Nicknames of Atlanta

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"Chicago of the South"
"Convention City of Dixie Land"

The City of Love An 1859 industrial journal was among the first to note nicknames for Atlanta, Georgia:[1]

An orator claimed for it the signification of "a city among the hills" while a writer has declared that it was the opposite of "rus in urbe" ("country in the city") and proclaimed it "'the city in the woods".

Since then, the city has known numerous nicknames. Today, The ATL, and The A are the most prevalent.

Atlanta nicknames[edit]

  • Contemporary nicknames of Atlanta include, in alphabetical order:
    • The A/da A: It is used in local media such as Only in the A, a video channel shown on MARTA rapid transit trains in Atlanta[2] and Straight from the A, a popular[3] Atlanta-based blog targeted at African Americans.[4] "The A" or "da A" is also used in hip hop and rap songs such as Ludacris and Lloyd's "How We Do It (in da A)", Lil Scrappy's "The A", and T.I.'s "In da A". Atlanta newspaper Creative Loafing listed as one of its "reasons to love Atlanta" that it's "the only city easily identified by just one letter".[5]
    • A-Town[6]
    • The ATL,[7] for its airport code
    • Badstreet, U.S.A.: City nickname coined by professional wrestling stable The Fabulous Freebirds, who were billed from Atlanta.
    • Bangalore of US Tech [[8]][9]
    • The Big Peach[10]
    • Black mecca[11]
    • City in a Forest[12] or City of Trees,[13] for its unique tree canopy
    • Dogwood City[14]
    • Empire City of the South[15]
    • Hot 'Lanta, now more commonly spelled Hotlanta, first popularized by an instrumental song performed by the Allman Brothers Band. It debuted on their live album At Fillmore East, released in July 1971, the fifth song on the album.[16][17]
    • Hollywood of the South, became popular recently due to the city's boom in the film industry.[18]
  • Historical nicknames for the city include:
    • Gate City, Gate City of the South, or Gate City of the New South (from Reconstruction through the early 20th century)[19][20]
    • New York of the South[21] (1870s–1890s)
    • Chicago of the South (1880s–1900s): for Atlanta's "new men, new industries, new buildings, and new spirit" - though it was often remarked that the nickname was not quite accurate in terms of the size of Atlanta vs. the much larger Chicago[22][23][24]
    • The City Too Busy to Hate[25][26] (during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights struggle)
    • Convention City of Dixie (Land) (1910s–1920s)[27][28]
    • Dogwood City[14]

Nicknames of other Atlanta areas[edit]


SWATS, The S.W.A.T.S. or S.W.A.T.S. ("Southwest Atlanta, too strong")[29][30] is, in street, hip-hop, or local contexts, Southwest Atlanta, plus territory extending into the adjacent cities of College Park and East Point.[citation needed] The term "SWATS" came into vogue around 1996[citation needed] and was initially made popular by LaFace Records groups OutKast and Goodie Mob.[31][32] This was the same time that "ATL" became popular as a nickname for Atlanta as a whole.[33]

SWATS in Lyrics[edit]

The OutKast song "Peaches (Intro)" states: "For…the SWATS…Cause it ain't nuttin but King Shit, all day, err'day".[31] Another Outkast song, "Ova da Wudz" states "put the SWATS, SWATS on your car."

Goodie Mob song "I Refuse Limitation" states "SWATS G.A. by way of Cascade Heights", while their song "Goodie Bag" states "Cause in da SWAT's red hots don't drip or bleed", and in "All A's", Cee Lo Green's chorus states "But don't you dare ride through the SWATS without, at least 30 shots".[32]

Erick Sermon rapped "I'm in New York now but I represent the SWATS and A-Town.", in his song "Future Thug" from his sixth solo album 'Chilltown, New York' in 2004.

Media and artists named after SWATS[edit]

S.W.A.T.S. is the name of a 2010 web television series by Golden Street Entertainment taking place in Southwest Atlanta.[30]

S.W.A.T.S. is the name of a song by rap group 9.17 on the album Southern Empire released by Motown in 2001.[34]

Young Ju King of da SWATS is an artist featured on ReverbNation.[35]

Also referenced as location of "Gina's Beauty Shop" in the movie with Queen Latifah.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ De Bow's review, Volume 27
  2. ^ Only in the A
  3. ^ DoubleClick Ad Checker by Google
  4. ^ Straight from the A: About
  5. ^ "Because we're the only city easily identified by just one letter", Creative Loafing, November 23, 2011
  6. ^ Google News Archive search for "A-Town + Atlanta"
  7. ^ "Love it or loathe it, the city's nickname is accurate for the summer". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. June 16, 2008. p. C1. 
  8. ^ "Urvaksh on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-12-08. 
  9. ^ "atlanta bangalore urvaksh - Twitter Search". Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  10. ^ U.S. City Monikers, Tagline Guru website, accessed January 5, 2008
  11. ^ See article Black mecca for extensive references
  12. ^ "Atlanta May No Longer Be the City in a Forest", WSB-TV
  13. ^ Karen K. Snyder (2007), Frommer's Atlanta, page 3
  14. ^ a b "The Democrats Atlanta: A City of Changing Slogans", Time magazine, July 25, 1988
  15. ^ "Could 'Empire City of the South' play host to 2024 summer games", 11 Alive News
  16. ^ McManus, John (11 January 2016). "Taylor Morrison, Acadia Deal: What it Means". Builder. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "Florida city America's sex capital?". 18 July 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  18. ^, The Washington Times (29 August 2015). "How Atlanta became the Hollywood of the South". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  19. ^ "Our Quiz Column", Sunny South, p.5
  20. ^ Rebecca Burns (2009), Rage in the Gate City: The Story of the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot, University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0-8203-3307-7.
  21. ^ Sources documented on Barry Popik's Big Apple blog:
    • 5 October 1872, Appletons' Journal of Literature, Science and Art, pg. 376: "Marvellous tales are told of this antique period in the history of the present 'New York of the South,' concerning acres upon acres of land, near the heart of the city, selling for fifty cents per acre, but which now are worth a snug little fortune. Such was Atlanta less than three decades ago."
    • 17 June 1879, Daily Constitution (Atlanta, GA), pg. 4: "...the future New York of the south,France of Britain- as it was predicted at the opening of the Port Royal railroad in 1873."
    • The Mother Of Continental Parliaments
    • 6 July 1881, The New York Times, pg. 4: "The New-Orleans Democrat says that that city is the New-York of the South, and yet has no public library."
    • 29 January 1884, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "The New York of the South. From the New York Tribune: THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION draws a sad picture of its environment. "Within one hundred yards of the officer," is its plaintive mean, "wagons are literally up to the hub in mud. Part of Ellis street, in a quarter mile of the depot, is literally impassable." Assuming that our contemporary's account of these wagons and this streets is literally correct, it looks as if Atlanta was likely to be known as the New York of the south."
    • 12 November 1891, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "Atlanta is a grand city. It is the New York of the south, and henceforth it can get the finest attractions produced, for its patronage is sufficient to make the very best and most expensive show a financial success."
    • 21 October 1892, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 5: "Work will cease altogether and the New York of the south will pay honor to the brave navigator, who in spite of the hardships he had to endure, pointed out a new land to the ignorant people of the time."
    • 19 January 1895, Atlanta Constitution, pg. 4: "Cedartown Standard: Atlanta aspires to be the New York of the south - in fact, she is, and so it is perfectly natural that she should follow New York in having the big police scandal and investigation that is now on hand
  22. ^ "Proceedings of the annual convention", National Association of Life Underwriters, Life Underwriters Association of Canada
  23. ^ The American South: a history, Volume 2 by William J. Cooper, Jr.
  24. ^ Urban America: a history with documents
  25. ^ History, on City of Atlanta website
  26. ^ Ron French, Atlanta: Black-white gap shrinks, The Detroit News, January 28, 2002
  27. ^ "Whatever Happened to Georgia's Downtown Hotels?", Georgia History Today
  28. ^ The Rotarian, Jun 1916, p. 497
  29. ^ "Revolution Rock: Atlanta's Goodie Mob fight for truth, justice, but not necessarily the American Way", Vibe, June-July 1998
  30. ^ a b S.W.A.T.S. Web television series YouTube channel
  31. ^ a b Lyircs to "Peaches (Intro)" by Outkast,
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ Mickey Hess, Hip Hop in America: East Coast and West Coast
  34. ^ "9.17: Southern Empire",
  35. ^ "Young Ju Prince of da SWATS" on ReverbNation