If you are ready to start the next chapter of your life in Atlanta, then you have chosen wisely. With a booming economy, thriving job market, beautiful weather, natural environment, eclectic neighborhoods, and reasonable living costs, Atlanta is a prime location for newcomers seeking new beginnings and growth opportunities. While Chicago has advantages, opportunities, and activities, moving to Atlanta is an all-around upgrade. So it’s important to plan your move methodically, making sure that your finances, above all, are in place and sufficient to support you through the move as well as the initial settling in period.
Here is what you need to know while planning your move to Atlanta from Chicago.
Atlanta has quickly emerged as a popular choice for Americans to move from all over the country to seek better opportunities for work, schooling, and generally better quality of life. Here are some benefits of living in Atlanta, Georgia.
Economic Growth: Atlanta is a good choice if you look to work in a stable job environment. Atlanta is home to over 15 Fortune 500 companies and counting, offering excellent job opportunities.
Neighborhoods: Many neighborhoods in Atlanta are ideal for dining, drinking, and shopping, a welcome relief from city traffic, and a pleasant sight with picturesque historic districts to explore.
Weather: While it can still be very cold in the winter season, Atlanta is relatively milder in chilliness compared to other cities in the United States, especially in the Northeast and Midwest.
Cost of living: Living in Atlanta is pretty reasonable, sustainable, and enjoyable, thanks to the high-income jobs and affordable housing costs.
Activities: There are so many activities to enjoy, places to visit, eateries to sample, cultural landmarks to marvel at, and outdoor recreational facilities to benefit from that it is unlikely that you will ever get bored in Atlanta.
Like any move from one place to another, some variables determine your final moving cost. If you plan to hire a moving company, apart from their base rate, they will also consider how far you are moving, how much cargo you are planning to take with you, its weight and quantity determine how many laborers you may require during the move. There could also be additional costs based on any specific moving requirements you may have. But on average, you can expect your move to Atlanta from Chicago to cost you anywhere between $3,624 and $10,354.
Atlanta has all kinds of housing options and styles, from apartment complexes to condos to townhomes and lofts at the city center. If you move further away from the heart of Atlanta, you will find a range of options, from standalone homes to sprawling mansions on acres of land. After scouting different neighborhoods and calculating how much you can afford as living expenses, you will know which neighborhood works best for you.
Renting an apartment in Atlanta for a:
One-bedroom apartment in the center of the city would be $900+ per month
One-bedroom apartment outside the center of the city would be $700+ per month
Three-bedroom apartment in the center of the city would be $1,500+ per month
Three-bedroom apartment outside the center of the city would be $1,200+ per month
Buying a house in Atlanta would come to about:
$2,800+ per square meter in the heart of Atlanta
$1,200+ per square meter outside the center of Atlanta
The good thing about Atlanta is that there is no shortage of good neighborhoods to live in. So no matter your budget and preferences, it is more than likely that you will find a place where you feel you are at home. Here are the best neighborhoods in Atlanta.
Castleberry Hill: This neighborhood is the last of the warehouse districts. Situated southwest of downtown Atlanta, Castleberry Hill is known for its celebration of arts and culture. You can find offbeat housing options here, along with eateries and festivals to enjoy.
Fairlie Poplar District: What initially blossomed as a business district in the 19th and 20th centuries is now one of the most prominent business hubs in the Southeast, boasting its hallmark architectural designs. Home to the famous Flatiron Building, Luckie Street Studios, and The Balzer Theater, this vibrant neighborhood is ideal for working professionals, families, and art connoisseurs.
Midtown and Buckhead: A favorite pick for young professionals, Midtown and Buckhead are very popular neighborhoods in Atlanta. The Midtown Mile is famous for its great shopping haunts and restaurants, towered over by luxury high rises. Buckhead is a fancy nook for trendy professionals to flock to for its great nightlife and great amenities. This is one of Atlanta’s more affluent neighborhoods with a robust schooling system, ideal for families with children.
Eastside: Eastside has become the hot, new kid on the block, with a full makeover and attractive housing opportunities. With affordable housing and eateries, the little pockets in the Eastside like East Atlanta Village, Old Fourth Ward District, and Little Five Points are popular choices for people of all age groups. Having said that, you would need to be more vigilant in the sketchier areas.
Westside: Like most neighborhoods, this area is also pedestrian-friendly, comprising two major neighborhoods – Atlantic Station and West Midtown. Public transportation is readily available here, with everything you need within walking distance. It is also a popular tourist spot and can get cramped during the holidays. Atlanta’s ‘design district’, West Midtown, is full of lofts, refurbished warehouses, art galleries, top restaurants, and shops.
Working in Atlanta
The growth of the job market in Atlanta has consistently been higher than the national average. Young professionals from all over the country and the world come to Atlanta to start and build their careers. People from different industries thrive in Atlanta, including creatives, technology professionals, entrepreneurs, finance executives, and professionals from the hospitality sector. Top companies with a strong presence here and therefore offer great employment opportunities include Coca-Cola, CNN, Delta Airlines, Mercedes-Benz, Home Depot, and UPS.
If you want to earn a salary that gives you a comfortable life, then a ‘good’ salary in Atlanta, Georgia is anything above $52,000. The average salary earned per year in Atlanta is about $64,203. A decent hourly wage in Atlanta is $25 per hour.
With a host of private, public, charter, and international educational institutions, K-12 and higher education programs. So if you are moving with children, you can rest assured they will be taken care of from Kindergarten through to higher education with the help of Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County Schools, and the Georgia Department of Education. Atlanta’s best colleges and universities include Georgia Tech, Emory University, Georgia State University, Morehouse University, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University. Another notable college is Agnes Scott College, known for its liberal arts program. There are also some very remarkable educational programs in Atlanta, like The Global Village Project (for refugee girls), Woodward Atlanta (a college preparatory school), and The Adaptive Learning Center for special needs preschoolers.
Getting Around in Atlanta
Ideally, a car would be great in Atlanta, but this also depends on which part of Atlanta you live in. About 83% of people in Atlanta use a car to get around the city. At the same time, Atlanta does have a public transport system, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transport Authority or MARTA, which will connect you to most of the city and its prominent landmarks. A monthly pass for an adult with unlimited trips costs $95. But it isn’t as efficient as one would like. So, if you plan to be regularly commuting, it is advisable to get a car and drive around. Cycling and walking are also two very doable options in Atlanta, thanks to pedestrian-friendly walkways and cycling trails.
Fun and Recreation in Atlanta
Nature lovers can benefit from green and lush parks like Piedmont Park, Stone Mountain, and Woodruff Park, which have beautiful walking, cycling, and hiking trails. Enjoy the drinks and eateries in Buckhead or Edgewood Avenue for the pub-hoppers. International cuisine in Buford Highway is a must-experience for foodies. Ponce City Market is ideal for shopping local goods, while Atlanta Pride and other LGBTQIA+ events can be experienced in Midtown. There are the High Museum of Art and the Georgia Aquarium for children for the culturally inclined.
Moving to Atlanta is moving forward with time. As Atlanta emerges as the hottest new trendy city in the United States, it offers you the opportunity to grow alongside it. While Chicago has its charm and exclusive opportunities, moving to Atlanta opens up the horizons for your career and personal evolution.
The rate of criminal violence in Chicago is about 943 crimes per 100,000 people, much higher than the national average of 382 crimes per 100,000 people. Atlanta, however, has a rate of criminal violence that is 25% more than that of Chicago. But apart from this, both cities have a lot to offer residents, from jobs to entertainment to quality of life.
Is Atlanta safe?
Apart from certain pockets and neighborhoods, which should be avoided, Atlanta is generally relatively safe to reside in. As you would in any other city, stay away from sketchy neighborhoods and be vigilant wherever you are, especially at night. Most criminal activity usually occurs between street gangs and their members, who have little to no interest in regular people in Atlanta.
Is Atlanta expensive to live in?
The good news is that Atlanta is one of the more affordable cities in the United States. The cost of living is 2% less than the national average. It is also 24.5% cheaper to live in Atlanta than in New York City. This is because there is an abundance of real estate in Atlanta, just waiting to be purchased. And since supply outweighs demand at the moment, everything is reasonably priced and quite affordable.
What is a good salary in Atlanta?
The average salary earned per year in Atlanta is about $64,203. A decent hourly wage in Atlanta is $25 per hour. If you want to earn a salary that gives you a comfortable life, then a ‘good’ salary in Atlanta, Georgia is anything above $52,000. That’s the median income in Atlanta, so if you manage to earn more than that, you will be earning an income that is more than about 50% of the population in Atlanta.
Ideally, a car would be great in Atlanta, but this also depends on which part of Atlanta you live in. While Atlanta does have a public transport system, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transport Authority or MARTA, it isn’t as efficient as you would like. So, if you plan to be regularly commuting, it is advisable to get a car and drive around.
Is it worth buying a house in Atlanta?
Atlanta real estate is worth making an investment in right now, thanks to the reasonable rates at which very decent-sized houses are available. Property sales in Atlanta are on the rise in 2022, so buying a home now is the best time to do so, before the prices start to increase, too.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.