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The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Atlanta

By Beni Restea | March 19, 2024

Atlanta is an excellent place to live; scratch that, it's more, it's a great place for a job and to raise a family!

Like any bustling city with a thriving economy, the population tends to be explosive, and the nearly 500,000 people in the Big Peach can attest to this. Moving to Atlanta as a single or family individual can be the best choice if you have it all planned out right.

Of course, there might be some challenges living here, but where's really perfect? The truth is you decide what's going to be a "challenge" for you, and in ATL, there's always mostly a way out.

In the meantime, let's make your transition into this city easy. What do you need to know? What should you expect?

Let's dive in!

Cost of Living and Housing

Choosing to live in Atlanta over other cities in Georgia means you are automatically susceptible to a higher cost of living, which at first could seem stressful. 

Relocating is never easy; however, you can mitigate the stress by outsourcing some of the work to professionals. For instance, many of the movers Atlanta City offers will help package and move your properties to any of the neighborhoods for a not-so-expensive fee.

Yes, some things are a bit more pricey here than most other places, even in the U.S., but you don't really feel it. The average annual household income of $118,074 makes up for the higher percentage of living costs compared to other states in the U.S.

Matching the cost of accommodation in Atlanta with the national average shows that ATL is about 7% higher. Monthly, residents here pay an average of $1,813 for rent, and the median listing value for homes is $412,800.

On average, here's a short list of how much things cost in the city:

  • Milk (Regular, 1 liter): $1.05
  • Long of White Bread (500g): $3.36
  • Rice (White, 1kg): $5.57
  • Eggs (Regular, 12): $3.88
  • Energy Bill: $143.01
  • Gasoline (1 liter): $0.89
  • Taxi (1 KM, Normal Tariff): $1.84
  • Mobile Phone Bill (Monthly): $52.29
  • Doctor's Visit: $119.01

Here's a head-to-head comparison with the state and national average on the essentials of living in Atlanta

Cost of Living in Atlanta, GACompared to the State's Average Compared to the National Average
Income (Individual, Annual)8% higher4% higher
Housing 34% higher7% higher
Utilities (Monthly)4% lower15% lower
Healthcare9% higher8% higher
Transportation Cost8% higher2% higher
Food1% lower5% lower
Goods & Services7% higher3% ho

Know your Acronyms

Coming over to Atlanta, there are two common acronyms you should get accustomed to. It might not mean much, but it means a lot to the residents of the city. If you want to sound like one of the locals, especially when house hunting, learning the ITP And OTP acronyms might be best.

ITP, "inside the perimeter," and OTP, "outside the perimeter," are simply shorthands residents use to divide the urban area from the suburbs. The "perimeter" defining this border is the Interstate 285 loop around Atlanta.

Neighborhoods inside the perimeter (ITP) have the perception of being more hip and alive—with more upscale living, diverse cultures, top private schools, nice shopping areas, and higher real estate and rental costs.

Outside the perimeter (OTP), neighborhoods have a more family-friendly vibe and fewer "happening" scenes. These parts of Atlanta actually have one of the nation's best public schools and are desirable by people wanting a more serene environment in the city.

In the end, both sides are perfect spots to live; just find where fits your style, and you'll be good.

A Bustling Economy

The economy in Atlanta is on a continuous upward trajectory. More than ten Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in the city: from Coca-Cola to Delta Airlines, Home Depot, UPS, Equifax, and even Georgia-Pacific.

Closely looking at the tech sector, including biotechnology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's an exponential boom. Then, the film and TV industry is turning into a well-established business in and around the city.

Even ATL's job market scene is somewhat favorable to its residents. Although the unemployment rate is at 3.7%, the annual projected job growth is at 0.9%, which shows better promise for the unemployed.

According to data from Forbes, Atlanta ranks #13 on the list of Best Places for Business and Careers in the U.S.—there's a glaring show of positivity if you plan on starting a company here.

Transportation and City Traffic

If you don't usually experience traffic where you are coming from, start imagining what it might feel like. 

For anyone moving to Atlanta, Georgia, planning your means of transportation in and around the city is a must—the traffic is wild! In fact, one of the worst interchanges in the U.S. is here, at Spaghetti Junction, where I-285 and I-85 North meet.

There are ways to beat the insanity called traffic. One is to live in a neighborhood where everything you need is within walking distance. The other is to rely on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) public transit.

However, these two are limited; for instance, the MARTA mostly runs ITP. If you live OTP and work inside the loop, you will need to drive to the station to avoid traffic within the city.

Lastly, bike (electric included) and scooter rentals are available. Following the 33 miles of reclaimed railroad tracks along the Atlanta BeltLine can help save time spent in traffic.

Understand the Weather in ATL

The weather in Atlanta is pretty moderate most of the time all year. While ATL receives its fair share of all four seasons, they come in mildly, except on rare occasions.

What to know before moving to Atlanta in the summer? It's hot, it's humid, and temperatures during this season can peak at 100 degrees.

During the winter season, you might get a day or two of snowfall, but nothing crazy except on rare occasions when there could be blizzards. It would melt away after a few days, though.

Fall is when the hikers and bikers come out to play. The weather is warm, and residents are often outside more during this season. The same thing goes for spring; only there are more festivals and allergic reactions to the pollen.

Prime Higher Education

Is Atlanta, Georgia, a good place to live as a student? Yes, especially as a college or university student. 

Schools here in Atlanta are stellar and ranking high on the national list. There are more than 60 colleges and Universities in Atlanta, and there's one fit to teach you or your child.

The student-to-teacher ratio in ATL is 15:1, which is lower than the national average of 16:1, and it ranks as #7 in student enrollment in large urban areas.

Whether you live inside or outside the perimeter, there are tons of good public and private schools.

Entertainment Options and Things to See

You could be into sports, TV programs, or the more cultured form of entertainment like the arts, and Atlanta has a spot for you.

For folks who like music, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Midtown calls to you; a lover of art? Then you can find your place at the High Museum of Art; fancy a bit of live performances? There's the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center.

If you need more than these things to suit your preferred entertainment choices, there are plenty more options around town. You might want to check out these places should you finalize your move to Atlanta, Georgia. 

  • Centennial Olympic Park: it has all the most popular downtown attractions.
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden: find exhibitions, events, and beautiful plant collections.
  • Zoo Atlanta: find over 1,000 animals, including great apes. Check out the Zoo train with your kids.
  • Georgia Aquarium: catch views of thousands of sea creatures
  • The King Center: learn about the history of Martin Luther King and his endeavors

Food and Restaurants

Atlanta takes its food scene seriously—can't stress this enough.

The love this city has for its delicacies is as old as the early days of ATL. The city is famous for its diverse food culture, from local burgers to French cuisine, Vietnamese dishes, and Ethiopian foods.

There are loads of events where varieties are on display. You'll get celebrity chefs at festivals, big brand names in the culinary industry, and food trucks in Atlanta.

You can check a few of these hotspot restaurants in Atlanta to thrill your taste buds with fine meals.

  • Tiny Lou's for French cuisines
  • Arnette's Chop Shop for steak
  • Garden & Gun Club for fine Southern food
  • Chai-Yo for delicious Thai food
  • Momonoki for Japanese delights


Moving to Atlanta can prove to be the best decision for anyone, but it doesn't come without its challenges. On average, there might be little to no culture shock unless you are coming from the West. 

Still, Atlanta, Georgia, is a promising land for anyone looking to advance in career or life. It's easy to blend in here; all you need to do is follow this guide, budget your expenses accurately, and plan your outings properly, and the cost of living has nothing on you.

Remember to live within your means, and the Big Peach would be the perfect home for you.

Beni is very passionate about real estate, finance and traveling, which is the motivating force behind the inspiring topics he writes about for
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