I.T.P vs. O.T.P.
Visitors to Atlanta will find themselves in one of two areas; inside or outside of the perimeter. Interstate 285 encircles most of Atlanta and serves as a barrier to the suburbs. People from inside the perimeter will tell you all about the lifestyle and cultural differences separated by the eight lanes of traffic. People far outside the Atlanta city limits, like those in the suburbs of Roswell and Sandy Springs, still claim The A. So, when someone says they’re I.T.P. or O.T.P., they are referring to which side of the asphalt they’re from in the metro Atlanta area.
We love sports, but we don’t expect to win.
Whether it’s professional baseball, basketball, football, or soccer, we’ll come out to support our city’s teams. We are dedicated Braves fans, even if the last time they won the World Series was in 1995. The Hawks spent nearly 60 seasons nowhere near a championship, but we still love them. As far as the Falcons go, we NFL fans showed America exactly how to root for an Atlanta sports team in the 2016 Super Bowl, even though were up and then we were way down and ultimately lost. Now, we’re hoping the new Atlanta United soccer team can show us what it feels like to bring home a trophy.
Atlantans love Sundays — unless they head to Chick-fil-A for a chicken biscuit, drive into an empty parking lot, and immediately realize it’s Sunday. Otherwise, we love to celebrate the day of rest with brunch and bloody Marys or mimosas. On Sundays, though, the restaurants can’t lawfully sell alcohol until noon, so people come out in droves about fifteen minutes beforehand to grab a seat near the bar by the time the clock strikes twelve. Even more people come out during football season on Sundays to watch the NFL games and cheer on the Falcons.
Atlanta is the new Hollywood.
Atlanta has quietly lured filmmakers to the city for years, and now studios are popping up all over. Since Georgia started providing incentives to produce movies in the state, there’s been a new group of celebrities making headlines each week. Benedict Cumberbatch caused a stir by showing up at the Georgia Aquarium and posing with a penguin, and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are known for checking out local restaurants. When the film crews are here, streets are turned into post-apocalyptic worlds, zombies roam neighborhoods — and there once traffic chaos, because they filmed Baby Driver down our main interstates.
How to drive.
You may have heard that one of our interstates recently collapsed — we learned too much about traffic in our city. The app Waze made us traffic ninjas. We all somehow navigated around that one bridge collapse and that somehow was Waze. We found neighborhoods we never knew existed, and pissed off dog walkers across the city, as Waze took us on alternative routes.
As far as traffic goes, there’s no navigating around it. Atlanta “Rush hour” is the time hours during the morning and the afternoon when everyone and their mother and brother and seventh grade best friend are on the road to or from work. Plus, we like to drive fast. You may see a 55 miles-per-hour sign on the interstate, but you’ll definitely get honked at and see hands thrown in the air, even if you’re traveling in the right lane at that speed. You especially don’t want to drive too slow with another state’s tag because you will be judged as a tourist and screamed at accordingly.
Yes, our local newscasters are pretty rad.
You may have seen clips of news anchor Fred Blankenship and traffic reporter Mark Arum slipping rap lyrics into the morning news. They have honored The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, and Mobb Deep. “If you don’t know, now ya know.”
We really are this nice.
Atlanta is one of the kindest cities you’ll ever visit. As long as we aren’t behind the wheel, we generally smile and wave to complete strangers. If you get caught in conversation with a true southerner, you might wonder why on earth this person suddenly wants you to know about their grandmother’s cobbler. Beware. That conversation will send you down a rabbit hole of mostly listening.