Located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River is the city of Columbus, a bustling metropolis filled with history, art, culture and some of America’s most beautiful cityscapes. The city is home to many historic sites and eight different historic districts, museums and art galleries, including the National Infantry Museum, all of which have played a significant role in American history and contemporary culture. Mixed in are the shopping districts and lifestyle centres which can provide a healthy dose of retail therapy to those looking for it. Others can take advantage of the city’s parks and recreation facilities, walking trails and opportunities to go whitewater kayaking, rafting and zip-lining; after all, the world’s longest urban whitewater rafting course is on the Chattahoochee River. Read on to find out the best of the city and our recommendations of things to do in Columbus, Georgia.
1. Embrace your inner science nerd at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center
Adults and children alike will enjoy learning about space, science exploration and discovery when you visit the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, part of Columbus State University’s Riverpark Campus. Learn about the Apollo Moon Landing, catch a show at the state-of-the-art planetarium, the Omnisphere Theater, and visit several interactive exhibits that combine science with entertainment for an interesting and educative visit.
Coca-Cola Space Science Center
Address: 701 Front Avenue, Columbus, Georgia 31901
Website: Coca-Cola Space Science Center
Opening hours: Sat: 10.30am - 6pm; Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sunday)
Price: 6 USD Adults, 4 USD Children (aged 4-12) and USD 5 Military/Seniors
2. Stroll through Columbus Botanical Garden
In addition to hosting Instagram-worthy weddings and outdoor parties, the Columbus Botanical Gardens is the ideal location for a peaceful walk or a space to enjoy group activities, including yoga classes, that take place in the gardens. Located within the city limits, this beautiful botanical garden features an abundance of plants, trees, flowers and even vegetable and herb gardens throughout its space.
Columbus Botanical Garden
Address: 3603 Weems Rd, Columbus, GA 31909, USA
Website: Columbus Botanical Garden
Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)
Price: Suggested donation 5 USD
3. Be entertained at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
No matter if you are a regular visitor or if this is your first time to Columbus, be sure to check out the latest performances at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts as you are likely to find a multitude of performances to choose from. With Broadway musicals, local dance and music recitals always gracing this modern performance space, there is likely to be something for everyone to enjoy. Performances like Kinky Boots, Finding Neverland and Rock of Ages have been recent hits at the RiverCenter.
RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
Address: 900 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Website: RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5.30pm
Price: Depends on show
4. Gaze at the collection in the Black Art in America Gallery
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Via Petrucci Family Foundation Collection @pff_collection • • • • • • Another new addition to the collection! Vanessa...Posted by Black Art In America on Friday, February 19, 2021
Visit the Black Art in America Gallery for an inside look at the African American arts community. Visitors should check out their studio space for the latest fine art shows, meetups with artists and educational workshops that they conduct regularly. Those enthusiastic about the African American arts community will find the Gallery’s website to be a useful resource, providing educational tools and inside looks into artists and their latest collections, information on market trends and the latest details on the Black visual arts market.
Black Art in America Gallery
Address: 1506 6th Ave, Suite 115, Columbus, GA 31901-2647
Website: Black Art in America Gallery
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 24 hrs; Sat & Sun: 11am - 5pm
5. Enjoy a day at the Columbus Riverwalk
Walk or bike along the Chattahoochee RiverWalk to get a feel for the city of Columbus, taking in the sights and sounds along the way. Look out for the birds that are local to the state, the different architecture styles of the buildings and the beautiful river alongside you. You will come across a host of different outdoor activities along your way and a variety of restaurants and cafes on your route.
Address: Bay Avenue and 11th Street, Columbus, GA 39701
6. Dive into the pool at the Columbus Aquatic Center
The state of the art indoor aquatic centre is open to members and non-members in Columbus, making it accessible to visitors to the city as well as locals of the area. With a 50-meter (164-foot) competition pool, diving area and therapeutic pool, the Columbus Aquatic Center is a great place to enjoy swimming and diving for sports and fitness, as well as for leisure and as entertainment for the whole family.
Columbus Aquatic Center
Address: 1603 Midtown Drive, Columbus GA 31906
Website: Columbus Aquatic Center
Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs: 6am - 8pm; Wed, Fri: 8am - 7pm; Sat: 10am - 3pm
Price: 10 USD for non-resident adults and 4 USD for non-resident children
7. Learn US military history at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center
The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center is a space that serves to memorialise and teach visitors about the US military and its history and significance in the world. With interactive galleries, exhibitions, artefacts and monuments held within the museum, it caters to visitors of all ages, looking to inform and educate about the US military’s current and historic role in global events. There is an opportunity to watch a military documentary and experience war via the Combat Simulators during your visit.
National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center
Address: 1775 Legacy Way, Columbus, GA 31903, USA
Opening hours: Tues - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm (closed on Monday)
Price: 5 USD suggested donation
8. Learn about environment conservation at Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center
In honor of school being out for summer break, here is a wildlife quiz for everyone :) Guess this snake!Posted by Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center at Columbus State University on Thursday, 30 May 2019
The Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is a great location for families and friends to spend a day together, learning about the environment, conservation techniques, ecology and natural history. Everyone will enjoy the view of a variety of snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, turtles, tortoises, fish, alligators and invertebrates. There is a walking trail to see native wildlife, walking through wetlands and by ponds. Get into the hiking trails, displays, and unique attractions of the Center and plan to spend at least three hours for a complete visit.
Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center
Address: 3535 S Lumpkin Rd, Columbus, GA 31903, USA
Opening hours: Sat: 10am - 6pm; Mon - Fri: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sunday)
Price: Free entry
9. Try out whitewater rafting on The Chattahoochee River
Take on the whitewater rafting of the Chattahoochee River, the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world. The course consists of five class 4+ rapids, and ten smaller rapids making for an exciting adventure over a river whose volume of water is significantly higher than other rivers where rafting takes place. The rapids at the Chattahoochee can reach up to 13,000 cubic feet (368 cubic meters) per second in volume. Several companies conduct whitewater rafting here, so you can take your pick on those that best suit your needs.
The Chattahoochee River
10. Learn about the Civil War at the National Civil War Naval Museum
History buffs will get excited when visiting The National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, set in a building that overlooks the Chattahoochee River. Make your way through two original American Civil War military naval vessels, uniforms, equipment and weapons used by the United States Navy from the North and the Confederate States Navy forces to understand the American Civil War. Look out for regular events at the Museum, including theatre productions and historic character interpretations, cannon firings, weapons demonstrations, local history projects and more.
National Civil War Naval Museum
Address: 1002 Victory Dr, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Website: National Civil War Naval Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 4.30pm; Sun: 12.30pm - 4.30pm
Price: 8 USD adults, 7 USD seniors/military, 6 USD students
11. Catch a performance at Springer Opera House
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Springer Opera House is the State Theatre of Georgia and it has been a source of rich culture and history since its opening as a leading Southern cultural institution 144 years ago in 1871. The grandeur and style of the 19th century can still be felt in the Edwardian Grand Lobby, with the architecture emulating a European style theatre on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The Springer is a national landmark and in recent years has been home to popular contemporary performances such as Robin Hood, Chicago, Mamma Mia and Jungle Book.
Springer Opera House
Address: 103 E 10th St, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Website: Springer Opera House
Opening hours: Depends on performance
12. Wander through Heritage Park and learn its history
Experience Heritage Park for its beautifully curated outdoor spaces combined with the learnings of the history of the city of Columbus. The park has granite pools recreating the falls of the Chattahoochee River and several types of water elements. The interpretive sculptures dotted along the park take you through the 1850 - 1910 industrialisation period and how the city changed from a simple trading town to that of a booming manufacturing city. Take a self-guided tour with children and pets, while taking a walk through Heritage Park to understand the evolution of the city of Columbus.
Address: W. 7th Street, Columbus GA 31901
Website: Heritage Park
Opening hours: 5am - 7pm (daily)
Price: Free admission
13. Tour the historic Linwood Cemetery
The historic Linwood Cemetery serves as a resting place of many famous people of the city, as well as for 600 Confederate soldiers from the American Civil War. Sign up for a Cemetery Tour to learn about the various notables and symbolism on the diverse monuments located within the Cemetery. Understand the impact of the Civil War on those soldiers who served in the war and get an insider telling of the industrial tour of Columbus, understanding the stories of the men who helped build the city.
Address: 721 Linwood Blvd, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Website: Historic Linwood Cemetery
Opening hours Cemetery: 7am - 7pm (daily)
Opening hours Foundation: Mon- Thurs: 9am - 3pm (Closed Fri - Sun)
14. Spend a day on the ice at Columbus Ice Rink
With bright, clean facilities, friendly and helpful staff and public skate times available regularly, learn to skate or perfect your skills on the ice rinks in Columbus. It is open year-round and therefore serves as a great summer activity to beat the heat or a winter celebration of holiday festivities and cheer. The ice rinks are a great place for those interested in figure skating, ice hockey or just wanting some leisure time on the ice with friends and family.
Columbus Ice Rink
Address: 400 4th St, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Website: Columbus Ice Rink
Public Skating hours: varies and subject to change
Price: 7 USD adults, 5 USD children (aged 10 and under)
15. Have a fun-filled day at Flat Rock Park
Feed the ducks, go hiking, exercise your quads on the mountain bike trails, take to the lake for fishing and play on an amazing disc golf course: these are just some of the activities to do at Flat Rock Park. Access the Rails to Trails, entertain your children on the playground, and find one of many beautiful locations for your next Instagram post. The scenic park is ideal to walk around and discover hidden gems in the heart of the city.
Flat Rock Park
Address: 6106 Warm Springs Rd, Columbus, GA 31909, USA
Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)
16. Get general information at Georgia Visitor Information Center - Columbus
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
If you are stuck for more things to do and see in Columbus, or you need directions, recommendations or general facts about your holiday, be sure to visit the Georgia Visitor Information Center in Columbus for your official source of information. It is open throughout the week, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Georgia Visitor Information Center - Columbus
Address: 1751 Williams Rd, Columbus, GA 31904, USA
Opening hours: 8.30am - 5.30pm (daily)
17. Visit the historic Kadie the Cow
A now iconic image that’s easily recognisable to locals and those living in Georgia is Kadie the Cow who has been granted permanent residency on her grass patch by the city of Columbus. Kadie the Cow has been in Columbus since 1967 and is a well known historical landmark of the city. Kadie has been part of endless numbers of photos and selfies and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
Kadie the Cow
Address: 3067-3081 Manchester Expy, Columbus, GA 31909, USA
18. Unleash your sense of adventure at Columbus Fall Line Trace
This is the best place in the city for a walk or bike ride and you can control the distance depending on where you start your journey. The Columbus Fall Line Trace is connected to Flat Rock Park which has even more walking trails and there are easy access points throughout the area. The Columbus Fall Line Trace is safe for children and pets to join in on the excursion.
Columbus Fall Line Trace
Address: 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge, Bridge to Psalmond Rd recreation center, Columbus, GA
Website: Columbus Fall Line Trace
19. Savor the dishes at Minnie's Uptown Restaurant
Indulge in the best of Southern cooking, home-made style at Minnie’s. This lunchtime-only restaurant serves up the highlights of Southern cooking, with everything from fried chicken to mac ‘n’ cheese on the menu. Rated highly by locals who claim the restaurant serves up the best fried chicken in the area, Minnie’s feeds the stomach and the soul and should be on the list of every visitor in Columbus.
Minnie's Uptown Restaurant
Address: 104 8th St, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Website: Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant
Opening hours: Sun: 10.45am - 2.30pm; Mon - Fri: 10.45am - 2.30pm (closed on Saturdays)
20. Explore the Gertrude Ma Rainey House & Blues Museum
The home of blues icon or more commonly known as the “Mother of Blues”, Ma Rainey’s home has been converted into a museum and historical landmark in Columbus. Explore some of her artefacts and the history exhibits within her former home and learn about Ma Rainey’s influence on music. Take in the music history lesson that unfolds around you with a short tour, which helps you appreciate Ma Rainey’s musical talent and abilities as well as her style of music that incorporates blues and jazz with her deep vocals and flair.
Gertrude Ma Rainey House & Blues Museum
Address: 805 5th Ave, Columbus, GA 31901, USA
Opening hours: Tues - Fri: 9am - 3pm; Sat: 10am - 3pm (Closed on Sun - Mon)
Price: Free entry
21. Go cycling with the help of Columbus Bicycle Tours
Columbus Bicycle Tours takes you on a tour to appreciate the highlights of the city, allowing you to visit venues and locations that help you understand the history and dramatic events that have taken place here, combined with the architecture and geography that make the city so special. The tour runs for around three hours and you will be able to get a great idea of the historical context of Columbus as well as current, more relevant recommendations and information about the city.
Columbus Bicycle Tours
Address: 1036 Broad, Columbus, GA
Website: Columbus Bicycle Tours
Opening hours: 8am - 7pm (daily)
Price: Starting at 5 USD/ hour
Endless fun in Columbus
Your visit to Columbus, Georgia, can be as varied as you need it to be. Choose to spend time outdoors with nature trails, lush green parks and the beautiful Chattahoochee River that is located in the midst of the city. Take in the historic nature of the city and appreciate its importance to America’s narrative and veterans. The city is family-friendly, providing ample opportunities for wholesome fun and endless choices of entertainment and activities.
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