18 Things You Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners About Atlanta

When you’ve got the world’s busiest airport and are the capital of America’s South, you’re going to get some visitors. And those visitors will have questions. So get ready for your aunt, your strip club-going friends, or your long-distance hookup to hit Hotlanta with this handy list of 18 things you have to explain to out-of-towners about Atlanta, including the fact that no one calls it "Hotlanta."

1. Underground Atlanta, The CNN Experience, the Cyclorama: we’ve never been there

As far as we know, the Cyclorama's a place where Tyler Perry rides dirt bikes. And we won't even bother explaining the futility/danger of going to Underground Atlanta, or that the only thing you should “experience” at CNN is pre-gaming there before Falcons games.

Atlanta traffic
Flickr/Matt Lemmon

2. Our traffic is worse than your traffic

Thanks to our terrible drivers, and our sprawling collection of communities, we’re not touching the interstates between 7am and 10am. Or between 4pm and 8pm. Or really, anytime that isn't between midnight and 5am or, like, 11am and 2pm. Otherwise, just stay home.

3. But now that you're here, we can use the HOV lanes!

There's a very good reason we're this excited to drive you around: we can leave our blow-up faux “passenger” at home.

4. There are certain parts of town you do not visit

You’re not going to East Point even if you can get a great burger there. It was just rated “the most dangerous suburb in America” for a reason. 

5. No one rides MARTA, unless it’s to drink on a sweet Red Line pub crawl

Unless you happen to both work and live within a half-mile of a stop, it’s entirely useless. Besides the panhandling and puddles of mystery liquids, it is guaranteed to add an hour to any trip, even with our awful traffic. There’s a reason why Uber and Lyft are taking off so fast here.

Sebastian Davis/Thrillist

6. That shack by the side of the road? It’s a restaurant

A ton of Atlanta’s best food is served in places that look like they should be condemned. Whether it is next to a gas station, comedy club, or attached to someone’s garden, you’re going to have to try it.

7. Yes, everyone is this nice...

The South has a reputation for being nice, and it is actually deserved. People will hold doors for you, say hello to you, and generally help you get about town. Just be wary of any too-good-to-be-true Airbnb deals below I-20.

8. ... even our celebrated adult entertainers

Go during the day shift, and (because of the great ratio) you may be able to score some night-time companionship if you play it cool. 

9. Everything is a Coke

Go ahead and ask for a “pop” if you want to get a befuddled look and terrible service from your waitress. But never, ever ask for a Pepsi.

10. Don’t even think about letting the meter expire

PARKAtlanta's merciless swarm of meter maids in hybrid cars will slap a ticket on your vehicle the second your time is done. We’re not kidding. Do not test them. And don’t think you can just run in to Gladys Knight's for some chicken to-go and get away with it. They’re basically walkers that will infect you with a $25 disease.

11. That homeless guy is lying to you

He isn’t trying to catch MARTA to Norcross, and his car isn’t broken down on I-75. At best, he’s trying to buy something from The King of Pops, at worst... who knows?

12. No one is really from Atlanta

Less than 10% of the metro area actually has an in-town address, so you’re likely talking to a Decaturian or Brookhavenite, or even someone from (GASP!) outside the perimeter -- one of those roads you shouldn’t be driving on.

Sebastian Davis/Thrillist

13. Sunday mornings are even easier with a few cocktails

Whether you’re recovering from last night’s bad decision, or going to a Falcons game, everyone drinks on Sunday.

14. We’re not saying ALL good hip-hop is from Atlanta...

... but thanks to T.I., Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Outkast, Young Jeezy, Cee Lo (and Goodie Mob), 2 Chainz, Akon, Soulja Boy, B.o.B., Lil Jon, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Jermaine Dupri, and the Ying Yang Twins, most of it is.

15. You are NOT in Hotlanta

Because no one calls it that. You may be in the ATL, depending on whom you’re talking to, or the A, but you will be straight-up shunned if you utter the “H” word.

16. Yes, we still go to Chick-fil-A

Have you ever had their waffle fries!? Or their Chick-A-Minis for breakfast? Don't talk to us about our local fast-foodery until you have.

17. We want to love our sports teams

We so want to be better than the fair-weather fans in your town (cough, Miami, cough), but it's hard when we've only won a single championship in more than 150 pro seasons. And when our NFL team's collapsed, the Braves are moving to Cobb county, and they're replacing our hockey team with one that plays... ugh, soccer.

18. We’re even less likely to take you Downtown the next time you visit

Right next to Centennial Park, we’ve got the world’s largest aquarium, a new ferris wheel, a new trolley line, The World of Coca-Cola museum, the soon-to-be-opened College Football Hall of Fame, CNN, a concert and basketball arena, and a new football/soccer stadium at some point. Please help us... and the out-of-towner who wants us to take 'em down there.

Sign up here for our daily Atlanta email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the ATL has to offer.