Best known for hosting the prestigious annual Golf Masters tournament, the Georgia city of Augusta has plenty to entice people beyond its famous fairways.
Situated just across the Savannah River from South Carolina, the city’s wide avenues and abundance of waterways go some way to compensating for its sizeable distance from the coast. As, indeed, does its impressive number of cultural venues that serve as testament to Augusta’s rich history of artistic output. In short, this is certainly a city in which to spend at least a few days, with more than enough to fill a long weekend itinerary. Speaking of which, here are 12 unique things to see and do here.
Explore the area that helped build the South
The arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the American South had a monumental impact on the region, and the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area serves as something akin to a living history museum for this fascinating story. Built in 1845, the Augusta Canal channelled the Savannah River to power cotton mills and other factories in the late 1840s, and more textile plants and industries later followed. No longer a major industrial area, today the waterway attracts visitors who can enjoy land and water trails for paddling, hiking, and cycling. The area also hosts guided history and nature tours on replica canal cargo boats, departing from the Augusta Canal Discovery Center.
Take in some arts culture
Located on the Riverwalk in downtown Augusta, the Morris Museum of Art is the nation’s oldest museum dedicated to the art and artists of the American South. Its collection includes more than 5,000 works – encompassing paintings, works on paper, photographs, and sculptures – dating from the late-18th century to the present day. In addition to the permanent collection galleries, the museum hosts regular temporary exhibitions, as well as special film screenings, symposiums, lectures, book signings, and public tours.
1 10th Street 2nd Floor / Mon-Sat 10am-5pm Sun 12pm-5pm Closed Mon
Stroll along a scenic riverfront
Stretching from 6th to 10th Streets along the banks of Savannah River, the Augusta Riverwalk has been described as the “front porch” of the city. Taking a scenic stroll along the Riverwalk affords scenic views, as well as easy access to popular attractions at each end including two renowned museums. The trail itself is also lent character by six eye-catching sculptures that form part of the wider Augusta Sculpture Trail, while a giant fountain within the brick-lined plaza at 8th Street is a big hit with kids.
Delve deep into Augusta’s history
For Augusta visitors keen to learn about the city’s long and illustrious history, the Augusta Museum of History is a veritable goldmine of fascinating information that paint a picture of the past. The museum’s huge assortment of exhibited collections, including artifacts, images, and dioramas, have been designed to educate people on the city’s evolution from its early foundations to the current day. Among the highlights is a quirky exhibit dedicated to Augusta’s rich golfing heritage.
560 Reynolds Street / Thurs-Sat 10am-5pm Sun 1pm-5pm Closed Mon-Weds
Catch a minor-league baseball game
There are few more quintessentially American pursuits than watching a baseball game, and in Augusta you can do just that by attending a fixture at the SRP Park stadium, located close to downtown Augusta and home to the Augusta GreenJackets Minor League Baseball team since 2019. As well as the on-field action, there are plenty of food and refreshments stalls to keep you well satiated and, unlike at most sporting events in Europe, spectators can even enjoy the game with a beer or two in their hand.
187 Railroad Avenue, North Augusta
Enter the childhood home of a former President
Located within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District is a residential home with an illustrious past. Now a museum and a National Historic Landmark, the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson was between 1858 and 1870 home to a young boy who would later become the leader of the free world. Today visitors can come and explore the museum, which is dotted with original furniture pieces and memorabilia relating to the life of the 28th President of the United States.
419 7th Street / Weds-Sat 10pm-5pm Closed Sun-Tues
Play a round of golf
For golfing fans, Augusta is something of a sporting mecca thanks to its hosting of the Masters Tournament each year. Alas, the ultra exclusive Augusta National Golf Club, where the tournament is played, is only accessible to club members and their guests, while tickets for the Masters itself are like gold dust. Nonetheless, for those keen to enjoy a round while in Augusta, there are a number of golf courses that are open to the paying public, including Forest Hills Golf Course and Augusta Municipal Golf Course, both of which offer challenging conditions for players of all abilities.
Watch some live theatre
Augusta has a vibrant performing arts scene, and at its heart is the intimate, ornately designed Imperial Theatre. First opened in 1918 in the Broad Street Historic District, the 853-seater Edwardian-style theatre house was originally used for vaudeville shows but today draws packed crowds with its busy programme of contemporary plays and concerts by up-and-coming local groups, as well as established regional touring acts. Free public tours of the venue are also available.
749 Broad Street / Tues-Fri 10am-4pm Closed Sat-Mon
Immerse yourself in natural beauty
Spanning some 1,100 acres, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise, offering a captivating vantage point from which to take in the majesty of Augusta’s surrounding natural landscapes. As well as its visual appeal, the site has a huge amount of action-packed things to do, including bike riding, hiking and bird watching. For those with an interest in ecology, there’s also a dedicated water research campus and an environmental education centre.
1858 Lock and Dam Road / Mon-Sun 7am-7pm
Attend an outdoor music concert
Situated amid the green expanse of Evans Town Center Park, about 11 miles west of downtown Augusta, Lady Antebellum Pavilion has grown to become one of the city’s most popular concert venues since its creation back in 2011. The 7,000 capacity amphitheatre, which was named after the acclaimed band whose members grew up in Augusta, hosts a diverse programme of outdoor musical events throughout the year, featuring both emerging and established performers.
7016 Evans Town Center Park
Discover a vibrant cultural centre
Built in the late 19th century, the Sacred Heart Cultural Center was originally a historic Roman Catholic parish church but today serves as a popular cultural and events venue. Boasting its original ornate cruciform Romanesque style, it also stands out as one of Augusta’s most architecturally-striking and recognisable landmarks. The centre attracts huge numbers of visitors every year with its regular hosting of activities and events, including choral concerts, art exhibitions and an annual Garden Festival.
1301 Greene Street / Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Closed Sat-Sun
Look around a charming neighbourhood
The large, affluent historic district of Sommerville, northwest of downtown Augusta, is one of the city’s most charming neighbourhoods to explore. As well as boasting picturesque houses and landscape features, the bustling area is also home to a large number of independently-owned boutiques and stores, most notably along Broad Street, where locals and tourists alike can be found window shopping, or ducking inside to search for varied treats, gifts and souvenirs.