Living in Atlanta - A Guide for City Newcomers

You may have heard of this extraordinary southern city called “Hotlanta.” Well, that’s not (only) because of the weather. Atlanta is one of the most exciting, vibrant, and fast-moving cities in the world. From film and television productions on every corner to Fortune 500 companies, you’ll find it all here. But it’s also a city in touch with history, greenspace, and even -- in its outer suburbs -- the kind of small-town, slow-paced living you might not expect in the shadow of one of the country’s largest cities.


How Big is Atlanta?

If you’re unfamiliar with Atlanta, you may think of it only as its city skyline. However, Atlanta is a sprawling region encompassing more than 8,000 square miles. That means you could fit the entire state of Massachusetts inside the metro Atlanta area!

Because of its size, you’ll have a wide variety of locations to choose from when deciding where and how to live. From walkable in-town neighborhoods to traditional suburban enclaves to laid-back neighborhoods with a rural feel, you’ll find all types of options here. Check out some things to consider when looking for a new home in Atlanta.


Finding the Best Neighborhoods in Atlanta

With the wide variety of neighborhoods in Atlanta, the only question is which one will you choose? So much depends on your preferences, your family’s lifestyle, and other personal specifics.



While Atlanta is known as a city of drivers, walkable neighborhoods can be found throughout the city. Check out Altus at the Quarter for exciting in-town living with easy walkability to shopping, restaurants, and recreational areas.


Work Style

If you work in one of those gorgeous downtown high-rises, your commute will be a crucial part of the decision-making process. You might be partial to a downtown location, or nearby Decatur, Smyrna, or Mableton.

If you do most of your work at home, you have more options. Since a commute is not an issue, check out scenic communities in Alpharetta, Hoschton, Acworth, or Canton for rural landscapes with the convenience of the nearby big city.

Does your business mean you spend most of your time traveling? You’ll want to be convenient to the bustling Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Look at neighborhoods south of the city in Peachtree City or Tyrone.



Of course, much will depend on whether you have children. If your kids are still in school, you’ll want to choose a community in the school district you have in mind. If you don’t have children or they’ve already left the nest, you’ll have more flexibility and may  be able to choose a community that appeals primarily to your own interests.

Parks and greenspaces abound in Atlanta, so whether you’re in a rural or suburban area or in the middle of downtown, there’s no shortage of opportunities for sports, recreation, and outdoor activities of all types. Many Pulte communities have recreational spaces built in, ensuring your family can enjoy the outdoor living that year-round great weather promotes.


Family and Travel

Because the city is so large, it takes some time to travel across town. If you have family in the metro Atlanta area, you’ll want to consider proximity when choosing the right neighborhood. If you frequently take road trips to visit out of town friends or relatives, take that into consideration as well.

For example, if your family regularly travels south to Florida’s beaches and theme parks, a Peachtree City home will cut hours off your drive when compared to a neighborhood northwest of town. Alternatively, if you have family in Nashville, a home in Acworth will help you shorten those weekend getaways.


Discovering Things to Do in Atlanta

As you might imagine, a city of this size provides exciting activities 24/7. Whatever your passion, you can indulge it here.



As the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta has the infrastructure to support world-class athletic competition in every possible field. From college football and basketball at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and the nearby University of Georgia, to professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer teams, you’re sure to find a team to fall in love with.

Atlanta is also the home of facilities for international competitions in tennis, golf, equestrian events, and more. And don’t let the heat fool you. During the winter you can find ski resorts a short drive away and ice-skating rinks right downtown.



Atlantans love the outdoors, and the city is constantly creating new greenspaces, parks, and other outdoor areas. You’ll find hidden gardens, urban forests, and breathtaking in-town lakes and waterfalls. Once you leave downtown, there are mountains to climb, forests to explore, and rivers and lakes for boating, swimming, and fishing. Love the beach? You’re just a short drive away from the Georgia coast and barrier islands.



Whether you love fine art, history, or natural history, you’ll find an incredible museum scene in Atlanta. For world-class art exhibits, visit the High Museum of Art whose partnership with international galleries brings the best of the world’s masterpieces to Peachtree. The World of Coca-Cola is a museum highlighting the history and impact of the sweet treat -- with an opportunity to taste the world’s favorite versions of the iconic soda. The Georgia Aquarium and the Fernbank Natural History Museum offer opportunities for families to learn more about the natural world and ecology. The Center for Civil and Human Rights and  Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site also provide a chance to gain a deep understanding of Atlanta’s role in the country’s history.



Atlanta is a city of foodies and there are seemingly endless choices for every meal and type of cuisine. Whether you’re interested in fine dining at Aria or burgers and dogs at the Varsity, there’s something here for every palate. And don’t forget that downhome, Southern comfort cuisine and the best authentic soul food. You’ll find it here in abundance.



From a world-class symphony to world-class clubs, the Atlanta nightlife scene is legendary. This is the home of the Bankhead Bounce and generations of Buckhead bars and dance clubs. The theatre scene here has a rich history and Atlanta’s theatre companies and professionals have launched scores of productions that went on to Broadway and beyond.



Atlanta is a must-do stop for every concert tour, comedian, theatrical production, and more. With historic theatres like the Fox and arenas like the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you’ll find your favorites here next time they’re on the road.


Things to Consider When Moving to Atlanta

What else do you need to think about before you move?



If you’re coming from a colder climate, it might take a little time to get used to the heat and humidity during the summer and early fall. But the good news is you can leave your heavy boots, parkas, and snowpants behind since winters tend to be mild and snow is rarely an issue.



You may be able to get along in-town without a car, but you’ll need access to one if you plan to visit some of the more far flung parts of the metro area. Public transportation doesn’t cover the entire suburban area, so you’ll probably need access to either a car or a car service from time to time.



While Atlanta is a fast-moving modern metropolis, most Atlantans still enjoy their reputation as a Southern mecca with an emphasis on hospitality and gentility. That may mean a little more emphasis on manners, small talk, and the social niceties than in other large metro areas. Remember to smile when you pass people on the sidewalk, wave at your neighbors when you see them out walking, and cultivate a somewhat more laid-back attitude.


Looking for a new home in Atlanta or one of the outlying suburbs? You’ll love everything that Pulte has to offer. Find the Atlanta home that’s right for you with our custom search.


Contributed to Your Home blog 

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Published 4.26.19

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