Our six favorite things to do in this historic town.
Living in Augusta, Ga., puts you halfway up the east side of the Peach State on the South Carolina border. Augusta anchors the second-largest metropolitan area in Georgia after Atlanta, but it’s a world away from the state capital two hours to its west. Augusta is green and historic, with entertainment options as diverse as its population, a city where you’re as likely to see a Civil War reenactment as a world-famous golf tournament. Whether you’re a local looking to break out of the same old routine or you’re a visitor looking for a place to appreciate the area’s pristine, well-preserved beauty, here are a few of our favorite things to do in Augusta.
Take in the Masters
There might not be a better match for Augusta’s finely coiffed agricultural landscape than The Masters, one of professional golf’s four major titles, and the first held each year. Tickets aren’t easy to come by (and they don’t come cheap), but those who do get their hands on them find one of the best golfing experiences in the world. If you can’t score tickets to one of the “live,” or official tournament rounds, the practice rounds are considerably easier to get into, and almost as fun.
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Take a Trip into the Civil War Past
Augusta’s link to the past runs deep, and you don’t have to drive far to find ways to celebrate it. History lovers should take in the downtown historic district, which was listed in 2004 on the National Register of Historic Places. Then there’s the Augusta Museum of History, a great collection of artifacts and tidbits focusing on the city’s place in cultural history. But for a true, immersive experience, there’s nothing like a Civil War re-enactment like the Battle of Aiken, which is re-fought each year in nearby Aiken, S. C., giving visitors an educational step back into history.
Take in a Show at the Imperial Theatre
Part of the beauty of Augusta is its unusual combination of the old and the new, and the gorgeous Imperial Theatre embodies both. It’s been entertaining Augustans since it first opened its doors almost a century ago in 1918. At its opening, it showcased vaudeville acts—even famous ones like Charlie Chaplin. Today it’s a gathering place for the arts, with a wide range of shows from Ted Talks to touring Broadway shows.
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Go See the Morris Museum of Art
Augusta doesn’t celebrate just the old. It also has a vibrant arts scene, anchored by the Morris Museum of Art. The museum’s distinctive collection of exhibits cements Augusta’s place as one of the premiere artistic cities of the south, with one of the best collections of southern artists and worldwide talent as well.
Eat at Cadwalladers Café
If you leave Augusta with the impression that it has only a quiet, small town vibe, you haven’t given its food scene a fair shake. Cadwalladers might not have the swanky ZIP code of a big city fine dining establishment, but its food would stack up just fine against any pretentious Atlanta foodie haven. And it’s just off the beaten path enough to be the kind of gem that usually only locals get to enjoy.
Walk the River
One of the best free things to do in downtown Augusta is strolling the Riverwalk, with its flowering landscape and vistas over the Savannah River. Depending on the time of your visit, you might even catch a public showing of a movie, or if you’re really lucky, the annual St. Patrick’s Day or Fourth of July celebrations. Whenever you visit, you’re sure to find it a welcome, peaceful respite from the city bustle.