Underground Atlanta was recently purchased from the City of Atlanta by a developer and is awaiting redevelopment. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed referred to the $34.6 million sale of the underground mall “another milestone in the revitalization of South Downtown Atlanta.”
As of 2023, Underground Atlanta is in a redevelopment phase and our editors do not currently recommend it as a tourist destination when visiting Atlanta.
“a great many vacant storefronts, overall, the place felt like a ghost town”
“I read the reviews. I knew what I was in for. I was still surprised at how sad Underground Atlanta is.”
” it just seems like a deserted place, like a wasteland with only a few obstinate shop-owners clinging to the remnants of the past”
“Not worth going down there to see anything, practically abandoned.”
“It’s a shame what underground has become.”
We have no doubt it Underground Atlanta will become a destination once again when the redevelopment is complete, but for now it is a destination in transition. As an alternative, we recommend a visit to Ponce City Market.
What Underground Atlanta Once Was
Nestled in the heart of Downtown Atlanta was a treasure trove of shops, restaurants and nightclubs better known as the Underground that offered up a myriad of choices for locals and visitors seeking a taste of Atlanta’s unique cultural scene. What made the Underground Atlanta experience distinctive is that the entire complex existed in a large underground “viaduct” that took patrons underneath the streets of Downtown Atlanta into another world where shopping, dining and entertainment awaited.
During the 1920’s, the city of Atlanta was a booming metropolis with lots of street traffic so as a means to improve the flow of traffic, the original Underground Atlanta was constructed utilizing a series of concrete viaducts. Most of the shop and restaurant owners left their original facades on the street level and moved their establishments to the second level.
The unique complex didn’t become the Underground Atlanta it was until 1969 when it opened as a retail and entertainment hub. Two decades later, the Underground was in danger of closing due to several economic and city planning issues. Fortunately, the Underground was reopened in 1989 and given a proper renovation which revitalized the Downtown Atlanta area and brought back shop owners and patrons alike to the underground oasis.
The Underground served as a prominent entertainment center in the Downtown Atlanta area as there were festivals, concerts and special events that drew thousands of locals and visitors every year along with weekly events and activities. Whether you were in the mood to pick up some souvenirs or you were meeting friends for drinks at one of the famed lounges/nightclubs that occupied the complex, there were more than enough choices at the Underground for those seeking fun all year round.