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Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just South of the Chattahoochee River (try saying that three times fast!), the city of Atlanta is the capital of Georgia, and one of the United States’ ten largest cities. Viewed from a distance, Atlanta’s skyline is an impressive array of noticeably modern, glass-sided buildings reflecting light from every angle. Get a little closer, however, and you will find that Atlanta is also home to many quiet, residential neighborhoods. Although surrounding the city’s major high-rise districts of Buckhead, Downtown, and Midtown, these neighborhoods are filled with single-family homes along tree-lined streets, seeming far away from the hustle and bustle. Click 'read more' to expand the rest of our Atlanta, Georgia City Guide.
Moving to Atlanta - A Guide to Your New City
You May Not Know
Atlanta, Georgia was born a railroad settlement in the 1840’s, starting out as just a handful of buildings, but with the important function of being the rail hub for the entire Southern United States. The city was actually named "Atlanta" due to its location at the end of the Georgia and Atlantic railroad line. Although Atlanta was burned almost entirely to the ground during the Civil War, this resilient city recovered and rebuilt quickly to become a center of industry, business, and trade. During the US Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta gained national attention when Martin Luther King and several students staged a sit-in at several of the city’s major, segregated establishments.
Some Free Things to Do
Everybody loves a good deal. Free is even better. Centennial Olympic Park, which is approximately 21 acres large, hosts many free events throughout the year. From April through September, the park features free musical entertainment from a variety of styles and genres. On Wednesday evenings (5:30-8pm), you can relax with a picnic while listening to whatever musical flavor is performing that night, from reggae bands to jazz musicians. The park even hosts hour-long lunchtime musical entertainment on Tuesdays and Thursdays, April through October, at noon. Also during April through September, the fourth Saturday of every month at the park is for families. Bring the kids along to enjoy a range of free activities including contests to win prizes, workshops to learn new skills, educational activities, and games.
If the family wants more outdoor fun during those other three Saturdays of the month (or any other day, for that matter), check out Piedmont Park, which is only two miles away from Downtown. The park features playgrounds, community sports fields (baseball, soccer and football) and tennis courts, trails for pedestrians as well as bikers and rollerbladers, and even a dog park where Fido can frolic off-leash with other canine friends.
Underground Atlanta & First Thursdays Artswalk
Downtown, Underground Atlanta offers many city festivals and entertainment events throughout the year, with something for everyone in the family. Underground Atlanta is also a great place to shop and dine, or just grab a coffee and do some people-watching. For the art enthusiast in your family, Atlanta offers First Thursdays ArtsWalk: free self-guided tours of Downtown galleries throughout the year, on the first Thursday of every month. Note: many restaurants and vendors in the area offer deals or discounts on ArtsWalk days as well.
If you or someone in your family has a love of history, the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site offers complimentary tours all year long. The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and the Visitor Center display civil rights memorabilia, and souvenirs are for sale. Get an inside look at what life was like for Dr. King while on the tour: view the house he was born and grew up in, as well as Ebenezer Church, where his father preached, and even the grave sites of Dr. King and his wife.
Get To Know How Atlanta Works, From the Inside Out
You can take a self-guided tour of the Capitol building, learning about the lawmaking process for the state as you go. Georgia’s public galleries at the House of Representatives and Senate, and the Georgia Capitol Museum are also available to tour on your own. If all of these free activities have got you thinking that maybe money DOES grow on trees, visit the Federal Reserve Bank, where the Money Museum will set the record straight… at no charge.
"It’s off Peachtree Street!"
Navigating Atlanta may seem daunting at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Peachtree Street is the main street in Atlanta – people may joke with you that "everything" is on Peachtree, which isn’t entirely untrue as the city grew up along this thoroughfare, and much of the shopping, hotels and restaurants are found there. Word to the wise: Peachtree Street’s name changes to Peachtree Road where it enters the Buckhead district of the city.
If you’re driving, the city does experience significant traffic during peak commute hours - traffic jams are common moving in or out of the city, and of course along Peachtree. The speed limit in and around Atlanta is 55; if you are unsure of where you’re going you will want to stick to the right lanes on highways and busy streets.
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Many people opt to use public transportation to save time, money and the environment: the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) – call it "Marta" if you want to sound like a local - will take you throughout the city, underground. If the subway system doesn’t suit your needs, you will find that Atlanta’s bus system, also operated by the MARTA, is easy to navigate. If you need to ask directions to a bus stop, however, don’t refer to it as Marta - that will get you directed to a train, every time. Feel like skipping town? The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the U.S., can get you off the ground in a hurry.
So, whether it’s just you moving to Atlanta, or you’re bringing friends and family, take comfort in the fact that there’s plenty to do for very little to money and easy ways to get around town. And don’t forget that we’re sitting here at HireAHelper, waiting for you to visit the site or call us when your lease expires or you just decide you’ve fallen in love with another part of town. We’d love to help you move.
Photo credit: Tom_Moeller1963 on Flickr
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