Atlanta has plenty of history going for it, as the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr., the novel “Gone With the Wind,” Coca-Cola and Chick-Fil-A, to name a few. In the modern day, it’s a growing, humming, booming metropolis thriving with culture and commerce. The term Hotlanta is fitting in so many ways, and more so every day, it seems. Here’s some of what’s hot and happening in Atlanta right now:
This ongoing, wide-ranging redevelopment project converts 22 miles of old freight rail lines surrounding the central city into a loop of rail transit, trails and parks dotted with public art exhibitions such as murals and sculptures. Economic development is and will continue to be hot along the line, with housing, shopping, and bars and restaurants popping up at a healthy pace. With a scheduled completion date of 2030, the BeltLine promises to be a hub of growth for years to come.
The “Hollywood of the South”
The city has become a hotbed of filming for movies and TV shows, from Marvel’s cinematic superheroes (Black Panther, Captain America, Spider-Man) to hit zombie series “The Walking Dead.” Currently one of the biggest productions being filmed here is “Super Fly,” a remake of the ’70s blaxploitation cult classic.
Perhaps most directly relevant is “Atlanta,” the critically acclaimed, award-winning fan favorite TV show now in its second season, a fictional yet true-to-life series with the real town as the backdrop.
Today’s Southern Music
The Atlanta music scene in a word: fire. The claim to fame here is hip hop, rap and R&B (though there’s been a burgeoning indie rock scene for years as well). Building upon a 2009 article in The New York Times that labeled Atlanta the “hip-hop center of gravity,” the industry has expanded non-stop, with big names like Usher, Ludacris and T.I. plus a booming community of homegrown and newly arrived up-and-coming talent.
Notable new dining destinations are popping up almost daily, it seems, such as Staplehouse, named America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit last September. All the while, old stand-bys like The Varsity (hailed as world’s largest drive-thru) continue to hold their own.
New stadiums are the talk of the town. The recently opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium — home to the Atlanta Falcons (NFL) and Atlanta United FC (Major League Soccer) — will host the Super Bowl in 2019. SunTrust Park is the heralded new facility of the Atlanta Braves. And Philips Arena, home court for the Atlanta Hawks, is receiving a complete makeover and scheduled for completion in late 2018.
Business Is Good
One of the most exciting developments in a very long list is that Atlanta is among the final top 20 cities being considered for Amazon’s new second headquarters (HQ2). The project is expected to bring $5 billion in investment from the company as well 50,000 high-paying jobs over the next 10-15 years to the host city that’s eventually chosen.
FUN FACT: The National Forest Service has recognized Atlanta as “the most heavily forested urban area in the country.” So the nickname “City in a Forest” really fits.