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Fernbank Museum Stone Mountain Park
Zoo Atlanta December/January 2009

What Every New Atlantan Needs To Know
Getting the Inside Scoop On Your New City

Inman Park
Atlanta’s charming Inman Park neighborhood. Photo by: Kevin C. Rose,

As a new or future Atlanta resident, you’ve picked a great city to call home. But undoubtedly, you are experiencing some stress and anxiety as a result of preparing for your new life in an unfamiliar place. A new job, a new school for your children, new people, new places. But rest assured: Atlanta is a great place for everyone. recently ranked Atlanta the No. 1 Best City for Singles; Peachtree City was named One of the Best Places to Retire by U.S. News & World Report; and ranked Atlanta one of its 25 Best Cities for Married with Kids. In other words, no matter your situation, Atlanta is sure to feel like home. The city is a thriving, vibrant area, offering plenty to do, incredible neighborhoods to call home, fantastic job opportunities and top-notch health care. In fact, there is so much to know about Atlanta that you may need some help navigating this metropolis. Where can you shop, see a play or concert, browse artwork, watch a baseball game? What is The Hooch, the Perimeter, Tech or The Ted? The following answers these questions and more, offering insight into such topics as Atlanta’s entertainment options, the job market and health care. It’s what every new Atlantan must know.

Arts, Entertainment & Shopping

Atlanta is home to some world-class attractions, entertainment venues and shopping destinations. Whether you’re into theater shows, concerts, exhibits, history, animals or sports, Atlanta has you covered.

Shopaholics enjoy the fact that there are more than 15 major shopping malls in Metro Atlanta. Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza, once named a “Southern Best” in Southern Living magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, features over 100 specialty stores, including Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture and Gucci, as well as four full-service restaurants. With 225 stores, the Mall of Georgia is the largest mall in the state—and one of the largest in the country. Located just half an hour from the city of Atlanta in Buford, the Mall of Georgia features such stores as H&M, Armani Exchange and Swarovski Crystal.

After a shopping excursion, why not enjoy a concert or theater production at one of Atlanta’s world-class venues? The Arabian palace-style Fox Theatre downtown is itself a must-see, but the venue often hosts world premieres, innovative adaptations of classics, as well as exciting concerts. Upcoming shows include Nutcracker and Tarzan. Located on 45 wooded acres in Alpharetta, the state-of-the-art 12,000-seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre offers an unparalleled outdoor performance experience. Since its opening in May, the venue has hosted four sold-out Eagles shows, other concerts, and community events such as movie nights.

Metro Atlanta also offers plenty to do for history and art buffs as well. The Atlanta History Center boasts one of the Southeast’s largest history museums, as well as permanent, temporary and traveling exhibitions and historic homes and gardens. Temporary exhibit Jim Henson’s Fantastic World is on display through Jan. 18. The High Museum of Art has more than 11,000 works of art in its permanent collection—19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; European paintings; modern art and photography; and more. The final year of its unprecedented three-year partnership with the Louvre Museum explores how the definition of “masterpiece” has changed over time, with 91 works of art from the Louvre spanning 4,000 years.

Georgia Aquarium
  The Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world.  Photo by: Kevin C. Rose,
For those who may be more into wildlife, Atlanta is home to the world’s largest aquarium. Boasting 8 million gallons of fresh and marine water and more than 100,000 animals from around the world, The Georgia Aquarium houses aquatic life from whale sharks to piranha and African penguins to sea otters, and coming in 2010, dolphins. A short drive away in Grant Park, Zoo Atlanta offers more than 200 species of animals. The clouded leopard, giant panda, African lion and Komodo dragon are just a few of the zoo’s residents.

Atlanta pleases sports lovers as well. Baseball fans can visit state-of-the-art Turner Field for an Atlanta Braves game; football fans can enjoy a thrilling Atlanta Falcons game at the Georgia Dome, the largest cable-supported domed stadium in the world; and those looking for basketball or hockey can find it at Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers. And all three of these world-class venues offer fun and activities in addition to the games.

Navigating Neighborhoods

Atlanta has come a long way from its beginnings 170 years ago as a railroad village called Terminus. Today, “Atlanta” refers to a metro area encompassing more than 20 counties, but the city itself also has a collection of intown neighborhoods that have developed such a unique character and charm that it’s easy to forget that these vibrant communities are not cities, but neighborhoods of Atlanta. The following are just some of these great intown neighborhoods.

Some of the finest examples of period architecture can be found in Atlanta’s Ansley Park. Developer Edwin P. Ansley modeled his Ansley Park on park designs by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The neighborhood, featuring wide winding streets, offers a suburban lifestyle in the heart of the city. Also recognized for its architecture is Atlanta’s beautiful Inman Park neighborhood. As Atlanta’s first trolley suburb, Inman Park has a rich history, and its caring citizens work hard to preserve its beautiful Victorian-era homes. The more than 1,400 retail stores in Buckhead generate more than $1 billion in sales every year. The upscale neighborhood also boasts multi-million-dollar estates. The Greenwich Village of Atlanta, trendy Virginia Highland is home to an ever-growing number of nightclubs, galleries and boutiques, as well as renovated turn-of-the-century houses and exclusive gated communities.

Getting Around Atlanta & Beyond

Because Atlanta is a metropolis—with over 5 million people—traffic congestion is an everyday part of life for most residents. However, metropolis status also has its advantages, including the fact that there are various ways to travel and alternate transportation options. Atlanta’s regional transit system comprises five major systems, one of which is the city’s local Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which offers both bus and train service for $1.75 one way including transfers. The four other major transit options include Cobb Community Transit, Gwinnett County Transit, Clayton County’s C-TRAN and Xpress, a luxury coach service for 12 metro counties. (Tip: Some employers will pay for their employees to use mass transit.) Those who may want to carpool can find a carpool partner through The Clean Air Campaign, a nonprofit organization that encourages Georgia schools, employers and commuters to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. And for those who need to travel outside Atlanta by air—for family visits, vacations, business trips— Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Business is Booming

Atlanta is home to more than 138,000 businesses and has become one of the top job producers in the nation. Much of this job creation can likely be attributed to the fact that the metro has the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation—Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta and The Home Depot, to name a few. Major businesses continue to choose Atlanta, and it’s no surprise. Atlanta has long been recognized by reputable companies as one of the best business cities. In 2006, consulting firm KPMG concluded that Atlanta was the least costly large U.S. city for doing business. In addition, in 2007, The Boyd Company, the New Jersey-based management consulting firm, named Atlanta the second-least-expensive major city in which to operate a corporate headquarters. Atlanta is expected to add about 34,000 jobs in 2009. Global technology company NCR will contribute to this job creation, adding 916 jobs in the next 26 months at its Peachtree City and Duluth locations.

High-Quality Health Care

Atlanta is well known for hospitals and medical facilities boasting first-rate technology and care. The area is home to world-renowned U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation and top research medical universities, including Emory University and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Grady Memorial Hospital has one of the top trauma and burn centers in the nation, while Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is renowned for its exceptional care for children. North Fulton Regional Hospital, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation’s oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency. Atlanta is also home to The Shepherd Center, one of the nation’s largest catastrophic care hospitals treating patients with spinal cord injury and disease, brain injury and degenerative, neuromuscular and urological disorders. Both The Shepherd Center and Emory University Hospital were among the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals 2008. The Shepherd Center was ranked 9th among the top 25 for rehabilitation. Emory University Hospital was ranked in seven categories, including 13th among the top 50 in the country for heart and heart surgery, as well as 9th in ophthalmology; 11th in psychiatry and in geriatric care; 13th in neurology and neurosurgery; 19th in ear, nose and throat; and 20th in kidney disease.

Inman Park
Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves. Photo by: Kevin C. Rose,
Know the Lingo
Common Atlanta terms and phrases

Big Chicken: An Atlanta landmark, this 56-foot metal rooster that soars above a KFC in Marietta has been in existence since the ‘60s
The Connector (or Downtown Connector): The stretch of highway where interstates 85 and 75 overlap
The Hooch: The Chattahoochee River serves as a source of power, drinking water and recreation
ITP/OTP: Inside the Perimeter/Outside the Perimeter—meaning inside the I-285 loop (the more urban areas) or outside (suburbia)
King and Queen Buildings: Located at the I-285/Ga. 400 merge, the designs of the two towers resemble chess pieces
The Perimeter: I-285, which circles the city of Atlanta and is meant to be used as a bypass
Spaghetti Junction: Complicated intertwining of I-85 and I-285 loops and bridges
Tech: Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, one of the oldest, most respected polytechnic universities in the country
The Ted: Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves

Atlanta History Center
Fernbank Museum, Children's Museum, Centennial Olympic Park

City of Marietta Turner Field, Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta History Center, World of Coke
Children's Museum of Atlanta
Turner Field

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