No matter what city in America you're in, there's an incredible amount to see. From historic buildings to museums, shops, restaurants, and more, each city is exciting and interesting in its own way.
But some cities have a little bit more beneath the surface that many people aren't aware of. In fact, some cities have bustling metropolises underneath their streets! Check out these amazing underground cities across the country:
Atlanta is home to an impressive amount of U.S. history, much of it in what's now the city's underground. Commonly called the "City Beneath the Streets," Atlanta became one of the first big metropolises in the south before the Civil War began, making it a destination for Confederates and a target for the Union army.
Though much of it was demolished during the war, Atlanta rebuilt itself, erecting banks, businesses, and railways in the late 1800s. The railroads crossed over each other on bridges, which were eventually connected by concrete viaducts.
These concrete structures created a "second level" of the city, causing merchants and business owners to move their business up (literally). This left the original underground area unused for dozens of years until the city restored it, declared it a historic site and opened it to visitors.
A tunnel system that spans several blocks beneath the surface of Portland connects hotels, restaurants and other businesses from Chinatown to the city's downtown area. Known locally as the "Shanghai Tunnels," these tunnels are said to have been used by disreputable people to Shanghai – or kidnap – men and force them to work on ships starting in the 1850s.
The Shanghai Tunnels got their name from people allegedly shanghaiing men who worked in Portland (this practice was supposed to have started in the 1850s). Shanghaiing was the practice of kidnapping able-bodied men and taking them through the underground tunnels to their docked ships. Then they'd be held captive on the ships and put to work when the ships reached the ocean.
During Prohibition, the tunnels were allegedly also used for kidnapping women and selling them into prostitution, although historians have found no evidence that the tunnels were ever used for either of these purposes. Still, locals and visitors to the city enjoy touring the tunnels, which are also said to be haunted.
Like in Portland, a network of tunnels lies under America's capital, connecting government buildings, subway stations and more. Unlike in Portland, Washington, D.C.'s underground city is very much in use today. In fact, the tunnels are lined with restaurants, retailers and food courts.
Because the tunnels connect government buildings, like the Library of Congress, the U.S. Capitol and many more, you may run into a congressman or two on your way through them!
Another city with an expansive tunnel system is Houston. Downtown Houston has tunnels beneath the surface that extend for more than 6 miles, spanning 95 city blocks total.
The tunnels connect office buildings, and they're largely used by businessmen and women, which means they're closed on the weekends. They contain restaurants, food courts, shops and other amenities that Houston's business people may need during their work days.
Beneath New York City, you'll find many underground areas, some connected and some not. On a ride on one of the city's subway trains, you may find yourself noticing abandoned subway platforms, like the City Hall station, which has been out of use for years.
In the Meatpacking District, a collection of underground tunnels remains that was previously used to transport cattle from the Manhattan docks to their slaughterhouses.
There are also crypts that lie underneath a cathedral in Little Italy and vaults full of rare books and research materials that can be found under the New York Public Library. With all of these underground destinations, not to mention its renowned subway system, New York City truly has an underground metropolis.
A public tour of one of the coolest underground cities of all time starts in a restored public house that was originally built in 1890. From there, visitors will learn about Seattle's Underground, made up of a town that was largely demolished during the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.
Because the city was originally built on swamp-like land that was difficult to construct on, the town's government decided to raise itself up and build a new city one story above the old one.
New stone and concrete streets were built above the old remnants of the city– which lies under the historic Pioneer Square– and eventually covered it completely, leaving just a network of tunnels beneath the surface. It wasn't until many years later that the city decided to preserve what was left of the underground and began offering tours.
SubTropolis is a huge underground building complex located under Kansas City and it's home to several businesses and thousands of workers. SubTropolis was originally built in 1964 from an excavated mine, and is about 6 million square feet in size and still growing.
The tenants of SubTropolis love it for its amazing insulation, which keeps it at a constant 68 degrees. In fact, it's such a stable environment that the U.S. Post Office uses it to store their collectible stamps.