City Review: Atlanta

City: Atlanta, GA
Geographical Location: Southeastern USA
Population: 420,003 (city); 3.49 million (urban); 5.29 million (metro)
Size: 132.4 square miles (city); 1,963 sq mi (urban); 8,376 sq mi (metro)
Climate: humid subtropical

My Time There: I joined my boyfriend on a business trip there for 4 days in early January 2011.

Weather: 3 out of 10. Winters are mild; I was there in early January and it was in the 50s – pretty excellent. However, they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing. From what I hear, summers are terrible, probably worse than in DC. Hot and humid – no good.

Food: 6 out of 10. We definitely found some delicious stuff, though it was almost exclusively American places, with a Southern cooking focus.

Walkability: 2 out of 10. There are sidewalks (in mostly good repair) but it will only be you and sort of sketchy people on them, except for a few touristy areas. Nobody walks around – I was walking and I did not feel safe in some places in mid-day.

Bikeability: 2 out of 10. No bike lanes that I saw, and no people on bikes either.

Public Transportation: 6 out of 10. The metro system, MARTA, will take you to many places in the city and there appeared to be a decent bus system. However, we were questioned about feeling safe on MARTA (which we did) so apparently there is a stereotype that it is unsafe.

Vegetarian-friendly: 4 out of 10. Happycow.net has quite a few listings for Atlanta veg places; however, none of them are in the downtown area – all in the burbs. There were veg options at some of the places we went.

Beauty: 3 out of 10. From what I saw, it was not that easy on the eyes.

Museums, Etc.: 5 out of 10. There are a number of museums, though they all cost money. The Georgia Aquarium is top notch. The World of Coke is cheesy, but fun for the tasting you can do.

Cool Shops: Downtown area: 0 out of 10. Little Five Points: 8 out of 10. There was nothing cool downtown, but Little Five Points was awesome, chock full of interesting stuff.

Free Stuff to Do: 0 out of 10. I really found basically nothing to do for free there.

Great Outdoors: 2 out of 10. There were a few parks, but nothing really close by in the way of hikes, that I know of.

Cleanliness: 3 out of 10. The downtown area, at least, was not particularly clean.

People: 3 out of 10. I know one nice guy who lives there, but people on the street were weird or sort of hostile.

Cost of Living: $ out of $$$$. Food was cheap (even the fancy places weren’t too bad), and a quick Craigslist search just revealed that I could be living in a 4 bedroom home with what I pay for rent in DC.

Tourist Congestion: 3 out of 5. Apparently tourists come to Atlanta. I’m not really sure why.

Safety: 2 out of 5. I did not feel particularly safe anywhere in Atlanta (a little better in Little Five Points). The guy I know who lives there says every apartment parking lot has to be locked up tight. Not great.

Overall Thoughts: I was not enamored of Atlanta. In fact, I didn’t like it. It was sort of dirty, and nobody walked around. It’s easy to drive around in – traffic in the downtown seemed pretty light even during ‘rush hour’. However, that’s not what I want out of a city.

3 thoughts on “City Review: Atlanta

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