Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, North America

Founded: 1837; Incorporated: 1847
Location: Northwestern Georgia, United States, North America
Motto: "Wisdom, justice, and moderation" (state motto)
Flag: City seal in yellow on blue field.
Flower: Cherokee rose (state flower)
Time Zone: 7 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White 30%, Black 67.1%, Other 2.9%
Elevation: 320 m (1,050 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 33°74'N, 84°38'W
Coastline: None
Climate: Moderate temperatures, with highly changeable weather patterns; natural barriers protect the city from very severe cold; snowfall is infrequent.
Annual Mean Temperature: 17.9°C (64.2°F); January 5.8°C (42.4°F); July 25.5°C (78.0°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: 5 cm (2 in); Average Annual Precipitation (total of rainfall and melted snow): 123.4 cm (48.6 in)
Government: Mayor-council
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Units: Standard U.S.
Telephone Area Codes: 404, 678, 770
Postal Codes: 30301–94, 31101–56

2. Getting There

Atlanta is the capital of Georgia and its largest city, as well as the seat of Fulton County. It is located south of the Appalachian Mountains in northwestern Georgia.


North-south highways providing access to Atlanta include I-85, which connects the city to Greenville, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Montgomery, Alabama; and I-75, which extends northward to Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee, and south to Florida. The major east-west expressway is I-20 (the West Express-way), which leads to Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; and westward to Texas and beyond. All of the preceding interstate highways intersect with I-285, known locally as "the Perimeter," which rings the city.

Bus and Railroad Service

Greyhound offers bus service to Atlanta. While slower than other modes of travel, it provides a unique way to experience the local color of the South. The Amtrak-operated Crescent, running north-south, connects Atlanta with points along the eastern seaboard.


As one of the nation's major airline hubs, Hartsfield International Airport, located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) outside downtown Atlanta, is one of the world's busiest airports, carrying 68 million passengers per year and providing nonstop service to 186 cities in the United States. The airport is home to Delta Airlines, which offers more than 500 flights a day from Hartsfield. A new concourse—the nation's largest—opened in 1994 for international travel, and further major improvements were made the following year, including a new central atrium linking the major terminals.


Although it is an inland city, Atlanta is a thriving shipping center, with Hartsfield International Airport accounting for the largest volume of goods shipped. A Foreign Trade Zone near the airport makes Atlanta an especially attractive destination for international shippers. The city is also served by the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail lines, as well as hundreds of motor freight carriers.

Atlanta Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 396,000
Area: 341.4 sq km (131.8 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 30% white; 67.1% black; 2.9% other
Nicknames: City of Trees, Capital of the New South

Metropolitan Area

Population: 2,689,000
Area: 15,866 sq km (6,126 sq mi)
World population rank1: 113
Percentage of total US population2: 1%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.7%
Ethnic composition: 71.4% white; 25.8% black; and 2.6% Asian/Pacific Islander


  1. The Atlanta metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the total population of the United States living in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Atlanta boasts one of the nation's cutting-edge rapid transit systems, known as MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority). The system operates 240 electric rail cars

Atlanta skyline. ()
over 62.7 kilometers (39 miles) of track. Lines running north-south and east-west converge at the Five Points Station in the heart of the city. Bus service is coordinated with the rapid-transit schedule; some 150 bus routes cover a total of 2,413 kilometers (1,500 miles).


Guided sightseeing tours are offered by several tour lines. A variety of specialty tours are offered as well, including a walking tour sponsored by the Atlanta Preservation Center, a tour of the Fox Theatre District, the Historic Downtown Tour focusing on architecture, the Sweet Auburn/MLK District Tour focusing on black history, and a tour of the neighborhood that served as the setting for the play and film Driving Miss Daisy.

7. Government

Atlanta's municipal government vests executive power in its mayor; the legislative function is carried out by an 18-member council, whose members are elected both by individual districts and citywide. Atlanta is also the capital of Georgia and home to its 56-member state senate and 180-member house of representatives and its governor.

19. Tourism

Atlanta's cosmopolitan reputation and thriving business activity bring many visitors to the city, and tourism received a major boost from the 1996 Olympics. In 1995 approximately 495,000 foreign travelers visited the city, ranking it twelfth nationally in this category.

22. For Further Study

Websites [Online] Available (accessed October 15, 1999).

DigitalCity WebGuide Atlanta. [Online] Available (accessed October 15, 1999).

Excite Travel, Inc. [Online] Available (accessed October 15, 1999).

Info Atlanta. [Online] Available (accessed October 15, 1999).

Government Offices

Atlanta City Hall
55 Trinity Ave. SW
Atlanta, GA 30335
(404) 330-6000

Atlanta Planning and Development Dept.
55 Trinity Ave. SW, Suite 1450
Atlanta, GA 30335
(404) 330-6070

Mayor's Office
55 Trinity Ave. SW, Suite 2400
Atlanta, GA 30335
(404) 330-6100

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Atlanta Convention and Visitors' Bureau
233 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 521-6600


Atlanta Constitution/Journal
P.O. Box 4689
Atlanta, GA 30302

Atlanta Magazine
1330 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 450
Atlanta, GA 30309


Allen, Frederick. Atlanta Rising: The Invention of an International City, 1946–1996. Atlanta, GA: Longstreet Press, 1996.

Clayton, Sarah Conley. Requiem for a Lost City: A Memoir of Civil War Atlanta and the Old South. Ed. Robert Scott Davis, Jr. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1999.

David, Harold E. Henry Grady's New South: Atlanta, A Brave and Beautiful City. University of Alabama Press, 1990.

Davis, Ren, and Helen Davis. Atlanta Walks: A Guide to Walking, Running, and Bicycling Historic and Scenic Atlanta. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1993.

Garrison, Webb B. Atlanta and the War. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1995.

Gournay, Isabelle. AIA Guide to the Architecture of Atlanta. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993.

Knorr, Rosanne. Kidding Around Atlanta. J. Muir, 1997.

Kuhn, Clifford M. Living Atlanta, An Oral History of the City, 1914–1948. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990.

McCarley, J. Britt. The Atlanta Campaign: A Civil War Driving Tour of Atlanta Area Battlefields. Atlanta: Cherokee Publishing Co., 1984.

Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind. New York: Macmillan, 1936. [Fiction]

Pomerantz, Gary. Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn: The Saga of Two Families and the Making of Atlanta. New York: Scribner, 1996.

Shavin, Norman, and Bruce Galphin. Atlanta: Triumph of a People. Atlanta: Capricorn Corp., 1985.

Thompson, Joseph F., and Robert Isbell. Atlanta: A City of Neighborhoods. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1994.