How to Speak Like a Native Atlantan - A Vocabulary Primer *

Alpharetta Autobahn - Georgia 400, which links Buckhead with Alpharetta, Roswell and Cumming  

Barbeque - To Atlantans, this word is a noun, rather than a verb, referring to the cuisine rather than the cooking method (which is known as "cooking out" or "grilling").

The Big Chicken - 56-foot tall steel chicken structure at Marietta's Kentucky Fried Chicken, located at Highway 120 and U.S. 41. Often used as a landmark for driving directions.

Buckhead - Home to the Governor's Mansion, Buckhead is an affluent community located north of Midtown, featuring well-known shopping, dining and nightlife venues.

The Connector - The Downtown Connector is created by the merging of I-75 and I-85 as they run through downtown Atlanta.

Georgia Dome - The world's largest cable-supported dome stadium, located in downtown Atlanta and host to numerous events.

Grits - Primarily a breakfast side dish, often served in place of potatoes in a traditional southern breakfast.  Made milled corn kernels...kernels are split, which removes the hull and germ, leaving the broken endosperm...steel rollers further breaks up the endosperm into granules...granules are then screened - large granules become grits, smaller granules become corn meal and corn flour.  Grits are cooked to a porridge-like consistency, and are often served with salt and butter.  Better than it sounds...  

The Highlands - Named after its location at the intersection of Virginia and North Highland Avenues, this is a popular area for urban professionals featuring a trendy shopping district (unique boutiques), restaurants and nightclubs.

The Hooch - The Chattahoochee River, a major source of recreational activities, power and drinking water for North Georgians.

I-285 - This interstate makes a 60-mile north-south oval loop around Atlanta so through traffic may bypass the city.  Also known as "The Perimeter."

ITP - "Inside the Perimeter,"  meaning inside the I-285 loop.  Refers to everything "intown" and urban about Atlanta.

King and Queen Buildings - Landmark office towers with architectural crowns atop their buildings.  Located at the Concourse Corporate Center off Hammond Drive in the Perimeter area.

Little Five Points (aka L5P) - Eclectic area of restaurants and shops named after the "five points" intersection between Moreland, Euclid and McClendon. 

Midtown - Energetic business district located north of downtown, known for its diverse residential living for singles and young professionals.  Home to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Park, Woodruff Arts Center and the (Fabulous) Fox Theatre.

OTP - "Outside the Perimeter."  OTP is often used to refer to communities beyond the I-285 loop.

Peachtree Street - While there are over 40 streets containing the word "Peachtree" in the Metro Atlanta area if someone tells you to "take Peachtree" they're referring to Peachtree Street, the north-south street that runs through the center of town.  To further confuse matters, Peachtree Street changes names to Peachtree Road as it passes through the Buckhead district. 

The Perimeter - Also known as I-285, this is the beltway that encircles Atlanta.

Spaghetti Junction - The multi-level, multi-layer series of loops and bridges where I-85 and I-285 intersect on the northeast side of the city.

Sweet Auburn - The historic district located on Auburn Avenue. Reflects the history and achievements of Atlanta and Black Americans through its collection of businesses, social organizations and churches.

Sweet Tea - What you're likely to be served in a local restaurant, unless you specify "unsweet" iced tea.  Made by adding sugar to the tea mixture while still hot (generally just below boiling). Tastes different (many say better) than sweetening "unsweet" iced tea.

Underground Atlanta - Historic shopping, restaurant and nightclub district located in and below Downtown Atlanta.

The Varsity - Established in 1928, this fast food establishment (known for its hot dogs and its employees calling out "What'll You Have?  What'll You Have" as you walk in the door) was the largest drive-through in the world before it was "downsized" when the Downtown Connector was built. 

 * some material courtesy of KNOWAtlanta Magazine