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A Piece of Atlanta's History Looking to the Future
The 26th annual New Year’s Eve Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta launched what could be a final year of shopping, eating, events and attractions at the historic downtown landmark as it is today.
Renowned as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the Southeast, the drop of the 800-pound fiber and foam peach down the Underground’s 138-foot tower draws an estimated 175,000 spectators. The drop is the first of a year’s worth of activities and attractions at the six-block Underground Atlanta site, with its 12 acres and three levels of shopping, restaurants, entertainment and tours.
But plans are underway to refashion the site for the first time since 1989 with the sale of the property to WRS Inc, a South Carolina developer. The company’s website says the urban redo will include “a live-and-shop development with retail and residential space.”
The company plans to keep Underground Atlanta as is for this year, says media rep Erin Keeler.
Declared a historic site in 1968, Underground Atlanta, once the bustling Creek Village and Trading Post in the late 1700s, played a pivotal role in Atlanta's early beginnings. The Underground’s Alabama Street, between Central Avenue and Peachtree Street, was Atlanta’s city center and a focal point as Atlanta grew to become the trade and cultural center of the south in the 1800s.
Visitors today can see the historic landmark Zero Milepost, marking the first train route from Atlanta to Chattanooga. A daily guided walking tour or your own self-guided tour (brochures available at the information booth) bring alive the Underground’s rich historic past.
What you see today is the result of the 1920’s construction of concrete viaducts that elevated the street system one level for better traffic flow. Merchants moved to the new higher level, leaving old storefronts for service and storage, now the Underground Atlanta.
The area evolved into a hub for dining, shopping and activities, with more than 65 vendors along the original cobblestone streets of old Atlanta, plus specialty carts, a food court and restaurants. Visit on a Wednesday for Food Truck Wednesday on Upper Alabama Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The world’s first PAC-MAN Play arcade was opened in August 2012 on the lower level at Lower Alabama and Pryor streets and offers family games and prizes.
Check the Underground Atlanta website for listings of events and festivals including the Heritage Arts Festival, celebrating its 20th year in July 2015.
Underground Atlanta is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
Find out more about lodging and other attractions in Atlanta at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau website, www.atlanta.net.