Sometimes called the "Song and Soul of the South", Macon, GA has friendly people, fantastic food, history, and fun things for everyone! The things to do in Macon, GA are endless. You can hike through the ancient Indian mounds or experience the state's largest collection of African American art. Stroll down wide avenues lined with art galleries, boutiques, and architecture or sample delicious food. As you plan your trip, put a few of these things to do in Macon, Georgia on your itinerary!
Enjoy Some of Macon’s Best-Known Festivals
Like many Southern towns, Macon knows how to put on a good festival. Two, in particular, are particularly popular for locals and tourists alike.
INTERNATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Held in the Central City Park, the Cherry Blossom Festival is held in March and events run for more than a week. Highlights include the Emerald Ball, Street Party and the annual Sunday Parade. The Emerald Ball is a glamorous evening of dining and dancing at the Macon City Auditorium, and tickets sell out quickly. So, if you’re planning a visit you’ll want to snap those up in advance to ensure yourself a table. The Street Party brings in national music acts to downtown Macon and runs from the afternoon and into the evening.
The last Saturday in July of each summer is when Macon holds the annual Bragg Jam. Named in honor of singer/songwriter Brax Bragg, the event has turned from a tribute into the city’s largest music festival and includes a Moonlight 5k and a concert crawl. The concert crawl in 2017 included live music at 19 separate locations. For music lovers, this is a can’t miss summer event.
Take in Macon’s History and Culture
Macon is a city with a deep appreciation of local culture and history. For visitors, this provides ample opportunity to learn about the city and brush up on your history.
ST. JOSEPH'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
This ornate, neo-Gothic Catholic Church was built between 1889 and 1892. It is comparable to many European churches, with its gorgeous stain glass windows and striking architecture. Go inside, watch the sunshine stream through the colorful windows, and listen to the organ with 3,000 pipes. This is a must see when in Macon, GA!
When you tour this Italian Renaissance villa, you’ll discover the history of the house and city. The Hay House has been elegantly restored while keeping the original style. The tour guides are excellent and knowledgeable of the history of the house, making sure guests leave knowing more about Macon, Georgia and its culture!
OCMULGEE NATIONAL MONUMENT
Native Americans first came to Ocmulgee National Monument during the Paleo-Indian period. Different cultures occupied this land for thousands of years before the Mississippian culture arrived in 900. The Mississippian people constructed mounds in honor of their leaders and the mounds remain today for all to see! With Civil War Sesquicentennial and Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, guests experience some true Native American culture with singing, dancing, and storytelling.
If you enjoy Civil War history, the Cannonball House is the place to go! Learn more about Macon’s part in the Civil War on a guided tour of the house. The tour guide walks you through each room of the house and explains when and where the house was hit by a cannon ball. Today, guests can still see traces of where the cannonball hit.
The Tubman Museum is a truly unique experience, offering a unique glimpse into African American art, history and culture. The museum has rotating exhibits and events, so check the website to see what will be happening during your time in Macon. The Museum also throws the annual Pan African Festival each August which is full of activities including music, dance, food, art, and storytelling. It’s a family friendly event that features the area’s best Caribbean and Soul Food as well.
Experience the Local Sports Scene
For the sports aficionado, there are a couple of can’t miss things to do in Macon, Georgia. In particular, these two gems are can’t miss attractions to take in during your visit.
THE GEORGIA SPORTS HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM
The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is the country's largest state sports museum. The museum is in a state-of-the-art house and has over 3,000 artifacts. Visitors are invited to experience the history of sports in GA through the old-style ticket booths to the brick columns in the rotunda.
LUTHER WILLIAMS FIELD
This historic baseball stadium currently plays host to Macon’s minor league baseball team, the Macon Bacon. Recent renovations make it a great place to take in a ballgame during the summer, but it’s also a historic landmark for sports fans as well. Recent films “Trouble with the Curve” and the Jackie Robinson story “42” both filmed at the historic field. A number of famous MLB players spent time playing for minor league teams that played at LWF, including Pete Rose, Chipper Jones, and Andruw Jones.
Don’t Sleep on Macon’s Art Scene
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t think a trip is complete without taking in the local art scene, Macon will not disappoint. Beyond the aforementioned Tubman Museum, Macon offers a number of options to take in the arts.
Otis Redding was discovered here and Ma Rainey, Cab Calloway, Little Richard and many others performed in this theater. The theatre was in operation from 1921 to the '70s and stood silent for 20 years until the City of Macon restored it. It reopened in January 1997, as a state-of-the-art film, performance and meeting venue. Visitors can experience its original magnificence while enjoying a 3-D film. Guest can also enjoy live musicals and theatrical performances in the evening.
MACON LITTLE THEATRE
One of the anchors of the local art scene in Macon, the Little Theatre has been putting on plays and musicals since 1934. Community players provide family-friendly entertainment with shows such as “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and “Annie”. To see what’s playing during your stay in Macon, check out the website.
GRAND OPERA HOUSE
This historic opera house opened back in 1884. The gothic architecture provides a truly stunning experience, particularly for first time visitors. The Opera House hosts a range of movies, plays and musicals as well as live musical acts. To see what’s playing, check out their upcoming events.
Enjoy Macon’s Culinary Delights
Southern Cuisine is a favorite of many travelers, and Macon of course has that in spades. But don’t pigeonhole the local culinary scene, as Macon has a wide variety of dining treasures from a broad range of cuisines. But don’t take our word for it, listen to the locals! For more info on Macon’s best restaurants, check out the links below:
Get Outside and Get Active
One of the things locals and visitors both find appealing is the number and variety of parks in Macon. If you want to get outdoors to enjoy Georgia’s natural beauty, Macon offers a lot of options:
- Amerson River Park – This park has a little bit of everything, including a canoe launch, hiking trails and a playground for the kids
- Washington Park – This city park is the perfect place for some midday relaxation, as the park boasts a number of benches, walking paths, a pond and a waterfall
- Tattnall Square Park – A city park with options for active types. Tattnall Square Park is located in the city and host to a number of local cultural events, but also has a playing field, tennis courts and a picnic area
Learn About Macon’s Rich Musical History
While the local music scene gets plenty of attention from people visiting Macon, there’s also a rich musical history to explore during your visit.
ALLMAN BROTHERS MUSEUM
Sometimes referred to as “The Big House”, the Allman Brothers Museum is more than a museum, it was actually the home of the original members. If you’re a fan, this is a can’t miss attraction. Take a tour and learn the history of the band and swing by the gift shop to pick up some one of a kind memorabilia to commemorate your visit.
OTIS REDDING STATUE
Along the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail you can find a statue of one of Macon’s most famous sons, Otis Redding. If you’re out for a hike you’ll definitely want to stop by and take a photo of this life-sized statue of the legendary musician.
LOCAL MUSIC LINKS
If these visits spark up the desire to go take in some local music, Macon has some top shelf live music locations including:
Get Yourself Something Nice
If shopping’s your bag, you’ll be happy to find out that Macon has no shortage of shopping options during your stay. For the easiest access to the largest number of shops, the two best options are probably The Shoppes at River Crossing and the Macon Mall. For some outside of the box shopping experiences you can try Smiley’s Flea Market or Yesterday’s Antique Market to find some one of a kind goods.
Some other local shopping options include:
- Ingleside Village Shopping & Arts District
- Tanger Factory Outlet Center (just down the road in Locust Grove)
Take in Macon’s Nightlife
After a long day of taking in all that Macon has to offer, it can be nice to let your hair down and enjoy the nightlife in Macon. Fortunately, there are great options for this as well. Outside of the local music options above (The Hummingbird is a local favorite), one of the more unique options for some late night fun is the Reboot Retrocade & Bar. With over 50 arcade games and pinball machines, gamers can enjoy arcade classics along with a cold drink. If you’re more in the mood for beers and cocktails check out The Crazy Bull, The Rookery, Wagers, Growler USA or the Back Porch Too Lounge.
Where To Stay in Macon
At this point you should have plenty of information to create a daily itinerary, but where do you stay when you’re in Macon?
This house, that 1842 Inn is located in, was built in 1842 by John Gresham and is a gorgeous example of Greek revival architecture. This Select Registry Georgia inn features 19 gorgeous rooms that are elegantly decorated with fine English antiques, tapestries and paintings. Guests that stay at 1842 Inn experience the history of Macon, GA while touring and while staying at 1842 Inn.