Living and Working in Atlanta



Tips for Living and Working in Atlanta


This post was kindly written for us by Abigail Golder.


Moving to a new city can be intimidating, especially when you’re considering one with a reputation as dynamic as Atlanta. You want to thrive in a city that’s already thriving. But organizing your new life in this flourishing southern city doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, there’s never been a better time to live in Atlanta, or a better year than 2018 to explore the unique culture of its many neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, and social venues.


Atlanta is covered in miles of trails, green parks and gardens, and a thick cover of Maple, River Birch, and Magnolia trees. Many natives feel the city is best explored outdoors – and it’s easy to do so with weather that is temperate for much of the year around the summer months, which bring the heat: the perfect weather for water activities. For those hoping to own a home, now is the time to buy a home Atlanta. Home prices are on the rise in popular neighborhoods like Hanover West, Woodfield, Argonne Forest, and Tuxedo Park as the market is strengthening, but they’re still below the national average which means it’s time to get in quick, before the market peaks.


But even before you think about buying a home, you need to learn how to explore your new area. In order to uncover this beautiful city and become a true native, you need to understand how to move throughout the city efficiently. Notorious for never-ending traffic and a confusing highway layout, Atlanta can feel impenetrable if you’re new to its streets. Miscalculations in travel time can ruin evening plans, make you late to meetings, and overall just put a damper your week. Atlanta natives spend a monstrous 72 hours a year in traffic during their commute, times that lag only behind San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Even armed with a day’s worth of podcasts and Spotify premium, that’s a lot of time spent on the highway that could be spent elsewhere. The city of Atlanta is working hard to improve their mass transit systems to get people off the roads but for now, it’s necessary to own a car if you’re living in the suburbs and commuting to the city. Here are the tips you need to live your best life while travelling around Atlanta for work and play.

1. Don’t be too reliant on your map apps.

Make it a priority to learn back roads to your favorite locations. If you’re on a highway when traffic starts crawling, it’s too late to pull out your phone. Know your plans B, C, D, and E. It will save you a lot of time. And check out this exhaustive guide to commuting before you hit the road in the morning to learn that insider know-how.

2. Signal to other drivers.

Roadways in Atlanta get congested, but folks are pretty accommodating if you know how to signal the correct way. You absolutely have to get in one of the 3 left-hand lanes to drive north on I-85 through the city, otherwise you’ll be caught in the exit-only right lanes. Turn on your blinker and someone will almost definitely let you in. When they do, stick your right hand into the air between the front two seats just in front of the rearview mirror and twitch it a couple of times before returning it to the steering wheel. This is the Southern Hospitality Roadway, ‘Thank You’.

3. Don’t drive when roads are icy

Though you may not be a southern native, plenty of other drivers are. It won’t matter whether you learned to drive in Minnesota snow, no one else on the road is going to be able to drive without sliding into you. Best so skip that insurance headache.

4. Picking up someone at the Atlanta airport? Wait in the cell phone lot.

The airport security personnel are no joke at the arrival terminal. If the person you’re picking up isn’t to your car and opening the passenger side door within ten seconds of you pulling up to curb, you’ll have to circle back. That, in addition to the other hundred cars attempting to sneakily wait for their passengers, creates lane congestion like no other. Do the smart thing, wait for your passenger to pick up their luggage and walk outside before you arrive to pick them up.

5. Take public transportation when you can, it rocks!

Explore Atlanta neighborhoods easily using the many accessible transportation options offered by the public transit authority of the city. Zoom along in the MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid transit rail system, or the Atlanta streetcar which operates on a 2.7-mile loop from the entertainment system to Sweet Auburn. Rent a bike to explore the city more intimately and get to know popular neighborhood haunts like Park Tavern and the High Museum of Art.

6. Plan ahead with CommuteATL

The City of Atlanta has launched the new CommuteATL website, which uses data from a number of partners to aggregate these resources. This is a huge deal for those looking to save some time and money on gas. Features include real-time scheduling for Atlanta Streetcar, MARTA (both bus and train), and Relay Bike Share stations throughout the city. MARTA stations also display parking data so commuters know which stations have spots and which are already full. The site incorporates real-time traffic data from Waze to display road closures, construction work, accidents, and current traffic conditions.