Are you considering a move to the southeastern United States and torn between the vibrant metropolis of Atlanta, Georgia, and the tech-savvy hub of Raleigh, North Carolina? Both cities have their unique cultures, lifestyles, and job markets, but are similar enough to make it tough to choose between them. Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the South and has been a booming metropolis for nearly a century. Raleigh is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and is known as one of the best cities for families. Between the nice weather, Raleigh’s schools, and job prospects, it’s giving Atlanta a run for its money as one of the best places to move to in the South, if not the whole country.

This guide will walk you through various aspects of living in Atlanta and Raleigh, helping you make an informed choice that suits your preferences and needs.

Schools in Raleigh vs. Atlanta

Whether you have school-age children, plan to have them, or just want to live in a cultured city with a well-educated workforce, Atlanta and Raleigh are both attractive options. 

Schools in Atlanta

The Atlanta Public Schools system serves the city, and while school quality can vary by neighborhood, North Atlanta High School and Grady High School are some of the best in the system. At the elementary level, Kittredge Magnet and Lin Elementary School lead the pack. Since the Atlanta metro area is so large and has so many suburbs, anyone considering a move to the area should research the systems in the specific areas they are considering. 

As for private schools, there is no shortage of top-tier options. The Westminster Schools and Fulton Science Academy are highly rated and have excellent student to teacher ratios.

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Schools in Raleigh

The well-regarded Wake County Public School System is one of the many reasons Raleigh has seen such explosive growth. Schools like Enloe and Broughton High School regularly churn out bright kids who are well-prepared for college or jobs. 

Naturally, there are many excellent private options as well. Ravenscroft, Cary Academy, and the St. David’s School should be at the top of the list for anyone looking to enroll their children in a strong educational institution. 

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Comparing Transportation in Raleigh vs. Atlanta

Let’s face it. No one wants to spend their life sitting in traffic, but everyone loves to have convenient options for getting around. Both Raleigh and Atlanta, especially the further you go from the city center, are relatively car dependent. Atlanta’s walk score is a dismal 48 and Raleigh’s is even worse at 31. However, for those who live in the downtown cores, residents of Atlanta and Raleigh enjoy a walk score of 90 and 83, respectively.

Atlanta Traffic

Atlanta is notorious for traffic congestion, especially for those commuting from suburbs. MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), with a transit score of 44, provides a decent public transportation option, but anyone relocating from cities like New York (89), D.C. (69), or Philadelphia (67), will find it a tough adjustment. You’ll want a car if you live here. On the plus side, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is only about a 15-20-minute drive from downtown Atlanta.

Raleigh Traffic

Many people who relocate to Raleigh find that traffic is generally less congested than the city they left, and the development of its downtown has made the city more walkable. While Raleigh has made efforts to improve public transportation as it’s grown, the overall transit score is still just 29. You will certainly want to own a car if you move to Raleigh, but if you work from home and choose the right neighborhood, you can certainly go several days without using it. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is approximately 20-25 minutes from the city center, so frequent flyers should find it a good option, too. 

Atlanta Jobs & Economy

Known as the “Capital of the South,” Atlanta boasts a diverse economy with strengths in finance, tech, media, and healthcare. The largest employer is Emory University and Emory Healthcare, while big companies like Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, and Home Depot have headquarters or significant operations here. 

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Raleigh Jobs & Economy

Often referred to as the “Triangle,” Raleigh is part of the Research Triangle Park (RTP), a tech and research hub anchored on three sides by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University in Durham, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Major employers include North Carolina’s state government, several hospitals and health care systems, and companies like IBM, Cisco, and SAS. 

Atlanta’s Restaurants and Nightlife

Atlanta: As you would expect from a large, established, and culturally significant city, Atlanta offers a vibrant nightlife with numerous nightclubs and restaurants, especially in the Downtown, Buckhead and Midtown areas. Atlanta has top-level professional football, basketball, and baseball teams and the MLS soccer team boasts the best attendance in the league. The Fox Theatre hosts live entertainment, and you can catch free concerts at Piedmont Park during the summer. Cascade Fun Center has adults-only roller skating until the wee hours of the morning, and comedy clubs like Laughing Skull Lounge and The Punchline keep the laughs coming. Rapper T.I., an Atlanta native, established a Trap Music Museum here that is the world’s first hip-hop museum – and it even has an escape room in it!

The dating scene in Atlanta is diverse and lively. It’s a city that attracts young professionals while holding on to many of its native residents, so there’s a continually evolving pool of potential mates for singles. 

Raleigh’s Restaurants and Nightlife

While not as bustling as Atlanta, Raleigh still offers a variety of dining options, bars, and nightclubs in areas like Glenwood South and Downtown. Venues like Slim’s, The Pour House, and The Lincoln Theater keep a steady stream of great acts coming through town and Red Hat Amphitheater plays host to some of the best-known names in the business. While Raleigh doesn’t have as many professional sports teams as Atlanta, they are the home of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. Of course, college basketball fans will love living in Raleigh, as N.C. State, Duke, and Carolina are all within 45 minutes of one another.

Raleigh’s restaurant scene punches above its weight, with many critically acclaimed chefs calling the city home. Ashley Christensen, Cheetie Kumar, and Scott Crawford keep the flavors fresh, and Raleigh is an increasingly popular destination for chefs looking to spread their wings after stints in dining destinations like New York and Charleston. 

The North Carolina Museum of Art has a large collection of significant and powerful pieces, and is a regular stop for world-class traveling exhibitions. 

Raleigh’s bars, breweries, restaurants, and museums are the perfect backdrop for a lively dating scene. The growth of the region and relocation of large companies means there is a steady influx of intelligent and fun-loving young professionals, and many of the people who move to the area for college like it so much they end up sticking around. 

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Parks in Atlanta

The city boasts several parks, including Piedmont Park, which contains the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Centennial Olympic Park, with fountains to help residents beat the heat in an urban setting. The nearby Chattahoochee River is popular with hikers, anglers, and kayakers. Popular destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains are less than 2 hours away, while the nearest beaches are about 4 hours away.

Raleigh’s Parks

Raleigh’s parks include Dix Park and Umstead State Park, offering ample green space for running, hiking, or a casual picnic. Pullen Park is popular for families with young children because there is a small train, carousel, and pedal boats. Raleigh’s location makes it ideal for people who can’t decide between the beaches and the mountains because they are both as close as two hours away, meaning you can duck out of work Friday at 5 and have your toes in the sand by 7! Popular mountain destinations like Boone (3 hours by car) and Asheville (3 hours and 45 minutes) make great weekend getaways for anyone looking to beat the lowland heat.

Cost of Living: in Raleigh vs. Atlanta

Both cities have a relatively moderate cost of living compared to other major U.S. cities. While Atlanta is about 2% higher than the national average, it is 27% lower than D.C., 15% lower than Chicago, and 55% lower than Atlanta. Raleigh’s cost of living is 4% lower than the national average, and 31% under D.C.’s, 20 % below Chicago’s, and 58% lower than New York’s. In Raleigh, housing costs are actually slightly higher than in Atlanta, with median home prices around $410,000. Atlanta’s median home price is around $380,000. Keep in mind, though, that prices can be significantly different in certain hot neighborhoods or suburbs. 

Safety in Raleigh vs. Atlanta

The national average violent crime rate is 22.7, and Raleigh’s is 20.3, while Atlanta comes in at 55.7. While crime rates can vary across cities, Raleigh is generally much safer than Atlanta. 

There you have it – Atlanta and Raleigh Compared!

Choosing between Atlanta and Raleigh might not be easy, but we hope we have given you some helpful hints to guide your decision. As always, regardless of where you move, we here at Bellhops would be happy to help. We offer local moves in Raleigh and Atlanta movers, as well as long-distance moving services in Atlanta and long-distance moves in Raleigh. We can help you move in a jiffy, even if you’re looking for last-minute moves in Atlanta, or a same-day move in Raleigh.

Tyler Brown