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5 Best Places to Live in Georgia

By: Susan Finch
August 6, 2021

Are you thinking of moving to Georgia? The Peach State offers temperate weather, coastal and riverfront living, and a booming job market. You can find urban attractions and southern charm in Georgia, blending Southern fare with dishes fit for a foodie.

If you're ready to move but aren't sure where the best places to live in Georgia are, prepare for a challenge. Georgia boasts a gorgeous landscape, quick access to snow skiing and hiking, and key industries like aerospace and engineering.

Not sure where to start? No problem, we did the work for you and rounded up some of the best places to live in Georgia.

1. Atlanta

  • Population: 506,811
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $2,430
  • Median Household Income: $59,948
  • Walk Score: 48
  • Transit Score: 47
  • Bike Score: 45

Atlanta was founded in 1837 as the endpoint for the Western & Atlantic railroad line. It was briefly named Marthasville after the Governor's daughter and took the nickname Terminus for its location along the railroad before finally settling on a nod to the Atlantic Ocean with the name Atlanta. The city was also an integral part of the Civil War and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Atlanta is a popular place for newcomers looking for world-class amenities, dining, and a growing job market without compromising southern charm. Renters and newcomers are moving to Atlanta from New York, Miami, and Washington looking for less expensive rents than New York City and Los Angeles. When people leave Atlanta, they're moving to New York, Miami, or Athens, GA.

The median age in Atlanta is just over 33-year old and the city attracts career builders, families, and millenials looking for a reasonable cost of living in a major metropolitan city. Some of the largest employers in Atlanta include the Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, UPS, and Cox Enterprises. Atlanta also has a growing entertainment industry that attracts film and television production.

Beyond the job market, Atlanta’s neighborhoods are a playground for college students thanks to Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Emory University. The city is also home to historic black universities (HBCUs), including Clark University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College.

Atlanta's attractions now include the expansive Georgia Aquarium, High Museum of Art, and Zoo Atlanta. Historic stops are also plentiful with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King preached. Beyond the attractions, Atlanta is a foodie town and home to cultural gems like the Fox Theatre and Woodruff Arts Center.

Summers get hot and humid in Atlanta, but the weather is temperate and relatively mild year-round. The ATL is the perfect spot for outdoor fun with attractions like The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Park, and the nearby Sweetwater Creek State Park. The Atlanta Beltline is also a must for biking, walking, and stopping in restaurants and pubs along an old railway-turned multi-use path.

2. Augusta

  • Population: 197,888
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,007
  • Median Household Income: $42,592
  • Walk Score: 22
  • Bike Score: 30

Augusta, Georgia, was founded in 1736. It was established as a British colony of Georgia along the western bank of the Savannah River. During the mid-20th century, Augusta's warm climate attracted tourists looking for a resort getaway. Today, Georgia is the second-largest city in the state and is known for its exclusive Augusta National Golf Club.

Like Atlanta, August's median age hovers around 33-years-old and is attractive to families, married couples, and millennials growing their careers. Newcomers find employment in biotechnology, medicine, and the military, with agricultural industries integral to Augusta's economy. College students also settle into Augusta to attend Augusta University, Paine College, and private institutions.

Augusta's warm climate is as welcoming as its southern hospitality. Over 100-restaurants, galleries, museums, and live music venues keep locals well-fed and entertained year-round. Outdoor dining and shopping are also popular around Augusta. The Masters' Tournament draws up to 40,000 patrons to the Augusta National Golf Club. Cultural stops around Augusta include the Augusta Museum of History and Augusta Canal Discovery Center.

The downtown Riverwalk Augusta extends from 11th Street to the Gordon Highway Bridge for a walk along the Savannah River. The park boasts a multi-level brick trail, children's playground, amphitheater, and access to the Morris Museum of Art and Augusta Museum of History.

3. Columbus

  • Population: 195,769
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,004
  • Median Household Income: $46,408
  • Walk Score: 26
  • Bike Score:31

Columbus, Georgia, was founded in 1828 along the Chattahoochee River near Alabama. Columbus' location along the river made it a valuable site for shipping commodity cotton crops from plantations to international markets. When the railroad showed up in the 1850s, business boomed, and textile mills soon cropped up along the river. Columbus also holds the distinction of being the site of the last battle of the Civil War and was a significant manufacturer of supplies for the Confederate Army.

Columbus is a major producer of snack food staples and is a central banking, insurance, and credit card processing center. The median age in Columbus is 34-years, offering job seekers, college students, and families urban amenities and outdoor recreation. The city also welcomes college students attending the local Columbus State University.

Columbus has a growing nightlife and entertainment scene lighting up the Chattahoochee River. Uptown Columbus attracts locals to nightlife, retail, and entertainment with free concert series and a farmers market. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Springer Opera House produce annual shows and training programs.

Like any true river town, Columbus also boasts its own riverwalk experience. A multi-use paved trail offers a pleasant stroll along the river for breathtaking views. When you live along the river, there's also plenty of opportunity for fishing, kayaking, and waterfront fun.

4. Savannah

  • Population: 144,464
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,152
  • Median Household Income: $43,307
  • Walk Score: 43
  • Bike Score: 53

Savannah was established in 1733 and was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. Savannah's architecture and historic buildings attract newcomers and tourists to the historic downtown. It's among the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the U.S. and is celebrated for its beautiful coastal landscapes.

The "Hostess City of the South" boasts an impressive infrastructure and workforce that lends itself to booming industries. Advanced manufacturing, aerospace, entertainment, health tech, and creative services are just some of the target industries in Savannah. Creative college students from around the world attend The Savannah College of Art.

Savannah attracts ambitious career seekers, families, and college students looking for a promising job market, gorgeous backdrop, and higher education opportunities.

Savannah still boasts antebellum charm with a modern twist. The city is somewhat walkable, allowing locals to stroll the Savannah Historic District, winding through Southern mansions and historic homes. The riverfront features pubs, restaurants, and cafes. As a bonus, Savannah allows open containers in its historic downtown district, and pubs will gladly serve to-go cups.

Savannah's summers are hot, humid, and buggy, but its stunning outdoors make up for the heat. Forsyth Park is the perfect place to sit by the historic fountain underneath weeping willows. Or head outside of town to Bonaventure Cemetery along the bluff of the Bonaventure Plantation.

5. Athens

  • Population: 126,913
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,453
  • Median Household Income: $38,311
  • Walk Score: 27
  • Bike Score: 34

Athens, Georgia, is synonymous with college football and the University of Georgia. The city was founded in the 18th century as a trading settlement along the Oconee River. The town became the host of the first state-supported university. As the town grew and the university flourished, Athens became densely populated and continued to develop.

Athens attracts scores of college students, professors, and staff to its sprawling historic campus. It's also grown into a desirable location for its reasonable cost of living and lively vibe. Higher education jobs are plentiful around Athens, as well as jobs in healthcare, commercial and industrial equipment, and food processing. In a college town, working in retail and one of the local pubs and restaurants is also a popular job option.

College football fans vie for a chance to see the Georgia Bulldogs play, but there's more to Athens than collegiate sports. Locals know Athens as "Live Music Central," where bands like The B-52s and R.E.M started at the local 40 Watt Club. Although Athens isn't known for its cultural scene, locals have access to galleries and museums. The Georgia Museum of Art, Porcelain and Decorative Arts, and Lyndon House Arts Center bring regional art to Athens.

Taking a walk downtown and along the historic campus reveals the natural beauty of Athens. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia includes 313 acres of public gardens and a University of Georgia horticulture laboratory. But there's also the nearby Sandy Creek Nature Center and the Oconee Rivers Greenway with fishing, kayaking, hiking, and biking.

Final Thoughts - Where Should I Move to In Georgia?

Georgia offers plenty of city living, historic towns, and small-town charm. Ready to make a move to the Peach State? Sign up for Apartment List to find the best places to live in Georgia.

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AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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