Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media


Entry Requirements: International travelers from 27 countries may enter the U.S. without a visa through the Visa Waiver Program; however, you must have a machine-readable passport. Visitors from other countries must obtain a visa from an American embassy or consulate abroad. For more information, visit

Security: Never leave valuables in your car or leave your bags unattended. Atlanta is a big city, exposed to big-city crime. Check with your hotel to find out which areas are best to avoid.

Time: Atlanta follows U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: The currency of Atlanta is the U.S. dollar. For current conversion rates go to OANDA Currency Converter:

Phone Calls: The area codes for Atlanta are 404 and, to a lesser extent, 770. For phone calls to Atlanta from within the U.S., dial 1 404 seven-digit phone number. For phone calls to Atlanta from outside the U.S., dial your country’s international access code 1 404 seven-digit phone number. In Atlanta, local calls from a pay phone cost 50 cents.

When to Go: Atlanta enjoys a mostly mild year-round temperature, although summers can get downright sweaty when temperatures regularly climb into the high 90s°F (high 30s°C). Winters (especially December through February) can be surprisingly wet and cool, with temperatures occasionally dipping below freezing. Spring and autumn enjoy warm days and mild nights.

Getting There: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) is one of the nation’s busiest passenger airport, with five runways and six terminals, which are connected by an underground train. Located ten miles (16 kilometers) south of downtown Atlanta.

Getting Around: Atlanta is a confusing city for newcomers, thanks to converging Interstates, fast drivers, heavy traffic, and a dizzying number of roadways containing the word “Peachtree.” Get a good map or take taxis. MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) runs buses and light-rail trains through the core of the city, but options to and from outlying neighborhoods are limited. MARTA does run trains from downtown to the airport.


Tips: If you plan to rent a car or drive in Atlanta, a good map is essential. Before you get behind the wheel, give yourself a little orientation; with several converging interstates and confusing street names, it’s very easy to get lost.

Sun Hat: Protect yourself from the scorching hot sun and searing heat. A good hat will help cool you down.

Sunscreen: You can buy it anywhere, but it’s handy to have a bottle of sunscreen with you at all times.

Layers: Even when it’s mid-summer and everyone is drenched in sweat, you’ll still want to have a long-sleeve layer; Atlanta restaurants are notorious for cranking up the air-conditioning. In winter, layers help when it cools on rainy days and nights.

Dress Clothes: Atlantans like to dress up for a night on the town, so bring along dressier clothes for dining out. In most places, men will fit in wearing khakis and a button-down shirt, with loafers or dress shoes (not sneakers). A tie and blazer are required in just a few upscale establishments. Women wear dresses, skirts, or dress pants—often with heels, though you’d be fine to wear flats, sandals, or even flip-flops in summer.

Web Links

Access Atlanta
Sponsored by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with listings and reviews of events and restaurants, plus local news and weather.

Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau
Extensive listing of activities, attractions, hotels, and restaurants, with a downloadable visitors guide.

Atlanta Dining
An offshoot of the visitors bureau website with restaurant listings by type of cuisine and neighborhood.

Atlanta Music Guide
Exhaustive list of which bands are playing where, information about venues, plus music news and CD reviews.

Citysearch Atlanta
Wide-ranging guide to Atlanta’s businesses with editorial reviews, reader comments, and insider tips.

Resource for concert tickets, vacation rentals, ride-sharing, travel advice, and much more.

Creative Loafing
Atlanta’s alternative weekly has a website full of information on dining, and the bar and entertainment scene. It’s also a good place to gain an understanding of local issues and news.

David Atlanta Magazine
Guide to the gay scene with emphasis on nightlife and events.

Local Media

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The city’s major daily newspaper, founded in 1868; local, state, national, and international news; editorials, business, sports, travel, food, music, and more.

Monthly glossy magazine highlights Atlanta’s food, fashion, and events; in-depth feature stories and profiles of local personalities.

Creative Loafing
Free weekly alternative newspaper, comes out on Wednesdays; in-depth features and interviews track Atlanta news and trends; extensive music, movie, theater, and restaurant reviews.

Monthly super-glossy magazine covering Atlanta’s upscale social scene focused on fashion, style, and celebrities.

The Wine Report
This free national publication is based in and widely circulated in Atlanta; in-depth articles and reviews on local, national, and international wines.


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