Monday, July 30, 2007

A little place called Atlanta.

So I was running late to work this morning and caught this really interesting conversation on my favorite morning radio program, The Bert Show, here in Atlanta. All the DJ's had been out on vaca last week and the main guy, Bert, was out west on a camping trip with his son. At some point he was chatting with a bunch of other people from all over the country and I guess he explained that he was a radio personality in Atlanta. And they all started talking about Atlanta and he said he was just amazed at the total misconception these people had about our city! Now none of these people had ever visited Atlanta, so he just was really intrigued by their opinions on our city. He didn't correct any of them - he just listened and took mental notes.

By far the biggest misconception was how big our city is. He asked them all what they thought our city's population was and none of them thought we even approached a million (we're at 5 million). The only thing they knew of to do in Atlanta was to go to a Braves game (I personally haven't been in years). When asked to compare our city to others, they came up with Birmingham, Nashville, and Savannah (Savannah?!). Bert said it was just so eye-opening for him. Do we live in this "Atlanta bubble" where we're really the only ones that know how fabulous our city is? With the help of some listeners calling in, they all kind of came to the conclusion that Atlanta just is not generally a tourist destination like New York, Chicago, or LA. One suggested reason - the fact that we don't sit on a body of water. And we just don't cater to tourists like some of these other big cities do. We don't have huge double-decker buses on every street corner and we're really not a walking city like New York or Chicago. You really have to have a car if you want to hit all the different hot spots in our city - hence our traffic problem.

But, we do have incredible shopping and dining (which for me, are the main pursuits of ANY vacation). I've lived here forever and there's still a neverending list of restaurants I want to try. That's one of my favorite activities actually - trying out a fun new restaurant with my girlfriends (and there are always fun new ones). The shopping is crazy good. The only major thing I can think of that we're lacking is an
H&M (I mean, wtf?), but word is it's coming soon - reportedly as part of the new Midtown Mile development. There's stuff going on all the time... concerts, Broadway shows, festivals and whatnot. There are tons of kid-friendly sites like the aquarium (currently the largest in the world, but no one holds "the largest" title for anything very long), the Coca-Cola museum... oh yeah, and those Braves games. And while you won't catch me there much anymore, I hear the nightlife is amazing (sorry, I'm an in-the-bed-by-10-o'clock person).

Most of Atlanta is made up of transplants. It's rare to find a native. And come to think of it, people always say they never realized how big our city was till they moved here. So I'm wondering -- for those who've yet to make it down here, is Atlanta really thought of (if thought of at all) as just this nice little town in the South where the Braves play? And that also got me thinking... what other fabu cities out there are going unnoticed? I know lots of people on here are vague as to where exactly they're located... but I'd love to hear about some of your great hometowns that don't always make it on the radar!


Anonymous said...

One problem is that we are only listed number 8 in city rankings on best places to eat.

I have been most prominent food cities and I would say we are top 3 in US. Not 8.

Also, I grew up in Nashville but have lived here almost 12 years. Nashville has not changed one bit. We basically have a new skyline. And the restaurants in Nashville suck.

Belle-ah said...

Good thoughts. When I moved to NY I was surprised at the almost complete misconception that most native northerns had about the south in general...I was literally amazed at times.

Pam said...

I know! I cant believe we dont have an H& M either...I mean, who do I need to write about that one!!!

magnolia mama said...

I just started reading your blog. Yes...there are HUGE misconceptions about the South and Atlanta. I lived in the midwest for a couple of years and they thought everyone from the south was dumb and talked slow. That made me so mad!

I live in Seattle now. It's also made up of MANY transplants. There's a lot more to Seattle than coffee and rain. But I would advise visiting in the summer.