Atlanta, GA gives you the best of the South (food, big city amenities, great weather) without the worst of the South (ignorance, stagnant economies). It is a booming city with new transplants coming in every day, making it vibrant and exciting. Yet it retains a rich, soulful history that can be found around every bend.
Falling in Love with Atlanta
While there are many reasons to love Atlanta (and of course to visit), there are five special ones I have learned through my nine years living here.
While you may hear Northerners (or Yankees as they are still called) complaining about the oppressive heat and humidity during a “Hotlanta” summer, you seldom hear locals complain. They know that hot weather just means you are supposed to move slower. You’re supposed to ‘sit a spell’ instead of hurrying off. They know summer is a season for relaxation and the weather makes sure they do just that. I like to say that Atlanta has four seasons, but they gradually slide into each other. And as soon as you are getting sick of one, the next is right around the corner. Anyone who has ever made it through a Chicago winter (me!) knows to appreciate the gentle Atlantan seasons.
Atlanta has some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Even when they are being mean, they are still nice. Starting a sentence with ‘Bless your heart’ sounds sweet, but the intent means something like ‘Well aren’t you crazy?’. With so many transplants coming in from across the country though, the city of Atlanta is very much a hodgepodge where everyone fits in. It’s not hard to find a place where you can belong in Atlanta.
OMG. The Southern hospitality is REAL when it comes to food. Come to Atlanta to get your fill of grits and gravy…biscuits and gravy…country fried steak and gravy…just about anything and gravy. You better bring your running shoes when you visit Atlanta though, so you can try to stay a few steps ahead of those extra pounds. Cooks here love butter, cream and of course, gravy. There are also the sweetest, juiciest peaches you will ever eat found in the middle of summer in and around Atlanta. The peaches are reason enough to love Atlanta!
Atlanta is full of history. Some of it you might want to forget, but it is important you don’t. The Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression as some people still call it) is not forgotten in Atlanta. From the plantation reenactments at the Atlanta History Center to the plaques at Kennesaw Mountain to the Confederate monuments at Stone Mountain, the history of Atlanta in the Civil War is everywhere.
Though I’m obviously glad the North won, (yay for the end of slavery!) I’ve learned a bit about the sense of valor and honor the Southern soldier stood for. Understanding history, from both the winner’s and the loser’s point of view is so important…lest we are doomed to repeat it. There are also fantastic lessons in more recent history as told at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical site. History is all around you here!
The family friendliness.
As a mom of four, I love Atlanta because of its family friendliness. Yes there are lots of parks and playgrounds and fun things to do, but it’s more than that here. Families are welcome here. Families are encouraged to come to restaurants and festivals and museums. Families are seen as valuable.
Big families are treated really well. too. We are accommodated easily and not looked at like we are from Mars when we go somewhere with four kids. Children are blessings here, not burdens. They are seen as something to be cherished. I can’t say that about all big cities.
I moved to Atlanta 9 years ago as a bright-eyed, newly engaged twenty-something. I got married here at the Swan Coach House. I had all four of my children here at Piedmont Hospital. I have found a community in Atlanta that has embraced me and my family. I am a Midwesterner by birth, but I feel Southern enough to slip y’all into everyday conversations. Atlanta is not a place where I thought I’d feel comfortable, but I do. I love Atlanta and until a new journey calls, I am happy I get to call Atlanta home.
Want even more reasons to love Atlanta? Check out Free Things to do in Atlanta from Sue Rodman, TravelingMom of Teens and 5 Fall Races in Atlanta from Lorraine Sanabria Robertson, Marathon TravelingMom.