How to Talk like a Local in Atlanta

Bookmark this handy list of shorthand and slang to save for your next visit to the ATL.

Reference these 29 terms while navigating the city and you'll sound like you've lived here for years. 

1. ITP

“Inside the Perimeter.” Geographically, this refers to the area inside of Interstate 285, also know as “the Perimeter” which makes a loop around the city’s core. Culturally, “ITP” can be a stamp of pride for urbanites and in-town residents.

2. OTP

“Outside the Perimeter.” The region beyond the interstate’s imaginary borders and home to metro Atlanta suburbs. Local businesses like Roswell’s OTP Tap & Grill and Gate City Brewery embrace the status; the latter used the acronym to name one of its brews.

3. 400

Local lingo for Georgia State Route 400, a freeway can take you OTP North or south to Buckhead. 

Sweetwater Brewing Company

4. 420

Shorthand for Sweetwater 420, the quintessential Atlanta brewery’s most prominent beer. The name refers to the date April 20, when the West Coast style Extra Pale Ale was first created. A music festival was even created to celebrate the beer’s namesake day. The 14th annual SweetWater 420 Fest will be held April 20-22, 2018, in Centennial Olympic Park with a lineup of including Umphrey’s McGee, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Sturgill Simpson and more.

5. The High

The High Museum of Art. Unlike Sweetwater 420, the museum’s name is not related to anything suspect, but instead is named for Mrs. Joseph M. High, who donated her family’s residence on Peachtree Street in 1926 to become the first permanent home of the Atlanta Art Association. In the decades since, the museum’s origins have evolved to become the leading art museum in the Southeast, and a part of the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown.

A canoer on the Chattahoochee

6. The Hooch

Another name for the Chattahoochee River. (Yes, the same one that country singer Alan Jackson sang about in 1992.) Remaining rich in natural and human history, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is an urban oasis protecting the 48 miles running through Atlanta’s backyard, and welcomes an average of about 3 million visitors each year. On a hot summer day, rent a tube, paddle board or kayak to “shoot the Hooch.”

7. Yellow Jackets

While this could be referring to the insect, if you’re in Midtown, it’s more likely a reference to intercollegiate athletic teams that play for the Georgia Institute of Technology.

8. Green Jackets

A coveted green jacket is awarded to the winner of the Masters Tournament, held each spring at Augusta National. Considering Augusta’s location just a couple hours east of Atlanta, the odds of seeing golf’s top players (albeit not in their famous outerwear) around town is high, especially when the nearby East Lake Golf Club hosts the PGA TOUR Championship—or if you’re dining at Nan Thai Fine Dining.

The Midtown restaurant showcases golf paraphernalia and photos of top players, as well as has seen regular celebrity visitors since chef Nan Niyomkul was asked by 2000 Masters Tournament winner Vijay Singh to help the Augusta National Golf Club prepare the Champions Dinner.

 

Diners at O-Ku Sushi

9. ATLiens

Released in 1996, ATLiens is the name of the second studio album by the city’s own hip-hop duo Outkast. It's an affectionate form of self-identification for locals, and a fun excuse to use the alien emoji.

 

10. Peachtree

We’re probably talking about Peachtree Street—the main thoroughfare connecting Buckhead to Midtown to Downtown. Recently, large white letters that spell the street's name have been installed to pedestrian bridges on Peachtree Street, making it harder to miss. 

11. The Dirty Bird

The name of a dance move that Jamal Anderson, former running back for Atlanta Falcons, made after scoring a touchdown during games. As an ode, STATS Brewpub serves the Dirty Bird sandwich with crispy chicken, vinegar slaw and spicy Dukes Mayo.

12. Ford Fry

Not a style of French fries. Ford Fry is arguably Atlanta’s leading restaurant mogul with a growing list of award-winning restaurants including JCT Kitchen,  no. 246,  The Optimist, King + Duke, St. Cecilia, The El Felix,  Superica, MarcelBeetleCat and more in his portfolio.

 

Ponce City Market

13. “...on Ponce”

Something located along Ponce de Leon Avenue, which runs from Atlanta to Stone Mountain. The name dates back to the 1800s and was given to the area by a local physician who thought its natural springs cured illness. As the gardens reputation for rest and rejuvenation grew, an amusement park operated in the early 20th century.

14. “...at Ponce”

Something located inside Ponce City Market. This massive hot spot was once the Sears, Roebuck & Co. regional headquarters, warehouse and retail store. Now it boasts a food hall, shops and boutiques, apartments and hip office spaces. The rooftop is a destination unto itself with event space, a rooftop bar and—fittingly—an amusement park.

15. Oddbird

A restaurant within a restaurant, this pop-up serves fried chicken biscuits, chicken and waffles and more goodness on the second Wednesday of the month inside West Egg Cafe from 5:30-9 pm.

16. BuHi

Buford Highway.  This 8-mile stretch of Georgia State Route 13  passes through three counties and more than 20 ethnic communities. Along this corridor are Chinese bakeries, Malaysian restaurants, farmers markets and ethnic grocery stores, and Taiwanese tea houses. Not to mention restaurants serving up authentic cuisine ranging from Indian to South American to Vietnamese. 

Biker pausing on the Beltline

17. The BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine. Consisting of 22 miles of repurposed historic streetcar line, 33 miles of multi-use trails and more than 2,000 acres of parks, this network of trails provides both transportation and recreation. Along its paths are free fitness classes, a linear arboretum, an urban farm and the largest temporary art exhibition in the south.

18. QT

QuikTrip. New Yorkers have bodegas; Atlantans have gas stations. Beyond filling up their car’s tank QuikTrip, in particular, is a staple for commuters in need of morning coffee, or in the warmer months, a large fountain Coke. In fact, there’s a QuikTrip in Midtown on the corner of Peachtree and 6th Street that doesn’t have any gas pumps, only provisions, for the sake of convenience.

19. All Y’all

Referring to a large group of people, as in “All y’all are welcome at Atlanta Pride.”

Warren Spahn statue at Turner Field

20. The Ted

An affectionate nickname for the former Turner Field, which was named for the founder of CNN and TBS, Ted Turner. The stadium that served as the home ballpark to the Atlanta Braves from 1997 to 2016 was built to be the Centennial Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Since the Major League Baseball team moved to SunTrust Park, Turner Field has been been converted into Georgia State Stadium for the university’s football team.

21. MARTA Station

Where you can hop on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. This network of trains and buses is one way to navigate the city—and with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at the end of the line, MARTA also may be your best bet for an on-time arrival to catch a flight during rush hour.

22. Atlantic Station

A 138-acre live/work/play development filled with restaurants, stores and entertainment options. It’s worth nothing that there’s no MARTA Station at Atlantic Station, but Atlantic Station offers a free shuttle, which picks up from the Arts Center MARTA station and drops off along 17th Street in Atlantic Station. The shuttle runs Sunday to Saturday from 5 am–1 am.

23. Traffic

Trust us, Atlanta gives this word a whole new meaning. From one of the city's grand skyscrapers, the streams of headlights and taillights are beautiful. Down on the street, it's so much less so. The average commute to work can take at least an hour, as long as there are no wrecks or construction issues. Avoid it when you can by exploring the BeltLine and MARTA instead.

Coffee cups at Waffle House

24. Waffle House

This Southern institution got its start in Avondale Estates, a suburb of Atlanta. Now it is on just about every street corner and only closes for a natural disaster. Come for breakfast—served all day—and get a signature waffle with a side of their famous scattered, smothered and covered hash browns, bacon or sausage and a decent cup of coffee. There are also lunch and dinner options. Most locations have a jukebox with a broad range of genres—including original Waffle House-inspired songs. 

25. EAV

East Atlanta Village. Located south of Little Five Points and off of Interstate 20, live music lovers flock to this neighborhood for venues like The Earl, Aisle 5, The Basement and 529 Bar. Albeit a rough-around-the-edges exterior, all are welcome in this artistic hamlet filled with murals, independent shops, eclectic eateries and a gay bar. East Atlanta may be small in size, but it packs one heavyweight punch. Pull up a bar stool at Argosy and see for yourself. 

26. Ted’s

Ted’s Montana Grill. Founded in 2002 by Ted Turner and restaurateur George McKerrow Jr., the concept has grown to 46 restaurants nationwide with headquarters in Atlanta. Why the bison logo? Aligned with Turner’s environmentalist values, Ted’s highlights bison burgers on its menu of American cuisine and serves more bison than any other restaurant in the world. It’s worth trying at least once.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's tomb

27. The King Center

The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The center houses the largest repository of materials on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. It is located in a 23-acre National Historic Site that includes King's birth home, Freedom Hall, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where King served as co-pastor. He and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are buried in a crypt surrounded by a reflecting pool. An eternal flame symbolizes efforts to continue his dream of peace and equality for all mankind. 

28. King of Pops

These aren't your average popsicles. This popsicle company serves up more than 500 flavors made with simple, locally sourced ingredients. Try favorites with a twist, like the Cookies 'n Cream with a real oatmeal cookie inside, Mexican Chocolate with a pinch of cayenne pepper, or something completely different like Orange Basil. Look for their colorful carts around the city on sunny days, or find them in select stores around Atlanta.

29. FILA

Forever I Love Atlanta. Enough said.