After snagging our top spot last year, Atlanta is back again, thanks to its diverse community, top-notch schools and relative affordability compared to other major U.S. metros. Plus, we can’t ignore the many merits of living in an award-winning foodie city.

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Atlantic Station Central Park
Gene Phillips, Courtesy of ACVB & Atlanta Photos

From celebrity chefs to experiential dining to local joints, it’ll be hard for your taste buds to get bored. One hotspot, The Consulate, has a rotating menu of cuisines from around the world, and at Gunshow, your dishes are brought to the table by the chefs who prepare them. For Southern classics, locals (and, a few months ago, Vice President Kamala Harris) flock to the historic, über popular The Busy Bee.

The capital of Georgia has plenty to do when you’re not eating, too. Whether admiring the 1,300 works on display at The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia or strolling through the thirty acres at the Atlanta botanical garden, the city has ample activities for all ages (and interests). While Atlanta’s understandably become a tourist destination, particularly during popular events like the annual jazz festival, locals find that it’s still easy to discover underrated (and less crowded) gems, like live performances on the Broad Street Boardwalk during lunchtime.

Atlanta Zoo and people running at Buckhead Path
From Left: ACVB Marketing | Melissa McAlpine; James Duckworth, Courtesy of ACVB & Atlanta Photos

One of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, Atlanta’s booming tech industry has drawn in high-earners from more expensive locales. It’s notable, though, how government and grassroots groups have worked together to maintain space for the city’s long-time residents. Growing while building a more equitable place to live is the goal: The city has cooperatively owned food manufacturers and bike shops, plus a food forest that gives free produce to volunteers and a collection of farmers markets that accept food stamps as payments.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber, meanwhile, is in the midst of a multi-year strategic plan to invest in Black-owned businesses, promote equitable workforce development and track diversity among the city’s corporate leadership. And affordable housing has been a top priority for elected officials. One project underway, funded with the help of $157 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, aims to reunite downtown and midtown Atlanta with 14 acres of elevated parks and paths and develop more than 3,000 affordable housing units.