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Old 02-07-2012, 12:05 AM
 
4 posts, read 16,990 times
Reputation: 15

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Alrighty, so I've posted a couple different, similar, threads about moving to various cities in Texas and Tennessee and now I've got myriad questions for moving to Atlanta. I'm sure most of these questions have been asked at some point, but I don't see a sticky that addresses them so here goes:

I am a college grad, I'm wrapping up a 2 year journey traveling around the world and I'm researching where I want to settle in America once I get back next month. Although I've been doing the research, I've yet to find a city that just feels right (without having visited first) so now I'm in a bit of a time crunch since I'm departing Kuala Lumpur in about four weeks.

I am originally from Portland, OR, but have no interest in moving back due to its abysmal unemployment rates and weather. My criteria for a new home is that I want somewhere that is mostly warm or hot year-round with plenty of sunshine. I'd like a low-ish cost of living, decent job prospects/low unemployment rates, diverse ethnicity, single 30-somethings, nicely balanced between liberal and conservative, charming small towns within a relatively short distance and on and on. Here are more specifics:

I'd like to buy a scooter to use as transport. Is that a safe mode of transport in Atlanta?

I will be renting for about a year and would like to live in an apartment within the city limits, preferably right in the downtown or uptown areas. Can you recommend neighborhoods where I can find a place for under $800/month? I'm wanting low-key, somewhat trendy (not over-the-top), plenty of restaurants and grocery stores I can get to by foot, yet not overly crowded with hipster culture. Hope that makes sense.

Is the cost of living in Atlanta as low as reports claim?

How bad is the smog in Atlanta?

How bad is the traffic? Compared to cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Nashville...

Is this a pet friendly city?

I am half asian and half caucasian. Is there obvious racism towards asians in Atlanta?

Are there many college graduates?

How reliable and expansive is public transit?

Any general pros vs. cons points are greatly appreciated as well!

I'd really appreciate constructive response and advise and would loooove to avoid cynicism. Yes, I am aware of the current state of unemployment in America. I know that these are generalized questions and that every city has hipster communities and conservative communities. I know that $800/month is not a lot for rent in a city.

Thanks, guys and gals! I'm looking forward to going back to the US, but I'm worried about reverse culture shock and really just want a nice city that I can transition in to as seamlessly as possible. Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,381 posts, read 17,543,703 times
Reputation: 5422
Traffic is bad commuting from the northern arc of suburbs. In-out flow of traffic does not work in Atlanta as many people commute between suburbs. The city is very pet friendly with several leash-less dog parks. MARTA, the mass transit, serves Fulton and DeKalb counties only with bus and rail service. The rail service is very effective during rush-hour with 12 minute headways. I use MARTA to commute to work and it always takes me 45 minutes to travel 12 miles north and ride my bike from station to work. If you want mass transit move close to the stations. It will save you thousands of dollars and hours in time. Atlanta has lots of college educated people living everywhere. What you need to do is state specific requirements you want in housing to further assist in locating ideal neighborhoods.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:32 AM
 
Location: ATL
4,688 posts, read 6,616,411 times
Reputation: 1804
Already been posted. Do a search
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:26 AM
 
3,262 posts, read 4,671,340 times
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Wow...that's a lengthy list of questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckLuck View Post
Is the cost of living in Atlanta as low as reports claim?
It's pretty good. If your desire is a walkable city with some decent public transit, you'll be hard pressed to find a cheaper one.

Quote:
How bad is the smog in Atlanta?
Pretty bad in the summer. Other parts of the year it's not a big issue.

Quote:
How bad is the traffic? Compared to cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Nashville...
Highly debatable, but Atlanta's traffic is thought to be about par for the course among large American cities (such as Houston or Dallas). More traffic than a smaller city like Nashville.

Quote:
Is this a pet friendly city?
Maybe? Not horribly pet unfriendly, but people here aren't pet-crazy like they are in California.

Quote:
I am half asian and half caucasian. Is there obvious racism towards asians in Atlanta?
No.

Quote:
Are there many college graduates?
On par with similar-sized cities.

Quote:
How reliable and expansive is public transit?
If you live near a transit station, it's actually quite good. You can get to most of the major intown employment centers, some major shopping centers and malls, nightlife districts, etc on public transit. However, if you choose to live in a suburb, it will be exactly the opposite (with a couple exceptions).

The problem is that on weekends and after 7PM trains only run every 20 minutes. It's a complete pain. But they are pretty reliable about coming every 20 minutes, on the plus side.

You aversion to hipsters could be a problem. Most of the obvious neighborhoods for you are on the east MARTA line, which is hipster central. But it's not like every single person is a hipster, or even close to that.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:16 PM
 
2,585 posts, read 3,728,527 times
Reputation: 2987
Is the cost of living in Atlanta as low as reports claim?

Compared to other big cities it's fairly cheap but I personally think it's creeping up. Being such a auto-dependent city, the overall cost of living has changed a lot due to gas prices and Marta isn't really a deal compared to other transit systems and it's limited. Also, services are not up to snuff considering the taxes in Atlanta.

How bad is the smog in Atlanta?

It can be pretty rough in the summer and you also want to consider the pollen. If you don't have allergies now, you may when you move to Atlanta.

How bad is the traffic? Compared to cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Nashville...

It can be pretty bad. The streets are just poorly laid out. If you get caught in a backup, there isn't much of a chance of escaping by side streets unless you have lived here for decades AND have Native American spirits to guide you.

Is this a pet friendly city?

Yes, people love dogs here, yet some also love Michael Vick still. Go figure.

I am half asian and half caucasian. Is there obvious racism towards asians in Atlanta?

Not that I've noticed.

Are there many college graduates?

Yes, and a lot of people who haven't finished high school as well. Imagine the hijinks...

How reliable and expansive is public transit? Good answer above. Honestly MARTA sucks.

Any general pros vs. cons points are greatly appreciated as well!

Consider Decatur(stay away from Memorial Drive for living). The hipsters aren't terrible there and it has an educated vibe. Virginia-Highland isn't that bad either.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,381 posts, read 17,543,703 times
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Quote:
r(stay away from Memorial Drive for living)
There is nothing wrong with Memorial Drive.
Quote:
Honestly MARTA sucks.
MARTA does not suck, it serves the area well. I can get everywhere I need to with at least 1 transfer. Driving sucks in Atlanta! There are a couple areas where a person can live without owning a car.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:25 PM
 
2,585 posts, read 3,728,527 times
Reputation: 2987
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
There is nothing wrong with Memorial Drive.

MARTA does not suck, it serves the area well. I can get everywhere I need to with at least 1 transfer. Driving sucks in Atlanta! There are a couple areas where a person can live without owning a car.
exactly

Trust me, I don't think this guy fits the Memorial Drive demographic.
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,381 posts, read 17,543,703 times
Reputation: 5422
Quote:
Trust me, I don't think this guy fits the Memorial Drive demographic.
What exactly is the demographics?
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
738 posts, read 1,154,928 times
Reputation: 326
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckLuck View Post
My criteria for a new home is that I want somewhere that is mostly warm or hot year-round with plenty of sunshine. I'd like a low-ish cost of living, decent job prospects/low unemployment rates, diverse ethnicity, single 30-somethings, nicely balanced between liberal and conservative, charming small towns within a relatively short distance and on and on.
Atlanta has pretty much everything you mentioned, except:

Unemployment is still high in Atlanta. Other cities and the national average have seen a slight improvement over the last year or so, but as of December Atlanta is still over 9%. Jobs here have been very slow to come back. Many, many people are still unemployed or underemployed. I strongly recommend you do not move here unless you already have a job here, or have substantial savings.

Balance between liberal and conservative is tenuous at best. Most of Georgia is primarily conservative Christian, and Atlanta is only slightly more diverse IMO. There are liberal pockets, but overall it's still mostly conservative.
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:00 AM
 
Location: atlanta
4,183 posts, read 4,865,120 times
Reputation: 3540
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckLuck View Post
I'd like a low-ish cost of living, decent job prospects/low unemployment rates, diverse ethnicity, single 30-somethings, nicely balanced between liberal and conservative, charming small towns within a relatively short distance and on and on.
tons of charming small towns around atlanta, even some within it. atlanta is weird, you've got urban areas surrounding little small towns, like decatur, norcross, marietta, etc. you'd have to see it to know what i'm talking about. it's great, you've got the charm of small towns and the convenience of urban living.

as for politics, you don't encounter *non* diverse areas unless you head a few miles north of alpharetta (a northern suburb). north georgia is mostly white and mostly very conservative. there are pockets of mountain hippies here and there. in atlanta, and going south of atlanta, people are more easy-going and there tends to be a mix of democrats, republicans, blacks, whites, etc.

here's a map of the 2008 election that shows voting diversity— in "black" counties they're either heavy republican or heavy democrat, but in the lighter coloured counties there is more diversity. the counties that are coloured voted pretty much half-and-half between mccain and obama.



as you can see most of georgia is pretty middle of the road except for far north georgia.

Quote:
I'd like to buy a scooter to use as transport. Is that a safe mode of transport in Atlanta?
i see a lot of those down in town— i live in alpharetta and we have several people using vespas also. it's safe as riding that type of vehicle is anywhere else, as long as you stay off of the interstates and huge roads. also don't be under the illusion that a vespa is that much safer than a motorcycle, you're still not very well protected and can have accidents.

Quote:
I will be renting for about a year and would like to live in an apartment within the city limits, preferably right in the downtown or uptown areas. Can you recommend neighborhoods where I can find a place for under $800/month? I'm wanting low-key, somewhat trendy (not over-the-top), plenty of restaurants and grocery stores I can get to by foot, yet not overly crowded with hipster culture. Hope that makes sense.
look east of 75/85 and north of 20. that's where most of the hip neighbourhoods are, and some have some relatively cheap housing. probably avoid boulevard between north avenue and freedom parkway. parts of boulevard south of there are nice. virginia highland, edgewood, kirkwood, grant park, ansley park ("piedmont heights"? nobody calls it that), decatur, druid hills, etc.

Quote:
Is the cost of living in Atlanta as low as reports claim?
it's pretty low, groceries, gas and whatnot. houses in some neighbourhoods are pretty steep but i hear it's nothing compared to california prices.

Quote:
How bad is the smog in Atlanta?
it was horrendous in the 90s. now the EPA makes residents of the atlanta area get emissions stickers on cars and the gas sold in atlanta is a special formula that is mixed with ethanol, so it's much better now. there are only a few days every couple of years where they recommend avoiding outdoor activity for everyone, we have more days they say asthmatics should avoid it.

Quote:
How bad is the traffic? Compared to cities like Houston, Dallas, Austin, Nashville...
hellacious. i've heard we're second only to LA. in town neighborhoods, somewhat less so, but around the north perimeter (285), 400, and right in midtown, it's awful. we have a subway/bus system though.

Quote:
Is this a pet friendly city?
people catch dogs and eat them down here. i'm kidding. we have tons of dog parks, "dog friendly" establishments where they let your dog stay on the patio while you eat, etc.

Quote:
I am half asian and half caucasian. Is there obvious racism towards asians in Atlanta?
no.

Quote:
Are there many college graduates?
tons.

Quote:
How reliable and expansive is public transit?
this is our existing rail line:


if you're going in a straight cardinal direction from downtown you're good. if you're going anywhere outside the giant plus sign (what the lines make), you'll have to take a bus. it's around $4.50 a ride for the train. some women have told me that they don't feel safe on the train, i'm male and don't have a problem with it.
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