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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Atlanta a National Geographic Traveler ‘Place of a Lifetime’

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National Geographic Traveler lists Atlanta's trees among its greatest features — one that landed us on the magazine's list of "50 Places of a Lifetime." These trees and runners are in Piedmont Park. AJC file photo

The October issue of National Geographic Traveler details “50 Places of a Lifetime,” and there’s Atlanta, hoisted up with natural beauties, ancient cities and little-known islands.

We’re one of only seven U.S. sites in this latest round, the only major city among them. We’re on the map with the island of Molokai, Hawaii, forests in California and Oregon, the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, the Piedmont of Virginia, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.

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Sweet Auburn Springfest 2009. AJC file photo

I can’t help but think: why us? I don’t disagree — this city has been key to happiness in my lifetime — but Atlanta never makes a list of beloved geography without New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Seattle. (This new list is an expansion of an older project, which did include some other large cities.) So…why?

In exactly the response one expects a National Geographic publication to give, it first mentions our trees — “magnolias, dogwoods, Southern pines, and magnificent oaks.” Of course. They are pretty, aren’t they?

Then comes history, neighborhoods, Southern charm, art, shopping and architecture. (Highrises? “Sexy,” they say.) Atlantic Station, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola get a nod. The magazine seems to appreciate that Buckhead, East Atlanta Village and Virginia Highland are wildly different, but fun to visit.

Manners, sugar water and greenery did not decide our place on this list. I have to believe it’s because of the fun to be had here, a dynamic variety different from a forest, mountain, island — and other cities.

An accompanying essay by Emory University Associate Professor Lynna Williams gets into more specifics — CNN, Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery, Lenny’s Bar —  while admitting Atlanta’s “eternal love affair with its own bright future.” Atlanta is a place, she writes, where people “come in search of of past-as-prologue, and find it tucked into the modern city.”

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Oakland Cemetery. AJC file photo

I noticed this list posted at Decatur Metro, along with the astute observation that Atlanta’s “‘must visit’ attributes really aren’t things you can buy tickets to, but must experience collectively.” So true.

It seems National Geographic Traveler collected our very best features and presented them for travelers to pop in,  mark it off the list and leave with a panda T-shirt. (Sexy.) It’s not going to teach us anything.  Just try the quiz — you’ll get 100 percent, too.

The written introduction to the city acknowledges our size but not the traffic;  race, but not racism; political diversity, not division. We know it’s not all soft light, poetry and drawl-soaked chit-chat, but I love to read about the city this way. I like the reminder that all this is my place in this lifetime.

Is Atlanta among “Places of a Lifetime” for travelers? When you have visitors, what are the sites and activities they must see and do? Share your thoughts in the comments.

149 comments Add your comment

Call it like it is.

September 17th, 2009
9:26 am

“Place of a lifetime” Are you kidding me. Atlanta?? Traffic, crime, corruption, poor leadership. I have travel all around this world and Atlanta is not even in the top 100 places that I have gone to. How much did they pay off these guys to be listed.

Suzie

September 17th, 2009
9:31 am

I was never happier than the day I left Atlanta. This must be some kind of joke. Atlanta is the one of the most racist, meanest cities I’ve ever lived in.

Chris

September 17th, 2009
9:32 am

Ha ha ha. How funny. Let them spend a weekend downtown or in SW Atlanta and see how they like it. The only decent places in Atlanta are the park (in the daytime), most of Buckhead, and VA Highlands. The thugs have ruined the rest of it.

Intown

September 17th, 2009
9:33 am

I too could not believe my eyes when I read this essay in NG Travler. Atlanta on a list of the 50 best places to visit around the world?!?! But, there we are. I suppose we made the list becasue Atlanta is a place to experience over time but, not one that delivers unique experiences to the traditional touristy traveler. I hope Alabama and Florida read this article so they can see the beauty they are now attempting to destroy and will not be able to replace on their own.

lantana

September 17th, 2009
9:37 am

I’ve been in Atlanta 20 years and the city has been nothing but kind to me. I live in the East Village and adore my neighborhood for it natural beauty and convenience to everything a city should offer. If you are not happy in Atlanta, you are not trying!

kw

September 17th, 2009
9:37 am

Call it…”Delta’s ready when you are”

Suzie…if you were so happy to leave Atlanta, then why the h*ll are you still reading Atlanta news websites like this one? Go read the news site in you own town now.

Yeah, Atlanta’s got traffic, crime and corruption…name me one large city that doesn’t have these. Traffic is just as bad in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc… Crime…go check out local tv websites in other cities, particularly Chicago lately…seems you cannot walk around Lincoln Park there without getting mugged lately. Corruption…do Richard Daley, Marion Barry, David Dinkins, Kwame Kirkpatrick, the former mayor of San Diego (whatever his name is) come to mind?

Yeah, we are not perfect. But it is nice to ready something positive about Atlanta after what seems like a year’s worth of negative this and negative that.

Kevin

September 17th, 2009
9:41 am

Wow…I’m hearing a lot of negative things about Atlanta from previous posts….if it is so bad, why are you all still here that are complaining? Get over it.

Nolan

September 17th, 2009
9:53 am

I’ve gotta say, I wasn’t happier than the day I returned to Atlanta (6/3/09) after living near Los Angeles for 3 years. Every day since I’ve been back has been awesome. Events, parks, shops, food, music, people, history, sports – hooray!

Matt

September 17th, 2009
9:53 am

I agree with the first poster – The ATL is a mess.

Brandon

September 17th, 2009
9:55 am

Atlanta certainly has strengths and faults as does any city, but its home for me. Where else but Atlanta does a light rail train come out of a subway and when you look out you see skyscrapers pooping out what looks like a vast forest. There is a unique and signature beauty in that I think. In fact the lack of trees is one of the first things i notice when i go elsewhere. Does Atlanta has its faults? yes. Does its metro and city center cooperate for the good of all? not really. But whos fault is that? is this not a republic? quit bitching about what is wrong and start moving to make things right. I have no time for those who bitch but never leave their homes after 5.

RCD

September 17th, 2009
9:56 am

@KW – You are absolutely right. Every large city has mad corruption, crime, etc. For all of those out their, if you do not like it – get out. There are many of us that are working to make the city great. Embrace it or get the (&^$^ out.

Rog The Barbarian

September 17th, 2009
9:58 am

I moved to Atlanta 15 years ago from NYC because I followed my job. I agree that this metro area has tremendous potential and is physically beautiful. What’s holding this city back is the total lack of leadership at all levels. Everybody’s looking out for themselves without regard for the big picture at the state and local levels. People used to be nicer here – no longer. Don’t mention you’re from anywhere North – you’ll be treated negatively. Too bad because this city has so much potential. This could be one of the world’s great cities if the people that live here and the people that govern weren’t so selfish.

Call it like it is.

September 17th, 2009
9:58 am

“KW” You prove my point. I wouldnt list Chicago, Los Angeles or any other major US city. To list Atlanta as a top 50 place to hit in this entire world is a joke. I will be honest I havent read the article, but I bet most of the fun things they list, is not even in Atlanta.

Rog The Barbarian

September 17th, 2009
10:03 am

I want the people in this metro to stand up and change the way things are. Treat each other with respect. If you’re in business, stop trying to rob consumers by charging top dollar for substandard service. State goverment, stop all the bickering and fighting and find a way to fund mass transit so people can get around. We need to get the rest of this country and this world to admire Atlanta again.

Chris

September 17th, 2009
10:07 am

New York, Chicago, San Fran, Seattle, Nashville, Orlando, Dallas, Minneapolis, all have a downtown, nice, mostly safe, with lots to do. Tell me what downtown Atlanta has besides the aquarium which will be run down in no time. Who wants to be in downtown Atlanta at night? All of the other cities have so much more to offer.

Joe

September 17th, 2009
10:12 am

I have lived in Atlanta since 1980 and in my opinion it all went to crap after the Olympics.

Buh-bye

September 17th, 2009
10:15 am

Suzie – we’re glad you’re gone, too. I think your leaving is one of the reasons Atlanta made the list. We got rid of you just in time.

kw

September 17th, 2009
10:28 am

Uh, Call it…I just read the article and EVERYTHING they list except for the Cobb Energy Centre is IN the city limits of Atlanta.

Chris…okay, we don’t have the best downtown in the US, but it has gotten a lot better in the 17 years I have lived here. Besides the Aquarium, you have the entire Centennial Park area which 15 years ago was an empty area of sketchy warehouses. Now, we go down for dinner at places like Legal Seafoods, Stats, etc… at least once a month. And we go at night, and no, we don’t feel threatened. Yeah, you might get panhandled…so what, I’ve been panhandled everywhere from SF to London. And the neighborhoods to the north and east of downtown have lots of unique restaurants, shops, etc…

Sunshine

September 17th, 2009
10:28 am

Yeah, Suzie – spread your mean-spirited racist propaganda somewhere else, not here. We’re too busy to hate.

Mark

September 17th, 2009
10:33 am

Presumably, the Natl Geographic author of this article is not a resident. And that leads me to this hypothesis: Atlanta makes a great impression on VISITORS – especially those that are visiting friends or family (as opposed to coming here alone on business or a convention). That’s what gets us on these lists. I know in the late 80’s, when I first started visiting Atlanta in college, I got hooked on “the lifestyle.” So much so that I moved here. Now, 20 years later, I’ve come to know all the troubles we have that a 4-day visitor wouldn’t see. But I still love it here and plan to stay the rest of my life. And my parents (who live in FL) love coming to visit. They think Atlanta is a really great place.

Tallcarl

September 17th, 2009
10:40 am

Macon man here but I love Atlanta for all the events (some free or cheap) it offers. I now live in Madrid, Spain for work and love it because the weather is nice and I have never seen a better transit system. Like Atlanta it offers festivals or events in some part of the City every weekend and I try to enjoy them. I say this to express the need for some people to turn off the TV and get out of the house and to also get involved in some constructive activity in your City; be it one of the six art centers of the World (Madrid), Atlanta, or Macon. I would like to see the transit system expanded out to Turner Field and the people more united in Civic causes. You can make up your mind as soon as you get out of bed to be unhappy and bitter OR to have a good, happy day. I am one who believes the glass is half full and I am thankful for it daily. Just a though.

Left wing management

September 17th, 2009
10:44 am

Enjoying the predictable onslaught of nay-saying here, which illustrates what makes Atlanta such a fascinating case among cities and underscores its appeal as much as any list of attractions or laundry lists of virtues ever can. One of the most confounding things about of Atlanta, aside from the basic fact that it’s impossible to define the place (just where does it stop and start? is it really a place of just 400 thousand or is the famous ‘Atlanta population now’ sign the more accurate measure?), is how it utterly lacks anything that the city snobs hold so dear as being vital to a city’s personality – history, cutting-edge sophistication, grandeur, grittiness, density, breathtaking natural features. Like a Jody Foster among cities, it lacks the classical beauty that make people swoon for San Francisco or the grandeur that make Americans utterly slavish lovers of their great and (justifiably) prized New York City, but nonetheless unapologetically takes its place on the big stage.

Here’s an idea: just call Atlanta the anti-Austin (Austin being the city that no one has ever said anything bad about and anyone who visits it apparently is instantly transmogrified into a natural born booster for life): the city where everything is engineered (’imagineered’) and manufactured, yet somehow pulls it all off.

Chris

September 17th, 2009
10:46 am

*specificlly

Proofreader

September 17th, 2009
10:49 am

Keep trying, Chris

Tony

September 17th, 2009
10:50 am

Be fair on this article now — this grouping of 50 spots is the SECOND group of 50 that the magazine has published. And, if you go to the magazine’s website, you’ll find the cities that preceded Atlanta in the first 50 include New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Dallas, among others…so don’t get too excited here.

kw

September 17th, 2009
10:53 am

Hey Chris: I graduated from Tech. I go to all the football games. My wife works at Tech, as do a couple of friends. I don’t feel threatened. When is the last time you have been to Tech (day or night) or anywhere in the city? Stop trolling around.

mike

September 17th, 2009
11:00 am

bunch of haters.. if you dont like it move out! Born and raised here, Gwinnett and now Atlanta, best place in the world.. go move to mayberry if you are looking for utopia

CL

September 17th, 2009
11:06 am

While Im not crazy about everything in the ATL,I’m happy to be here.

I agree with those that say if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem and should move.

There is nothing wrong with the ATL that a few less unproductive, will complain anywhere they go folks wouldnt fix. The only reason most of these types are here is because they cant afford to be anywhere else.

Chris

September 17th, 2009
11:07 am

KW, apparently you do not watch the news. How many attacks have happened around your dork school this year? Obviously, during a football game, there will not be any problems. Even though you guys only fill half the stadium for each game. Sure is sad.

Mike, best place in the world? Wow.

GT Brill

September 17th, 2009
11:09 am

I have to say, there are some people with miserable lives trolling these blogs. Sure the city has problems, some major ones. But the city is headed in the right direction and has a lot of upsides.
Name me a city that doesn’t have a jail or police force because they don’t have any crime for cryin’ out loud. Some people can’t enjoy anything, it doens’t make you cooler than NatGeo or “more in the know” to crap on their article or the city.

Blackbird

September 17th, 2009
11:12 am

I moved from ATL 12 years ago, to sunny southern California. Great weather, beautiful country, but arrogant mean people. For that, I miss the good ol’ south, with your gorgeous spring flowers, hot humid summers and occasional crisis that a 2″ snowfall can bring.

Left wing management

September 17th, 2009
11:24 am

By the way, Tony’s right. The National Geographic feature is really just a case of magazine list-itis, the fetish that magazines make of lists in an effort to sell magazines, list mongering if you ask me. Nowhere does it say anything about “best”. This tendency to conflate significance with best is a knee-jerk Atlanta trait, practiced ad nauseam by both its defenders and detractors.

Shelly

September 17th, 2009
11:29 am

I don’t get it. I’m trying to figure out a way to leave Atlanta and move north.

kw

September 17th, 2009
11:29 am

Chris: You just showed your redneck biases. “Dork school” “half-filled stadium” yeah, you pretty much just invalidated every argument you were making.

I watch the news. Yeah, the muggings concern me. You think there is no crime around other college campus, including your (I’m guessing) UGA? The key is to realize you are in a big city and be aware of your surroundings. Good advice for any big city.

I really need to stop feeding the trolls.

Inman Park

September 17th, 2009
11:31 am

Chris and others. You don’t get out much do you? I have lived in the City of Atlanta since 1969 when I arrived to go to GT and in Inman Park since 1975. What a great place to live! My profession would allow me to go most anywhere, and I travel a lot, but I have never found anyplace that I would rather live – total package compared to total package. Could Atlanta be improved? Certainly. Does city, county and state govenments leave soemthing to be desired? Sure. Is there a lack of leadership in the city and the region? Absolutely. But after 40 years, I have not found a place that I would rather live.

joe

September 17th, 2009
11:40 am

i moved to atl from london nearly 2 years ago and while i miss certain things (pubs, pubs, pubs), i’ve never regretted it for a second. london is stressful & lonely. atlanta is warm & inviting. and full of leafy, interesting neighbourhoods like virginia-highlands, ansley park, decatur, east atlanta… if you don’t like where you live then MOVE.

Call it like it is.

September 17th, 2009
11:41 am

Okay, fine some of you love this city, Yea! But to put Atlanta in the top 50 in the world for places in a lifetime??? Can any of you Atlanta homers tell me you can’t think of at least a 100 or more different places that would leave Atlanta in the dust. Come on get real. The article is a joke.

Rod

September 17th, 2009
11:43 am

I’m not exactly a world traveller, but the few major cities that I have been to, New York, Miami, Washington DC, Montreal, Toronto and even Hartford CT, have something that Atlanta does not, a decent and attractive downtown, a reason to go downtown. Most of these cities’ downtown are the reason people go there to visit. When you go downtown Atlanta, there is a sense of fear and neglect almost all around. The metro area should also improve their transportation system. Their rail and bus system with MARTA is extemely limited as in comparison to other major cities. It appears there is still some growth into Atlanta, but there does not appear to be a good solid plan for transportation access or a handle on the crime blight. Beautiful trees and rolling hills are not everything.

ATLpeace

September 17th, 2009
11:43 am

Greetings from Atlanta: City of Peace, Inc.
Our nonprofit believes that Atlanta’s destiny is to become a global capital of peace (I agree that we are far from this when you look at the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics, however WE focus on our possibilities and NOT our circumstances). Atlanta has a GREAT, yet undeveloped asset and we call it: “The Gandhi-King Global Peace Connection.” Would you like to help us develop it? If so, then contact us through Myspace or LinkedIn:
http://www.myspace.com/ATLpeace
http://www.linkedin.com/in/atlpeace
To seizing: “The Peace Millennium”
John R. Naugle

Left wing management

September 17th, 2009
11:46 am

To Shelly: “I don’t get it. I’m trying to figure out a way to leave Atlanta and move north.”

Better get a move on, the north’s moving south (or is it the south moving north?) so it might overtake you if you aren’t careful. :)

Pat

September 17th, 2009
11:53 am

Chris….you are an ignorant doofus. I have lived in Cal, N Car and FL but have lived the longest in various parts of ATL. The happiest view I had of CA was in the rear view mirror when leaving and got happier and happier each mile closer to ATL. I now live in SW ATL and have never once been bothered by a thug Chris, not in over 20 years.

Jim K.

September 17th, 2009
12:03 pm

your comments here

I moved to Atlanta 10 years ago after travelling here on business for 20 years. I love this place!

Corey

September 17th, 2009
12:21 pm

The local media hates Atlanta. Don’t believe me; see for yourself.

Greg

September 17th, 2009
12:28 pm

This place has become the biggest joke. No real identity of the people….too many people from other places invading this once proud and beautiful state and area…..Traffic terrible and the people too….
Pure joke…

me

September 17th, 2009
12:32 pm

If you can’t appreciate what Atlanta has to offer, get out, so there’s more room for the rest of us who do. I could have never bought a brand new home in the North where I’m from, period. I live in East Atlanta and love it. I wouldn’t live in Buckhead if it was free (bleached and tanned posers). There’s plenty to do here if you get off your couch. If you’re looking for a crime-free, thug-free, corruption-free, racism-free environment, you’ll need to move to Mars because on earth it doesn’t exist so snap out of your fairy-tale mind-set and get real. All cities have problems, why shouldn’t Atlanta, it’s a city isn’t it?? For those who don’t know, Utopia was created in a BOOK.

TBizzle

September 17th, 2009
12:44 pm

On the surface Atlanta is nice but when you dig down it’s rather bland. Sure, Buckhead has some nice buildings and restaurants but its depressingly fragmented. One minute you’re looking a beautfiul new (but empty) building and the next minute you’re looking at a run down strip mall.

Don’t get me started on the quality of the roads here. You would think Atlanta gets hit with heavy snow and ice in the winter with the condition these roads are in.

GA Peach

September 17th, 2009
12:53 pm

I have just moved back to ATL since being gone for 10 years. Traveled all over the country, lived in NC, Sweden, and most recently (and regrettably) S. Fla. The S. Fla bit I will be recovering from for some time. The day I moved back I was able to sleep, eat, laugh, sigh, and be happy for the first time in three years. Atlanta has grown in such great ways – the east side villages, the in town living. We have amazing food every where we go. And cheap! Taquiera del Sol, Figo, Fellini’s, Rathbun’s, etc, etc. Everyone we have run into has been really nice and people actually have manners here! I am so glad to be home. And proud that Atlanta made that list! I agree that it should be on that list. :D

DB

September 17th, 2009
12:53 pm

As soon as Atlanta gets a new mayor and police chief serious about tackling crime, she will be restored to her former glory. I remember reading in the AJC several years back that Atlanta is so beautiful in the spring, it is like a beautiful lady who is wearing all of her jewelry at once. I agree.

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Left wing management

September 17th, 2009
12:59 pm

GA Peach: “people actually have manners here”

Now now, let’s not get simplistic. People have good manners in New York and Chicago too. :)

Tori

September 17th, 2009
1:03 pm

Atlanta has such a bad rap…it is one of the largest cities in the country and never gets a lick of press. everyone who has visited me here has had a fabulous time…from touristy Coca-Cola and Aquarium to the pubs of the Highlands, to swanky Buckhead, and vibrant Midtown. We eat good, enjoy the parks and museums, watch shows, shop, drive through beautiful intown neighborhoods with historic homes, etc.

I have lived all over, including London and I agree with Joe…London is lonely and its a hard, hard life. Atlanta is the only big city I have been in where its easy to live here. I am from youngstown, ohio area orginally…crime and corruption are everywhere. If we concerned about it, we need to work to fix it and I think Atlanta has done a good job and continues to improve itself.

Left wing management

September 17th, 2009
1:11 pm

Tori: Atlanta has such a bad rap…it is one of the largest cities in the country and never gets a lick of press.

I don’t know, I think Atlanta gets a pretty fair amount of attention. This NG magazine piece is a case in point. What I think Atlanta does NOT get is much respect from the city snobs. And probably one reason it does not is that life here is not as hard as it is in other places. As I once overheard somebody who’d just moved to LA say: “the harder it is to live in a place, the more exciting it is” (he was speaking of LA and NY). So there’s a romanticism of urban grittiness. For those with little patience, Atlanta is too big to have any mid-size charm (a la Denver, Austin) but too small for true big city sophistication. Meanwhile, the actual city that falls through the cracks in this way gets overlooked and dissed, and that’s a shame.

Bryan

September 17th, 2009
1:13 pm

I’m reading and there are a lot of A town haters out there. I live in NC and I can’t wait until I can have a chance to move to Atlanta. The people are nice and it has everything you want. A big city feel in downtown, midtown, and Buckhead and still some southern charm in some of the surrounding area’s. And if you want a suburbian feel just go outside of I-285 and commute into the big city. How many cities can say that? How many cities have a heavy rail system especially in the south. Not light rail folks because there is a difference. Most cities don’t have heavy rail because it can’t be supported. Light rail are smaller, shorter trains that are more like a trolley. Heavy rail is used in major cities because it has it’s own exclusive right of way. Unfortunately it is not extended where it needs to be 1) because there is no state support for MARTA and 2)there are people that don’t want a rail stop in their area because it attracts crime…one of the dumbest things I’ve heard. Every rail stop I’ve seen on MARTA was clean and most had nice high end development around it, including on the South line! Why are so many stars moving to ATL… black and white? How many cities have natural beauty like Stone Mountain and man made like the skyline of the city? Why were the Olympics set here? People… the OLYMPICS!! What is keeping on the haters here? Someone said they probably can’t afford to leave. Probably true. Every city has crime and traffic. That is just part of a big city. I love the A town and can’t wait to get down there. It has everything I need.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

September 17th, 2009
1:15 pm

Seems like there are intelligent geographers and lucky people.

The single “dog” I have in the “fight” is wanting only the best for myself and my family. Born in D.C., I’m from America, travelled all the world, driven in almost all of our major cities, and lived in some: for twelve-month-a-year living, raising a family and being around the best America has to offer, amidst the closest bloodstock and Spirit to those who created America, there is no place equal to Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta’s drivers and roads are the best. This is a “magic” town: the New Jerusalem.

A thousand feet above sea-level, without the humidity of D.C. or NY: of the top fifteen U.S. metro areas in population Atlanta is second in altitude only to “The Mile-High City,” Denver, whose region’s backwardness and heat inversion air pollution is legendary – and days from a beach.

The Mafia and the Roman Catholic Church, or their Big Oil fronts, control Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, SanFran, Miami, New Orleans, and Texas. Seattle gets rain all year and is miserable waiting for the next Big Tsunami.

D.C. is Babylon on the Potomac…all aligned with the “New York/L.A. Sodom and Gomorrah axis.”

Anyone doesn’t love Atlanta, Georgia, and particularly North Georgia, needs to look in the mirror. Shape up, or ship out.

There’s good reason this is Dr. King’s hometown. Come to Atlanta to find G-d. If one can’t manage that try a little harder.

It’s all up from here without the fascists in the White House, a homegrown girl will do well as mayor, and American Civilization will be pivoting on our urban culture.

Atlanta is true America’s only hope and, thank G-d, Obama is Atlanta’s president.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

September 17th, 2009
1:19 pm

P.S. East Atlanta is “electric.” Atlanta’s the “happenest” spot in the world: the Center of the Universe. If it “ain’t” right for you, get to where you can be happy.

GA Peach

September 17th, 2009
1:23 pm

Left Wing Management – People in NY do not have ANY manners, that’s why S. Fla sucks so bad. Well, one of the hundreds of reasons…

junebaby

September 17th, 2009
1:38 pm

people(and i’m talking men) talk about crime and fear in downtown atl! maybe that’s what your problems are, a lot of you so-called men have no backbone, and fear your own shadows. for a grown man to not go outside or participate in life, less this or that happens to him is mind-boggling. if you guys have a woman, how do u keep them?? actually, the only thing wrong about atlanta is too many sensitive(??)men, not willing to stand up for themselves. if u did that, u wouldn’t fear anyone or anything. sure be careful, but don’t cower!!!

Jay

September 17th, 2009
1:42 pm

Blah blah blah. I hate Atlanta. Get out then? I have lived in Charlotte, Dallas, San Jose, San Diego twice, and I love it here. So much to do. Festivals all over the place, like Other Sound in Lil 5 this weekend and the EAV Strut. Beer festivals, parades, etc. Great lil neighborhoods like EAV, Castleberry Hill, Lil 5, VA-HI, etc. And lots of stuff for tourists as well.

Also, you are a short drive from a lot of stuff. Beaches, gorgeous mountains, raging rivers, wineries. Great restaurants. Great airport, decent mass transit that takes you to another of my favorite areas ITP – Decatur. Love this place.

Yes, we have a crime problem, but what major city doesn’t? I have friends getting broken into in San Diego. Its everywhere. We do lack good leadership, but let’s hope that is coming soon.

For those that don’t like it, this is a free country, you can say what you want. And you can leave whenever you want to head to your utopia. I have traveled all over the Northeast, and I do like a lot of cities up there, but only Chicago would I live in, and it definitely has its share of issues.

alana

September 17th, 2009
1:56 pm

I love the person who said they’d never even been to Atlanta, and called the article a joke. For those of you who have only seen Downtown and Centennial Olympic Park, you have been sadly deprived. ATLANTA IS one of the most diverse, charming and eccentric cities. If you haven’t explored anywhere outside the Perimeter, or even the outlying neighborhoods within, you haven’t really visited Atlanta. As some who has lived in Miami, Alaska, and Atlanta, I LOVE THIS CITY!!!!!

Arrivederci, ATL!

September 17th, 2009
2:04 pm

Enter your comments here
I’m not going to say whether or not Atlanta should have been chosen as one of NG’s “50 Places of a Lifetime”, but as a former resident and citizen of Atlanta for more than 45 years, I will say that there was a time in Atlanta’s past that it was as special of a place to live and work as described in the article. Today? I don’t think so.

Today, it is the most racist and vitriolic city I’ve ever known and I’m not speaking of the attitudes of whites towards blacks, but rather just the opposite. It’s crime rate is through the roof — it has become one of the very top drug centers of the U.S. It’s government is more than corrupt, it is reprehensible. The veneer and facade of a gleaming skyline and self-pompous promotion can’t hide the ugly warts and such that have overtaken and sought to kill the life of the city.

I admit to missing Atlanta’s beautiful changing of the seasons there, from it’s crown and glory of Spring to the wistful and crisp times of Fall. There are certain other things I miss, too. But, even these special individual momentos and treats of a place I once loved are not enough to ever lure me back there. Like authors Anne Rivers Siddons and Pat Conroy (both native area Atlantans and left for similar reasons) there is a time to go…and go they did and I did, too. But, we’re all sad we had to.

I left Atlanta in 2008 for San Diego, California. I used to LOVE Atlanta with a passion. It’s physical beauty nothwithstanding, it was a delight to tell others that I was from Atlanta. When we moved here in the mid-1960’s, it was much smaller and, therefore, had a lower crime rate, fewer traffic problems, etc. But, as Atlanta grew, so did it’s problems. One of them

BPJ

September 17th, 2009
3:37 pm

First, would the Atlanta-bashing trolls please follow through with their rhetoric and MOVE? (And once you have moved, there’s probably not much reason to keep reading a column on “fun stuff to do in Atlanta and beyond”, unless I guess if you live in beyond.) Once y’all move, traffic should ease up somewhat, although some of the Atlanta-bashers don’t seem to get out much.

Here’s what I posted last week, when some of the same people were outraged that Atlanta had been mentioned as one of the ten most fun US cities (we placed 6th):

“Fun in Atlanta includes Horizon Theatre, Actors’ Express, Theatrical Outfit, the (Tony-winning) Alliance, 7 Stages, TWO Shakespeare companies (Atlanta Shakes Downtown and Ga. Shakes in Buckhead), PushPush, Synchronicity, True Colors, Theatre in the Square, and Dad’s Garage! Unlike the other cities on the list, we even have a French-language theatre, Theatre du Reve.
Check out the High (not just the high-profile exhibits), the Carlos, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Spelman Museum, MOCAGA, Oglethorpe Museum, MODA……….and galleries such as Marcia Wood, Solomon Projects, Sandler Hudson, Saltworks, Kiang, Jackson (for photo), Lumiere (also photo), and Barbara Archer.
Check out the superb symphony, and the best-on-the-planet ASO Chorus.
Listen to jazz at Churchill Grounds and blues at Blind Willie’s. Eat at any of the 100 best restaurants around town. Stroll through Piedmont Park in the spring, or hike the Chattahoochie Nat’l Rec. area in fall. Visit the world’s largest aquarium, and one of the nation’s best zoos.
And if you’re frightened by fellow citizens because they’re black, please move to Alabama.”

I would like to know whether any of the trolls have been to 5 or more of the places on that list.

To clarify a few points: the city population isn’t 400,000; since 1990 it has increased to over 500,000, the highest ever.

And contrary to some comments here, the city and the metro area, through the ARC, have excellent transportation plans. Such plans have existed for over a decade. The problem is: (a) the state underfunds metro Atlanta, raking off our tax dollars to fund projects in the rest of the state, and (b) the state will not even let us VOTE to tax OURSELVES to fund transit.

Lily Hunt

September 17th, 2009
5:34 pm

Enter your comments here I love that Kudzu AND the Big Chicken made it into a 10-question quiz! To me, one of the best things about Atlanta is watching us all assemble at Piedmont, not really to watch the old movies, but just because we like being together. Piedmont Park, the Starlight, any neighborhood fair any time of year…just bring out the food and we’ll be there, fixin’ to shoot the breeze!

SweetPeach

September 17th, 2009
5:55 pm

I’m not a hater, just an observer. Many of the most vocal supporters of Atlanta on this thread are from somewhere north (yes, that includes South Florida). It’s a delight to have you, but to keep Atlanta the place we love, please pass along the word to any less courteous transplants you may know: we walk and drive on the right; don’t block supermarket aisles with your carts while we chat; seldom find ANYTHING important enough to justify cutting in line or interrupting; and use the horn as a warning instrument, not long-distance profanity. Humoring our little quirks will keep your stay and our city much more pleasant. Just saying…

Jamie Gumbrecht

September 17th, 2009
11:13 pm

Ha! Lily, the one I ALMOST answered incorrectly had to do with The Varsity potatoes. I really had to think about just how many cars are pulling in and just how much each one orders.

john

September 18th, 2009
8:24 am

Atlanta ahead of Boston ,San Francisco ?? PLease ! At one time Atlanta was a wonderful city but over the last 30 years it has become a city lacking in everything except hip hop. There is no downtown to walk through and enjoy without fear . Our major attractions are the World of Coke ,The Aquarium ,CNN,Stone Mountain and the Fox . Would I visit this city to visit those attractions ? NO ! I can’t wait to move from this crime infested ,corrupt ,hip hop city with nothing to do .What we call attractions are a joke !

Peadawg

September 18th, 2009
8:25 am

Go ask those Ga Tech student who keep getting robbed if Atlanta is a place of a lifetime.

jim

September 18th, 2009
8:28 am

if atlanta is so nice why has everyone moved 35 minutes north of the city

In with the NEW

September 18th, 2009
8:36 am

I moved here from the north to take the jobs the Georgia educational system can’t fill (as it ranks 46th) and to introduce myself to the beautiful women the southern gentlemen can’t satisfy.

I figure it took Yankees to burn Atlanta down… and ya’ll we’re waiting for the Yankees to build it back up.

Get Real!

September 18th, 2009
8:37 am

You gotta be kidding! I was born and raised (as a caucasian) in Washington, D.C. Moved to Atlanta 41 years ago, and if it wasn’t for my kids being born here and living here, I’d be back in D.C. in a flat N.Y. second! Washington D.C. has it all over Atlanta.

Bryant

September 18th, 2009
8:38 am

Dear Chris:
Atlanta is an awesome place to live. The city is new, exciting, and full of entertainment for the whole family. The homes are beutiful and the neighborhoods are diverse. Sure there is crime like any other major city, but that doesnt negate the fact that all people are welcomed and enjoy the experience. I lived in several other major cities and they are like concrete jungles. Atlanta has an awesome skyline with a very green backdrop. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

chuck allison

September 18th, 2009
8:38 am

Atlanta is a cesspool of corrupt leadership, black racism, traffic, poor architecture, crime, rap music, MLK’s descendants fighting in court,Cynthia McKinney, Wayne Williams, and moral decay. Don’t ask me why I don’t leave. I did, and now I hate to even drive through Atlanta or go through the airport. Imagine how wonderful Georgia would be if we could get rid of Atlanta.

Donald D

September 18th, 2009
8:40 am

What’s the old saying???? Something about “seeing the glass half full or half empty??” dependent on your own frame of mind.
Look for the beauty and it’s there before you; live in negativity and that’s what you get.

Lynn

September 18th, 2009
8:40 am

Enter your comments here
Piedmont park is not accessible to most. There is not enough parking, and it is so congested I avoid the area. It’s a great park if you live within walking distance, but it is a turn off, not a draw, to those who live in other parts of the city or suburbs. Locals view Piedmont Park as “theirs,” and do not welcome “outsiders” to “their park.” As a Chicago native, parks are designed to be accessible (lots of parking, public transportation that’s safe and accessible) a huge draw to local, suburbanites, and out of state visitor–and locals are proud of this. There’s a very different attitude in Atlanta.

NYTransplant

September 18th, 2009
8:41 am

I relocated from NYC because my job came to Atlanta. Overall, the city isnt all that bad. What impressed me the most was the amount of trees around the city. Overall, its relatively clean too. There are alot of things to do around town. I do like the weather better down here too.
The negatives are the city government,( alot of potential going to waste), No Marta train to Turner Field, (a no-brainer to have a stop there, whats up with that??), Downtown not to safe at night. I feel safer in downtown NYC than I do here. This city needs more of a police presence so the folks visiting have a sense of security. Just my take from a northerner….

Bryant

September 18th, 2009
8:41 am

Oh yeah Jim. If you would check the latest census reports the city of Atlanta population has grown in the last five years. That includes alot of people returning to the city. Besides, I there is no other place in metro atlanta like Piedmont Park.

JP

September 18th, 2009
8:43 am

I moved here 16 years ago from Ohio. Atlanta and the metro area is so vast and varies so much from area to area. But the one thing I loved that you cannot get anywhere up north is the newness to everything. I love new and hate old. I grew up with old. Knew no different. Besides everyone is moving here. From all over the north to here. Why? Weather and beauty. The mountains, hills, trees and scenery do make it awesome. Visitors come down and tell me how every subdivision has such pristene well maintained landscape. I know people who moved here and moved back thinking the grass was greener and then reversed course. Now everyone regretted it. The drought was just a cycle. Look the weather now. Another cycle. Change is good. Same o same o is boring. Unless you have been other places like I have you have no clue. The cost of living here is very affordable. Traffic? Yeah I had a problem for 7 years. Then I changed jobs to where I drove the opposite of traffic. No my commute is 20-30 mins and loving it. No stress. That’s my take on this anyway.

Mactown Marvel

September 18th, 2009
8:44 am

First and foremost let me emphasize the fact that no U.S. metro city is perfect! One thing I can say is that while ATL has it’s faults like every other city ATL does provide you with the ability to live an affordable life. Having lived in both LA and now the God forsaken city these infidels call Beantown by far ATL has these cities beat when it comes to cordial ethics, cost of living, and overall cleanliness! As far as the traffic goes, traffic in the ATL has gotten worse because the infidels that move there for the likes of LA and Beantown that don’t have the common sense to move over when someone is trying to merge onto the highway (Ooops my bad, you infidels know this as being the Interstate). Common sense bottom line is the difference between persons that were born in ATL and have seen ATL become the present day city that it still is now know what the city is and is still beautiful in regards to its mystique and captivating charm that made NGC place it on its list. Now if all of these infidels that wrote their opinions about the city and are not originally from ATL take a deep breath, click your heels twice and take your infidel behinds back to where you came from!

JP

September 18th, 2009
8:45 am

And I love the diversity here….Black White Indian Asian Mexican…yes Mexican. I am White. I love all these different foods they all bring here. I have tried them all. Indian has become one of my favorites. Life without all these different cultures would get boring.

Matt C.

September 18th, 2009
8:46 am

I moved here a decade ago for school, never expecting I’d stay but here I am. I love this city and I’ll gladly take the bad parts with it. For all of you who were looking for Mayberry, I’m sorry you didn’t find it here. Good luck with that.

To answer the question posted. It’s got to be all the parks and festivals that are spread throughout the year. Atlanta is such a wonderfully social city. And it’s a beautiful city.

Everyone that thinks this city is scary…turn off the news and go outside and meet your neighbors.

Richard

September 18th, 2009
8:48 am

Who in the world did the city of Atlanta pay off to get in National Geographic Traveler?

In with the NEW

September 18th, 2009
8:49 am

Hey Mactown Marvel, do you have a moment to get out of your trailer and tell me why nothing changed in Atlanta until the “infidels” showed up and started cleaning your town up?

cjamesatl

September 18th, 2009
8:50 am

Is this a joke? Piedmont Park is a dump compared to REAL parks. It’s just a bunch of grass with a ‘lake’ and a splattering of trees. NatGeo must have been desperate to complete their list.

Joan

September 18th, 2009
8:54 am

Atlanta is a joke of a city. St. Louis has a city park that is 12 MILES around and it is beautiful. It makes Piedmont look like somebody’s backyard. The art museum here suffers from a lack of art, and the zoo is about 50 years behind the times. The Botanical Garden isn’t much bigger than gardens in many private homes–again, St. Louis has a Garden about 20 times larger. Maybe Atlanta suffers from lack of civic interest in all these things. What Atlanta does have is traffic and nasty, rude people.

moot

September 18th, 2009
8:58 am

One of the main reasons that Atlanta is unappealing to so many people is that it tries so hard to be something, usually the _____ of the south. For example, there was an article yesterday asking if Atlanta was the LA of the south (really?). When I moved here, I heard people call it the NY of the south (not even close). Little Five Points is made up to be a slice of San Francisco and Buckhead is supposed to be like Beverly Hills. I don’t know what Atlantic Station is supposed to be – perhaps an experiment in kitsch.

It is really annoying because if this place wasn’t too obsessed with trying to be like somewhere else its optimistic and friendly people could create a place more interesting and unique.

Heels 4 Real

September 18th, 2009
8:58 am

I just moved to Atlanta from Charlotte last weekend and am definitely liking it so far. I lived in Virginia-Highlands and have yet to experience any of the bad things people mention.

Karen

September 18th, 2009
8:58 am

KW,

What kind of corruption was former NYC Mayor David Dinksin involved in?

Love your city

September 18th, 2009
8:58 am

My goodness, what negativitities amongst our very own population…I, for one, happen to agree with the list. Atlanta is one beautiful city-full of diversity, culture, amazing entertainment, shopping, world class culinary cuisine, one of a kind parks, historical Vistorian homes on expansive tree-lined streets, mini ‘neighborhoods’ where there is literally something for everybody, countless Fortune 500 companies headquartered here,just hours from the mountains or the ocean, live music galore, art exhibits, and tons of Civil War history!?? I didn’t even mention Hartsfield-where we can literally jump on a non-stop flight to Seoul, Korea. Ladies and gentlemen, coming from a world travelled native Atlantan (born and raised right here and still here), I suggest some of you start seeing the beauty and intrigue of this fascinating city…

Left wing management

September 18th, 2009
8:59 am

To chuck allison: why do you even read the paper online then if you’re so happy to be done with Atlanta? Let me guess, you probably wish Atlanta were South Carolina or Alabama with no real major cities and you probably were rooting for Joe Wilson when he made his outburst in Congress. Am I right?

Chris

September 18th, 2009
8:59 am

Atlanta is AWFUL! I thought a city with this much crime, traffic, corruption was the norm for a large city. I was so upset when my company transferred me to the Chicago branch but I couldn’t be happier here in Chicago. Even the “windy city” has less corruption than Atlanta. And for the previous poster who mentioned mayor Daley as corrupt, you obviously don’t know anything about him. And for those of you who are going to tell me to “read my own town’s newspaper” and “stop worrying about Atlanta”. I just want you to know that the only reason I read the AJC is to keep up with my alma mater in sports.

Vince

September 18th, 2009
9:01 am

There are negative people in this world who see only problems.
There are positive people in this world who see the beauty.
Thank goodness an unbiased, well-respected magazine can see the truth.

Brent

September 18th, 2009
9:03 am

Atlanta is what you make it. There are hundreds of beautiful places to go and things to do. I’m highly suspect of anyone who derides it to the contrary. Some folks must not get out much. Or maybe you live in the suburbs. It may not be a top 50/100 “city of a lifetime” but it’s wonderful all the same. And the people here are easily the friendliest I’ve encountered of any place I’ve visited in the world.

And some of the comments here are really off the deep end! Atlanta as “racist” and “mean” and not having an “attractive downtown” (NYC, DC, Orlando, Nashville – haha, are you people serious?!). Plenty of people with an apparent axe to grind. Atlanta isn’t perfect, but every city has crime, traffic, etc.

Left wing management

September 18th, 2009
9:04 am

moot: “It is really annoying because if this place wasn’t too obsessed with trying to be like somewhere else its optimistic and friendly people could create a place more interesting and unique.”

Read my post above from yesterday where I address this tendency of Atlanta to ‘pose’ among the elite cities, which infuriates the city purists and people like you but nonetheless Atlanta mostly pulls it off.

By the way, I think you’re dead wrong about Atlanta not being the LA of the South. I actually have always found that to be a pretty good description of what Atlanta is with the immense similarities between the two places.

JP

September 18th, 2009
9:06 am

You go Vince. Negative people suck. They are less happy and less productive. And they live a shorter life. You have to look at Atlanta and the metro area as a whole. Examining one aspect gives you no insight. Have you checked out all the aspects of the areas? All cities have certain parts that are not good. So don’t go to them.

Left wing management

September 18th, 2009
9:07 am

To Chris: “I just want you to know that the only reason I read the AJC is to keep up with my alma mater in sports.”

I’m ROFL now. That may be the case, but you obviously can’t resist stopping over to a forum about Atlanta being featured in National Geographic to weigh in, can you? :)

Tyree

September 18th, 2009
9:12 am

Piedmont Park is stunning. Except when it gets turned into a fairground several times a year with the festivals. Portal potties, crowds, litter, trampled ground are the order of the day. Va-Hi is quaint.Inman Park is nice. Grant Park would be wondetful except for the continued crime. Atlanta is a mixed bag of good and bad.

LOLO

September 18th, 2009
9:12 am

I agree with Get Real, DC is a much better city than Atlanta ever will be. Yeah there is crime, but at least it rarely bleeds over into the areas people want to be. I never felt threatened walking Cap. Hill, downtown, Georgetown, Adams Morgan or any other similar neighborhood at night. I loved living there and am trying to move back right now. Oh and the Metro system actually gets you to most places in the city you need to go. I drove my car about twice a month when I lived there.

Southern Charm

September 18th, 2009
9:14 am

Enter your comments here

Why do we get upset because the article expresses the good in Atlanta and does not tell us what we already know about traffic, etc.?
One of the oldest “Southern Hospitality” traditions is:
Just smile, and say Thank You

Jamie Gumbrecht

September 18th, 2009
9:14 am

Thanks to those of you staying on topic and keeping the discussion moving forward! Interesting topic, interesting perspectives.

Jim

September 18th, 2009
9:15 am

I love living in the metro-atl area but I can’t for the life of me understand why piedmont park would make the top 50 places on the earth. Just off the top of my head, I don’t think I’d rate it in the top 50 in GA.

HAHAHA

September 18th, 2009
9:16 am

I love Atlanta and I’m glad it’s been recognized as a great city to visit. For those of you who hate it, and have left and/or are planning to why are you still reading the AJC? I’m just saying…..morons.

Judith

September 18th, 2009
9:20 am

Life on MARTA,

I could not imagine this city without YBM. They are so handsome and they are hanging.

CWILLI

September 18th, 2009
9:20 am

I’ve been many places in my life time, and lived a couple as well Chicago, Miami,and Roanoke,VA and originating from Oklahoma City, I came here in the early 80’s fell in love with it and it has been an affair every since. The reason for the haters they look for the bad and not the good. Don’t like just get to steppin but don’t try and distort some one else who may be thinking of visiting this great city, way to go NG.

Vote For Pedro

September 18th, 2009
9:21 am

It’s a place of a lifetime because the life expectancy here is about 22 years!!!

levelhead

September 18th, 2009
9:24 am

Trash/Litter on the street every 20ft High weeds and grass. Have you all seen most of the on-ramps with all of the over grown weeds and trash not to mentioned someone or organizations asking for a hand out. Come to five points and have lunch then tell me what you think?

WestSider

September 18th, 2009
9:25 am

Dear kw,

As a resident of West Atlanta, I can tell you with all assurance that you are dead wrong. You might have gone to Tech, but you don’t live near here. I live in one of the newly “gentrified” neighborhoods on the West side (or Midtown West…whatever you want to call it) and crime is definitely out of control. We had to hire private security because of day-time home invasions. Car-break ins and pedestrian robberies are a common occurrence.

So if you don’t know what you are talking about (and it is obvious from your rosy red picture of intown life…a life it would appear that you don’t even live) then please don’t call others out.

That being said I feel that Atlanta DOES deserve to be on this list. Things are taking a positive turn in this city because the people moving in are working hard to make things better. Crime is ever present, but facing up to it and combating it with every tool available will make the good things about this charming city even better. I love the Fall with its festivals (Candler Park, Arts, L5P Halloween, etc…) most of all!

garcia

September 18th, 2009
9:31 am

Enter your comments here

My work and studies have taken me to far flung places over the past thirty years. I have lived in the most modern and metropolitan cities on earth and I have lived in third world countries. Without exception, every place on earth has is charms and challenges. I take the best from any place and make it my own. And, I feel sorry for people who can’t see beauty except for a narrowly defined ideal. I get the feeling that the negative posts in this thread are simply the work of narrow-minded simpletons. So be it, they deserve their place and have their voice.

As for me, I plan to finish my journey in Atlanta. I like to save the best for last.

MichaelinAtlanta

September 18th, 2009
9:34 am

I’ve lived here for most of my 56 years, and I have a pretty strong love/hate relationship with the place. I love the region, but sometimes find what people are making of the place–especially when they try to remake it in the image of some beloved somewhere else–is pretty saddening.

People who live in Atlanta may take for granted how extraordinarily green the city is. By contrast, it’s really pretty nice to see newcomers look with amazement at how completely the city is nestled in a forest. More and more, I also find the architecture is getting more interesting, though it strikes me that, regarding architecture, what the city needs most is more grand public spaces like the Woodruff Arts Center–not just grand buildings, but entire spaces that feed the spirit.

Piedmont Park and, to a lesser extent, Grant Park, are beautiful places, truly great places for people and for nature. Thinking about how wonderfully these parks work, I can’t help but think that much of what’s wrong with the city stems from the fact that planners have literally ripped its heart open by staging I-75/85 and I-20 in the middle of the city. Imagine what kind of city this would be if, instead of the downtown connector, we had a vast public park or, if not that, at least a network of forested neighborhoods matching the surrounding area. I think the fact that we live in a city with a damaged heart is part of what makes the city so inclined to identity silliness and flux.

As for crime and racism, I don’t think in either case we have problems anywhere near as bad as you find in other parts of the country. Large cities like Chicago and Miami are horribly polarized along racial lines, and the violence you find there and in other cities is largely worse than what you find here. Granted, the abject poverty in some parts of Atlanta is shocking and saddening, but there are far worse places.

I hope the city will grow more great public places like the Woodruff Center and Piedmont Park–and maybe that is what the Beltline will bring, if it ever gets built. I’m convinced that what makes cities great is the public spaces they offer; while we have a few wonderful public spaces, we have much to do to cultivate what we could here to make a really great city.

donna

September 18th, 2009
9:47 am

I have lived in Atlanta since 1989 and Atlanta is a great place to live with lots to do. Read the newspapers, listen to the radio, go to the mountains, lakes, parks, etc. Yes – there are lots to do here. However, since after the Olympics, Atlanta did change a bit. We have had an influx of over 350,000 people move in a matter of a three year span and continuing to move. Traffic is very bad but hopefully, plans are in the workings to change in the future. When it comes to mass transit, we need bus service expansion. We need more officers to patrol neighborhoods. But you know what! I love Atlanta. This is my home and no matter who says negative things about it, I still love it to life. Who don’t like it could leave it. This is a “free” country and you can move elsewhere.

Will

September 18th, 2009
9:48 am

I was never so glad to get out of Atlanta, lived there 10 years and it was not a plesant experience, traffic, red necks, Republicans, and the government is so corrupt. It’s like a 3rd world country.

Allie F.

September 18th, 2009
9:49 am

Who ever selected the top 50 places obviously did not spend much time in Atlanta! What a joke – we don’t even have sidewalks here! Traffic is horrendous. The economy sucks. Corruption runs rampid in city government. And the city is devoid of culture!

And, I agree with some of the comments, I have lived in several major metropolitan areas, including NYC. I have NEVER encounted the level racism and hate that is in this city.

A top place? I think not.

LL

September 18th, 2009
9:53 am

The one best thing about Atlanta are the non-stop flights out of Hartsfield. The worst thing about Atlanta is driving to Hartsfield

Brian

September 18th, 2009
9:53 am

i want to know how long these Atlanta bashers have lived here.
it must be difficult to live in Atlanta when it is not “perfect” like the city you lived in before.
yes, the traffic has become worse over the years and one solution is for you people to GO BACK TO WHERE EVER YOU CAME FROM.

What

September 18th, 2009
9:54 am

Are they kidding — “place of a lifetime” if you like crime, traffic, poor air quality, poor public schools, poor local government and leadership — corruption, steel plate covered roads, poor infrastructure, way too many people, thugs, rap, humidity, trees everywhere, poor public transportation, etc….

Stewart

September 18th, 2009
9:54 am

The obsession with place is an interesting phenomenon. Many people search for a place to live that will make them happy, while ignoring that place often has little to do with happiness. Relatedly, many of these posts tell you much more about the poster than they do the city of Atlanta.

And for the record, I’m a lifelong resident of Atlanta. I love Atlanta, and I think it has a lot going for it. It needs a lot of work and more people like me who will love it.

Left wing management

September 18th, 2009
9:59 am

When I saw the piece was headlined in this morning’s online edition I figured we’d see a fresh batch of trolls – and I wasn’t disappointed. Good morning Allie F. Good morning Will. Let me ask you, why are you guys so angry about Atlanta? Do you think you might be projecting your hurt and frustration over unfortunate incidents you’ve experienced onto the city perhaps?

Evan

September 18th, 2009
9:59 am

Look, Atlanta does have crime, traffic and racism. But what major city doesnt. Just start at the beginning of the list. Amsterdam?!? That city is known world wide as a filthy city (in many meanings of the word). Almost every major city on the list has terrible crime and most have an awful political atmosphere. Im not saying that New York or Chicago shouldn’t have been on that list with Atlanta, but let’s remember the criterion for the list. It is a list of wonderfully unique places to visit and soak in sights and culture you can’t find anywhere else in the world. It is not saying that Atlanta is perfect, far from it. Some of the “flaws” contribute to the uniqueness that put Atlanta on the list in the first place. So let’s not bash it because you didn’t enjoy your time here or have had a few bad experiences in traffic or downtown, and let’s remember that despite everything, Atlanta has a great deal to offer.

DJ

September 18th, 2009
10:03 am

If every notable “guide” or “survey” points out how valuable an asset our tree-cover is, why do the politicians insist on sucking up to developers who want to cut down every tree in sight?

A Realist

September 18th, 2009
10:04 am

For all of the City of Atlanta haters….MOVE or if you don’t already live in the City of Atlanta…don’t move here!!!!

I just wish there were more green spaces within the city like Piedmont Park. Yes, there is definitely room for improvements overall, but Atlanta is still a great city. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world and there are only a few places that can compare and/or better. The majority of those places are definitely outside of the US as oppose to being in the US.

Bob

September 18th, 2009
10:05 am

I thought Atlanta could qualify for the list until I saw all of the negative comments on this post. Get a life and move along! Atlanta would certainly improve without your award-winning attitude.

Alvin

September 18th, 2009
10:07 am

I love Atlanta. I have been here since November 95. If it had a beach it would be perfect. Every city has crime and corrupt politicians. When I go back to the north after 3 days I am ready to return to my Atlanta. Hey maybe it is not for everybody(so leave!!!!!) The most beautiful woman live here and the good weather last longer. Hey traffic sucks, but hey I can live with that. I love the melting pot is has become.Yes there is old school racist here, but that is the few. I have a problem with the confederate flag, but I feel eventually a change is coming.

Bruce

September 18th, 2009
10:07 am

I have lived in Atlanta for 32 years. Many times, I have thought about leaving for greener pastures but I realized every major city has similar negative issues. Our biggest challenge has consistently been the overriding perception that it is unsafe to be out and around, particularly at night, in the downtown/city center. This MAY be slowly changing, but not nearly fast enough for our own good. While common courtesy in this country seems no longer to be common enough, at least here that doesn’t seem to be as big an issue (except I-85 at rush hour).

Corey

September 18th, 2009
10:08 am

Skyscrapers piercing an emarld canvas from downtown to Midtown to Buckhead to Sandy Springs and Perimeter/Dunwoody. There is really no other place like it. Yes, we do have too many bad actors, but all major cities do. If you are overly fixated with YBMs(Young Black Males),yes, you will miss out on great things this city has to offer.

Oh Phu-leez, squidward

September 18th, 2009
10:10 am

Atlanta in the top 50, internationally!? WTF?

You gotta be kidding. Was this written by someone who’s never been on a plane? Atlanta shouldn’t even finish 1st in the state of Jaw-jaw.

CDW

September 18th, 2009
10:11 am

I’m with KW – “Delta is ready when you are.”

I would bet that the majority of the petty little folks ripping on our fair city haven’t done or seen much beyond their own big box shopping centers and wouldn’t know what to do with a visitor beyond driving by the Big Chicken.

I’ve lived in several big cities and spent considerable time in others (Washington, Chicago, NYC, San Fran, etc). While I enjoyed my time visiting/living elsewhere and took advantage of what those towns had to offer, I can promise that they have more than their share of rude people, racism, poverty, crime, drugs, and all other social ills that plague metro areas.

Get out and SEE your city. Piedmont is a lovely place to visit, and not just for festivals. Been to the Botanical Gardens? Taken a tour of Oakland Cemetery? News flash – the Cyclorama has nothing to do with bicycles…check it out.

Da Mick

September 18th, 2009
10:14 am

I’ve lived in Atlanta since the mid-70s, and I have to say that for me, except for the trees, most of what was absolutely wonderful and charming about the city is gone, mostly by way of the wrecking ball. The result of “progress” in this town appears to be rows of corporate cookie-cutter establishments that I can barely make out as I drive by, because there’s always someone driving right on your butt, wherever you are. The road traffic and congestion is insufferably stressful, and basically makes me want to just get where I’m going, which is usually out of the city as fast as possible. Have to agree with other posters here about the city government though. I think Shirley has tried, but the conditions she was left by the criminal who preceded her with are more than one person can change overnight or over eight years. The city government is deep in nepotism, and needs someone who is willing to clean house to really bring on positive progress.

JC

September 18th, 2009
10:16 am

These people who live in ATL and are making cracks on it just need to leave. I’ve been trying to move to ATL now for several months.

Atlanta has a lot to offer. It is a green city, has wonderful weather, great parks, not 1 or 2 but 3 skylines, world class shopping, a subway system, hundreds of concerts a year, Fox Theater, UnderGround, Lenox, Perimiter, Midtown and the list goes on and on! I LOVE ATLANTA and I can not wait to move there! ATL ROCKS!

atlantalive

September 18th, 2009
10:18 am

I’m sorry to sound smart-assy, but “ghetto of a lifetime” might be a more appropriate title for the City these days. Atlanta has taken a steady decline over the 20+ years I’ve lived here. Sprawl, traffic, smog, and the daily round of teens in SUVs who think sticking an AK47 in someone’s face is a “fun” way to make some money. Calling Atlanta the “Place Of A Lifetime” is like calling Detroit “Mayberry, USA”. Sorry. I just want some of whatever it is they’re smoking at National Geographic.

Blessed

September 18th, 2009
10:19 am

I moved to Atlanta in 1982, from the North. I thought it was the most beautiful, friendliest city I’ve ever seen or lived in. Trees, green grass, blue skies, friendly people, beautiful skyline downtown, and that sweet southern tea. (nothing like it) but somewhere after the Olympics, the city seem to change. I didn’t mind the change that much, except for the southern hospitality seemed to start fading. Unfortunately, 2.5 years ago, the economy forced me relocate back north. I do miss it. I still read the AJC everyday.

joe

September 18th, 2009
10:21 am

Atlanta’s best features are its weather, terrain, affordability and skylines (notice I didn’t say hospitality). Those you can find in many other places. Yes, there’s more to do here than in Akron or Boise or any other 3rd-rate city, but Atlanta doesn’t compare to the world-class cities in this list. It is a second-tier city that needs to grow in cultural, political and social ways. Why do I live here? Because for me the mix is better than just about any other place, yet I see it growing too much in the wrong ways as it aspires to be on these “best international” lists. I fear we’ve thrown out the baby with the bath water.

BPJ

September 18th, 2009
10:22 am

Again, the usual Atlanta-bashers are out, and revealing their lack of knowledge about the city. One complains that Piedmont Park is not accessible, due to lack of parking and transit access. I thought everyone had heard by now about the large new parking deck which opened several months ago, after considerable public controversy. As for transit, it’s easy. Take MARTA to the Midtown station, walk east 3 blocks (passing some excellent restaurants on the way), and there you are.

Then we are told that Atlanta’s botanical garden is not as large as the one in St. Louis. Size isn’t everything, and when it comes to quality, the ABG is considered one of the nation’s leaders, especially for its orchid center (funny, if we had the largest botanical garden, and bragged about it, these same people would be sternly lecturing us on our obsession with “bigness”!). The ABG is also one of only two gardens in the US featuring the Henry Moore exhibit (the NY botanical garden was the other). See it.

We’re told “the art museum suffers from a lack of art”. Well it’s true the High got started late, and lacks the volume or quality of European paintings found in many other US cities. That is a source of disappointment to me. But to peddle that as the entire story of visual art in Atlanta is misleading. The High’s collections are continuing to grow, with smart acquisitions in contemporary art, photography, and folk art. Its exhibition schedule leans a bit too heavily on blockbusters, but there are smaller, more scholarly shows there as well – you just have to pay attention. But the most revealing phrase was “the art museum” -as if the High was the only art museum in Atlanta. I’ve met a number of people who think that. I take them to the Carlos Museum, and they always say “I had no idea there was anything in Atlanta like that!” There are superb shows at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, MOCAGA, Spelman, Oglethorpe, MODA, and several galleries. Atlanta is also an important theatre town. There’s an energy here that’s lacking in some older American cities, which may explain why the population of some (e.g., St. Louis) has decreased, while the city of Atlanta’s population has increased by 25% in the past two decades (from 400,000 to over 500,000).

This population increase in the CITY will come as a surprise to anyone who believes that “everyone has moved 35 minutes north of the city”.

I liked the comment by Matt C.: “Everyone that thinks this city is scary…turn off the news and go outside and meet your neighbors.” Community involvement makes a big difference in one’s appreciation of the city. There’s plenty of work to be done here, on transportation, on expanding the park system, on improving arts facilities, etc. – get involved.

dan

September 18th, 2009
10:23 am

I’ve grown up around Atlanta my whole life. I personally think that Atlanta and the metro area has been making a comeback the last 6-7 years. Howell Mill, Highlands, Atlantic Station, Mid-town are all cool places. Crime is a problem, but there is also some really nice homes within the perimeter. I think three things have hurt Atlanta:

1.) it’s infrastructure is ill equipped to handle the massive growth that has taken place in the last 20 years( hence the problem with traffic etc.)
2.) White Flight in the 1970’s and early 1980’s and the birth of surburbia, which has done nothing but plunge the city and metro suburbs into decay.
3.) the influx of transplants from the north( although to be fair, Atlanta has been known as a “Carpet Bagger” City ever since reconstruction).

I too have visited some great cities. But at the end of the day, Atlanta is home to me and I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Try riding your bike here

September 18th, 2009
10:25 am

and see how long you last.
This is not a top city. Yet. It will take a major shift in thinking on the part of a lot of folks to earn that merit badge.
I’ve lived here since ‘64 and it’s better, but it’s not that great.

Shirley U Jest

September 18th, 2009
10:27 am

Was an Atlanta resident for six years, now just the occasional tourist. Liked it at first, but then the glow quickly wore off, so I moved on. I can understand why NGT saw it the way they did. Tourists have no concept of the high taxes and fees the residents pay for substandard services, the oppressive traffic, the ever-struggling public school system, latent racism, homophobia, and the ineptness of both the administrative and legislative arms of the city government. Plus considering how much of the city’s strained resources are being expended to make the visitor experience positive, it’s good to know that somebody noticed. It may be the one thing in Atlanta that is working, but tourists don’t vote on election day.

Tea

September 18th, 2009
10:28 am

I think Piedmont Park would be a lot nicer if it didn’t have a new multi-story parking lot in it’s center. The eastern entrace to the park is more like a fortress than a park. The Conservancy and the Botanical Gardens have comandeered a portion of the park for their own use against the practically universal wishes of all residential stakeholders.

BB

September 18th, 2009
10:30 am

I agree with the article that Atlanta is a great city to see and visit. Every large city has its share of problems so I would suggest to the people complaining to quit watching the local news. There is a lot of good going on in this city that you will never hear about. Your negative views are controlled by your thoughts so look for the good going on in Atlanta and again, turn off the negative news.

Brian

September 18th, 2009
10:33 am

I live in Jacksonville Fl and I visit the A frequently and I love it. Its my favorite city. I wish I would have moved there instead of J,ville.

MiLO

September 18th, 2009
10:34 am

National Geographic Traveler recognizes Atlanta (the city and metro area) as one of the “50 Places of a Lifetime.” That’s funny. I remember my friend joking, “Atlanta is a good place to live, not to visit.” Anyway, the essay that accompanies the NGT recognition is problematic. Aren’t others tired of these essays and comments on Atlanta that continue to preserve the false notion of “a city too busy to hate,” especially given the well documented racial and class disparities? Atlanta is a good place to live but it defies logic and reality to rank it among great places in the world.

Duluth, GA

September 18th, 2009
10:36 am

I love Atlanta and will always love this city. Yes, Atlanta does have some problems just like every other place in the world, but it is not as bad as some are claiming it to be. As it has been mentioned, stop being so negative and some of you will begin to see the positives in this city. It is never too late to start being positive.

Greg

September 18th, 2009
10:42 am

The people that are saying it (ATL) is racist are indeed the real racist!

Native Southerner

September 18th, 2009
10:58 am

I have traveled to many places around the world and I believe that when you consider everything Atlanta has to offer, it’s not such a bad place to live. It does have it’s problems…politics, crime, transportation, differing cultural opinions…but most major cities struggle with these. I enjoy the vibrancy of large cities but, I don’t believe any other cities in the US are worth the costs, hassles or climate extremes. Cities like London, Paris and Amsterdam truly have so much more to offer than American cities but, like others have mentioned in this blog, they can be very difficult places to actually live. The cost of living in Atlanta is so reasonable that I can afford a great, quality lifestyle. At one point in my life I lived in a penthouse in central London but, I still felt as if I had a poor standard of living. I loved the diversity and culture the city had to offer but, again, it was such a hard, fast-paced life.

What Atlanta needs is more focus on the city center. This has already begun in Midtown and to some extent in the downtown area. I just hope it doesn’t take another 20 years to reach its potential. The city has changed so much during the time I have spent here and even if I move (most likely to Paris), I will always follow its progress. If and when that happens, I’m sure I will look back at my time here and remember how comfortable life was.

Marc

September 19th, 2009
1:16 am

This article is just hilarious, not as funny as the posts responses lol The best of all is when Sunshine said that “we are too busy here to hate” ROFL (since this is the capital of the prejudice of the United States) How clueless someone can be to rate a city that they don’t live at… Atlanta is even pretty but a huge small town, in mentality and things to offer… crime, drug scene and not related to the night life that the government killed…. The positive feedbacks are clearly from people that doesn’t know other places, or are too afraid or old to do it.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

September 19th, 2009
2:30 am

Marc – Clearly you’ve chosen to throw-in with us. Your English is ESL, is it not? Why second-guess yourself? With Bush’s Anti-Christ faction being beaten back, whose foreign branch probably runs whatever country you left, America shall once more be a Light to the nations, and Atlanta, “America’s Town,” is far and above the best.

I’ve been to essentially all “other places” in the U.S., and many around the world, so I know for a fact: It’s all downhill from here.

After Bush committed 9/11 and restarted the Afghan heroin trade Atlanta was turned into “the Wal-Mart for heroin for the Southeast U.S.,” with complicity of local corruption. My hope is that Mayor Borders won’t be a party to it and with the righteous president in the White House we now have, Atlanta will be the prime beneficiary of restored America following Dr. King’s Dream.

That you found your way here might just be Grace and you should relax and accept your good fortune, but “the Devil” has plans for us all and you might just need to meet your destiny elsewhere. Some place you think is “better?” Perhaps, like a scout, you could go there and report back?

All G-d’s chillun got wings and this is a Freedom Town for those who can be cool.

Our “Well” is pure and good. You try to put something else in Atlanta’s “Well” and you’ll find “the curse causeless shall not come” unto you.

Best of luck.

Kevin

September 19th, 2009
2:49 am

I don’t understand why everyone trys to act like Atlanta is the worst place ever. like many people have already stated it’s going to have it’s problems just like any other city. but spending my whole life in Atlanta all I have is good memories of the place. Braves games, Centenial Olympic Park, Coke city, riding Marta, the Varsity. As bad as this sounds I enjoyed seein the bums they made our city too. I do find it kinda funny how a listing in the worlds 50 prettiest places or whatever got people arguing politics. I do also agree that the city has crazy potential. Also in Utah people aren’t nearly as nice as they were back home in Ga.

Atlantan

September 20th, 2009
4:50 am

Top 100 places to live – yes. One of the more liveable metro areas in America with tons to do and see.

Top 100 places to visit in a lifetime – that is a stretch. Great place to visit, but I can’t say top 100 in the world in a lifetime. The south with Atlanta as a destination point yes, but just the city – no. Chris and Suzie must be shut-ins – clearly they didn’t get out and about in the city.

Still great press.

Mark in Texas

September 20th, 2009
6:43 pm

As a Georgia native having to endure the Dallas metroplex, here is one that appreciated the beauty and uniqueness while living in Atlanta, but who appreciates it all the more while living elsewhere.

Haters are everywhere and best ignored. I love that others have seen and recognize that Atlanta is truly a unique city with a million treasures to be found within its huge scope.

[...] with any of the lists Atlanta shows up on, data rarely equals reality. This list mentions single gals who are searching, but doesn’t [...]

Jim Ragan

October 21st, 2009
4:05 pm

The one big improvement that the Atlanta area could use is the development of the Chattahoochee River Waterfront area, primarily west of Atlanta in Cobb County. Imagine how great the river area would be with bicycle paths, walking paths, and shopping areas like the Forum Plaza in Norcross or the shoppes at East Cobb. A great example would be to see how a city like Columbia, SC developed its river waterfront west of downtown and how great it looks now.

Amanda

October 26th, 2009
4:49 pm

oh boy – you guys make me nervous. I’m heading to Atlanta from Boston in 2010. I view Atlanta as any city, but look forward to living some place different for a change and have always heard great things about Atlanta. It has its good parts and bad. Same as any city.

Aarens

April 30th, 2010
2:43 pm

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