15 Nicknames for Atlanta That Will Surprise You

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A park in autumn near city skyscrapers
The Georgia city of Atlanta has many nicknames associated with it

Atlanta is a city full of vibrant culture and rich history. One way to get to know this southern metropolis a little better is by learning about some of the titles it's collected throughout the years.

The Big Peach and ATL are two of the city's most-used monikers. However, there are numerous others that help paint a picture of the area's growth and development. Whether you're planning a trip or just want to brush up on your knowledge of Georgia's capital city, keep reading. Here are the top 15 nicknames for Atlanta you'll want to know.

15 Atlanta Nicknames

A lake surrounded by trees with a city skyline behind them under a blue sky
More than half of Atlanta's area is covered with trees

City in a Forest

With a tree canopy covering nearly 50% of the city's urban landscape, Atlanta has come to be known as the City in a Forest. This unique characteristic can be traced back to Atlanta's early years of development. Many of the city's older buildings have larger-than-average lots, which gives planted trees room to grow.

This particular title is more of a slogan than a regularly used nickname. You'll find it on some brochures and literature talking about the local plant life to help get locals and tourists excited about nature.


A-Town is one of Atlanta's newer nicknames; however, no one is quite sure who first coined the term. The title comes from the city's name, which, according to the Atlanta History Center, was meant to signify its position at the end of the Western Atlantic Railroad.

The A-Town nickname isn't used much by locals as a way to refer to the area. However, it's been embraced by tourists, and you can see it on memorabilia like t-shirts, postcards, and souvenir magnets.

The Big Peach

The Big Peach is an Atlanta slogan with tasty origins. As the "peach capital," the city has the fruit on its license plates, street names, and more. The entire state of Georgia is famous for its peaches, thanks to its fertile soil. So, it's not surprising that the name is attributed to the capital.

Rumor has it that Big Peach was first coined in the 1940s. Since then, its popularity has come and gone in waves. Today, you can find it most often on souvenir items at Atlanta gift shops.

A tomb in the middle of a pool near stairs
Due to its historic importance, Atlanta is the Capital City of the American South

Capital City of the American South

Perhaps no Atlanta nickname better encapsulates the city's importance than Capital City of the American South. This moniker refers to Atlanta's position at the forefront of cultural and political developments in the South of the US and the country as a whole.

For example, being the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr, Atlanta played a pivotal role in the fight for equal rights in the 1950s. The city is also an important territory for national elections, especially as its population and financial power grow. This position of prominence has allowed it to become a defacto capital representing the perspectives of many southern residents.

Chicago of the South

Chicago of the South is one of Atlanta's most historical nicknames. It points to the boom the city saw between the late 19th and earliest 20th centuries. At this time, Atlanta became a popular place for industries, and numerous companies began to move their factories and headquarters to this part of the country. This mirrored what had been happening in Chicago in the 1800s.

Today, the moniker isn't used as often, and only the most dedicated Atlanta history buffs recognize it. However, the similarities between these two cities continue to this day. For example, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago are two of the country's busiest air traffic hubs.

Blossoming trees with a skyscraper in the background
Many green spaces in Atlanta feature dogwood trees

Dogwood City

For a time, Dogwood City was one of the most commonly heard Atlanta names. That's, in part, due to the tree's natural prevalence in the area. This moniker was given further relevance in 1936 when the first Dogwood Festival was held in the city in an attempt to promote Atlanta's beautification.

Today, Dogwood City isn't used very often by locals or tourists. However, you can still see these trees all over the city, including in Centennial Olympic Park, one of Atlanta's most important landmarks.

Empire City of the South

Atlanta's position as one of the most important places in the Southeastern United States has helped it earn its reputation as the Empire City of the South. This particular moniker has a few different motives behind its creation.

Since Georgia's capital moved to the Atlanta area in 1836, the region has seen tremendous industrial and cultural growth. The subsequent multiculturalism and vibrance that came along with this flourishing allowed it to earn a reputation that rivals that of New York City, the original Empire City.

A city skyline next to a road under a blue sky with clouds
The A is a popular moniker as it is simply a shortened name for Atlanta

The A

The A (or da A) is one of Atlanta's most-used nicknames by locals. While the original date the name was coined is unknown, it gained popularity when media in the area began to adopt it. This nickname also helps show how well-known the city has become since all you need is one letter to know what place someone is referring to.

Aside from news and media outlets, local rap artists have also adopted this particular moniker by using it in their music. You can also occasionally find it on souvenir items.

The City Too Busy to Hate

In the years following the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta was dubbed the City Too Busy to Hate. In 1966, the city's mayor, Ivan Allen, set Atlanta on a path of desegregation.

He not only made sure this new slogan was spread around the city, but he also ordered segregation signs removed and even aimed to calm tensions among Atlanta's citizens. Today, this moniker isn't used often, having fallen into disuse after the 1980s. However, it can still be found in literature referencing Atlanta's recent history.

Billy F Blume Jr/Shutterstock.com
A building with many windows and a sign saying "CNN"
Many entertainment production and media companies are based in Atlanta

Hollywood of the South

Since 2002, Georgia, and more specifically Atlanta, has become known as the Hollywood of the South. This is mainly due to the tax incentives passed that year, which allowed production companies to film at a lower cost compared to places like Hollywood.

Georgia's varied landscape also allows filmmakers to shoot a number of outdoor scenes without traveling long distances or relying on movie sets. The city's film industry gained even more momentum thanks to local film studios like Tyler Perry Studios and Trilith Studios.

Silicon Peach

Silicon Peach is a nickname for Atlanta that helps showcase the city's reputation as an up-and-coming industry hub. Though the exact date when the term was first coined isn't known, Atlanta started becoming a top headquarters spot for tech companies in the mid-1980s.

The name taps into the Georgia fact that the area is famous for its peaches. The Silicon Peach title is usually used among people in the tech and computer industry. In fact, it's gone on to join other major cities like Silicon Beach for Los Angeles and Silicon Prairie for Chicago.

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An air traffic control tower surrounded by airplanes at sunset
ATL is the airport code of the primary airport serving Atlanta, Georgia


When it comes to other names for Atlanta, the ATL is one of the most popular. Though it's not certain where the name came from, the most widely-believed theory is that it was adopted from the flight code for the local airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

That theory is further bolstered by the fact that the airport didn't open until 2006, and it's a relatively new name. In recent years, ATL has become one of the most widely-used monikers among locals, and it's often used on souvenir items.

New York of the South

For about 30 years, between 1870 through 1890, Atlanta was regularly referred to as the New York of the South. This moniker was in response to the city's growing industry in the years following the American Civil War.

However, this title is no longer regularly used even though the city's economy has continued to grow. Only the most knowledgeable Atlanta history buffs even know about this briefly-used moniker.

One of the nicknames for Atlanta is the Big A
The Big A is one of the nicknames for Atlanta given and used by truckers and locals

The Big A

The origins of Atlanta's alternate name, the Big A, are unknown. However, many locals believe the moniker came from truckers that traveled to the area. When communicating with each other or with their dispatch centers, truckers often refer to Atlanta as the Big A.

This particular nickname isn't used on any official city material, though it's sometimes used on souvenir items. It also isn't often used by Atlanta residents when referring to their hometown, so if you hear it while in the city, you're likely around other tourists.

Gate City of the South

Atlanta's designation as the Gate City of the South came from its early years as a city. In the 1800s, Atlanta was the converging point of three separate railroad lines, turning the small town into a popular travel hub.

The Atlanta Terminal Station, where these lines crossed paths, has even gone on to become one of Geogria's most important landmarks. Gate City is one of the area's oldest nicknames, but it's also one you won't hear used much today. It's most often referenced in historical literature that discusses the period between the 1860s and the early 1900s.

In Summary

Atlanta is a city of many names. From the Big A to City in a Forest, each moniker tells an important part of the area's story. Hopefully, this list has helped you learn a little more about Georgia's capital. Which one of these monikers do you think you'll use next?

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 FORMER WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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