Columbus may be Georgia’s second-largest city, but this Southern belle happily flies under the radar, keeping its charms and historic sites proudly to itself. For travelers in the know, this town in western Georgia hosts world-class museums, gorgeous antebellum homes, and a flourishing arts and culinary scene. Excellent walking, hiking and biking trails allow for close encounters with Georgia’s majestic landscapes. The Chattahoochee River forms the boundary between Georgia and Alabama and delivers prime on-the-water opportunities for residents of both states.
Remains of a Rebel Navy
A former Confederate stronghold, Columbus is dotted with monuments and attractions that reflect its critical role in the Civil War. The National Civil War Naval Museum preserves the remains of the CSS Jackson, the largest surviving Confederate warship, as well as the bones of the CSS Chattahoochee. The museum’s impressive repository of artifacts includes the nation’s largest collection of Civil War naval-related flags as well as prized memorabilia, including Admiral Farragut’s two-star hat insignia.
In Columbus’ entertainment district, Old Southern rituals of mint juleps and sultry jazz coexist nicely with the craft beer culture and a buzzing live music scene. The Loft is a perennial local favorite with fine food and an upstairs bar/lounge that hosts top regional musicians on Wednesday, Friday (jazz night) and Saturday nights. Columbus’ authentic culinary scene trades the hype and hip factor for down-home classics with deep flavors, served in a welcoming, soulful ambiance.
You can indulge in soul food cooking at Minnie’s Uptown, where a smorgasbord of deep-fried delights includes signature fried chicken followed by ridiculously-sized slabs of cake. Established in 1918, the soda fountain at Dinglewood Pharmacy remains a local institution, complete with time-capsule marble countertops and a black-and-white checkered floor.
River Deep, Mountain High
Steal time from the city’s cultural attractions and explore the city’s scenic RiverWalk, a 15-mile park on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Revel in serene river views and scan for resident wildlife, including deer, coyotes, turkeys, snakes, rabbits and armadillos, which have all been spotted on the trail. Easily accessed from town, the Columbus Fall Line Trace is an 11-mile paved trail that funnels northeast from the 14th Street pedestrian bridge to Psalmond Road, while Flat Rock Park has several hiking and mountain biking trails.
Columbus hosts the world’s longest urban whitewater rafting experience. The Chattahoochee Whitewater Park is a rafting course that has been rated as one of the top 12 man-made adventures in the world by USA Today. A dam-controlled release system allows local tour operators to operate tame, family-oriented floats as well as Class IV and V trips on the same 2.5-mile sections of the river. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are also popular on the more placid stretches.
For More Information
Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau
Georgia Department of Economic Development