According to Jon C. Teaford, the central city began losing it’s preeminence in the realm of shopping and entertainment with the rise of the automobile and subsequently the suburbs. Downtown Atlanta is no exception. There are virtually no major retailers in the downtown area. They have either moved to the suburbs surrounding Atlanta or moved to either Midtown or Buckhead. However that doesn’t mean that downtown is devoid of any shopping or entertainment. These pictures were taken around Five Points, Peachtree Center, and Lenox Marta stations.
I took this picture almost immediately after exiting Five Points Marta Station. At 8:00 am on a Thursday morning, it looks pretty empty. The large building on the left is now what looks like a hotel while a Payless can be seen on the right. This would’ve have been where many of the major shops in downtown would’ve been located; they closed down and new shops moved in. Peachtree Street is the major road that runs throughout the city of Atlanta–this picture is taken facing south.
The right side of Peachtree Street showing a discount store.
The left side of Peachtree Street showing a Rainbow. Also note the building on the far right of the image. It seems to have once been a furniture store while the Rainbow occupies a building that also once housed a major retailer.
Again, images of the left side of Peachtree Street. Which displays the fact that Atlanta is long past the era of big downtown department stores that attracted many people.
On the other hand, Lenox Mall in the Buckhead district of Atlanta provides a contrast. Like the images taken in Downtown, these pictures were taken within a short walk of a Marta station–Lenox Station in this case. Buckhead contains many of the major retailers that Downtown does not and does attract many shoppers and people seeking entertainment.
However Downtown Atlanta is not a total wasteland of an area that was once grand. Underground Atlanta, once abandoned from about 1930 to 1969, was restored to provide space for businesses and vendors. There are still no major retailers, however it does attract tourists who want to see this part of Atlanta’s history. Smells of food dominate almost the entire mall.
Underground Atlanta from the outside. Pryor Street would be behind me in this picture.
A look inside of Underground Atlanta.
If one travels further north along Peachtree Street there are many restaurants that cater to people staying at any one of the nearby hotels.
Facing south down Peactree Street. These images were taken within a short distance of Peachtree Center Marta Station. This station is also connected to an underground mall.
Three more examples of restaurants catering to people coming into the city.
The Rialto Center of the Arts on Forsyth Street.
Woodruff Park decorated for the holidays.
To bring this blog full circle, we’re nearly back to where we started. This picture is taken from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive facing the Georgia Dome–one of Atlanta’s premier sports venues. According to Teaford, sports facilities are important to a city, and Atlanta is no exception.  The Georgia Dome helps to bring millions of dollars to the city with the many events held there. Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center, and the World of Coke are among the attractions close to the Georgia Dome. I took the picture from this distance to show the close proximity.
While Downtown no longer has the big retail stores that once reigned, it’s still far from empty. If history does not repeat itself, there’s no way to tell if big retail stores will again dominate Downtown. Even if they do not, there are always smaller businesses that still operate. However Downtown Atlanta is clearly not uniformly depressed.
 Teaford, Jon C. The Metropolitan Revolution: the Rise of Post-urban America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. Pg. 93
 Teaford 92
 Teaford 255