"Hotlanta" redirects here. For the song, see Hot 'Lanta
Atlanta was originally founded as the terminus of a major state-sponsored railroad. With rapid expansion, however, it soon became the convergence point among multiple railroads, spurring its rapid growth. The city's name derives from that of the Western and Atlantic Railroad
's local depot, signifying the town's growing reputation as a transportation hub.
During the American Civil War
, the city was almost entirely burned to the ground in General William T. Sherman
's March to the Sea
. However, the city rose from its ashes and quickly became a national center of commerce and the unofficial capital of the "New South
". During the 1950s and 1960s, Atlanta became a major organizing center of the civil rights movement
, with Martin Luther King Jr.
, Ralph David Abernathy
, and many other locals playing major roles in the movement's leadership.
During the modern era, Atlanta has attained international prominence as a major air transportation hub, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
being the world's busiest airport
by passenger traffic since 1998.
It ranks in the top twenty among world cities and 10th in the nation with a gross domestic product
(GDP) of $385 billion.
Atlanta's economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors that include aerospace, transportation, logistics, professional and business services, media operations, medical services, and information technology.
Atlanta has topographic features that include rolling hills and dense tree coverage
, earning it the nickname of "the city in a forest".Gentrification of Atlanta's neighborhoods
, initially spurred by the 1996 Summer Olympics
, has intensified in the 21st century with the growth of the Atlanta Beltline
, altering the city's demographics, politics, aesthetic, and culture.
Native American settlements
For thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers in north Georgia, the indigenous Creek people
and their ancestors inhabited the area. Standing Peachtree
, a Creek village where Peachtree Creek
flows into the Chattahoochee River
, was the closest Native American settlement to what is now Atlanta.
Through the early 19th century, European Americans systematically encroached on the Creek of northern Georgia, forcing them out of the area from 1802 to 1825.
The Creek were forced to leave the area in 1821, under Indian Removal
by the federal government,
and European American settlers arrived the following year.
Western and Atlantic Railroad
Marietta Street, 1864
In 1836, the Georgia General Assembly
voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad in order to provide a link between the port of Savannah
and the Midwest
The initial route was to run southward from Chattanooga
to a terminus east of the Chattahoochee River
, which would be linked to Savannah. After engineers surveyed various possible locations for the terminus, the "zero milepost" was driven into the ground in what is now Five Points
. A year later, the area around the milepost had developed into a settlement, first known as Terminus
, and later Thrasherville
, after a local merchant who built homes and a general store
in the area.
By 1842, the town had six buildings and 30 residents and was renamed Marthasville
to honor Governor Wilson Lumpkin's
daughter Martha. Later, John Edgar Thomson
, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad
, suggested the town be renamed Atlanta
The residents approved, and the town was incorporated as Atlanta on December 29, 1847.
By 1860, Atlanta's population had grown to 9,554.
During the American Civil War
, the nexus of multiple railroads in Atlanta made the city a strategic hub for the distribution of military supplies.
In 1864, the Union Army
moved southward following the capture of Chattanooga and began its invasion of north Georgia
. The region surrounding Atlanta was the location of several major army battles
, culminating with the Battle of Atlanta
and a four-month-long siege of the city by the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman
. On September 1, 1864, Confederate
General John Bell Hood
decided to retreat from Atlanta, and he ordered the destruction of all public buildings and possible assets that could be of use to the Union Army. On the next day, Mayor James Calhoun
surrendered Atlanta to the Union Army, and on September 7, Sherman ordered the city's civilian population to evacuate. On November 11, 1864, Sherman prepared for the Union Army's March to the Sea
by ordering the destruction of Atlanta's remaining military assets.
Rebuilding the city
After the Civil War ended in 1865, Atlanta was gradually rebuilt. The work attracted many new residents. Due to the city's superior rail transportation
network, the state capital
was moved from Milledgeville
to Atlanta in 1868.
In the 1880 Census, Atlanta had surpassed Savannah as Georgia's largest city.
In 1907, Peachtree Street, the main street of Atlanta, was busy with streetcars and automobiles.
During the first decades of the 20th century, Atlanta enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth. In three decades' time, Atlanta's population tripled as the city limits expanded to include nearby streetcar suburbs. The city's skyline grew taller with the construction of the Equitable
, and Candler
buildings. Sweet Auburn
emerged as a center of black commerce. The period was also marked by strife and tragedy. Increased racial tensions led to the Atlanta Race Riot
of 1906, when whites attacked blacks, leaving at least 27 people dead and over 70 injured, with extensive damage in black neighborhoods. In 1913, Leo Frank
, a Jewish-American factory superintendent, was convicted of the murder of a 13-year-old girl in a highly publicized trial. He was sentenced to death but the governor commuted his sentence to life. An enraged and organized lynch mob
took him from jail in 1915 and hanged him in Marietta
. The Jewish community in Atlanta and across the country were horrified.
On May 21, 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire
destroyed 1,938 buildings in what is now the Old Fourth Ward
, resulting in one fatality and the displacement of 10,000 people.
On December 15, 1939, Atlanta hosted the premiere
of Gone with the Wind
, the epic film based on the best-selling novel by Atlanta's Margaret Mitchell
. The gala event at Loew's Grand Theatre
was attended by the film's legendary producer, David O. Selznick
, and the film's stars Clark Gable
, Vivien Leigh
, and Olivia de Havilland
, but Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel
, an African-American actress, was barred from the event due to racial segregation laws.
Metropolitan area's growth
Atlanta played a vital role in the Allied effort during World War II
due to the city's war-related manufacturing companies, railroad network and military bases. The defense industries attracted thousands of new residents and generated revenues, resulting in rapid population and economic growth. In the 1950s, the city's newly constructed highway system, supported by federal subsidies, allowed middle class Atlantans the ability to relocate to the suburbs. As a result, the city began to make up an ever-smaller proportion of the metropolitan area's population. Georgia Tech
's president Blake R Van Leer
played an important role with a goal of making Atlanta the "MIT
of the South."
In 1946 Georgia Tech secured about $240,000 annually in sponsored research and purchased an electron microscope
for $13,000 (equivalent to $170,000 in 2019), the first such instrument in the Southeastern United States
and one of few in the United States at the time.
The Research Building was expanded, and a $300,000 (equivalent to $3,000,000 in 2019) WestinghouseA-C network calculator
was given to Georgia Tech by Georgia Power
In 1953, Van Leer assisted with helping Lockheed establish a research and development
and production line in Marietta. Later in 1955 he helped set up a committee to assist with establishing a nuclear research facility, which would later become the Neely Nuclear Research Center
. Van Leer also co-founded Southern Polytechnic State University
now known as Kennesaw State University
to help meet the need for technicians after the war.
Van Leer was instrumental in making the school and Atlanta the first major research center in the American South
. The building that houses Tech's school of Electrical and Computer Engineering
bears his name.
Civil Rights Movement
African-American veterans returned from World War II seeking full rights in their country and began heightened activism. In exchange for support by that portion of the black community that could vote, in 1948 the mayor ordered the hiring of the first eight African-American police officers in the city. Much controversy preceded the 1956 Sugar Bowl
, when the Pitt Panthers
, with African-American fullback Bobby Grier
on the roster, met the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
There had been controversy over whether Grier should be allowed to play due to his race, and whether Georgia Tech should even play at all due to Georgia's Governor Marvin Griffin
's opposition to racial integration.
After Griffin publicly sent a telegram to the state's Board Of Regents requesting Georgia Tech not to engage in racially integrated events, Georgia Tech's president Blake R Van Leer
rejected the request and threatened to resign. The game went on as planned.
Desegregation of the public sphere came in stages, with public transportation desegregated by 1959,
the restaurant at Rich's
department store by 1961,
movie theaters by 1963,
and public schools by 1973 (nearly 20 years after the US Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional).
In 1960, whites comprised 61.7% of the city's population.
During the 1950s–70s, suburbanization and white flight
from urban areas led to a significant demographic shift.
By 1970, African Americans were the majority of the city's population and exercised their recently enforced voting rights and political influence by electing Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson
, in 1973. Under Mayor Jackson's tenure, Atlanta's airport was modernized, strengthening the city's role as a transportation center. The opening of the Georgia World Congress Center
in 1976 heralded Atlanta's rise as a convention city.
Construction of the city's subway system
began in 1975, with rail service commencing in 1979.
Despite these improvements, Atlanta lost more than 100,000 residents between 1970 and 1990, over 20% of its population.
At the same time, it developed new office space after attracting numerous corporations, with an increasing portion of workers from northern areas.
1996 Summer Olympic Games
The Olympic flag waves at the 1996 games.
Atlanta was selected as the site for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games
. Following the announcement
, the city government undertook several major construction projects to improve Atlanta's parks, sporting venues, and transportation infrastructure; however, for the first time, none of the $1.7 billion cost of the games was governmentally funded. While the games experienced transportation and accommodation problems and, despite extra security precautions, there was the Centennial Olympic Park bombing
the spectacle was a watershed event in Atlanta's history. For the first time in Olympic history, every one of the record 197 national Olympic committees invited to compete sent athletes, sending more than 10,000 contestants participating in a record 271 events. The related projects such as Atlanta's Olympic Legacy Program
and civic effort initiated a fundamental transformation of the city in the following decade.
2000 to present
During the 2000s, Atlanta underwent a profound physical, cultural
, and demographic
transformation. As some of the black middle and upper classes also began to move to the suburbs, a booming economy drew numerous new migrants from other areas of the country, who contributed to changes in the city's demographics. African Americans made up a decreasing portion of the population, from a high of 67% in 1990 to 54% in 2010.
From 2000 to 2010, Atlanta gained 22,763 white residents, 5,142 Asian residents, and 3,095 Hispanic residents, while the city's black population decreased by 31,678.
Much of the city's demographic change during the decade was driven by young, college-educated professionals: from 2000 to 2009, the three-mile radius
surrounding Downtown Atlanta
gained 9,722 residents aged 25 to 34 and holding at least a four-year degree, an increase of 61%.
This was similar to the tendency in other cities for young, college educated, single or married couples to live in downtown areas.
Between the mid-1990s and 2010, stimulated by funding from the HOPE VI
program and under leadership of CEO Renee Lewis Glover (1994–2013),
the Atlanta Housing Authority
demolished nearly all of its public housing, a total of 17,000 units and about 10% of all housing units in the city.
After reserving 2,000 units mostly for elderly, the AHA allowed redevelopment of the sites for mixed-use and mixed-income, higher density developments, with 40% of the units to be reserved for affordable housing. Two-fifths of previous public housing residents attained new housing in such units; the remainder received vouchers to be used at other units, including in suburbs. At the same time, in an effort to change the culture of those receiving subsidized housing, the AHA imposed a requirement for such residents to work (or be enrolled in a genuine, limited-time training program). It is virtually the only housing authority to have created this requirement. To prevent problems, the AHA also gave authority to management of the mixed-income or voucher units to evict tenants who did not comply with the work requirement or who caused behavior problems.
In 2005, the city approved the $2.8 billion BeltLine
project. It was intended to convert a disused 22-mile freight railroad loop that surrounds the central city into an art-filled multi-use trail and light rail transit line, which would increase the city's park space by 40%.
The project stimulated retail and residential development along the loop, but has been criticised for its adverse effects on some Black communities.
Atlanta is sometimes called "City of Trees" or "city in a forest", despite having lost approximately 560,000 acres (230,000 ha) of trees between 1973 and 1999.
Most of Atlanta was burned during the Civil War, depleting the city of a large stock of its historic architecture. Yet architecturally, the city had never been traditionally "southern" because Atlanta originated as a railroad town, rather than a southern seaport dominated by the planter class, such as Savannah
. Because of its later development, many of the city's landmarks share architectural characteristics with buildings in the Northeast or Midwest, as they were designed at a time of shared national architectural styles.
During the late twentieth century, Atlanta embraced the global trend of modern architecture
, especially for commercial and institutional structures. Examples include the State of Georgia Building
built in 1966, and the Georgia-Pacific Tower
in 1982. Many of the most notable examples from this period were designed by world renowned Atlanta architect John Portman
. Most of the buildings that define the downtown skyline were designed by Portman during this period, including the Westin Peachtree Plaza
and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis
. In the latter half of the 1980s, Atlanta became one of the early homes of postmodern buildings that reintroduced classical elements to their designs. Many of Atlanta's tallest skyscrapers were built in this period and style, displaying tapering spires or otherwise ornamented crowns, such as One Atlantic Center
(1987), 191 Peachtree Tower
(1991), and the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
(1992). Also completed during the era is the Portman-designed Bank of America Plaza
built in 1992. At 1,023 feet (312 m), it is the tallest building in the city and the 14th-tallest in the United States.
The city's embrace of modern architecture has often translated into an ambivalent approach toward historic preservation, leading to the destruction of many notable architectural landmarks. These include the Equitable Building
(1892–1971), Terminal Station
(1905–1972), and the Carnegie Library
In the mid-1970s, the Fox Theatre
, now a cultural icon of the city, would have met the same fate if not for a grassroots effort to save it.
More recently, preservationists may have made some inroads. For example, in 2016 activists convinced the Atlanta City Council not to demolish the Atlanta-Fulton Central Library, the last building designed by noted architect Marcel Breuer
Atlanta is divided into 242 officially defined neighborhoods
The city contains three major high-rise districts, which form a north–south axis along Peachtree
, and Buckhead
Surrounding these high-density districts are leafy, low-density neighborhoods, most of which are dominated by single-family homes.
Downtown Atlanta contains the most office space in the metro area, much of it occupied by government entities. Downtown is home to the city's sporting venues and many of its tourist attractions. Midtown Atlanta
is the city's second-largest business district, containing the offices of many of the region's law firms. Midtown is known for its art institutions, cultural attractions, institutions of higher education, and dense form. Buckhead
, the city's uptown district, is eight miles (13 km) north of Downtown and the city's third-largest business district. The district is marked by an urbanized core along Peachtree Road
, surrounded by suburban single-family neighborhoods situated among woods and rolling hills.
Surrounding Atlanta's three high-rise districts are the city's low- and medium-density neighborhoods
where the craftsmanbungalow
single-family home is dominant.
is marked by historic streetcar suburbs
, built from the 1890s–1930s as havens for the upper middle class. These neighborhoods, many of which contain their own villages encircled by shaded, architecturally distinct residential streets, include the Victorian Inman Park
, Bohemian East Atlanta
, and eclectic Old Fourth Ward
On the westside
and along the BeltLine
on the eastside
, former warehouses and factories have been converted into housing, retail space, and art galleries, transforming the once-industrial areas such as West Midtown
into model neighborhoods for smart growth
, historic rehabilitation, and infill construction.
In southwest Atlanta, neighborhoods closer to downtown originated as streetcar suburbs, including the historic West End
, while those farther from downtown retain a postwar suburban layout. These include Collier Heights
and Cascade Heights
, home to much of the city's affluent African-American population.
Northwest Atlanta contains the areas of the city to west of Marietta Boulevard and to the north of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, including those neighborhoods remote to downtown, such as Riverside, Bolton and Whittier Mill. The latter is one of Atlanta's designated Landmark Historical Neighborhoods. Vine City, though technically Northwest, adjoins the city's Downtown area and has recently been the target of community outreach programs and economic development initiatives.
Gentrification of the city's neighborhoods is one of the more controversial and transformative forces shaping contemporary Atlanta. The gentrification of Atlanta
has its origins in the 1970s, after many of Atlanta's neighborhoods had declined and suffered the urban decay that affected other major American cities in the mid-20th century. When neighborhood opposition successfully prevented two freeways
from being built through the city's east side in 1975, the area became the starting point for Atlanta's gentrification
. After Atlanta was awarded the Olympic games in 1990, gentrification expanded into other parts of the city, stimulated by infrastructure improvements undertaken in preparation for the games. New development post-2000 has been aided by the Atlanta Housing Authority
's eradication of the city's public housing. As noted above, it allowed development of these sites for mixed-income housing, requiring developers to reserve a considerable portion for affordable housing units. It has also provided for other former residents to be given vouchers to gain housing in other areas.
Construction of the Beltline has stimulated new and related development along its path.
Under the Köppen classification
, Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate
with four distinct seasons and generous precipitation year-round, typical for the Upland South
; the city is situated in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone
8a, with the northern and western suburbs transitioning to 7b.
Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures somewhat moderated by the city's elevation. Winters are cool but variable, occasionally susceptible to snowstorms
even if in small quantities on several occasions, unlike the central and southern portions of the state.
Warm air from the Gulf of Mexico
can bring spring-like highs while strong Arctic air masses can push lows into the teens °F (−7 to −12 °C).
July averages 80.2 °F (26.8 °C), with high temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) on an average of 44 days per year, though 100 °F (38 °C) readings are not seen most years. January averages 43.5 °F (6.4 °C), with temperatures in the suburbs slightly cooler due largely to the urban heat island
effect. Lows at or below freezing can be expected 40 nights annually,
but the last occurrence of temperatures below 10 °F (−12 °C) is January 6, 2014
Extremes range from −9 °F (−23 °C) on February 13, 1899
to 106 °F (41 °C) on June 30, 2012
Average dewpoints in the summer range from 63.7 °F (17.6 °C) in June to 67.8 °F (19.9 °C) in July.
Typical of the southeastern U.S., Atlanta receives abundant rainfall that is evenly distributed throughout the year, though spring and early fall are markedly drier. The average annual rainfall is 49.7 in (1,260 mm), while snowfall is typically light with a normal of 2.9 inches (7.4 cm) per winter.
The heaviest single snowfall occurred on January 23, 1940, with around 10 inches (25 cm) of snow.
However, ice storms
usually cause more problems than snowfall does, the most severe occurring on January 7, 1973. Tornadoes are rare in the city itself, but the March 14, 2008 EF2 tornado
damaged prominent structures in downtown Atlanta.
The 2010 United States Census
reported that Atlanta had a population of 420,003. The population density
was 3,154 per square mile
). The racial makeup and population of Atlanta was 54.0% Black or African American, 38.4% White, 3.1% Asian and 0.2% Native American. Those from some other race made up 2.2% of the city's population, while those from two or more races made up 2.0%. Hispanics of any race made up 5.2% of the city's population.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,171. The per capita income for the city was $35,453. 22.6% percent of the population was living below the poverty line
Map of racial distribution in Atlanta, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Other (yellow)
In the 1920s, the black population began to grow in Southern metropolitan cities like Atlanta, Birmingham
, and Memphis
In the 2010 Census, Atlanta was recorded as the nation's fourth-largest majority-black city. The New Great Migration
brought an insurgence of African Americans from California
and the North
to the Atlanta area.
It has long been known as a center of African-American political power, education, economic prosperity, and culture, often called a black mecca
Some middle and upper class African-American residents of Atlanta
followed an influx of whites to newer housing and public schools in the suburbs in the early 21st century. From 2000 to 2010, the city's black population decreased by 31,678 people, shrinking from 61.4% of the city's population in 2000 to 54.0% in 2010, as the overall population expanded and migrants increased from other areas.
At the same time, the white population of Atlanta has increased. Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of whites in the city had notable growth. In that decade, Atlanta's white population grew from 31% to 38% of the city's population, an absolute increase of 22,753 people, more than triple the increase that occurred between 1990 and 2000.
Early immigrants in the Atlanta area were mostly Jews
. Since 1970, the Hispanic immigrant population, especially Mexicans, has experienced the most rapid growth, particularly in Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb counties.
Since 2010, the Atlanta area has seen very notable growth with immigrants from India, China, South Korea, and Jamaica.
Other notable countries immigrants come from are Vietnam, Eritrea, Nigeria, the Arabian gulf, Ukraine and Poland.
Within a few decades, and in keeping with national trends, immigrants from England, Ireland, and German-speaking central Europe were no longer the majority of Atlanta's foreign-born population. The city's Italians included immigrants from northern Italy, many of whom had been in Atlanta since the 1890s; more recent arrivals from southern Italy; and Sephardic Jews from the Isle of Rhodes, which Italy had seized from Turkey
Of the total population five years and older, 83.3% spoke only English at home, while 8.8% spoke Spanish, 3.9% another Indo-European language, and 2.8% an Asian language.
7.3% of Atlantans were born abroad (86th
in the US).
Atlanta's dialect has traditionally been a variation of Southern American English
. The Chattahoochee River
long formed a border between the Coastal Southern
and Southern Appalachian
Because of the development of corporate headquarters in the region, attracting migrants from other areas of the country, by 2003, Atlanta
magazine concluded that Atlanta had become significantly "de-Southernized". A Southern accent was considered a handicap in some circumstances.
In general, Southern accents are less prevalent among residents of the city and inner suburbs and among younger people; they are more common in the outer suburbs and among older people.
At the same time, some residents of the city speak in Southern variations of African-American English
Religion in Atlanta
, while historically centered on Protestant Christianity
, now encompasses many faiths, as a result of the city and metro area's increasingly international population. Some 63% of residents identify as some type of Protestant,
but in recent decades the Catholic Church
has increased in numbers and influence because of new migrants to the region. Metro Atlanta also has numerous ethnic or national Christian congregations, including Korean and Indian churches. The larger non-Christian faiths are Judaism
, and Hinduism
. Overall, there are over 1,000 places of worship within Atlanta.
Sexual orientation and gender identity
With a GDP of $385 billion,
the Atlanta metropolitan area
's economy is the tenth-largest in the country and among the top 20-largest in the world
. Corporate operations play a major role in Atlanta's economy, as the city claims the nation's third-largest concentration of Fortune 500
companies. It also hosts the global headquarters of corporations like The Coca-Cola Company
, The Home Depot
, Delta Air Lines
, AT&T Mobility
, and UPS
. Over 75% of Fortune 1000
companies conduct business operations in the city's metro area, and the region hosts offices of over 1,250 multinational corporations.
Many corporations are drawn to the city by its educated workforce; as of 2014, 45% of adults aged 25 or older residing in the city have at least 4-year college degrees, compared to the national average of 28%.
Atlanta started as a railroad town, and logistics
has been a major component of the city's economy to this day. Atlanta serves as an important rail junction and contains major classification yards
for Norfolk Southern
. Since its construction in the 1950s, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
has served as a key engine of the city's economic growth.
Delta Air Lines, the city's largest employer and the metro area's third-largest, operates the world's largest airline hub at Hartsfield-Jackson, and it has helped make it the world's busiest airport
, in terms of both passenger traffic and aircraft operations.
Partly due to the airport, Atlanta has been also a hub for diplomatic missions; as of 2017, the city contains 26 consulates general
, the seventh-highest concentration of diplomatic missions in the US.
The CNN newsroom
(IT) has become an increasingly important part of Atlanta's economic output, earning the city the nickname the "Silicon peach
". As of 2013, Atlanta contains the fourth-largest concentration of IT jobs in the US, numbering 85,000+. The city is also ranked as the sixth fastest-growing for IT jobs, with an employment growth of 4.8% in 2012 and a three-year growth near 9%, or 16,000 jobs. Companies are drawn to Atlanta's lower costs and educated workforce.
Compared to other American cities, Atlanta's economy in the past had been disproportionately affected by the 2008 financial crisis
and the subsequent recession
, with the city's economy earning a ranking of 68 among 100 American cities in a September 2014 report due to an elevated unemployment rate, declining real income levels, and a depressed housing market.
From 2010 to 2011, Atlanta saw a 0.9% contraction in employment and plateauing income growth at 0.4%. Although unemployment had decreased to 7% by late 2014, this was still higher than the national unemployment rate of 5.8%
Atlanta's housing market has also struggled, with home prices dropping by 2.1% in January 2012, reaching levels not seen since 1996. Compared with a year earlier, the average home price in Atlanta plummeted to 17.3% in February 2012, thus becoming the largest annual drop in the history of the index for any American or global city.
The decline in home prices prompted some economists to deem Atlanta the worst housing market in the nation at the height of the depression.
Nevertheless, the city's real estate market has resurged since 2012, so much median home value and rent growth significantly outpaced the national average by 2018, thanks to a rapidly-growing regional economy.
Atlanta is noted for its lack of Southern
culture. This is due to a large population of migrants from other parts of the U.S., in addition to many recent immigrants to the U.S.
who have made the metropolitan area their home, establishing Atlanta as the cultural and economic hub of an increasingly multi-cultural
Thus, although traditional Southern culture is part of Atlanta's cultural fabric, it is mostly a footnote to one of the nation's most cosmopolitan cities. This unique cultural combination reveals itself in the arts district of Midtown, the quirky neighborhoods on the city's eastside
, and the multi-ethnic enclaves found along Buford Highway
Arts and theater
Atlanta is one of few United States cities with permanent, professional, and resident companies in all major performing arts disciplines: opera (Atlanta Opera
), ballet (Atlanta Ballet
), orchestral music (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
), and theater (the Alliance Theatre
). Atlanta attracts many touring Broadway acts, concerts, shows, and exhibitions catering to a variety of interests. Atlanta's performing arts district is concentrated in Midtown Atlanta
at the Woodruff Arts Center
, which is home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
and the Alliance Theatre
. The city frequently hosts touring Broadway acts, especially at The Fox Theatre
, a historic landmark among the highest-grossing theaters of its size.
The stage of the Tabernacle during a live performance by the band STS9
Atlanta has played a major or contributing role in the development of various genres of American music at different points in the city's history. Beginning as early as the 1920s, Atlanta emerged as a center for country music
, which was brought to the city by migrants from Appalachia
During the countercultural 1960s
, Atlanta hosted the Atlanta International Pop Festival
, with the 1969 festival taking place more than a month before Woodstock
and featuring many of the same bands. The city was also a center for Southern rock
during its 1970s heyday: the Allman Brothers Band
's hit instrumental "Hot 'Lanta
" is an ode to the city, while Lynyrd Skynyrd
's famous live rendition of "Free Bird
" was recorded at the Fox Theatre
in 1976, with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant
directing the band to "play it pretty for Atlanta".
During the 1980s, Atlanta had an active punk rock
scene centered on two of the city's music venues, 688 Club
and the Metroplex, and Atlanta famously played host to the Sex Pistols
' first U.S. show, which was performed at the Great Southeastern Music Hall.
The 1990s saw the city produce major mainstream acts across many different musical genres. Country music artist Travis Tritt
, and R&B sensations Xscape
and Toni Braxton
, were just some of the musicians who call Atlanta home. The city also gave birth to Atlanta hip hop
, a subgenre that gained relevance and success with the introduction of the home-grown Atlantans known as Outkast
, along with other Dungeon Family
artists such as Organized Noize
and Goodie Mob
; however, it was not until the 2000s that Atlanta moved "from the margins to becoming hip-hop's center of gravity with another sub-genre called Crunk
, part of a larger shift in hip-hop innovation to the South and East".
Also in the 2000s, Atlanta was recognized by the Brooklyn-based Vice
magazine for its indie rock
scene, which revolves around the various live music venues found on the city's alternative eastside
To facilitate further local development, the state government provides qualified businesses and productions a 15% transferable income tax credit for in-state costs of music investments. Trap music
became popular in Atlanta, and has since become a hub for popular trap artists and producers due to the success of T.I.
, Young Jeezy
, 21 Savage
, Gucci Mane
, Lil Yachty
, 2 Chainz
and Young Thug
Film and television
As the national leader for motion picture and television production,
and a top ten global leader,
Atlanta plays a significant role in the entertainment industry. Atlanta is considered a hub for filmmakers of color
and houses Tyler Perry Studios
(first African-American owned major studio) and Areu Bros. Studios (first Latino-American owned major studio).
Atlanta doubles for other parts of the world and fictional settlements in blockbuster productions, among them the newer titles from The Fast and the Furious franchise
features such as Ant-Man
(2015), Captain America: Civil War
(2016), Black Panther
and Avengers: Infinity War
On the other hand, Gone With the Wind
(1939), Smokey and the Bandit
(1977), Sharkey's Machine
(1981), The Slugger's Wife
(1985), Driving Miss Daisy
(2006), and Baby Driver
(2017) are among several notable examples of films actually set in Atlanta.
The city also provides the backdrop for shows such as Ozark
, The Walking Dead
, Stranger Things
, Love is Blind
, Dolly Parton's Heartstrings
, The Outsider
, The Vampire Diaries
, in addition to a myriad of animated
and reality television
Atlanta has more festivals than any city in the southeastern United States.
Some notable festivals in Atlanta include Shaky Knees Music Festival
, Dragon Con
, the Peachtree Road Race
, Music Midtown
, the Atlanta Film Festival
, National Black Arts Festival
, Honda Battle of the Bands
, Festival Peachtree Latino
, Atlanta Pride
, the neighborhood festivals in Inman Park
, Atkins Park
, Virginia-Highland (Summerfest)
, and the Little Five Points
Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home
As of 2010, Atlanta is the seventh-most visited city in the United States, with over 35 million visitors per year.
Although the most popular attraction among visitors to Atlanta is the Georgia Aquarium
the world's largest indoor aquarium,
Atlanta's tourism industry is mostly driven by the city's history museums and outdoor attractions. Atlanta contains a notable number of historical museums and sites, including the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
, which includes the preserved childhood home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
, as well as his final resting place; the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum
, which houses a massive painting and diorama
in-the-round, with a rotating central audience platform, depicting the Battle of Atlanta
in the Civil War; the World of Coca-Cola
, featuring the history of the world-famous soft drink brand and its well-known advertising; the College Football Hall of Fame
, which honors college football and its athletes; the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
, which explores the civil rights movement and its connection to contemporary human rights movements
throughout the world; the Carter Center
and Presidential Library, housing U.S. President Jimmy Carter
's papers and other material relating to the Carter administration and the Carter family's life; and the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum
, where Mitchell wrote the best-selling novel Gone with the Wind
Atlanta contains several outdoor attractions.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden
, adjacent to Piedmont Park, is home to the 600-foot-long (180 m) Kendeda Canopy Walk
, a skywalk
that allows visitors to tour one of the city's last remaining urban forests
from 40 feet (12 m) above the ground. The Canopy Walk is considered[by whom?]
the only canopy-level pathway of its kind in the United States. Zoo Atlanta
, in Grant Park
, accommodates over 1,300 animals representing more than 220 species. Home to the nation's largest collections of gorillas and orangutans, the zoo is one of only four zoos in the U.S. to house giant pandas
Festivals showcasing arts and crafts, film, and music, including the Atlanta Dogwood Festival
, the Atlanta Film Festival
, and Music Midtown
, respectively, are also popular with tourists.
Tourists are drawn to the city's culinary scene,
which comprises a mix of urban establishments garnering national attention, ethnic restaurants serving cuisine from every corner of the world, and traditional eateries specializing in Southern dining. Since the turn of the 21st century, Atlanta has emerged as a sophisticated restaurant town.
Many restaurants opened in the city's gentrifying neighborhoods
have received praise at the national level, including Bocado, Bacchanalia, and Miller Union in West Midtown
, Empire State South in Midtown
, and Two Urban Licks and Rathbun's
on the east side
In 2011, The New York Times
characterized Empire State South and Miller Union as reflecting "a new kind of sophisticated Southern sensibility centered on the farm but experienced in the city".
Visitors seeking to sample international Atlanta are directed to Buford Highway
, the city's international corridor, and suburban Gwinnett County
. There, the nearly-million immigrants
that make Atlanta home have established various authentic ethnic restaurants representing virtually every nationality on the globe.
For traditional Southern fare, one of the city's most famous establishments is The Varsity
, a long-lived fast food chain and the world's largest drive-in restaurant. Mary Mac's Tea Room
are more formal destinations for Southern food.
The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966. Originally established as the Boston
Red Stockings in 1871, they are the oldest continually operating professional sports franchise in the United States.
The Braves won the World Series
in 1995, during an unprecedented run of 14 straight divisional championships from 1991 to 2005.
The team plays at Truist Park
, having moved from Turner Field
for the 2017 season. The new stadium is outside the city limits, located 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown in the Cumberland/Galleria area of Cobb county.
The Atlanta Falcons
have played in Atlanta since their inception in 1966. The team play their home games at Mercedes Benz Stadium
, having moved from the Georgia Dome
in 2017. The Falcons have won the division title six times (1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2016) and the NFC championship twice in 1998 and 2016. However, they have been unsuccessful in both of their Super Bowl trips, losing to the Denver Broncos
in Super Bowl XXXIII
in 1999 and to the New England Patriots
in Super Bowl LI
In 2019, Atlanta also briefly hosted an Alliance of American Football
team, the Atlanta Legends
, but the league was suspended during its first season and the team folded.
Several other, less popular sports also have professional franchises in Atlanta. The Georgia Swarm
compete in the National Lacrosse League
. In Rugby union, on September 21, 2018, Major League Rugby
announced that Atlanta was one of the expansion teams joining the league for the 2020 season
named Rugby ATL
whilst in Rugby league, on 31 March 2021, Atlanta Rhinos
left the USA Rugby League
and turned fully professional for the first time, joining the new North American Rugby League
On August 2, 2018, it was announced that Atlanta would have its own Overwatch League
team, Atlanta Reign
Atlanta regularly hosts a variety of sporting events. Most famous was the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics
. The city has hosted the super bowl three times: Super Bowl XXVIII
in 1994, Super Bowl XXXIV
in 2000, and Super Bowl LIII
In professional golf, The Tour Championship
, the final PGA Tour
event of the season, is played annually at East Lake Golf Club
. In 2001 and 2011, Atlanta hosted the PGA Championship
, one of the four major championships
in men's professional golf, at the Atlanta Athletic Club
. In 2011, Atlanta hosted professional wrestling
's annual WrestleMania
. In soccer, Atlanta has hosted numerous international friendlies and CONCACAF Gold Cup
matches. The city has hosted the NCAA Final Four
Men's Basketball Championship five times, most recently in 2020
Parks and recreation
Atlanta's 343 parks, nature preserves, and gardens cover 3,622 acres (14.66 km2
which amounts to only 5.6% of the city's total acreage, compared to the national average of just over 10%.
However, 64% of Atlantans live within a 10-minute walk of a park, a percentage equal to the national average.
In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land
reported that among the park systems of the 50 most populous U.S. cities, Atlanta's park system received a ranking of 31. Piedmont Park
, in Midtown
, is Atlanta's most iconic green space.
The park, which underwent a major renovation and expansion in recent years, attracts visitors from across the region and hosts cultural events throughout the year. Other notable city parks include Centennial Olympic Park
, a legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympics
that forms the centerpiece of the city's tourist district; Woodruff Park
, which anchors the campus of Georgia State University
; Grant Park
, home to Zoo Atlanta
; Chastain Park
, which houses an amphitheater used for live music concerts; and the under construction Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry
, the 280-acre green space and reservoir project slated to become the city's largest park when fully complete in the 2020s.
The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
, in the northwestern corner of the city, preserves a 48 mi (77 km) stretch of the river for public recreation opportunities.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden
, adjacent to Piedmont Park, contains formal gardens, including a Japanese garden and a rose garden, woodland areas, and a conservatory that includes indoor exhibits of plants from tropical rainforests
. The BeltLine
, a former rail corridor that forms a 22 mi (35 km) loop around Atlanta's core, has been transformed into a series of parks
, connected by a multi-use trail, increasing Atlanta's park space by 40%.
Atlanta offers resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. Golf and tennis are popular in Atlanta, and the city contains six public golf courses and 182 tennis courts. Facilities along the Chattahoochee River
cater to watersports enthusiasts, providing the opportunity for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, boating, or tubing. The city's only skate park, a 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2
) facility that offers bowls, curbs, and smooth-rolling concrete mounds, is at Historic Fourth Ward Park
Atlanta is governed by a mayor and the Atlanta City Council
. The city council consists of 15 representatives—one from each of the city's 12 districts and three at-large positions. The mayor may veto a bill passed by the council, but the council can override the veto with a two-thirds majority.
The mayor of Atlanta is Keisha Lance Bottoms
, a Democrat elected on a nonpartisan ballot whose first term in office began on January 2, 2018.
Every mayor elected since 1973 has been black.
In 2001, Shirley Franklin became the first woman to be elected mayor of Atlanta, and the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major Southern city.
Atlanta city politics suffered from a notorious reputation for corruption during the 1990s administration of Mayor Bill Campbell
, who was convicted by a federal jury in 2006 on three counts of tax evasion in connection with gambling winnings during trips he took with city contractors.
Historically, Atlanta has been a stronghold for the Democratic Party
. Although municipal elections are officially nonpartisan, nearly all of the city's elected officials are registered Democrats. The city is split among 14 state house districts and four state senate districts, all held by Democrats. At the federal level, Atlanta is split between two congressional districts. Most of the city is in the 5th district, represented by Democrat Nikema Williams
. A small portion in the north is in the 11th district, represented by Republican Barry Loudermilk
Law enforcement, fire, and EMS services The city is served by the Atlanta Police Department
, which numbers 2,000 officers
and oversaw a 40% decrease in the city's crime rate between 2001 and 2009. Specifically, homicide decreased by 57%, rape by 72%, and violent crime overall by 55%. Crime is down across the country, but Atlanta's improvement has occurred at more than twice the national rate.
Nevertheless, Forbes ranked Atlanta as the sixth most dangerous city in the United States in 2012.
Aggravated assaults, burglaries and robberies were down from 2014.
Mexican drug cartels thrive in Atlanta.
145 gangs operate in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department
provides fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to the city from its 35 fire stations. In 2017, AFRD responded to over 100,000 calls for service over a coverage area of 135.7 square miles (351.5 square kilometres). The department also protects Hartsfield–Jackson with 5 fire stations on the property; serving over 1 million passengers from over 100 different countries. The department protects over 3000 highrise buildings, 23 miles (37 kilometres) of the rapid rail system, and 60 miles (97 kilometres) of interstate highway.
Atlanta in January 2017 declared the city was a "welcoming city" and "will remain open and welcoming to all". Nonetheless, Atlanta does not consider itself to be a "sanctuary city
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
said: "Our city does not support ICE
. We don't have a relationship with the U.S. Marshal[s] Service. We closed our detention center to ICE detainees, and we would not pick up people on an immigration violation."
Due to more than 15 colleges and universities in Atlanta, it is considered one of the nation's largest hubs for higher education
The Georgia Institute of Technology
is a prominent public research university in Midtown
. It offers highly ranked degree programs in engineering, design, industrial management, the sciences, and architecture.
Atlanta is home to nationally renowned private colleges and universities, most notably Emory University
, a leading liberal arts and research institution that operates Emory Healthcare
, the largest health care system in Georgia
The City of Atlanta annexed Emory into its territory effective January 1, 2018.
The Atlanta Regional Council of Higher Education (ARCHE) is dedicated to strengthening synergy among 19 public and private colleges and universities in the Atlanta region. Participating Atlanta region colleges and universities partner on joint-degree programs
, library services, and cultural events.
Primary and secondary education
The primary network-affiliated television stations in Atlanta are WXIA-TV
), and WAGA-TV
). Other major commercial stations include WPXA-TV
), and WATL
). WPXA-TV, WUVG-TV, WAGA-TV and WUPA are network O&O
's. The Atlanta metropolitan area is served by two public television stations (both PBS
member stations), and two public radio stations. WGTV
8 is the flagship station of the statewide Georgia Public Television
network, while WPBA
is owned by Atlanta Public Schools
. Georgia Public Radio is listener-funded and comprises one NPR
member station, WABE
, a classical music station operated by Atlanta Public Schools
. The second public radio, listerner-funded NPR
member station is WCLK
, a jazz music station owned and operated by Clark Atlanta University
Atlanta is served by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, its only major daily newspaper with wide distribution. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
is the result of a 1950 merger between The Atlanta Journal
and The Atlanta Constitution
, with staff consolidation occurring in 1982 and separate publication of the morning Constitution
and afternoon Journal
ceasing in 2001.Alternative weekly
newspapers include Creative Loafing
, which has a weekly print circulation of 80,000. Atlanta
magazine is an award-winning, monthly general-interest magazine based in and covering Atlanta.
Concourse A at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport
Atlanta's transportation infrastructure comprises a complex network that includes a heavy rail rapid transit
system, a light rail streetcar
loop, a multi-county bus system, Amtrak
service via the Crescent
, multiple freight train lines, an Interstate Highway System
, several airports, including the world's busiest, and over 45 miles (72 km) of bike paths.
Atlanta has a network of freeways that radiate out from the city, and automobiles are the dominant means of transportation in the region.
Three major interstate highways
converge in Atlanta: I-20
(east-west), I-75 (northwest-southeast), and I-85 (northeast-southwest). The latter two combine in the middle of the city to form the Downtown Connector
(I-75/85), which carries more than 340,000 vehicles per day and is one of the most congested segments of interstate highway in the United States.
Atlanta is mostly encircled by Interstate 285
, a beltway
locally known as "the Perimeter" that has come to mark the boundary between "Inside the Perimeter" (ITP), the city and close-in suburbs, and "Outside the Perimeter" (OTP), the outer suburbs and exurbs. The heavy reliance on automobiles for transportation in Atlanta has resulted in traffic, commute, and air pollution rates that rank among the worst in the country.
The City of Atlanta has a higher than average percentage of households without a car. In 2015, 15.2 percent of Atlanta households lacked a car, and increased slightly to 16.4 percent in 2016. The national average is 8.7 percent in 2016. Atlanta averaged 1.31 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
(MARTA) provides public transportation in the form of buses, heavy rail, and a downtown light rail loop. Notwithstanding heavy automotive usage in Atlanta, the city's subway
system is the eighth busiest in the country
MARTA rail lines connect key destinations, such as the airport, Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, and Perimeter Center. However, significant destinations, such as Emory University and Cumberland
, remain unserved. As a result, a 2011 Brookings Institution
study placed Atlanta 91st of 100 metro areas for transit accessibility. Emory University
operates its Cliff
shuttle buses with 200,000 boardings per month, while private minibuses
supply Buford Highway
, the national rail passenger system, provides service to Atlanta via the Crescent train
(New York–New Orleans), which stops at Peachtree Station
. In 2014, the Atlanta Streetcar
opened to the public. The streetcar's line, which is also known as the Downtown Loop, runs 2.7 miles (4.3 km) around the downtown tourist areas of Peachtree Center
, Centennial Olympic Park
, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
, and Sweet Auburn.
The Atlanta Streetcar line is also being expanded on in the coming years to include a wider range of Atlanta's neighborhoods and important places of interest, with a total of over 50 miles (80 km) of track in the plan.
is a growing mode of transportation in Atlanta, more than doubling since 2009, when it comprised 1.1% of all commutes (up from 0.3% in 2000).
Although Atlanta's lack of bike lanes and hilly topography may deter many residents from cycling,
the city's transportation plan calls for the construction of 226 miles (364 km) of bike lanes by 2020, with the BeltLine helping to achieve this goal.
In 2012, Atlanta's first "bike track" was constructed on 10th Street in Midtown. The two lane bike track runs from Monroe Drive west to Charles Allen Drive, with connections to the Beltline and Piedmont Park.
Starting in June 2016, Atlanta received a bike sharing program, known as Relay Bike Share
, with 100 bikes in Downtown and Midtown, which expanded to 500 bikes at 65 stations as of April 2017.
According to the 2016 American Community Survey
(five-year average), 68.6% of working city of Atlanta residents commuted by driving alone, 7% carpooled, 10% used public transportation, and 4.6% walked. About 2.1% used all other forms of transportation, including taxi, bicycle, and motorcycle. About 7.6% worked at home.
The city has also become one of a handful of "scooter capitals", where companies like Lime
have gained a major foothold by placing electric scooters on street corners and byways.
Atlanta has a reputation as a "city in a forest" due to an abundance of trees that is rare among major cities.
The city's main street
is named after a tree
, and beyond the Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead business districts, the skyline gives way to a dense canopy of woods that spreads into the suburbs. The city is home to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival
, an annual arts and crafts festival held one weekend during early April, when the native dogwoods
are in bloom. The nickname is factually accurate, as vegetation covers 47.9% of the city as of 2017,
the highest among all major American cities, and well above the national average of 27%.
Atlanta's tree coverage does not go unnoticed—it was the main reason cited by National Geographic
in naming Atlanta a "Place of a Lifetime".
The city's lush tree canopy, which filters out pollutants and cools sidewalks and buildings, has increasingly been under assault from man and nature due to heavy rains, drought, aged forests, new pests, and urban construction. A 2001 study found Atlanta's heavy tree cover declined from 48% in 1974 to 38% in 1996.
Community organizations and the city government are addressing the problem. Trees Atlanta, a non-profit organization founded in 1985, has planted and distributed over 113,000 shade trees
in the city,
and Atlanta's government has awarded $130,000 in grants to neighborhood groups to plant trees.
Fees are additionally imposed on developers that remove trees on their property per a citywide ordinance, active since 1993.
- Montego Bay, Jamaica (1972)
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1972)
- Lagos, Nigeria (1974)
- Toulouse, France (1974)
- Newcastle upon Tyne, England, UK (1977)
- Taipei, Taiwan (1979)
- Daegu, South Korea (1981)
- Brussels, Belgium (1983)
- Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (1987)
- Tbilisi, Georgia (1988)
- Olympia, Greece (1994)
- Bucharest, Romania (1994)
- Cotonou, Benin (1995)
- Salcedo, Dominican Republic (1996)
- Nuremberg, Germany (1998)
- Ra'anana, Israel (2000)
- Fukuoka, Japan (2005)
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- ^ "List of Atlanta's 17 Sister Cities". atlantaga.gov. City of Atlanta. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
- Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events: Years of Change and Challenge, 1940–1976 by Franklin M. Garrett, Harold H. Martin
- Craig, Robert (1995). Atlanta Architecture: Art Deco to Modern Classic, 1929–1959. Gretna, LA: Pelican. ISBN 0-88289-961-9.
- Darlene R. Roth and Andy Ambrose. Metropolitan Frontiers: A Short History of Atlanta. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1996. An overview of the city's history with an emphasis on its growth.
- Sjoquist, Dave (ed.) The Atlanta Paradox. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 2000.
- Stone, Clarence. Regime Politics: Governing Atlanta, 1946–1988. University Press of Kansas. 1989.
- Elise Reid Boylston. Atlanta: Its Lore, Legends and Laughter. Doraville: privately printed, 1968. Many anecdotes about the history of the city.
- Frederick Allen. Atlanta Rising. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1996. A detailed history of Atlanta from 1946 to 1996, with much about City Councilman, later Mayor, William B. Hartsfield's work in making Atlanta a major air transport hub, and about the civil rights movement as it affected (and was affected by) Atlanta.
- McMahan, C. A. (1950). The people of Atlanta : a demographic study of Georgia's capital city. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820334493. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
Last edited on 12 May 2021, at 02:13
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