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The capital of Georgia is a vibrant city with a rich history, good health care, a great cultural scene and genteel neighborhoods shaded by magnificent dogwood and magnolia trees.

What we loved: Piedmont Park, the city's green lung and playground. The exuberant burst of colors and scents in the Orchid Hall at the Botanical Garden.

The fried green tomatoes come with a side order of melted goat cheese. The grits are flavored with saffron and parmesan. World-renowned architects, such as Renzo Piano and Santiago Calatrava, are putting their stamp on the skyline. Welcome to Atlanta and to the best of the new New South.

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The capital of Georgia is a vibrant city with a rich history, good health care, a great cultural scene and genteel neighborhoods shaded by magnificent dogwood and magnolia trees. And, unfortunately, horrendous traffic. Atlanta is, after all, the business center of the South. Job growth is projected to top 9% through 2010 in an economy that ranges from financial services to telecom.

When Tegan and Mike Acree decided to leave Los Angeles two years ago, low cost of living, strong job opportunities and good weather were at the top of their list for a new home. The couple paid $475,000 for a six-bedroom home in Dunwoody, a close-in suburb. "We found just what we were looking for: a nice house in a great neighborhood and a strong community," says Tegan, 33, a human-resources professional. Mike, 32, is an engineer for Lockheed Martin.

In-town living offers options from condos in sleek new Midtown towers (two-bedroom units start at $300,000) to renovated 1930s three-bedroom bungalows in Peachtree Hills that start at $450,000.

-- Magali Rheault