Dutch inner-city shopping areas face a decreasing number of visitors and declining sales volumes. Internet shopping, economic decline and an ageing population are considered to be the main causes. Improving the atmospherics of inner-city shopping areas may be a solution to improve the competitiveness relative to other recreational destinations and attract more visitors to shopping centres. The aim of this research is to empirically determine which atmospheric characteristics contribute to the shopper's appreciation of inner-city shopping areas. A list of 25 environmental characteristics formed the basis of a survey that was conducted in the historic inner-city shopping areas of two Dutch medium sized cities: Maastricht and 's-Hertogenbosch. Within each of these inner-city areas, four locations were selected; two historical and two non-historical. At each location, the 25 characteristics were firstly assessed by the researchers. Secondly, in total 918 consumers were invited to rate each characteristic. In addition, each respondent rated the overall appreciation and the sphere of the location under consideration. Furthermore, each respondent was asked to rank order the four locations of the particular inner-city considering the most favorite shop location and the most atmospheric shop location. Decision tree analysis was used to find out if and which physical characteristics of the locations cause the largest impact on the consumers' appreciations. Furthermore, multinomial logit (MNL) choice models were estimated to predict the most favorite and most atmospheric locations from the rank orderings provided by each respondent. This analysis showed which combination of observed characteristics contributed most to the respondent's first choice of favorite location and the respondent's first choice of most atmospheric location. Although the explanatory power of the models is limited, some observed characteristics appeared to significantly influence the shoppers' preferences. The results showed that the most favorite shopping area does not need to be the most atmospheric shopping area. Nonetheless, adjusting shopping areas to the atmospheric characteristics that contribute significantly to consumer's appreciation will help shopping center managers and developers to improve the competing power of their shopping areas.