Atlanta, Georgia, has some unique and interesting characteristics for sure. Firstly, it is a growing hub for business and industry in the southeastern United States, with a diverse economy that includes major corporations in sectors such as transportation, hospitality, and media.
Known as the “city in a forest,” Atlanta is home to beautiful parks and green spaces, including the famous Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Atlanta is also known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly in relation to the Civil Rights Movement.
In addition, Atlanta is home to a thriving arts and entertainment scene and is home to numerous museums, theaters, and galleries, including the High Museum of Art and the Alliance Theatre. The city is known for its music, particularly in the genres of hip-hop and R&B and has produced famous artists, including Outkast and Childish Gambino.
Overall, Atlanta’s unique blend of business, history, culture, and natural beauty make it a fascinating and rewarding destination to visit or to move to. If you’re exploring the idea of relocating to Atlanta, or you’re due for a visit here, check out 10 interesting facts about this amazing city:
1. Atlanta started as Terminus
Atlanta was founded in 1834 as the end station of the Western & Atlantic railroad line, and its first name was Marthasville, in honor of the governor’s daughter at that time. However, Marthasville didn’t really fly with the locals, and the nickname Terminus started to gain traction because it was the end of the rail line. However, the city was later renamed Atlanta after the Western and Atlantic Railroad’s chief engineer, John Edgar Thompson, suggested the name, the feminine of Atlantic – as in the railroad.
2. The country’s largest aquarium is in Atlanta
The Georgia Aquarium was inaugurated in 2005 and held the title of the world’s largest aquarium until 2012, when it was surpassed by another aquarium built in Singapore. However, the Georgia Aquarium is the country’s largest and most impressive one. There are about 11 million gallons of water in the aquarium, home to 100,000 animals from 500 different species.
3. The city is the birthplace of Coca Cola
Coca Cola was first invented in Atlanta, in 1886, by a pharmacist named John Pemberton, and was initially touted as a tonic for all sorts of ailments. The name of the product, as well as the flowing script that became the Coca Cola trademark, were chosen by John Pemberton’s bookkeeper (and, apparently, genius marketer), Frank Robinson. John Pemberton started selling Coca Cola syrup to local soda fountains, and shortly after, the drink became hugely successful. However, John Pemberton wasn’t the one to reap the benefits, as he sold the business to another pharmacist in Atlanta, Asa Griggs Candler, who patented it. The rest is history, with Coca Cola now a veritable cultural landmark in the U.S. and beyond.
4. A hub of African American culture
Atlanta is a hub of African American culture, with historic neighborhoods like Sweet Auburn, the center of black commerce and culture in the early 20th century, and the West End, a neighborhood that was once a thriving center of African American life. The famous Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., was born in Atlanta and is buried there alongside his wife, Coretta Scott King.
5. Atlanta’s nickname is “City in a Forest”
The nickname is well worth it, as Atlanta has an impressive tree canopy, very uncommon for big urban hotspots. About half of the city’s area is covered by trees, which is a huge benefit for the residents. The trees help filter pollutants from the air and keep the sidewalks and the buildings cooler in the summer. Also, the abundance of parks and green spaces in general offer people living in Atlanta the opportunity to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature without having to travel away from the city.
6. Atlanta has the world’s largest drive-through restaurant
Varsity, opened in 1928 in Atlanta, is the world’s largest drive-through restaurant, with a multi-level car park for 600 vehicles and seating options for up to 800 patrons. The restaurant is beloved by Atlantans – it serves up to 30,000 people on days when a football game is on. The menu is classic American, with things like chili dogs, chili cheeseburgers, onion rings, and a variety of pies.
6. And a thriving self storage sector
Atlanta is booming economically, and the self storage sector is definitely keeping pace. The city has about 72 self storage facilities that hold almost 6,000 self storage units, reaching a total inventory of 5.4M square feet of self storage space. New self storage construction creates even more opportunities for Atlantans to store their belongings: 73,000 square feet of new storage space were delivered in 2022 and another 76,000 square feet are expected to be completed in 2023. The street rate for a 10’x10’ self storage unit in Atlanta hovers around $140 per month, with Adair Park, Bolton, or Jefferson Park being some of the most affordable neighborhoods for self storage in the city.
8. Real estate in general is flourishing in Atlanta
It’s not just self storage that prospers in Atlanta: the real estate sector as a whole is developing rapidly, closely mimicking the city’s economic growth. Downtown apartment construction in Atlanta ranks first nationally, with 21,500 new apartments built in the downtown area of the city over the past decade. Single family, as well as industrial construction in the metro area are on an upward trend, which both supports and stimulates the city’s continuous growth in terms of population and economy.
9. It’s a veritable Hollywood of the South
About two decades ago, Georgia introduced substantial tax incentives for the movie industry, which proved to be a very inspired decision. The state as a whole, and Atlanta in particular, now have one of the largest film industries in the U.S. Major studios such as Turner, Tyler Perry, and EUE/Screen Gems are located in Atlanta. In 2021 alone, $4 billion in direct spending from the TV and movie industries went into Georgia’s economy.
10. Atlanta has the world’s largest airport
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is the world’s largest one in terms of passengers. Almost 94 million passengers went through the airport in 2022. The airport has five parallel runaways and covers 4,700 acres in total. Named after two former Atlanta mayors, William B. Hartsfield and Maynard Jackson, the airport is not only huge, but it also offers great experiences to travelers. For example, the airport regularly hosts art exhibitions showing off the works of local artists.
What other interesting facts would you like to share about Atlanta? Let us know in the comments!