The Inside SCOOP
What Every New Atlantan Needs to Know
by Whitney Brennan
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, and 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, neighborhoods 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 Coach, Armani Exchange and Williams-Sonoma.
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 Fiddler on the Roof and Guys & Dolls. 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 2008, the venue has seen the most popular touring summer concerts.
Metro Atlanta also offers plenty to do for his- tory and art buffs as well. The Atlanta History Center boasts one of the Southeast’s largest his- tory museums, as well as permanent, temporary and traveling exhibitions and historic homes and gardens. Temporary exhibit World War in Our Backyards: Discovering Atlanta, 1861-1865 challenges visitors to consider their personal connections to a war that was literally fought in all of our backyards. The High Museum of Art has more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection—19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; European paintings; modern art and photography; and more. The exhibition Special Editions: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Prints, running through Aug. 21, highlights recent print acquisitions for the High’s contemporary collection.
For those who may be more into wildlife, Atlanta is home to the world’s largest aquarium. Boasting 10 million gallons of fresh and marine water and the largest collection of aquatic animals, the Georgia Aquarium houses aquatic life from whale sharks to piranha and African penguins to sea otters, and new in 2011, dolphins. A short drive away in Grant Park, Zoo Atlanta offers more than 200 species of animals. The clouded leopard, giant panda, African lion, American alligator and Komodo dragon are just a few of the zoo’s residents. Atlanta is home to the only giant panda cub born in the U.S. in 2010.
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.
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 en- compassing more than 20 counties, but the city itself also has a collection of intown neighbor- hoods 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 High- land 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 every- day 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 includes Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which offers both bus and train service for $2 one way including transfers. The three other major transit options include Cobb Community Transit, Gwinnett County Transit, 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 partner through The Clean Air Campaign. And for those who need to travel outside Atlanta by air, Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
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. 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. Children’s Healthcare, The Shepherd Center and Emory University Hospital were among the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2010-2011.