Best Underground Attraction (2016)


In order to discover some of America's most fascinating history, you have to go beneath the surface, literally! A whole host of incredible underground attractions exist beneath our feet, and for the past four weeks, USA TODAY and 10Best readers have been voting for their favorites from a pool of 20 nominees.

  • Forestiere Underground Gardens

    Forestiere Underground Gardens
    Fresno, Calif.

    Inspired by Ancient Roman architecture of the Mediterranean, Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere hand dug 70 acres of subterranean gardens and living spaces for himself over the course of 40 years. Visitors can now tour this fascinating Fresno landmark, consisting of patios, grottoes, garden courts and a fish pond.
    Photo courtesy of Scott Harrison / Flickr

  • Havre Beneath the Streets

    Havre Beneath the Streets
    Havre, Mont.

    In 1904, fire destroyed much of Havre's business district, and in response, the townspeople moved underground, where they carried out their business in basements and cellars until the above-ground buildings could be restored. The Havre Beneath the Streets tour takes visitors back more than 100 years to these same subterranean spaces, including a turn-of-the-century saloon, a Chinese laundry and a brothel.
    Photo courtesy of Pattys-photos / Flickr

  • Queen City Underground

    Queen City Underground

    Participants of American Legacy Tours' Queen City Underground tour get a unique glimpse beneath the streets and sidewalks of Cincinnati. Among these hidden spaces is a crypt beneath St. Francis Seraph Church where some of the city's first residents were buried, as well as the underground storage facilities of the former Kauffman Brewing Company, where beer was stored behind cork-insulated walls.
    Photo courtesy of 5chw4r7z / Flickr

  • Consolidated Gold Mine

    Consolidated Gold Mine
    Dahlonega, Ga.

    Gold was discovered in the Dahlonega area in 1828, long before the California Gold Rush. The Consolidated Gold Mine represents what was the largest gold mining operation east of the Mississippi. Mine tours take visitors 200 feet underground to experience what it must have been like to be a miner at the turn-of-the-century.
    Photo courtesy of Consolidated Gold Mines

  • Old Sacramento Underground

    Old Sacramento Underground

    Flood waters in the 1860s and 1870s prompted Sacramento city officials to quite literally lift up the city to avoid future flooding. Old Sacramento Underground tours operated by the Sacramento History Museum take visitors into two of the subterranean spaces created as a result of the raising process.
    Photo courtesy of Dayna Studios

  • Lackawanna Coal Mine

    Lackawanna Coal Mine
    Scranton, Penn.

    At Lackawanna Coal Mine near Scranton, Penn., visitors descend 300 feet beneath the ground in a mine car to explore an anthracite coal mine that opened in 1860. Guided tours, available April to November, dig in to the history of coal mining in the area and includes explanations of how coal was pulled from the veins deep within the mine.
    Photo courtesy of Arden / Flickr

  • Bunker at The Greenbrier

    Bunker at The Greenbrier
    White Sulphur Springs, W.V.

    Once a classified relocation facility for the U.S. Congress, the Bunker at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs now welcomes all visitors to explore this fascinating bit of history. The bunker was built in 1958 and remained at full operation status for three decades. Visitors can tour the 112,544-foot facility which includes dormitories, a decontamination chamber, clinic, cafeteria and meeting rooms for the House and Senate.

    U.S. government relocation facility for Congress
    U.S. government relocation facility for Congress

    Photo courtesy of The Greenbrier

  • Port Angeles Underground

    Port Angeles Underground
    Port Angeles, Wash.

    Before 1914, frequent flooding made downtown Port Angeles a stinky, sewage-filled mess. After pressure from residents, the city raised the streets 10 to 14 feet to solve the sewage problem. While many of the original buildings were torn down, others now include a second level atop the now underground structures. Port Angeles Heritage Tours guides visitors into these underground areas to offer historical insight into a darker side of Port Angeles.
    Photo courtesy of Heritage Tours

  • Hidee Gold Mine

    Hidee Gold Mine
    Central City, Colo.

    The region around Central City, Colo. has a rich mining history – one that visitors can experience for themselves on a tour of the Hidee Gold Mine. Tour participants, equipped with a hammer and chisel, get to try their hands and mining directly from a gold ore vein and take their sample home with them.
    Photo courtesy of The Hidee Gold Mine

  • Soudan Underground Mine

    Soudan Underground Mine
    Soudan, Minn.

    Visitors to Minnesota's Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park don hard hats and travel by cage a half mile underground to learn about the life of an ore miner in the Soudan Mine, which closed in 1962. Tours include a mine train ride to the deepest part of the mine.
    Photo courtesy of Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo



AlertThe Experts

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt