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Moving to Atlanta

Atlanta is the sprawling capital and most populous metro of the southern state of Georgia, and is a culturally, historically and economically significant city in the US. It lies at the southern extremity of the famous Appalachian Mountains, and it therefore became an important gateway for overland traffic from the southern Atlantic Seaboard to the west. Today, it's still an important transport hub and is home to the busiest airport on Earth.

Living in Atlanta as an expat

Atlanta’s economy is made up of a diverse range of industries, including logistics, IT and business services. Media also makes up an influential part of the city’s economy, as Atlanta is home to the headquarters of the CNN and TBS television networks. Those moving to Atlanta with expertise in any of these areas are sure to find plenty of commercial opportunities.

Downtown Atlanta is where most businesses and government organisations are based, and it is likely that new arrivals in the city will end up working in this area. Midtown Atlanta is a large business district where many law firms are based, and expats will also find many cultural attractions and universities there. Buckhead is Atlanta’s uptown area and is also a business hub, but it is surrounded by suburbs and the dense forests Atlanta is famous for.

Cost of living in Atlanta

The cost of living in Atlanta is relatively low compared to other US cities. High-quality accommodation is available for a reasonable price, and living in the suburbs instead of in the city is a good way to make money go further. Another advantage to the suburbs is the space; many houses are large with a garden and a swimming pool.

There is, however, one disadvantage to living in the suburbs of Atlanta, and that is the commute into the city for work. It is a large, sprawling city, notorious for high traffic congestion. Expats should consider living in an area where they have easy access to public transport. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) provides buses and trains. The railway connects all the main areas of Atlanta and can save commuters a lot of time and frustration. In some areas, there is a 'park and ride' system for commuters who do not live within walking distance of public transport.

Families and children in Atlanta

Families moving to Atlanta with children can rest assured that the city is known for its high standard of education. The city is home to some of the best universities in the US, and there are also many excellent public and private schools in Atlanta. Atlanta, home to the Center for Disease Control, has excellent healthcare standards but higher than average healthcare costs, so newcomers are advised to get private health insurance if they're not yet covered.

Climate in Atlanta

South of the Appalachians, Atlanta's climate is subtropical and humid. It has four distinct seasons, but is best known for its long, humid summers.

Atlanta continues to increase in popularity as a relocation destination, and those moving to the city can look forward to living in an exciting destination with a high quality of life.

Weather in Atlanta

Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. 

Summers are warm and long, with the average temperature in the warmest month of July being roughly 81°F (27°C). Winters are cold and short. The coldest month is January, during which nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing.

Atlanta experiences various forms of precipitation all year round, ranging from rain to hail, sleet and snow. Tornadoes can occur on occasion, and it's important to heed any warnings issued by authorities.


Working in Atlanta

As the commercial and development capital of southeast USA, Atlanta is attracting more and more new residents with a wide range of commercial opportunities. The city is home to more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies, many of which provide attractive employment opportunities for suitably qualified job seekers. However, it is worth noting that the city's workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, making competition for top jobs quite fierce.

Job market in Atlanta 

Professional and business services are the largest contributors to Atlanta's economy, while the leisure and hospitality sectors are also sources of significant employment in the city. Job opportunities are also growing in key areas such as healthcare, education and retail.

Atlanta is home to the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, making the city the centre of business and logistics in the southern US. Delta Air Lines is one of the biggest employers in Atlanta, while other notable local and international companies based here include Coca-Cola, Home Depot and the United Parcel Service (UPS). The city is also a media hub and is home to the global headquarters of CNN and TBS television networks.

Expats who want to work in Atlanta will need to obtain a work permit for the US.

Finding a job in Atlanta 

Many newcomers to Atlanta arrive with a job offer in hand, but those who don't will do well to start their search online. Most companies will list their job openings on their own website or on local job portals. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn are also extremely valuable resources.

Recruitment agents are also a good option. These professionals have unique insights into their specific industry and are positioned to link up qualified candidates with employers.

Of course, new arrivals should make use of personal connections as much as possible – networking is arguably the best way to make new business connections and to get some insider tips on local industries and the local job market. It's also a great way for new arrivals to make friends and establish themselves in their new community.

Work culture in Atlanta

Despite its small-town feel and laid-back lifestyle, there is still a strong corporate culture in Atlanta. The city is known for its southern hospitality, and this extends into the business climate in Atlanta; good manners and a positive attitude go a long way. Those who go the extra mile to be personable and make a good impression are more likely to stand out from the crowd when job hunting.

Cost of living in Atlanta

The cost of living in Atlanta might not be cheap, but it's far lower than that of many other major American cities. The biggest living expense in Atlanta will likely be accommodation, but for those willing to commute, cheaper alternatives can be found in the outlying areas and suburbs of the city.

Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2022 ranked Atlanta 42nd out of 227 cities, which makes it considerably cheaper than New York City (7th), Los Angeles (17th), San Francisco (19th) and a number of other major US cities.

Cost of accommodation in Atlanta

Housing will likely be the largest expense for expats living in Atlanta. There's a range of options for accommodation to suit all tastes and needs, from houses to apartments and everything in between.

Demand for accommodation in Atlanta is high, with new developments constantly springing up, so rental and purchasing costs in some areas can be pricey. Budget-friendly options are available but can be difficult to find, so if house hunters are lucky enough to find a good deal, they should snap it up before someone else does.

Cost of education in Atlanta

The cost of education in Atlanta varies considerably depending on the school. The city is home to a number of excellent public, private and international schools. Costs for public schools are minimal, but private and international schools are usually associated with high fees. 

Cost of transport in Atlanta

Most people living in Atlanta tend to own a car. While petrol is affordable, the cost of maintaining a car can quickly add up. Parking can be expensive, and car owners will also have to account for insurance costs as well.

Alternatively, Atlanta is served by reliable and comprehensive public transport links, with buses and trains travelling all over the city.

Cost of groceries in Atlanta

The cost of living in Atlanta is easily the highest in the state, and groceries are roughly on par with the national average. Budget-conscious buyers can visit a big-box store like Costco for bulk specials and farmer's markets for reasonably priced fresh produce.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Atlanta

The City of Trees is blessed with a multitude of outdoor spaces, making it easy for residents to enjoy a wallet-friendly outdoor lifestyle. This transport hub also boasts plenty of shopping options and a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene, with options to suit all budgets and preferences.

Cost of living in Atlanta chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for February 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 3,300

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,300

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,910

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,520


Eggs (dozen)

USD 3.91

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.90

Rice (1kg)

USD 4.25

Loaf of white bread

USD 2.77

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 11.89

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 7.50

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.08


USD 4.71

Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 65


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.23

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 74

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 207


Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 2.17

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 2.50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.89

Accommodation in Atlanta

Expats moving to Atlanta will be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. From urban living downtown to family living in the outer suburbs, there are ample options for suitable housing in Atlanta at reasonable prices.

Types of accommodation in Atlanta

Atlanta offers a variety of accommodation and different types of housing can be found, depending on the area of the city.

Areas close to the city centre are generally more expensive than those outside the city limits, but the available amenities vary. Those living in town will have access to many entertainment options and restaurants with shorter commute times, while those living further afield will have access to good schools and wide open spaces but will possibly find themselves having to endure a lengthy commute.


These are popular with young professional Atlantans. Modern self-contained units within a larger building, apartments can be found all over Atlanta. They tend to be one of the most affordable options and are a particularly popular choice within the downtown area where space is limited.


Condos are a happy medium between houses and apartments. New arrivals will find this option allows them to have a little extra space along with the benefits of communal living. Condos are self-contained units within a bigger complex where residents share a range of amenities including communal swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities.


Newcomers looking for a bit more space will find a huge variety of houses, particularly towards the outskirts of town. From classic and colonial style mansions filled with character to minimalist modern designs, there is something to suit everyone's tastes. Most of the newer housing will be found in outlying suburbs.

Finding accommodation in Atlanta

Expats moving to Atlanta need to decide on the type of accommodation they are interested in and which area they would like to live in before their search begins. Factors to consider include budget, lifestyle and proximity to amenities.

It's not easy to live in Atlanta without a car, and with heavy traffic congestion, expats looking for accommodation in Atlanta need to consider the proximity of their home to their workplace, public transport, schools, shops and any other important amenities. If looking to live in the city centre, new residents should always find out what parking is available in or near a residence, as parking can be limited in the city.

The easiest way to find property to rent or buy in Atlanta is online. There are many online property portals that list both short- and long-term rentals, while individual housing estates and complexes also have websites where it’s possible to view floor plans, lists of rentals and purchasing options.

Expats can also work through a local real estate agent to assist in the househunting process; agents can often negotiate on their client's behalf and sort out all the necessary paperwork.

Renting accommodation in Atlanta

There are many rental options in Atlanta, with both furnished and unfurnished accommodation being available in the city.

Making an application

Once prospective tenants have found a property to their liking, they’ll need to express their interest either to the agent or the landlord directly. The first step to securing a rental property is normally to tender a lease application. Credit checks and background checks will also be done, and applicants may be asked to supply references from previous landlords. Once these have been verified, the tenant and landlord can go ahead and sign the lease. For those moving to Atlanta from outside the US, it's best to try to open a US bank account and have a social security number set up before applying for a rental property.


Rental contracts are usually valid for a year, but tenants will have the option to renew at the end of the initial term. At the discretion of the landlord, it may be possible to request a shorter lease. Tenants who want to negotiate any aspect of their lease should do so outside peak holiday season when there isn't as much demand for holiday rentals.


Prospective tenants will be required to put down a security deposit to secure the lease on a property. These rental deposits are fully refundable once the lease terminates, provided that the property is left in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is important to carry out a detailed inventory at both the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will be deducted from the deposit.


Renters need to pore over the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities are included. In most cases, the landlord covers standard utilities such as water and electricity. Optional extras such as internet, cable TV and landline telephone services are usually for the tenant's personal account.

Areas and suburbs in Atlanta

The best places to live in Atlanta

When deciding on which area or suburb in Atlanta to choose, new arrivals will need to consider the proximity to their workplace, children’s schools and access to public transport. Atlanta is notorious for heavy traffic, so the commute time to work and other amenities is an important consideration.

The layout of the city can be confusing for new arrivals. Many neighbourhoods make up separate towns and cities that form part of the greater Atlanta Metropolitan area, and with dozens of roads named 'Peachtree', finding the right road in the right area can be frustrating.

Below is an overview of the most popular residential areas in Atlanta.

City living in Atlanta


Midtown is often referred to as the heart of Atlanta’s art scene, and it offers residents a trendy city lifestyle with access to fine restaurants, shopping, nightlife and cultural activities. Midtown is also home to Piedmont Park, a large city park popular for sporting activities, festivals, arts and entertainment.

Housing in Midtown is varied and includes freestanding houses, condos and apartments. Residents of Midtown include an eclectic mix of young singles and professionals. It is also home to a number of good schools and is popular with families.

Expats living in Midtown will find it easy to get around the area, as it is well serviced by MARTA public transport; it’s also one of the most walkable areas in Atlanta.


Primarily a business district, Downtown Atlanta has many tourist and family-friendly attractions and is a centre of culture in the city. It is the largest of the three business districts in Atlanta and home to notable corporations such as CNN. Downtown is also popular among students due to Georgia State University's presence in the area.

Accommodation is largely in the form of condos and refurbished loft apartments. As Atlanta's major transport hub, Downtown is well serviced by MARTA.


Home to the residence of Georgia’s governor, Buckhead is one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Atlanta. As such, it has earned itself the nickname of 'the Beverly Hills of the South'.

The area is a blend of business and pleasure. Home to many top companies, boutiques and entertainment establishments, those living in Buckhead will have access to great restaurants and bars while enjoying a short commute to the area's business districts for work.

Buckhead is popular with young professional singles living in condos and apartments as well as affluent families living in massive mansions straddling meandering, tree-lined streets. Despite being in the city, many of Buckhead’s neighbourhoods are actually surrounded by dense forest. 

Suburban life in Atlanta

Atlanta suburbsGrant Park

Grant Park is one of Atlanta’s oldest neighbourhoods and an important historical district, with architecture dating back to the 1800s. Housing in Grant Park can be found in the form of Victorian houses and cottages dating back to the early 20th century.

There are lots of places to enjoy the fresh air, most notably the city’s oldest city park, Grant Park, a 131-acre green space with a playground and walking trails. Zoo Atlanta is also located in Grant Park.

With plenty of family-friendly activities and good schools, Grant Park is popular among families. Grant Park is well serviced by both MARTA bus and rail.


Virginia-Highland, often known as VaHi, is located east of Piedmont Park. Housing in this area is generally in the form of historic houses and bungalows. It is a popular area for eating out and entertainment and plays host to several large festivals throughout the year.

Virginia-Highland is especially popular with young professionals. It is known as a very walkable neighbourhood but is also serviced by MARTA buses.

Healthcare in Atlanta

Healthcare in Atlanta is of a high standard, and the city is home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is a large range of hospitals and clinics in the Metro Atlanta area. Pharmacies can also easily be found in Atlanta, and many are open 24/7.

The cost of healthcare in Atlanta is higher than the national average, so those moving to the city should ensure that they are well covered by a comprehensive private health insurance plan.

Below is a list of recommended hospitals in Atlanta.

Hospitals in Atlanta

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston Hospital
Address: 1405 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322

Emory St Joseph’s Hospital
Address: 5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30342

Emory University Hospital
Address: 1364 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322

Northside Hospital Atlanta
Address: 1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30342

Piedmont Atlanta Hospital
Address: 1968 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30309

Education and Schools in Atlanta

The Atlanta public schooling system is managed by the Atlanta Board of Education. Schools in Atlanta consist of public, charter, private and international schools. As with the rest of the US, the Georgia schooling system is divided into three levels:

  • Elementary school – Kindergarten to Grade 5

  • Middle school – Grade 6 to Grade 8

  • High school – Grade 9 to Grade 12

Public schools in Atlanta

The majority of children in Georgia State are enrolled in the public schooling system, and it is not uncommon for new arrivals to send their children to a local public school in Atlanta.

Placement at a public school is determined by where the family lives, so those with children will want to ensure that they move to a good schooling district.

Charter schools

Charter schools are a subset of public schools governed by a non-profit board and operating on a performance-based contract with the government. Though charter schools are bound to the American curriculum, they have more flexibility than regular public schools and are able to determine their own policies and teaching style. These schools generally achieve good academic results.

Magnet schools

Like charter schools, magnet schools are funded by the state. However, magnet schools are not bound by the US curriculum and are instead able to develop their own. Each magnet school typically focuses on a specialised subject area, such as science, the performing arts or languages.

Private and international schools in Atlanta

There are many good private schools in Atlanta, including single-sex schools and schools with a religious affiliation. There are also one or two international schools in the state of Georgia that offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum, including the Atlanta International School, a private elementary, middle and high school.

Education at private and international schools comes at a high price, and each school has its own admission requirements, which may involve tests and personal interviews. Competition for a place at the best private and international schools can be fierce and parents should apply well in advance as places may be limited.

Special-needs education in Atlanta

The education system in America, generally, is well equipped to provide for students with learning and developmental disabilities. There are multiple federal and state laws in place to ensure that children with disabilities have fair access to quality education at no cost.

Both public and private schools have special programmes in place to support students with learning difficulties. In cases where a person’s disability is too severe for them to benefit from mainstream education, there are also several special education facilities that are able to offer students with special needs a programme tailored to meet their specific requirements.

Tutors in Atlanta

Whether a child has fallen behind in maths class or is in need of additional support to excel in their SATs, a tutor can be a valuable assistant.

Parents can start by asking the child’s school or other parents in the area for a recommendation. Alternatively, one could utilise the services of established tutoring services. These companies, such as Higher Ground Pret, offer an array of packages from subject-specific intensive programmes to one-to-one home tuition and small group sessions.

Enlisting the services of a private tutor is an excellent opportunity for students to address any gaps in their knowledge, excel at a certain subject, or simply build confidence in their own abilities.

International schools in Atlanta

Parents looking for private international schools in Atlanta have good, if limited, options. While there aren't any schools offering the curriculum of a foreign country, there are several language-immersion schools with options including French, German, Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish. The International Baccalaureate is also offered by a number of private and public schools. Language-immersion programmes are useful for families looking to maintain or develop their children's proficiency in a language other than English.

Below is a list of reputable international schools in Atlanta.

International schools in Atlanta  

Atlanta International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (French, German, Mandarin and Spanish immersion)
Ages: 3 to 18

Atlanta Montessori International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Montessori
Ages: 8 weeks to 15 years

Atlanta Trilingual Academy

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American (English, Spanish and Chinese immersion)
Ages: 1 to 9

Maylan International Academy

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Montessori (Mandarin immersion)
Ages: 1 to 9

OMNI International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American (Japanese and Mandarin immersion)
Ages: 2 to 11

Tabula Rasa – The Language Academy

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate (French, Spanish and Albanian immersion)
Ages: 3 months to 10 years

Lifestyle in Atlanta

Expats looking for a bit of southern hospitality are sure to find it in Atlanta. With a diverse population of local and foreign residents, the city tends to receive newcomers warmly.

While it is a sprawling metropolis, Atlanta has many pockets of distinct close-knit communities and maintains somewhat of a small-town feel – it certainly operates at a slower pace than one might expect of such a major commercial hub.

Atlanta is a vibrant and pleasant city that offers expats a good quality of life and a relatively low cost of living. From suburban family life in the outer suburbs to the city chic lifestyle of Midtown, each neighbourhood of Atlanta has something unique to offer. It is also one of the greenest cities in the US with lush parks and even forests, which, along with a moderate climate, allow residents to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. There are also abundant shopping and nightlife opportunities throughout Atlanta.

Shopping in Atlanta

From large shopping malls to trendy boutiques and outdoor markets, Atlanta has something to suit every shopper. Shopping in the upmarket Buckhead neighbourhood offers luxury boutiques, antique stores and high-end retailers lining the streets, while Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square, located just across from each other, house hundreds of mainstream shopping outlets.

Expats will also find plenty of independent shops and boutiques, especially in Virginia-Highland, Midtown and Decatur. Those looking for something a little more offbeat can head to Little Five Points. Known as Atlanta’s bohemian neighbourhood, this district offers an eclectic and laid-back shopping experience.

Eating out in Atlanta

Atlantans love to eat out, and expats will find dining options for every taste and budget. The city is home to a number of top restaurants, many of which are owned by international celebrities. There are plenty of establishments serving local southern fare, while the city also boasts plenty of exotic flavours, including Korean, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Mexican and Indian eateries. A number of popular annual festivals celebrating food and beverages also take place in Atlanta, such as Taste of Atlanta and the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest.

Nightlife and entertainment in Atlanta

Atlanta is bustling with nightlife and entertainment options, and expats are sure to find something to suit their particular lifestyle. Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown and Little Five Points are popular areas for singles and young professionals, and have a vibrant nightlife scene with scores of bars, clubs and restaurants.

Sporting and outdoor activities in Atlanta

With the city's many open spaces of forests and parks, walking and cycling are two popular activities in Atlanta. Active outdoorsy types most often head to one of Piedmont Park, Chastain Park or the Centennial Olympic Park.

Just a short drive from Atlanta, expats will find some great state parks, particularly in and around the Appalachian Mountains, that offer hiking trails, fishing and camping.

Home to a number of major league professional sporting teams, including the Atlanta Falcons (American football), Atlanta Hawks (basketball) and the Atlanta Braves (baseball), sports fans will be spoilt for choice when it comes to live action at one of the city’s impressive stadiums.

See and do in Atlanta

Atlanta is home to a wide range of attractions. Everyone from sports fans to culture enthusiasts and music lovers will be able to find an activity to suit their interests in Atlanta. Those moving here with children will be pleased to know that there are plenty of child-friendly activities to get involved with in the city.

Here is a list of some of Atlanta’s most popular attractions.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

This is a secret world of serenity amid the city’s hustle and bustle. Visitors will find an ever-changing schedule of fascinating exhibitions, exciting events and interesting classes held at the Garden.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

This informative cultural attraction is located in Downtown Atlanta. Exhibits are informative and moving, depicting the American Civil Rights Movement as well as a range of other modern-day global human rights initiatives.

High Museum of Art

Featuring American, European and African art as well as decorative pieces and photography, the High Museum boasts a collection of more than 15,000 works. A must for art lovers.

Martin Luther King Jr National Historical Park

This historical park contains the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr and the church where he preached and the memorial site where he is buried. It's an extremely popular attraction in Atlanta and draws close to 700,000 visitors each year.

Piedmont Park

This 189-acre park is always a hive of activity. Not only is it home to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, but in the summer, residents can enjoy music festivals and picnics in the park. Throughout the year it is a popular place for joggers, cyclists and recreational walkers.

Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

This is the home of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, which regularly stages productions of Shakespearean classics. Visitors can enjoy British pub food and drinks in the recreated tavern setting while taking in a play.

What's on in Atlanta

Atlanta has a brimming calendar of lively annual events to keep both locals and expats entertained throughout the year.

Regardless of whether one is looking for a party or simply to appreciate some good live music or art, there is sure to be something on Atlanta's events calendar to appeal to newcomers of all walks.

Martin Luther King Jr. Week (January)

This national holiday has turned into a whole week of festivities in Atlanta in tribute to the great civil rights leader, including parades, readings, educational events and religious services.

Atlanta Film Festival (March)

This nine-day event showcases works of both mainstream and independent filmmakers from around the world, with movies screened in various locations around Atlanta.

Inman Park Festival (April)

This is one of Atlanta’s best neighbourhood festivals, with a history of close to 50 years. Attendees can enjoy a parade, live music, a street market and tours of historic and remodelled homes in the Inman Park area.

Atlanta Jazz Festival (May)

One of the largest free jazz events in the US, the Atlanta Jazz Festival sees thousands of attendees gather to enjoy the works of jazz legends at a number of venues around the city.

Music Midtown (September)

This celebration of a range of musical genres is a treat for musos of all kinds, with numerous local and international acts gracing stages in Midtown.

North Georgia State Fair (September)

The second-largest fair in the state of Georgia, this festival is fun for the whole family and includes exhibits, rides, live performances and a beauty pageant. Don't forget to try some classic American festival fare, like corndogs and funnel cakes.

Taste of Atlanta (October)

A huge outdoor food festival featuring cooking demonstrations, tasting tents and live entertainment, foodies won't want to miss this sensory feast.

Getting around in Atlanta

Atlanta has an established public transport system consisting of buses, trains and streetcars, so getting around the city isn't difficult. However, most residents still rely on their own vehicles for getting around Atlanta. Though it's possible to live in the city without a car, it’s not always convenient, so it's well worth considering buying or renting a car in Atlanta.

Driving in Atlanta

The majority of Atlanta residents rely on cars for getting around the city. This reliance on personal motor vehicles has contributed to heavy traffic congestion. In fact, Atlanta has consistently performed badly in surveys for traffic, with the city having some of the worst in the whole of the US.

A sprawling metropolis, Atlanta isn't always easy to navigate. The main thoroughfare, which runs through the city centre, is Peachtree Street, but more than 70 streets in Atlanta have the word 'Peachtree' in them, so finding the right one can be confusing.

New arrivals should note that Atlanta drivers are known for their speed and impatience, and driving in Atlanta can be scary. It's therefore important to stay alert and plan routes carefully before setting out.

Public transport in Atlanta

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) manages public transport in Atlanta, including bus, rail and streetcar services that connect all parts of the city.

To travel on MARTA trains, buses or streetcars, tickets can be bought online, at the station or via a smartcard known as the Breeze Card. Breeze cards can be purchased at Breeze vending machines at MARTA rail stations, at MARTA Ridestores and online.


MARTA operates over 90 bus routes within the boundaries of Atlanta's Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb counties. Buses operate from 5am to 1am weekdays and until 12.30am on weekends and holidays.

In the wider Atlanta Metropolitan area, MARTA bus stations are linked to outlying areas via local bus services such as CobbLinc and Gwinnett County Transit.


Atlanta has a reliable rapid-transit railway system. Although trains are much faster than buses for getting around Atlanta, rail routes are much more limited in comparison. Trains operate between 4.45am and 1am on weekdays, and between 6am and 1am on weekends. Trains arrive between every 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day.

Train services operate along four lines: red, gold, blue and green. The red and gold lines run between the north and south, while the blue and green lines run between the east and west of the city. These lines intersect at the main train station, Five Points Station, in downtown Atlanta.


Streetcars in Atlanta follow a circular route known as the 'Downtown Loop'. With only 12 stops, it's not a comprehensive service, but it's useful for travelling between the major attractions in downtown Atlanta such as the Centennial Olympic Park area and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Further expansion is planned for the future.

Taxis in Atlanta

Taxis are available in Atlanta, although they are not as visible as in other larger US cities. It is usually possible to flag one from the street, but it's recommended to rather phone for a taxi ahead of time, or to book online. Within certain districts, common routes are charged at a flat rate. Outside these areas, taxis use a meter.

An alternative to regular taxis is ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, both of which can be accessed via their respective smartphone applications.

Cycling in Atlanta

Though historically a car-centric city, the city of Atlanta has made strides in increasing pedestrian and cycling access, converting 22 miles (35 km) of railroad track into multi-use trails and a light rail transport system known as the Beltline. To date, the city has developed more than 120 miles (193 km) of cycle-accessible paths.

Walking in Atlanta

The city has also put a lot of effort into increasing pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, crossings and trails as part of their Vision Zero initiative, and the results are paying off. In 2019, the Foot Traffic Ahead study ranked Atlanta the 9th most walkable of the 30 largest US metros, similar in walkability to Seattle and Charlotte.