Becoming an ATLien

Living in Atlanta the past couple of months have been nothing short of eye opening and exciting — from having a fantastic internship experience with an equally fantastic company to exploring this city with new friends, every week flies by faster than the one before. As the summer comes to a close, I thought I’d share a few insights in a brisk, Buzzfeed-esque way of stuff I’ve learned during my short time here.

  1. Atlanta is half the cost for just as much fun as Manhattan. For you die hard Manhattaners and doubters out there, seriously, Atlanta is so great. For me, a college student studying business, of course Manhattan was always on my list of places to intern, but over this summer I figured out Atlanta is somewhere I can 1) live in a decent apartment, and 2) actually have the money to go out and do the things I want to do! Atlanta turned out to be so much more than I expected.
  2. You can find every scene in Atlanta: whatever fits your fancy can probably be found somewhere in Atlanta. Over the summer, I’d say my friends and I went to 5 of the neighborhoods the most: Buckhead is the “corporate young adult scene” with sky scrapers, nice restaurants and plenty of recent grads getting a taste of the good life. At night, it has your typical college/greek life bar scene: a strip of bars with outdoor patios and more than enough frockets/button ups to go around. Edgewood is a strictly night-time only place where you can dance the night away to the hottest hip hop/rap/R&B tracks in a crowd of equally hot and steamy people. The West Side is one of my personal favorites — growing but still developing enough to be super hip, and full of great restaurants and coffee shops. Downtown Decatur is the cutest little couple of blocks where you can eat your stomach away at delicious restaurants (shout out to the Iberian Pig!), plus it’s where you can find plenty of new families with cute kids/dogs walking around. If you want to go somewhere on the weekends for a seemingly endless choice for brunch, Midtown is definitely where to go.
  3. Atlanta’s downtown is the tourist mecca of the city. Before I moved to Atlanta, I thought downtown was going to be this hip, happening place in the center of everything. However, as you may have guessed from #2, that’s exactly not true. Downtown ATL has a bunch of corporate offices and is great for all the tourist-y things like the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Park, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, The World of Coke, etc. etc. But when it comes down to great restaurants, bars and other things locals like to do, there are definitely better neighborhoods for that.
  4. Atlanta traffic is bad. So is the airport. One of my coworkers loves to say “you can get anywhere around Atlanta in 15 minutes without traffic!” Okay. Yeah that’s true. But unless you’re driving at some random ass hour of the day, you’re going to be hitting some congestion…everywhere. My 15 minute traffic-free drive to the office turns into a 45min to 1hr drive during rush hour(s). And don’t get me started on the airport. But it’s the city, and it’s the busiest airport in the world, so how much can you really ask for.
  5. ATLiens love to stay active. One thing I’ve learned from moving to this city is that there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and moving, and many of my fellow Atlanta city dwellers really value their health. One huge example that speaks to this is the Atlanta beltline that’s being built around the city — a trail for walkers, runners, bikers and rollerbladers alike. There are also so many kickball teams, volleyball teams, soccer teams and running groups that meet throughout the week and during the weekends around different neighborhoods and parks.

This summer was the first time I’ve ever lived in a big city. After living in the college town of Chapel Hill, NC for the past few years, making this move to Atlanta was definitely a needed change of pace. There’s nothing like discovering the nuances that make a city special. I’m going to miss this place, but soon it will be time for the next adventure.

Atlanta, I’ll be back!

— — — —

Here are a few snapshots from my summer in Atlanta (I had to put the food first!):

One of my favorite dinners (Bocado, West Side)
Because pretty food makes it even more delicious (South City Kitchen, Midtown)
Friends + beer, what more could I ask for? (SweetWater Brewery)
A UNC reunion in Atlanta to celebrate Matt’s birthday (Tin Lizzy’s, Buckhead)
A view from the office (Buckhead)
My obsession with aquariums continues… (Georgia Aquarium, Downtown Atlanta)
Drag showwww!
Cried laughing at this improv show (The Basement Theatre)
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