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Old 04-12-2014, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Willowbend/Houston
13,403 posts, read 20,340,352 times
Reputation: 10183

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Hello to all my friends in Atlanta!

I recently returned for a three week assignment in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to spend time in virtually every area of the city as well as the suburbs. This was not my first time in Atlanta (I have been there at least a dozen times previously), but this was my first time spending an extended period in Atlanta. As such I was able to explore the city like never before making it my home for three weeks straight. I wanted to post some thoughts on a thread. Before I do, I have a couple of disclaimers:

1) I reside in the Dallas area. While the last thing I want this to become is a Dallas vs. Atlanta thread, you will see me make a lot of comparisons to Dallas.
2) I left Atlanta with a more favorable opinion of the city than when I went in. While not everything Im going to say is positive, overall my opinion of Atlanta is higher now than it was three weeks ago!
3) I was by myself the entire time outside of work. I spent a LOT of time talking to the locals as well as my colleagues that live in the Atlanta area. Knowing my interests, I asked about things like diversity, the city, dining, urbanity, etc.


With that said lets begin:

-Atlanta is a BEAUTIFUL city! It is lush, green, and hilly. Its one of the most beautiful cities in the US. I see a lot of people in the city vs. city forums trying to argue that cities like Houston or Chicago are prettier. They've lost their minds!!!

-Atlanta has a very lively core with lots of things to do and see, but sprawl takes over much quicker once you get outside of the immediate core than it does in cities like Dallas and Houston. Better core, but sprawl more. Thats Atlanta.

-The people in Atlanta are incredibly friendly! Much, MUCH more than Dallas. I have always said that I really don't view Dallas as a southern city and my experience in Atlanta has re-enforced that. People approach you to ask if you need directions, people will talk to you in the bars, people that barely know you will spend time talking to you. To be frank, its not like that in Dallas.

-I found the diversity of the city and metro area underwhelming. Not that the city/metro area isn't diverse, it is. But I guess I was expecting more. Many people I talked to seemed to think diversity is a code word for black/white integration. The truly diverse areas of the metro area extend to the east/northeast of the metro and and it seems as if all the multiculturalism is crammed into that area (namely the Buford Highway). In Dallas, I can think of at least 4-6 areas like the Buford Highways spread through out the metro area. There are a couple of exceptions. For example the Korean community is much more visible in Atlanta, but overall I find Dallas a much more diverse city/metro area.

-Comparing the dining scenes in Atlanta vs. Dallas, the restaurants in Atlanta seem to take a more creative, nu-age approach and they are delicious!!! In Dallas, the focus is more on authentic ethnic eating and they are delicious too!!! Of course both cities are too large and too diverse to be one or the other, but I do say I give Dallas an edge in dining.

-Religion seems to take a huge businesslike approach in Atlanta just like it does in Dallas. Megachurches and adverts for religion are ever-present. That said, I was never asked about religion anywhere. Its just like here in that regard.

-The gay community in Atlanta is extremely visible as is the arts community. In Dallas, the gay community is visible too although not quite to the same degree. The arts community in Dallas is a lot less visible.

-Atlanta is a great city for visitors! There are a lot of iconic attractions within a short walk of each other. I can definitely see why Atlanta has great tourist value! This is something that we are working on in Dallas, but that we currently lack.

-For the longest time, we've talked about Atlanta and Dallas and the comparison of which city is more international. After my visit, Ive come to this conclusion: Atlanta is more international from an economical perspective and Dallas is more international from a residential perspective. The fact that Atlanta gets more tourists would probably tip the scale in their favor. Its still really close though.

-I loved using MARTA. It has that big city public transit system feel that DART lacks, though DART has better coverage. Plus, lots of people use MARTA! Definitely a busy system!

-I can't get over how far the houses are apart from each other in the metro area! Thats crazy! I think its more of a southern thing.

At any rate, I don't expect you guys to agree with all of this or most of it. Im just your average joe that spent three weeks there and I enjoyed my time immensely! Atlanta is a great city and I hope to spend more time there in the future!
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Valdosta (Atlanta Native)
3,454 posts, read 2,833,606 times
Reputation: 2166
I agree with all of your points except the diversity one. Buford Highway isn't the only diverse area. North Fulton, South Cobb, and North Clayton are also diverse.
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:45 AM
 
2,328 posts, read 3,561,152 times
Reputation: 1477
Thanks for your comments - I have spent a great deal of time in Dallas (on contract for about 1 year) - many years ago.

For the most part, I agree with your comments. I find Dallas and Atlanta more similar than they are different. You will find a large Brazilian population in Marietta and other nationalities throughout Atlanta.
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
719 posts, read 793,372 times
Reputation: 657
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemonjello View Post
Hello to all my friends in Atlanta!

I recently returned for a three week assignment in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to spend time in virtually every area of the city as well as the suburbs. This was not my first time in Atlanta (I have been there at least a dozen times previously), but this was my first time spending an extended period in Atlanta. As such I was able to explore the city like never before making it my home for three weeks straight. I wanted to post some thoughts on a thread. Before I do, I have a couple of disclaimers:

1) I reside in the Dallas area. While the last thing I want this to become is a Dallas vs. Atlanta thread, you will see me make a lot of comparisons to Dallas.
2) I left Atlanta with a more favorable opinion of the city than when I went in. While not everything Im going to say is positive, overall my opinion of Atlanta is higher now than it was three weeks ago!
3) I was by myself the entire time outside of work. I spent a LOT of time talking to the locals as well as my colleagues that live in the Atlanta area. Knowing my interests, I asked about things like diversity, the city, dining, urbanity, etc.


With that said lets begin:

-Atlanta is a BEAUTIFUL city! It is lush, green, and hilly. Its one of the most beautiful cities in the US. I see a lot of people in the city vs. city forums trying to argue that cities like Houston or Chicago are prettier. They've lost their minds!!!

-Atlanta has a very lively core with lots of things to do and see, but sprawl takes over much quicker once you get outside of the immediate core than it does in cities like Dallas and Houston. Better core, but sprawl more. Thats Atlanta.

-The people in Atlanta are incredibly friendly! Much, MUCH more than Dallas. I have always said that I really don't view Dallas as a southern city and my experience in Atlanta has re-enforced that. People approach you to ask if you need directions, people will talk to you in the bars, people that barely know you will spend time talking to you. To be frank, its not like that in Dallas.

-I found the diversity of the city and metro area underwhelming. Not that the city/metro area isn't diverse, it is. But I guess I was expecting more. Many people I talked to seemed to think diversity is a code word for black/white integration. The truly diverse areas of the metro area extend to the east/northeast of the metro and and it seems as if all the multiculturalism is crammed into that area (namely the Buford Highway). In Dallas, I can think of at least 4-6 areas like the Buford Highways spread through out the metro area. There are a couple of exceptions. For example the Korean community is much more visible in Atlanta, but overall I find Dallas a much more diverse city/metro area.

-Comparing the dining scenes in Atlanta vs. Dallas, the restaurants in Atlanta seem to take a more creative, nu-age approach and they are delicious!!! In Dallas, the focus is more on authentic ethnic eating and they are delicious too!!! Of course both cities are too large and too diverse to be one or the other, but I do say I give Dallas an edge in dining.

-Religion seems to take a huge businesslike approach in Atlanta just like it does in Dallas. Megachurches and adverts for religion are ever-present. That said, I was never asked about religion anywhere. Its just like here in that regard.

-The gay community in Atlanta is extremely visible as is the arts community. In Dallas, the gay community is visible too although not quite to the same degree. The arts community in Dallas is a lot less visible.

-Atlanta is a great city for visitors! There are a lot of iconic attractions within a short walk of each other. I can definitely see why Atlanta has great tourist value! This is something that we are working on in Dallas, but that we currently lack.

-For the longest time, we've talked about Atlanta and Dallas and the comparison of which city is more international. After my visit, Ive come to this conclusion: Atlanta is more international from an economical perspective and Dallas is more international from a residential perspective. The fact that Atlanta gets more tourists would probably tip the scale in their favor. Its still really close though.

-I loved using MARTA. It has that big city public transit system feel that DART lacks, though DART has better coverage. Plus, lots of people use MARTA! Definitely a busy system!

-I can't get over how far the houses are apart from each other in the metro area! Thats crazy! I think its more of a southern thing.

At any rate, I don't expect you guys to agree with all of this or most of it. Im just your average joe that spent three weeks there and I enjoyed my time immensely! Atlanta is a great city and I hope to spend more time there in the future!
I like the fact that you took the time to visit our city and experience it in its entirety before judging. Not doing so is the case with most posters anyway but there are a dozen or so (like yourself) that I personally hold to higher standards.

We have too much to work on in this region to list, but it is a great place to call home. I just hope that Atlanta continues to be Atlanta and doesn't bend under pressure to become a northern city in a southern setting.
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
6,458 posts, read 7,280,517 times
Reputation: 4205
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemonjello View Post
-Atlanta has a very lively core with lots of things to do and see, but sprawl takes over much quicker once you get outside of the immediate core than it does in cities like Dallas and Houston. Better core, but sprawl more. Thats Atlanta.
I'm just particularly happy with this comment.

This is what tends to lead to many many self-defensive disagreements in the city-vs-city forums and is a really hard thing to explain to outsiders.

The only other weird oddity to point out is Atlanta is a very multi-core city... even more so than Dallas. We just don't have the commute capacity Dallas has into Downtown from their really large freeway network. This leads to a bit more dispersion in business and retail activities. The catch-22 I wanted point out is some of suburbs have areas denser than typical suburban areas. They are close to suburban core areas.

I know Dallas has this effect to some extent too.

Anyways the last key point to mention with this and diversity is much of it is in the 'greater' Gwinnett county area. It extends far past Buford highway and in many areas, but much of it is centered in that area and is dispersed. You have to drive pretty far into that area to see the extent of it.

I couldn't tell you why that doesn't make it into Atlanta's core much. It isn't that different from parts of northern Dallas, like between Richardson and Garland. It is just pretty extensive in how much area it covers in Gwinnett. Then there are small pockets of it in all our suburbs.
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:05 PM
 
28,178 posts, read 24,730,127 times
Reputation: 9560
An excellent and intelligent review of Atlanta.
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:55 PM
 
6,795 posts, read 6,610,537 times
Reputation: 5411
Pretty much spot on with Atlanta. Everything you said I agree with. I've argued that Atlanta has a more compact core than Dallas and Houston for ages now, but Atlanta sprawls much sooner, but all people do is bring up the average densities of the cities.
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:34 PM
 
7,113 posts, read 8,131,538 times
Reputation: 1777
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemonjello View Post
Atlanta is a BEAUTIFUL city! It is lush, green, and hilly. Its one of the most beautiful cities in the US. I see a lot of people in the city vs. city forums trying to argue that cities like Houston or Chicago are prettier. They've lost their minds!!!
Highly subjective comment. Houston is surprisingly green. The most lush and green place I've seen was Pittsburgh. I was recently in Austin, wow, what a great and livable city. What Austin and Pittsburgh have that Atlanta lacks is a large body of water to frame the city. Atlanta makes me feel a bit water starved.
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
55 posts, read 98,998 times
Reputation: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterlemonjello View Post
Hello to all my friends in Atlanta!

I recently returned for a three week assignment in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to spend time in virtually every area of the city as well as the suburbs. This was not my first time in Atlanta (I have been there at least a dozen times previously), but this was my first time spending an extended period in Atlanta. As such I was able to explore the city like never before making it my home for three weeks straight. I wanted to post some thoughts on a thread. Before I do, I have a couple of disclaimers:

1) I reside in the Dallas area. While the last thing I want this to become is a Dallas vs. Atlanta thread, you will see me make a lot of comparisons to Dallas.
2) I left Atlanta with a more favorable opinion of the city than when I went in. While not everything Im going to say is positive, overall my opinion of Atlanta is higher now than it was three weeks ago!
3) I was by myself the entire time outside of work. I spent a LOT of time talking to the locals as well as my colleagues that live in the Atlanta area. Knowing my interests, I asked about things like diversity, the city, dining, urbanity, etc.


With that said lets begin:

-Atlanta is a BEAUTIFUL city! It is lush, green, and hilly. Its one of the most beautiful cities in the US. I see a lot of people in the city vs. city forums trying to argue that cities like Houston or Chicago are prettier. They've lost their minds!!!

-Atlanta has a very lively core with lots of things to do and see, but sprawl takes over much quicker once you get outside of the immediate core than it does in cities like Dallas and Houston. Better core, but sprawl more. Thats Atlanta.

-The people in Atlanta are incredibly friendly! Much, MUCH more than Dallas. I have always said that I really don't view Dallas as a southern city and my experience in Atlanta has re-enforced that. People approach you to ask if you need directions, people will talk to you in the bars, people that barely know you will spend time talking to you. To be frank, its not like that in Dallas.

-I found the diversity of the city and metro area underwhelming. Not that the city/metro area isn't diverse, it is. But I guess I was expecting more. Many people I talked to seemed to think diversity is a code word for black/white integration. The truly diverse areas of the metro area extend to the east/northeast of the metro and and it seems as if all the multiculturalism is crammed into that area (namely the Buford Highway). In Dallas, I can think of at least 4-6 areas like the Buford Highways spread through out the metro area. There are a couple of exceptions. For example the Korean community is much more visible in Atlanta, but overall I find Dallas a much more diverse city/metro area.

-Comparing the dining scenes in Atlanta vs. Dallas, the restaurants in Atlanta seem to take a more creative, nu-age approach and they are delicious!!! In Dallas, the focus is more on authentic ethnic eating and they are delicious too!!! Of course both cities are too large and too diverse to be one or the other, but I do say I give Dallas an edge in dining.

-Religion seems to take a huge businesslike approach in Atlanta just like it does in Dallas. Megachurches and adverts for religion are ever-present. That said, I was never asked about religion anywhere. Its just like here in that regard.

-The gay community in Atlanta is extremely visible as is the arts community. In Dallas, the gay community is visible too although not quite to the same degree. The arts community in Dallas is a lot less visible.

-Atlanta is a great city for visitors! There are a lot of iconic attractions within a short walk of each other. I can definitely see why Atlanta has great tourist value! This is something that we are working on in Dallas, but that we currently lack.

-For the longest time, we've talked about Atlanta and Dallas and the comparison of which city is more international. After my visit, Ive come to this conclusion: Atlanta is more international from an economical perspective and Dallas is more international from a residential perspective. The fact that Atlanta gets more tourists would probably tip the scale in their favor. Its still really close though.

-I loved using MARTA. It has that big city public transit system feel that DART lacks, though DART has better coverage. Plus, lots of people use MARTA! Definitely a busy system!

-I can't get over how far the houses are apart from each other in the metro area! Thats crazy! I think its more of a southern thing.

At any rate, I don't expect you guys to agree with all of this or most of it. Im just your average joe that spent three weeks there and I enjoyed my time immensely! Atlanta is a great city and I hope to spend more time there in the future!
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Nothing else left to add here, folks!
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA
13,160 posts, read 15,975,264 times
Reputation: 9182
Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
Highly subjective comment. Houston is surprisingly green. The most lush and green place I've seen was Pittsburgh. I was recently in Austin, wow, what a great and livable city. What Austin and Pittsburgh have that Atlanta lacks is a large body of water to frame the city. Atlanta makes me feel a bit water starved.


Dude ... seriously? The guy thinks Atlanta is beautiful! Why can't your just RESPECT that?!
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