Founded in 1823 on the banks of the Ocmulgee River, Macon, Georgia is known as the city "where soul lives." Macon offers a combination of flat plains and rolling hills, with the river flowing through its center. As Visit Macon describes, it is "a city of diverse cultures, beautiful architecture, an exciting music heritage and thriving arts and educational opportunities."
Macon is located 84 miles south of the capital city of Atlanta, near the center of the state in Georgia's Bibb County. Macon is easily accessible by two major interstate highways, I-75 (N-S connecting the city to Atlanta and Valdosta) and I-16 (E-W connecting the city to Savannah and coastal Georgia).
The extensive and impressive lineage of Macon is undeniable, with 6,000 individual structures in 14 historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Macon one of America's "Dozen Distinctive Destinations."
Macon also holds claim to remarkable ties in the entertainment industry. Among those who saw career starts or milestones in the town are Little Richard, Otis Redding, James Brown, the Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker Band, and Wet Willie. Today, area landmarks pay tribute to Macon legends, while local venues and events give rise to new and modern talent.
While history and music helped Macon take shape, its culinary scene is nothing to scoff at, either! Some of the more notable eateries recommended by our friends at Visit Macon include:
Nu-Way Weiners, the 80-year-old hot dog stand with the trademarked misspelled sign.
Fincher's, whose Blue Ribbon bar-b-que traveled to space on a NASA mission in 1989.
Mama Louise Hudson of H & H Restaurant regularly gave free plates of food to a scraggly group of starving musicians who, when they hit it big as The Allman Brothers Band, took her out on the road with them.
"Macon enjoys a variety of locally owned and acclaimed restaurants, from charming bistros to down-home soul food kitchens."
Often referred to as the "festival capital of Georgia", there is an event or festival for every type of taste or interest any time of year in Macon. Popular annual events include the International Cherry Blossom Festival, Fired Works, Pan African Festival, Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, Macon Film Festival, Bragg Jam, Mulberry Street Arts & Crafts Festival, the Juneteenth Freedom Festival, Skydog, the Just Tap'd Craft Beer Festival, and much more.
And don't forget... Monthly First Friday events celebrate Macon's unique culture with art, music, food, and entertainment for the whole family!
Take a look at some of the notable stops and things to do that we've uncovered in Macon:
Georgia Sports Hall of Fame - The largest state sports hall of fame in the U.S. at 43,000 square feet. Offers 3,000 artifacts, a 205-seat ballpark theater, a research library, and a gift shop. Learn about world-renowned Georgia athletes and enjoy interactive exhibits.
Tubman Museum - The largest museum in the nation (49,000 square feet) dedicated to educating people about the Art, History, and Culture of African Americans. 14 galleries feature rotating exhibits, frequent events, and educational programs.
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park - Part of the National Park Service, this 702-acre prehistoric American Indian site preserves evidence of 17,000 years of continuous human habitation, including the Great Temple and other ceremonial mounds, a burial mound, and defensive trenches, as well as 5+ miles of walking trails.
Macon's State Farmers Market - Bustling retail market open seven days a week, and home to two nurseries and more than 12 vendors selling fresh produce in addition to two restaurants, a bakery, and a butcher shop.
Community Parks - Local parks offer free/low-cost amusement and outdoor recreation among scenic locales and urban cityscapes. Standout Macon parks include Central City Park (Macon’s first public park, and its largest), Tattnall Square Park (dog park, playgrounds, community events), and Amerson River Park - a 180-acre site with miles of walking trails, a canoe launch, a 2-mile tubing float, and more. Amerson Park is the beginning of the Ocmulgee River Water Trail and part of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail.
Ocmulgee Heritage Trail - System of trails more than 11 miles long perfect for walking, running, jogging, biking, canoeing, kayaking, or roller blading. The full trail encompasses ten points of interest, a wide variety of tree species, and original art installations.
Lake Tobesofkee - Man-made recreational area spanning nearly 1800 acres with a 35-mile shoreline. Features three public parks - Claystone, Sandy Beach, and Arrowhead - with facilities for fishing, camping, boating, and tennis as well as white sand beaches for water skiing, sailing, picnicking, and swimming. Also home to playgrounds, the seasonal Sandy Beach Water Park, and several miles of mountain biking trails.
Georgia's Antebellum Trail - 100-mile self-guided tour through seven historic Georgia communities featuring prominent Antebellum architecture. Featured locations include historic homes, shops, cafes, museums, gardens, and more. Notable Macon destinations along the trail include the Cannonball House, Hay House, and Rose Hill Cemetery - one of the oldest surviving public cemetery parks in the nation.
Museum of Arts and Sciences - State-of-the-art 50,000-square foot facility on a 14-acre campus including four galleries with changing exhibits, the Discovery House with hands-on activities, live animal habitats, the Mark Smith Planetarium, nature trail, garden, store, auditorium, and classrooms.
Find culture, arts, and events at locations like Douglass Theatre, The Grand Opera House, and City Auditorium - all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens - Home to 167 acres of lush gardens with shaded walking trails intertwined throughout. Located on the campus of Middle Georgia State University, the 16 gardens are thoughtfully designed to promote individual themes, including: Asian, European, Fall Colors, Fragrant, Fruit Trees, Industry, Medicinal, Natives, Showy Flowers, Showy Fruit, Shrubs and Vines, Southern Traditional, Touch & Feel, Urban Environment, Wet Environment, and Xeriscape.
Care to explore Macon's rich music history? Rock Candy Tours offers weekly public walking tours that showcase the city's musical legacy.
Make sure to check out these unique self-guided tours created by Visit Macon: