A Weekend in Augusta: Beyond golf, Georgia’s second oldest city has its charms

The Augusta Riverwalk. (Courtesy Visit Augusta)

Whether you’re going for the day or a weekend, Augusta makes for an easy drive from Downtown Atlanta, clocking in at just 2.5 hours. 

With the Masters Golf Tournament out of the way, Augusta is a charming Southern city with a vibrant downtown and the promenade along the Savannah River is always busy with art and events. 

Speaking of the Riverwalk, a great place to start your weekend is the Augusta Market on the River (theaugustamarket.com) – or the Saturday Market as the locals call it. You’ll find fresh food from local farmers and chefs, baked goods, artisans, and other goods. The market stretches from 8th Street down to the river.

One you’re done at the market, it’s the perfect time to take a stroll along the river enjoying the flowers and views of the city. There are gardens, fountains and playgrounds for children, and restaurants to try as you explore.

Depending on what time of year you go, you might find other events happening on the river or a concert at Jessye Norman Amphitheater, which is named in honor of the opera diva and Augusta native.

If you want to learn more about the city’s history, visit the Augusta History Museum (augustamuseum.org) in downtown. Along with a timeline of the city and region’s history, you’ll also find exhibits about another music icon, James Brown, who called Augusta home. There are also exhibits about the city’s history with golf and the railroad industry.

Take a tour of the Augusta Canal. (Courtesy Visit Augusta)

Another famous resident of Augusta was U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (wilsonboyhoodhome.org), who lived in the city from 1860 to 1870 while his father was pastor at the First Presbyterian Church. Tours of the childhood home are offered on the hour.

If you’re looking for fine art, The Morris Museum (themorris.org) holds a permanent collection of pieces dating from the early nineteenth century to the present. It also offers special exhibitions and special events throughout the year.

No trip is complete without checking out some of the local food. The southern-stye home cooking at Café 209 (cafe209aug.com) will fill you up for the day, while New Moon Cafe (newmoondowntown.com) roasts its own coffee and has good pastries to start your morning. The Pizza Joint (thepizzajoint.net) has been a staple of downtown for nearly 30 years offering pies, strombolis and calzones.

For something different, grab a cold beer at Stillwater Taproom (facebook.com/StillwaterTaproomAugusta), which also offers regular live music events.

Close out your weekend with a boat tour of the Augusta Canal in a Petersburg Boat (augustacanal.com). Well-informed guides narrate the open-air trips, highlighting the 19th-century textile mills, the Confederate Powder Works and two of Georgia’s only remaining 18th Century houses as you float by.

Find out more at visitaugusta.com.

Downtown Augusta. (Courtesy Visit Augusta)