The Creek Indians settled around the Ocmulgee Old Fields, a Mississippian set of ceremonial mounds over 13,000 years old. In 1809, Fort Benjamin Hawkins was established as a trading post between the Georgia colonists and the Native Americans. The area became the county seat in 1823, named Macon. The city was a Confederate arsenal during the Civil War and sustained damage, but some of the original pre-war buildings exist. It’s a part of Georgia’s Antebellum Trail, a route featuring antebellum homes and historic sites. Macon is home to Wesleyan College, one of the first colleges for women, and Mercer University, which has one of the state’s best law and medical schools. The area is also a music city where Capricorn Records worked with artists like Otis Redding and The Allman Brothers Band. And at less than two hours away, it’s also an easy day trip from Atlanta.
What to Do
Allman Brothers Band Museum– Fans of the Southern rock band that made their home in Macon can tour their home, which has been turned into a museum. It features items that belonged to members of the band and interactive exhibits on their music. 2321 Vineville Avenue
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park– These ceremonial mounds are one of the most important Native American landmarks in the state, if not the country. The site has been inhabited for over 17,000 years. The park has miles off trails and interpretive displays. It also hosts the annual Ocmulgee Indian Celebration. 1207 Emery Highway
Hay House– One of the finest Southern mansions, this Italian Renaissance Revival home was built in 1855. It has stunning features in its 18,000 square feet including a ballroom and cupola with views of Macon, pictured above. They offer multiple types of tours with varying levels of access. 934 Georgia Avenue
Museum of Arts and Sciences– This museum combines the visual arts with exhibits on history, culture, and science. It contains a planetarium, a recreated archaeological dig site, and sculptures by local and regional artists. 4182 Forsyth Road
Tubman Museum– This incredible museum focuses on the art, culture, and history of the African-American diaspora. Exhibits feature the work of self-taught artists like Mister Imagination, artifacts from African tribes, and even the piano that belonged to Little Richard. 310 Cherry Street
Georgia Sports Hall of Fame– The state of Georgia has a long sports history at all levels, including the 1996 Olympics, the little league world series, and football rivalries. The museum starts with a film and features areas on high school sports, college sports, the Olympics and Paralympics, and the hall of fame itself. There are also play areas and simulators. 301 Cherry Street
The Cannonball House– As the name implies, this Antebellum home was struck in the Civil War, but by a Hotchkiss shell, not a cannonball. The family that lived here has ties to nearby Wesleyan College and has the parlors for the Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu sororities that were founded there. 856 Mulberry Street
Sidney Lanier Cottage– Georgia poet Sidney Lanier was born in this home in 1842. Today, the museum has artifacts related to his life, including one of his flutes, portraits of Lanier, first editions of his work, and his wife’s wedding dress. 935 High Street
Rock Candy Tours– Held on Fridays and Saturdays, these tours focus on Macon’s music history with stops at landmarks related to Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers Band, R.E.M, and more. The company is owned by Jessica Walden, of the Walden brothers who owned Capricorn Records, and her husband, whose family owns a candy company.
Live music- There’s always something going on in Macon, whether it’s a headlining act at the Capitol Theatre or Macon Auditorium or smaller name acts at bars. Grant’s Lounge, Society Garden, and The Hummingbird are three of the best places to see local live music.
Where to Eat
The Rookery– A Macon classic since 1976, this restaurant is known for its burgers, which are named for the Allman Brothers and Jimmy Carter and named best in the South by Garden and Gun. Their offbeat milkshakes are also a must-try, including boozy versions. 543 Cherry Street, (478) 746-8658
Dovetail– Located upstairs in the same building, this upscale Southern eatery has incredible dishes and cocktails. Menu highlights, which use fresh local ingredients from nearby farmers, include deviled eggs and shrimp and grits. Don’t miss brunch but be sure to make a reservation. 543 Cherry Street Suite B, (478) 238-4693
Downtown Grill– Opened in 1997, this English-style steakhouse resembles a Prohibition-era speakeasy with cozy booths. They carry Black Angus steaks, pasta, fish, and dessert along with an extensive bar menu with scotch and bourbon. They also have a cigar bar. 562 Mulberry Street Lane, (478) 742-5999
H&H Restaurant– The young Allman Brothers were fed by the ladies of H&H before they were famous and this soul food eatery has been a Macon institution ever since. Go for the fried chicken, among the best in Georgia. 807 Forsyth Street, (478) 621-7044
Ocmulgee Brewpub– For burgers and beer, there’s nowhere better than Ocmulgee. They make their own brews, including IPAs. You can build your own burgers or choose one of their selections. Pair with fries and dine on the patio. 484 2nd Street, (478) 254-2848
Fish n Pig– Located outside of town on Lake Tobesofkee, the patio is the perfect place for barbecue and seafood. They also have a full bar. You can even arrive by boat. 6420 Moseley Dixon Road, (478) 476-8837
Francar’s Buffalo Wings– College students and “townies” alike love the wings at Mercer area restaurant. In addition to the Southern-fried wings, they have burgers, seafood, and sandwiches. 1365 Linden Avenue, (478) 741-3338
Tic Toc Room– Located on the site of a club where Little Richard played, this restaurant is known for its beef and seafood, along with martinis and boutique label wines. 408 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, (478) 744-0123
Where to Stay
1842 Inn– Located within walking distance of downtown Macon, Georgia, the 1842 Inn Bed and Breakfast is one of the oldest properties in town. Each of the 19 rooms is unique and includes daily gourmet breakfast. 353 College Street
Burke Mansion– Another stunning bed and breakfast is this Victorian mansion in the historic district. Suites have large windows, four-poster beds, and clawfoot tubs along with daily breakfasts and wine and hors d’oeuvres. 1085 Georgia Avenue
Macon Marriott City Center– For a full-service hotel close to downtown, this Marriott is connected to the convention center. The four-diamond facility has guest rooms with pillowtop mattresses, a full-service fitness center, and indoor heated pool. 240 Coliseum Drive
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Macon Mercer University– If you’re visiting Mercer, there’s nowhere better than this all-suites hotel. Rooms have full kitchens and free WiFi and guests have access to free breakfast. 1550 Mercer University Drive
Airbnb– Stay in one of Macon’s historic homes if you’re looking for a local experience. Options include a guest room at the house formerly owned by the Allman Brothers and a log cabin.
Camping- If you’re traveling south with an RV or tent, Safe Haven RV Park is one of the closest campgrounds to downtown Macon.
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This post was created in partnership with Visit Macon.