16. Piedmont Park has everything
You can do practically anything at Piedmont Park. Whether you want to go for a picnic, take a jog, or just enjoy the beautiful nature near the city, Piedmont is where it’s at.
17. You’re now either a Bulldog or a Yellow Jacket — choose wisely
There are two universities in town. You’re a fan of either Georgia or Georgia Tech, that’s it. No flip-flopping allowed. Pick the colors you look best in…either red or gold, because you’re going to be wearing them forever.
18. Shooting the hooch isn’t what it sounds like
It just means heading down to the Chattahoochee river to float on a tube, kayak or paddleboard. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a weekly occurrence during the summer months.
19. Public transportation may not get you there
After a couple months riding public transit, you’ll learn the ins and outs (and issues) of the MARTA system. On a good day, you’re late…and on a bad day, your bus or train just might not show up.
20. People will wear winter clothes when the temperature drops
Get ready to see everyone busting out their warmest sweaters, puffer jackets, and beanies once the temperature drops below 65°F. That might be a mild summer night where you come from, but in the South, that’s cold weather!
21. You’re moving to one of the best cities in the Southeast!
With a vibrant city center, lots of green space, great restaurants, and a more affordable cost of living than many large cities, Atlanta is a great place to put down roots.