Located on the western edge of Georgia on the banks of the Chattahoochee River close to the border of Alabama, Columbus is rich in culture, history and heritage. It is also a city with a spirit of youthful vitality. Pictures taken on a vacation in Columbus will easily fill several albums, and each will be a souvenir to treasure.
Columbus is a port at the head of navigation on the Chattahoochee River, directly across the river from Phenix City, Alabama, to which it is connected by bridges. The city is a regional transportation, trade, cultural, and manufacturing hub. It has many textile, food-processing, and metalworking industries and a sizable credit card processing operation. Also important to the city's economy is adjacent Fort Benning, a large United States Army Infantry post.
Local points of interest include the Confederate Naval Museum, which features remains of two vessels from the American Civil War (1861-1865) recovered during the 1960s; the Columbus Museum; and the restored 1871 Springer Opera House. Heritage Corner, the city's26 block historic district, includes several historically significant antebellum houses, including the home once occupied by Dr. John S. Pemberton, who produced the (still secret) formula for Coca-Cola syrup.
Columbus is a great place to get out and walk. One of the most popular areas is the Chattahoochee Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is a 15-mile linear park that hugs the banks of the Chattahoochee River and stretches from Columbus to the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning. The trail is perfect for an afternoon of carefree journeying.
Through a tour of Heritage Park, visitors can travel from the past to the future going from Historic Columbus Foundation’s Heritage Corner to the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. From 1850 until 1910, Columbus, Georgia, changed from a trading town to a booming manufacturing city. Heritage Park is designed to recognize the entrepreneurs and workers who harnessed the river and created industries that laid the foundations for this modern city.
The outdoor sculptures and historic elements of the park are representative of the textile, gristmill, brick and foundry industries that shaped the area, as well as agriculture and forest products, dams and bridges, river trade and travel, and Coca-Cola.
Spectacular Springer Opera House is the State Theatre of Georgia and has been a leading Southern cultural institution for 131 years. As you move from the gas lit street into the splendid Edwardian Grand Lobby, you can easily imagine the 19th Century merchants, tradesmen, farmers, steamboat passengers and patrons of the arts streaming into the theatre through the same doors.
The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1855, was the third orchestra formed in the nation. The CSO has long been considered one of the southeast's premier musical ensembles. In 2002, the CSO became a tenant of the new River Center for the Performing Arts. The Bill Heard Theatre seats 2,000 and provides a state-of-the-art visual and acoustical experience.
Situated just a little over 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, the city is easily accessible via Interstate 185 from the north. Once there, most sites and attractions are easy to find. If you happen to be fortunate enough to be visiting the first week in November, be sure to take in Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens. Known as the "event of the season", it brings family and friends together to watch thoroughbred horses race over timber and brush hurdles. It’s a must see for any visitor.
The Greater Columbus Pig Jig Cook off is an annual spring event of Riverfest Weekend (the principal fundraiser for the preservation of local historic buildings). The Pig Jig hosts eight barbecue contests throughout the weekend and also offers an opportunity for the public to sample what is advertised as “ the best barbecue in the Mid-Southern and Southeastern United States”.
The pig jig winner ( Grand Champion) goes on to represent Columbus in the World Championship Barbecue Contest held each May in Memphis, Tennessee which attracts over 90,000 spectators from around the world.
Whether you are visiting this western Georgia city as part of the military, visiting friends and relatives, or just passing through, there is something to occupy every minute of the day.
“So much to do; so little time”, the saying goes. This definitely applies to a visit to Columbus, Georgia.