The Ultimate List of Things to Do in Columbus, Georgia 

Columbus is a vibrant city in Georgia, located at the West Central border where the state meets Alabama. Whether you are looking to explore the great outdoors, embrace local arts and culture, or enjoy a great Southern meal, Columbus has something for everyone.  

Things to do outdoors in Columbus, GA  

The Chattahoochee River and Columbus’ many parks make it easy to get outside. In most cases, you’ll find yourself just a few minutes drive from fun outdoor adventures.  

Here’s a quick overview of the top things to do outdoors in Columbus:  

ActivityNeighborhoodGreat For
Whitewater Express, the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world  Uptown Nature lovers, families, whitewater rafting beginners 
Columbus Botanical Gardens, a 25-year-old institution dedicated to flora and fauna North ColumbusAmateur horticulturists, families
Woodruff Riverfront Park, a family- and dog-friendly parkUptownFamilies, large events, pet parents
Blue Heron Adventure Park, featuring a 1,200-foot zipline cableUptown Adventurers of all ages 
Columbus Art Walk, an interactive sculpture tourUptown Art enthusiasts  
Standing Boy Trails, a 30-mile set of trails North Columbus Mountain bikers, hikers, bikers, trail runners 
Columbus Dragonfly Trail, a series of trails throughout the city Metro Columbus Hikers, bikers, walkers, families, outdoors-lovers

Whitewater Express  

Join the thousands of people who have braved the world’s longest urban whitewater rafting stretch at Whitewater Express RushSouth Whitewater Park! Here, you’ll find three levels of whitewater rafting trips that take you through some of the Chattahoochee River’s toughest rapids. You can rent kayaks, SUP paddleboards, tubes, and even bikes at their store near Woodruff Riverfront Park, making it a one-stop shop for outdoor adventures.  

Columbus Botanical Garden  

Visitors of the Columbus Botanical Garden located in North Columbus can enjoy beautifully developed rose, cottage, herb, and vegetable gardens, historic buildings, and trails like the Jo Ann Holt Walking Trail, as well as birding and educational events

Woodruff Park  

Woodruff Riverfront Park is located across from the RushSouth Whitewater Park in Uptown and has a free splash pad, an interactive kids playground, and a slackline. If you’d prefer to relax, no problem—you can hang up a hammock, sway in the river breeze, and watch kayakers paddle down the river. 

Blue Heron Adventure Park  

At Blue Heron Adventure Park, you can zipline from Georgia to Alabama on a 1,200-foot cable with beautiful aerial views of Columbus. For even more adventure, the Blue Heron Aerial Course is a 10-element challenge course including rope climbs, floating beams, and a rope spider web.  

Columbus Art Walk  

The Columbus Art Walk is a self-guided tour through Uptown, featuring prominent buildings, sculptures, and artists such as Zach Tittle, Sherri Treeby, and Richard Rist.  

Standing Boy Trails 

If you are outdoorsy, you will love the versatility of Standing Boy Trails, a 30-mile system of biking and hiking trails in North Columbus. Everyone from expert mountain bikers to amateur hikers can get in on the fun, and there are even youth turkey hunts in the spring.  

Columbus Dragonfly Trail  

The Columbus Dragonfly Trail is a 12-mile greenway trail that connects Northwest Columbus to a southern side trail along MLK Boulevard. The trail connects to the Riverwalk, with several segments running alongside the Chattahoochee River. 

Museums and historical monuments in Columbus, GA  

In Columbus, you will find plenty of museums and education and arts centers to explore. Connect to the past and learn something new at any of the exciting museums and historical monuments below.  

Attraction  Neighborhood Great For 
The Columbus Museum, a free art and history museum MidTown Families, art lovers, history buffs, garden lovers  
National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center, a donation-based experience that boasts over 30,000 items  South Columbus  Military buffs, families, virtual reality fans  
Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, a natural-themed outdoors center through Columbus State University South Columbus  Outdoors enthusiasts, amateur horticulturalists, families  
Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Georgia’s largest collection of space science artifacts Uptown  Space enthusiasts, science geeks, families  
National Civil War Naval Museum, which hosts large Civil War ships  South Columbus Naval enthusiasts, history buffs, families  
Bo Bartlett Center, an art and cultural center Uptown Art enthusiasts, families  
Columbus Collective Museums, a quirky collective of six niche museums MidTown  Pop culture fans, families, gearheads, radio lovers  
Heritage Corner, a corner featuring five historically important homes and buildings Uptown History buffs, architecture lovers  

The Columbus Museum  

The Columbus Museum is a free art and history museum that is a perfect budget-friendly activity for people of all ages. The museum has a permanent collection, as well as temporary exhibitions, making it a stop you can revisit time and time again. Past exhibitions have included flora and fauna drawings of Columbus, textiles and quilts, an exhibit spotlighting the Civil Rights Movement in the Columbus area, and exhibits about World War II. After undergoing renovations, the museum reopened in May 2024.  

National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center  

A collection of nearly 30,000 items spans the walls of the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center, where visitors can learn about American military history and honor soldiers across the United States. The museum includes over 30 immersive walkthroughs and interactive exhibits, including a virtual reality center. Admission is free; however the center does request a $5 donation per person.  

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center  

The Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is a part of Columbus State University. The center allows visitors to learn about the rich flora and fauna that exist in Columbus and Georgia. Kids will especially love visiting on the weekends for Science Saturdays, and people of all ages can learn beekeeping with the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers. Admission is also free, but $5 donations are requested. 

Coca-Cola Space Science Center  

Coca-Cola partnered with Columbus State University to create the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. As a visitor, explore Georgia’s largest collection of space science artifacts and see the sky in action at the Omnisphere Theater. You can simulate going to the International Space Station aboard the Space Shuttle Odessey, explore Apollo memorabilia, and more.  

National Civil War Naval Museum  

Columbus was an important port city during the Civil War, and the National Civil War Naval Museum works to tell the stories of both the Union and Confederate sides. The museum overlooks the Chattahoochee River and hosts the largest surviving Confederate warship, the USS Jackson, as well as the remains of the CSS Chattahoochee. There are collections of torpedoes, historical flags, and a calendar of events all year long.  

Bo Bartlett Center  

Hosted on the River Park campus of Columbus State University, the Bo Bartlett Center features original works by Bartlett himself, an American painter, in addition to regional, national, and international works. The 20,000-square-foot gallery also acts as an incubator, community center, and learning laboratory as part of the university’s College of the Arts Corn Center for Visual Arts.  

Columbus Collective Museums  

Allen M. Woodall, Jr. founded The Lunch Box Museum in 1990 which has evolved into The Columbus Collective Museums, a collection of six smaller museums. The collection includes The Georgia Radio Museum and The Car Museum and houses a massive collection of 7,000 pop culture items.  

Heritage Corner  

If you’re a fan of historic homes, you’ll love visiting Heritage Corner, located Uptown near the Coca-Cola Space Science Museum at 7th Street & Broadway. The corner features five distinct historic homes and buildings with historical significance that have been immaculately restored.   

Music and performing arts centers in Columbus, GA  

The music scene in Columbus is lively and ever-expanding. Here are a few of the amazing concerts and live music shows that occur in Columbus both year-round and during special seasonal events.  

Venue Neighborhood Best For 
Springer Opera House, a 150-year-old operating landmark that is the official state theater of Georgia Uptown Theater nerds, history buffs 
RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, a theater complex Uptown Music lovers, dance lovers, art appreciators  
Spring and Fall Concert Series Uptown Columbus, a chance to hear live music Uptown Music lovers  
RushSouth Music Festival, a two-day music festival on the banks of the Chattahoochee River Uptown Music lovers 
The Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, a music education facility with public events Uptown Music lovers 
The Loft, a gastropub and live music venue  Uptown Live music lovers, foodies  
Columbus Symphony Orchestra, a 150-year-old musical institution  Uptown Classical music lovers 
Voices of the Valley Chorus, a children’s chorus out of Columbus State University  Uptown Music lovers, families  
Columbus Civic Center, a multi-use events venue South Columbus Sports lovers, music lovers, families, foodies, entertainment junkies, ice skaters 

Springer Opera House  

The Springer Opera House was first opened in 1871. It was named the State Theater of Georgia by then-governor Jimmy Carter and has hosted legendary performers throughout its history like John Phillip Sousa and Oscar Wilde. Click here to view the theater’s upcoming productions and events.  

RiverCenter for the Performing Arts  

The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Columbus Ballet. It also hosts traveling Broadway performances, show tapings, and more. There are smaller theaters and venues within the 245,000 square-foot RiverCenter, including a black box Studio Theatre, a 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theatre, and a performance space for Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music. 

Spring and Fall Concert Series in Uptown Columbus  

After a long week, Friday nights in Uptown Columbus are some of the most fun days to look forward to. During the Spring and Fall Concert Series, you can grab a bite to eat and a drink from a nearby restaurant and enjoy dancing to live music including jazz, rock, gospel, and more!  

RushSouth Music Festival  

Columbus hosted the first-ever RushSouth Music Festival in 2023. The two-day Americana festival featured a lineup of both local and national musicians like Dawes and Gov’t Mule. Festival goers enjoyed music performances, games, food and beverages—all along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. 

The Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music 

Part of Columbus State University, the Schwob School of Music is home to the school’s music department. It also provides music events throughout the year to the community, such as the student concert Kaleidoscope, the Schwob Summer Music Festival. and Music Under the Dome, a partnership event with the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. 

The Loft 

Live music lovers and foodies alike will agree that The Loft delivers a one-two punch of eats and entertainment. Since 1992, the restaurant has hosted bands, live music acts, and comedy shows. Chow down on fried green tomatoes or a pimento cheeseburger before catching a show.  

Columbus Symphony Orchestra  

Founded in 1855 by a student of Mendelssohn, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra was the second orchestra formed in the country. Up to 90 professional classical musicians unite to play music from masters like Rachmaninoff and Brahms. 

Voices of the Valley Chorus 

Voices of the Valley Chorus is a children’s choir featuring 70 young voices organized out of the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. The choir is a popular audition-only program for aspiring singers that performs throughout the year.  

Columbus Civic Center  

The Columbus Civic Center is a multi-purpose events venue that holds events ranging from WWE wrestling showcases to rock music festivals. It’s also home to the Columbus Lions, a professional indoor football team, the Columbus River Dragons, a professional ice hockey team, and the Columbus Ice Rink. 

Restaurants and bars in Columbus, GA  

If you’re hungry after exploring the city, Columbus has you covered! Below are some of our favorite restaurants to grab a bite to eat, a drink, or a sweet treat.  

Restaurant Neighborhood Type of food  
The Black Cow Uptown Southern  
The Wicked Hen MidTown Southern  
Speakeasy MidTown Pizza and more  
Minnie’s Uptown Uptown Meat-and-three 
Mark’s City Grill  North Columbus  American 
The Animal Farm  Uptown American 
Plucked Up Chicken and Biscuits Uptown Southern 
Chili Thai Uptown Asian 
Zombie Pig BBQ North Columbus Barbeque 
Mix Market  Uptown Fusion  
Mabella Uptown, Midland Steakhouse 
Saltcellar Uptown Seafood 
11th and Bay Southern Table Uptown Southern  
Nonic Restaurant & Rooftop Bar Uptown  Eclectic American  
Country’s BBQ Multiple locations Barbeque 
Epic  Uptown Prix fixe American   

The Black Cow  

If you spent the day exploring the city, The Black Cow offers hearty fare nearby that will fill you up. Enjoy Southern riffs like fried green beans, a salmon B.L.T., or “The Best Burger in the South,” as named by Garden & Gun magazine.  

Wicked Hen Restaurant  

The historic Dinglewood neighborhood in MidTown is home to the Wicked Hen Restaurant, which features a modern twist on Southern classics. Choose from dishes like pork belly lollipops, chicken and waffles, and the restaurant’s signature dinner dish, The Wicked Hen. Half a Cornish hen is breaded, fried, and served with pimento mac and cheese, braised turnips, and grilled bread.  

Speakeasy  

While speakeasies were traditionally kept secret during the Prohibition Era, you’ll want to tell everyone about Speakeasy, a casual and delicious pizza staple in MidTown. Choose from pies, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more.  

Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant  

Minnie’s Uptown has been a Columbus institution for over three decades, serving authentic Southern cuisine. Traditional sides like rice and gravy, lima beans, turnip greens, and cornbread dressing complement daily entree specials, including their famous fried chicken. Wash it all down with a glass of homemade sweet tea.  

Mark’s City Grill  

Mark’s City Grill has served North Columbus since 2009, offering classic American fare. Their menu includes fun items like cowboy pasta (a noodle dish made with ribeye steak), as well as classics like crab cakes, chicken fingers, and meatloaf.  

The Animal Farm  

It’s hard to resist eating at The Animal Farm every night with their delicious, locally sourced food. The Harlot Burger, made from brisket, chuck, and short rib, stands out for its phenomenal flavor, while the Gabagool Sammy offers a twist on a classic Italian sandwich.  

Plucked Up Chicken and Biscuits  

Plucked Up Chicken and Biscuits wants you to “feel like you’re back in Grandma’s kitchen”, and you certainly will with their nostalgia-inducing recipes like chicken and grits, chicken pot pie, and the restaurant’s namesake biscuit, The Plucked Up, a fried chicken biscuit with pineapple marmalade.

Chili Thai  

Chili Thai offers delicious Thai food in the heart of Uptown like basil rolls, pad Thai, curries, fried rice, and more, set in a lovely dining room with exposed brick walls.  

Zombie Pig BBQ 

In North Columbus, Zombie Pig BBQ dishes out classic barbeque fare alongside interesting twists, such as the redneck lasagna (mac and cheese topped with Brunswick stew). The fast-casual joint even offers frozen to-go options for those who need a quick meal at home.  

Mix Market 

Mix Market is a fusion restaurant serving pizza, salads, sandwiches, and main plates. Order at the counter and take a seat facing one of the dozens of televisions that dot the main dining room. Dessert lovers will go crazy for the restaurant’s extensive sweet treats menu, and wine and beer enthusiasts will love their self-pour stations.  

Mabella  

Mabella, an Italian steakhouse, is housed in a historic telephone switch that dates to the late 1800s. Traditional steak offerings are on the menu, alongside New Zealand lamb chops, house-smoked hot Norwegian salmon, and delicious pasta plates. Mabella also has a location in Midland.  

Saltcellar 

One of Columbus’ best upscale restaurants, Saltcellar has some of the best seafood in town. Choose from items like sea scallops, Florida grouper, and wild jumbo Gulf shrimp, and top the dinner off with an option from the extensive Sugar Pedaler dessert menu.  

11th and Bay Southern Table  

Situated in an old cotton warehouse, 11th and Bay Southern Table was recently renovated to revamp its restaurant space. Their rustic modern menu features seasonal ingredients and classic hits like table biscuits with seasonal jam, shellfish and sausage stew, and braised short ribs.  

Nonic Restaurant & Rooftop Bar 

Located inside Highside Market, Nonic Restaurant & Rooftop Bar is a beer and cocktail bar and gastropub. Korean fried wings, oysters, and mushroom gnocchi sit alongside more classic fare like burgers and sandwiches. They also serve 24 beers on tap.  

Country’s Barbeque  

A local institution, Country’s Barbeque dishes out classics at all three Metro Columbus locations. Their pork, turkey, ham, and beef are smoked to perfection and complemented by delicious coleslaw, tater salad, and butter beans.  

Epic 

Fans of upscale American cuisine will love Epic, which is located near the river Uptown. The menu is prix fixe and includes your choice of a bevy of rotating culinary delights such as sous vide apple salad, crab-topped salmon, and tea-brined pheasant. It’s the perfect place to host a celebration.  

Considering a move to Columbus, Georgia?  

Whether you’re looking for a more affordable cost of living or an amazing place to raise a family, Columbus could be the perfect place to call home. With a thriving job market, plenty of recreational activities, a strong sense of community, and short commutes, Columbus makes it easy to fit in more of what makes life meaningful.     

Things to do in Columbus: FAQs  

If you have more questions about things to do in Columbus, we’re happy to answer them. Here are some frequently asked questions.   

Is Columbus, GA worth visiting?  

Absolutely! There are so many great things to do in Columbus, including hiking and cycling, kayaking, shopping, and fine dining. Columbus is an excellent day trip for Georgia residents or a great place to explore for an afternoon if you’re just passing through the state.  

What is Columbus, GA best known for?  

It’s hard to pick just one thing that Columbus is known for. The friendly locals, delicious food, and rich history all contribute heavily to the culture of Columbus. Depending on who you ask, you might get a different answer to this question, and that’s the beauty of this diverse city.  

Is Columbus, GA fun for kids?  

Yes! Kids in Columbus will enjoy its natural parks and river activities in addition to more traditional places like arcades, skating rinks, and escape rooms. More and more families are moving to and loving life in Columbus, Georgia.   

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