If you left Los Angeles with a chip on your shoulder, were driven from of New York by pure attitude, or dogpaddled out of waterlogged Seattle, you might be thinking that Atlanta, Georgia is a mighty fine relocation alternative these days.
It’s got temperate weather, is the 8th largest economy in the country, and couldn’t have a more welcoming motto: “too busy to hate.” Not only that, but with nicknames such as Hotlanta, The Big Peach, and City in a Forest, how can you go wrong with the capital of this Southern state?
But before you throw your beat-making gear into your car with visions of being the next big Atlanta Hip Hop artist, you should have a better idea of just what you’re getting into. Not the music career—moving to a city that changed it’s name five times (from Terminus to Thrasherville to Marthasville to Atlantica-Pacifica to Atlanta). That indecisiveness alone would be enough to deter me. But whatever. It’s your life.
So here’s what you need to know about moving to Atlanta, from the good to the bad to the bizarre:
Atlanta, a city that was founded in 1837 at the intersection of two railroad lines, boasts four separate seasons—and none of them will kick your ass. To much of the country this is like boasting that your city has motorized vehicles, but if you’re from Hawaii, the Florida keys or southern California, this may be the only reason you need. And unlike other cities, the summer won’t melt the makeup right off your face (true story in SoCal) and the winter won’t freeze a bowl of soup before your first bite (myth originated in SoCal).
Actual Southern Hospitality
Hospitality—you know, when people are friendly and generous to you for no reason. Atlanta even has a Southern Hospitality Tour (featuring Gone With the Wind, naturally). Obviously every city has polite people and rude people, so it’s not like the guy mugging you will say “please” and “thank you,” but overall folks here tend to say hello to strangers, call you ma’am or sir, and open doors for you.
The BeltLine used to be a railway corridor but is now a multi-use path. The Westside BeltLine, for example, is like walking through an enchanted forest, and other stretches include local art, such as paintings or sculptures. A program called Art on the Atlanta BeltLine showcases over 40 works of art and live performances from June to October.
Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say more. Because Atlanta is so spread out, long commutes and a lack of proper road planning have made traffic jams the norm. Yes, it sucks, but don’t pretend that no other large city in the country suffers from terrible traffic.
Blue Law is the regulation that restricts certain activities on Sundays, such as the sale of alcohol, and yes, this law was enacted by 17th century Puritans to control moral behavior. In some places on the day of the Lord, you can buy hammers but not nails. In Atlanta, you can buy booze in “package stores” (i.e. liquor stores) but not grocery stores. Apparently Georgia passed a law in 2011 overturning this, but some people are a little slow to change.
Despite a so-called good economy, Atlanta was rated as the 6th most dangerous place to live in the US. It has a crime index of 2 (where 100 is the safest) and is therefore “safer than 2% of the cities in the US.” Of course, can you blame Atlantics (Atlantians?) when they live in a town famous for its strip clubs, the burning down of the town in the Civil War, and the aforementioned Blue Law? Not to mention an astounding lack of wins from the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, and Braves.
Crimson Fist and Meta Data
Because Atlanta is the 8th most dangerous city in this fine country of ours, a husband and wife team known as Crimson Fist and Meta Data have taken it upon themselves to fight crime. True, they only take care of petty crime and litter, but when stuff gets really serious, they dial 911 faster than a speeding bullet!
Zombie Capital of the World
Not sure if this is a positive or negative thing for a city to be known for. In any case, not only is The Walking Dead filmed here and national zombie film festivals are located here, but the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually published a Zombie Preparedness Guide.
Clearly these laws are not actually enforced—although, technically they could be. For one reason or another (probably because most people don’t know they actually exist) these archaic and truly bizarre laws are still on the books in Atlanta or other cities in Georgia.
- On Mondays, it is illegal for one to whistle very loud after 11:00 pm.
- It’s against the law to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp.
- One man may not be on another man’s back.
- It is illegal to carve your initials on a tree, even if it is on your own property.
- Cussing over the telephone is against the law.
- No one may tease an idiot.
- It is illegal to wear a hat in a movie theater.
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