As the Uber driver, Secunda, pulled up in front of Complex Hall to take my friends and I to explore Underground Atlanta, I had no idea what to expect. Since I had only lived in Atlanta for less than a month, I had never heard of Underground Atlanta or known where it was located. So of course, I searched for it on Google to see what I was getting into, only to find a Wikipedia article that said, “Underground Atlanta was a shopping and entertainment district in the Five Points neighborhood of downtown Atlanta, Georgia, United States, near the Five Points MARTA station.” Cool, I thought to myself, shopping and entertainment sounds fun. But amidst my excitement, my brain seemed to scan right over the first part: “Underground Atlanta was a shopping and entertainment district…” However, hopping into Secunda’s Dodge Journey, I was unaware of this detail, and we were on our way to Underground Atlanta.
My friends and I were talking and laughing the whole way there, excited to be off campus for the first time all week. Once we reached about the halfway mark of the ride, I see the Uber driver’s eyes look at me through the rearview mirror.
“You’re not trying to go to Underground Atlanta are you?”
Hesitantly, I nodded and told her yes.
“Underground Atlanta has been closed for over a month now.”
Not saying anything, my friends and I looked at each other confused. Apparently, UA was sold to a new owner and closed on August 13th of this year for construction. The sale announcement was released in 2014 for revitalization, and the developer plans to provide more retail options and above ground apartments.
Secunda thought UA was in desperate need of renovations because it was becoming a bit of an unsafe area. She offered to take us to a similar place, and said she would show us a few different options. So, the woman who began as our Uber driver soon became our tour guide.
She first took us to Little Five Points, where there were many different restaurants, boutiques, and tattoo parlors. With a bit of a more grungy and vintage vibe, the little town radiated spunk. While the area looked fun, we were on the lookout for more shopping options. Secunda said she would take us to Atlantic Station, and she said she thought we would really like it.
Atlantic Station, a retail and living neighborhood on the northwestern edge of Midtown Atlanta, began to provide retail options in 2005, and since then has been home to a wide variety of shops and restaurants. As we pulled in, I was impressed with its urbanity and freshness.
Secunda dropped us off right in front of the movie theater, which seemed to be right in the heart of the shopping center. I wasn’t sure whether it was because it was 1:30 on a Saturday or because the popular music festival Music Midtown was happening at the very same time, but it wasn’t the least bit crowded. We looked around at our options, and I jumped when I saw my most favorite dessert place in the world, Great American Cookies. After everyone said they could go for a cookie, we headed into the store.
I ordered my usual: a slice of cookie cake with icing and a Diet Coke. It tasted incredible, just like it does at home. We finished eating, and decided on our first shopping stop: Old Navy, which was right across the street.
Although I didn’t find anything I needed in Old Navy, there were so many options at great prices for college students. From workout clothes to casual clothes to wear to class, the store was great for snagging a few extra clothing items. My friends made their purchases, and we moved on to H&M.
H&M had a similar concept: affordable prices, but the clothes were more suitable for going out to dinner or for a night downtown. I had already left campus more than I thought I would in college, so I knew I would need a couple of new outfits. I tried on four shirts, and ended up buying two. As a college student on a budget, I scored with those two shirts.
Our final stop was Dillard’s, if you don’t count each department as its own stop. The store was huge, with each floor dedicated to its own section–women’s clothing, men’s clothing, kid’s, shoes, and more. Obviously, we headed straight for the women’s clothing. As I had expected, the options there were a bit more pricey than desired. I found piles of clothes that I loved, but I knew I had to think logically. I ended up buying two shirts that were on sale. Then, I swore myself off of shopping for the rest of the month.
After browsing through the shoe department and resisting the urge to try anything on, we decided it was time to head back to campus and get some homework done.
Overall, I enjoyed Atlantic Station a lot because of its cleanliness, variety, and small crowds. I felt as if I was in one of my nicer hometown shopping centers, as the area didn’t give off any sense of tourism. Everyone we passed seemed as if they were locals, so we tried our best to blend in. Unfortunately, since we came at 1:30 and left at 3:30, we didn’t get a chance to try any of the restaurants that were scattered around the area. From California Pizza Kitchen to Rosa Mexicano, all types of food were provided. My friends and I agreed that we would be returning for dinner and a movie one night within the coming weeks.
However, if I were to leave campus solely for the purpose of shopping, Atlantic Station wouldn’t be my first choice, simply because other shopping centers, such as Lenox Mall, are the same distance away and have more options. For dinner, light shopping, and a movie though, Atlantic Station couldn’t be a better destination.