City Guide of Atlanta, GA

Overview Tab

History: Atlanta was founded in 1836 when the Western and Atlantic railroad line was being built and the city was designated to be the terminus. The city was first named Marthasville in honor of the Governor’s daughter, but was later nicknamed Terminus because of the railroad’s location. Soon after the name was changed again to Atlanta — a reference to the railroad and feminine of the word Atlantic. During the American Civil War, the city served as a distribution center, and following the war Atlanta’s population and manufacturing capabilities rapidly grew. In some of its earlier years, Atlanta was home to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was a major destination for the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, it has also been the host for the Summer Olympic Games and was the city of origination for the well-known brand Coca-Cola. Following in line with Atlanta’s previously designated name and railroad location, Terminus, today rapid transit systems have been built all over the city, suburbs have grown, population has risen, and the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is one of the biggest in the world.

Location: Atlanta is the capital of Georgia. It is also the most populous city in the state with a population estimated to be around 486,290. In addition, Atlanta is also the 38th most populous city in the United States. The city as a whole serves as a cultural and economic center for the Atlanta metropolitan area. Atlanta plainly sits in Fulton County, but a small portion extends eastwards into DeKalb County. Fulton County accounts for the largest county in the state, with a whopping 90% of Atlanta located within its boundaries. The other 10% lies in DeKalb County, Georgia’s most diverse county.

Commutes: Overall, Atlanta residents spend more time commuting each day than most commuters nationwide. This is a big reason why cycling and walking are continually growing in popularity. However, Atlanta’s roadways are still dominated by drivers. For public transportation the city has The Atlanta Streetcar and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). With this being said, MARTA does not extend out far enough to reach into the suburbs, which can prove challenging for some commuters. The primary interstates in the city are I-3, 14, 16, 20, 24, 59, 75, 85, and 95. There are also additional auxiliary interstate highways which can be used if so desired.

Culture: The culture of Atlanta, Georgia, is complex and deeply rooted in a mix of rural Scottish-Irish culture as well as Native American and African influence. There has been a great influx of immigrants from the midwest and northeastern parts of the United States, in addition to immigrants of Latin America. Georgia is known for the Georgia peach and the State’s culture has been influenced by economy, forestry, and the benefits the State provides for its people. The city holds “southern hospitality” near and dear to the heart, making for a strong and kind community.

Local Government:

City Council
The Atlanta City Council acts as the main legislative body. The Council consists of 16 members from 12 different districts. They are responsible for making and creating the laws that govern the city. Their duties also include the daily operations of the city and setting of operational standards for the city government.
Phone: (404) 330-6030
Address: 55 Trinity Ave SW #2900, Atlanta, GA 30303
Email: dchambers@atlantaga.gov

Mayor’s Office
The Mayor of Atlanta is responsible for the general management of the city as well as passing ordinances and then making sure those ordinances are enforced. The Mayor also acts as an advisor to the City Council and informs them of the financial condition and proposed city budget.
Phone: (404) 330-6100
Address: 55 Trinity Ave SW #2500, Atlanta, GA 30303
Email: Scheduling@AtlantaGA.gov

Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1860, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce serves as the Chamber of Commerce for the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. It represents business, colleges and universities, and non-profits. The Chamber focuses on three key objectives: economic development, public policy, and promotion.
Phone: (404) 880-9000
Address: 91 Peachtree Tower 191 Peachtree Street Northeast #3400, Atlanta, GA 30303
Email: rhodges@macoc.com

Schools Tab

Overview: Due to the sheer size and population of Atlanta, the city offers residents a diverse mix of schools to select from. Like any city, there are both public and private schools. However, Atlanta also provides schools of alternative & special education, religion-based, magnet, charter, Montessori, and online schooling. The top three best school districts in the Atlanta area are (1) Buford City Schools, (2) Forsyth County Schools, and (3) Decatur City Schools. The ranking was based on students and parents reviews, state college readiness, test scores, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, and more. In total there is a little over 600 schools, with a bulk being private institutions. Preschools account for over 400 of the above schools. Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology was the best-rated high school. With Buford taking the number one title for best middle school and Settles Bridge for being an exemplary elementary school.

School Districts: There are three main public school districts located in Atlanta, Georgia boundaries. There is the Atlanta Public School District (APS), Fulton County School District, and then the Department of Labor. Out of all three the Fulton District is the largest accounting for over 95,460 students. The district has 105 preschool, elementary, middle, and high schools. The APS District is also very large in size with over 51,145 students. APS has 103 schools of all grade levels. On the contrary, the last school district is dramatically smaller with 89 students and only one school — Warm Springs High School.

Schools:

Elementary Schools
There are a ton of elementary schools in Atlanta. Students have their pick of the litter depending upon religious affiliation, sports interest, special needs, program emphasis, and so on. Both public and private schools are offered. Lin, Jackson, Ashford Park, Kittredge Magnet School, and Heards Ferry are above-average elementary schools in the area. The schools listed have a low student-teacher ratio, high state test scores and specialized programs that students can tailor to their particular interests.

Middle Schools
The Georgia Department of Education released a report listing the grade for each middle school in the Atlanta area. The following are the top five middle schools in Metropolitan Atlanta: Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers, Dodgen, River Trail, Webb Bridge, and Hightower Trail Middle School. Two of the schools listed are in Fulton County, two are in Cobb County, and one in Dekalb County. If so desired, students can instead opt for a private school. If this is the case, Westminster, Pace, or Paideia are quality options. With Westminster School landing 26th for the best middle/high school in all of America.

High Schools
Atlanta has a range of public and private schools available for high school students. On the private school end, as listed in the middle school tab, Westminster School is on the high end of the spectrum. Tuition is pricey, but 100% of students go on to attend a four-year university after graduation. For public schools, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology is top-rated. A smaller student population accounts for close one-on-one teaching methods. It has been shown that 96% of students are at least proficient in math and 97% at least proficient in reading.

Private Schools
There are 135 unique private schools in Atlanta, Georgia, serving over 30, 723 students. For this particular area, the average tuition ranges between 12,000 to just over 16,000, depending upon grade level. Half of all schools have a religious affiliation and the other half are a mix of different specialties and programs of focus. If you have a student who wants to attend a private school in Atlanta, you are in luck. Acceptance rates fall just under 80% which means a high chance of attendance.

Housing Tab

Overview: According to the City of Atlanta Housing Authority, there is a wide array of housing types within the city. Half of it is single-family residential housing units. However, if this is not of interest to you, almost every single housing type is available — condos, townhomes, RV, mobile homes, houseboats, apartments, and so on. There has been an influx of lofts, condominiums, and townhomes. In addition, new construction has frequently been going up in historic intown neighborhoods and the construction of high-rises has increased to accommodate the growing Atlanta population and demand. With this, demolition of substandard housing units has also been invoked. The City of Atlanta has adopted a number of non-profit organizations — Habitat for Humanity, Columbia Residential, and Charis Community Housing — that provides low-income residents with affordable options.

Housing:

Single Family Homes
The number of stand alone homes is unparalleled in amount when it comes to other housing types in the city. Essentially, homes are located in every part of Atlanta, from the farthest reach of Campbellton to the top of North Atlanta. Homes are for sale and for rent. Prices will vary greatly based upon where the home is located, how much land, how many bedrooms, and the quality of the neighborhood as a whole.

Apartments
Particularly in the last couple of years, the Atlanta apartment scene has been booming. Apartments are going up all over the city and many more complexes are currently in the works. Metro Atlanta in particular has a flood of apartments available for rent or sale. The Flats at Perimeter Place, Axis at Perimeter Luxury Apartments, Alta Midtown, and Windsor at Midtown, are a few high-rated options. All are near upscale shopping and dining, come with top-tier appliances, and some are even pet friendly.

High-Rises
Highrises have been growing and growing in popularity within the city. Mainly because the population is so large and people need more options when it comes to housing. High-rises spread from Midtown to Lenox Square. However, Midtown, Garden Hills, Peachtree Hills, and the Lenox Square/Phipps plaza area, have clustered complexes. Depending upon where the high rise is located and what amenities it includes, this housing type can prove to be much more expensive than other alternative options. The High Rise at Post Alexander, Hanover Buckhead Village, and Broadstone Midtown, all boast beautiful properties.

New Construction
From condominiums, to townhomes, and single-family homes, there is no shortage of new construction. There are new units of all categories throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. Many older subpar properties are being torn down to make room for larger highrises, apartments, and so on. We can clearly see that smarthomes and green construction are starting to enter the market. Here, homebuyers have the opportunity to find the place of their dreams while lowering the carbon footprint that comes with it. Smarthomes come with energy efficient systems and smart technology. However, a high price tag does accompany the “efficient” mechanisms.

Student Housing
If you’re a college student looking for affordable housing close to campus, no worries. There are dorm rooms for students who go to larger schools like Georgia Tech and GSU. Apartments are also available near or around each college campus. This option allows students the space they need while still being close enough to make it to school quickly. If even more space is needed, there are student housing townhomes which are more private and spacious than the previous two options.

Real Estate Tab

Overview: In 130-160 words, write an overtime overview of the city real estate market.

Things to Do Tab

Overview: Whether you want to take in the sights of nature, relax at a spa, browse around a museum, or shop the day away, Bellaire has you covered. There are tons of things to do in the city, but the beauty of Bellaire is that you are not limited to the city limits. With quick access to Houston and Downtown everything is within a few minutes away. According to 365 Houston, there are five things in Bellaire that are highly regarded as a“must do.” (1) Bernie’s Burger Bus, a one of a kind restaurant serving up juicy burgers; parmesan, truffle oil french fries; and a creamy cookie butter shake. (2) Enjoy the serenity of nature at Russ Pitman Park, Bellaire’s Nature Discovery Center. (3) Taste the local roast at Dandelion Cafe. (4) Take part in fine-dining at French bistro Costa Brava Bistro, and (5) scroll the spacious gardens of Evelyn’s Park.

Retail & Entertainment

Parks & Recreation
Despite living in a high-tech and suburban city, Atlanta residents can still enjoy the beauty of nature. There are hiking trails, nature & wildlife areas, gardens, aquariums, parks, and more. A few popular places include: Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, Piedmont Park, and Mary Scott Nature Park.

Shopping
Lovers of shopping malls, markets, or antique stores will all be appeased by shopping options in Atlanta. The Ponce City Market and Lenox Square are some of the largest malls. Krog Street Market is a local favorite with a handful of unique food and specialty shops. With Scott Antique Market being the go to place for hidden treasures.

Art & Culture
Learn about Atlanta’s roots as a city at Atlanta History Center or opt for the Center for Civil Rights and Human Rights, a tribute to our past and present heroes which aided in making the world what it is today. Arts wise, the Fox and Alliance Theater light up the stage with dazzling broadway performances, musicals, theater, dance, and more.

Night Life
The sun may set in the evening, but that doesn’t mean Atlanta residents have to. Luckily, Atlanta has a variety of nightclubs, lounges, bars, and live music venues. Often there are even nighttime events such as the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade or the Imagine Music Festival.

Restaurants
Atlanta is known for its delicious food and award-winning restaurants. Some of the most famous spots include Bone’s, Chops Lobster Bar, Ecco, Manuel’s Tavern, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and No. 246. Dining options greatly range in pricing and cuisine. With anything from comfort food to handmade pasta right around the corner.

Neighborhoods Tab

Overview: There are five main neighborhoods in Atlanta. Each provides residents with attractions and benefits unique to them. These include (1) Downtown, (2) Buckhead, (3) Eastside, (4) Midtown, and (5) Westside. Downtown provides residents with the most attractions, dining, and shopping. In addition, it is great for commuters and students as it is an extremely walkable neighborhood. Buckhead is on the higher end of the spectrum. Prices here are generally a bit less attractive because of the nightlife, highrises, and designer shopping. Eastside is an up and coming neighborhood. This neighborhood is home to most of the hot spots in the city including street art, museums, trendy restaurants, and more. Midtown is a great place for families. It is surrounded by parks and many cultural and art institutions. The last neighborhood, Westside, is the hippest place to be. Otherwise known as the Design District, it is regarded to be the retail mecca of Atlanta.

Local Pros Tab