From a distance, Columbus might seem like any of Georgia’s quaint little towns.
It’s filled with historic buildings, mom-and-pop shops, and historic battlefields dating back to the Civil War.
There are fireworks on the Fourth of July in the city square.
You can order grits and apple pie year-round.
Look a little closer, however, and you’ll realize that there’s more to Columbus than what meets the eye.
For starters, it’s located right alongside the Chattahoochee River, offering epic outdoor adventures that range from ziplining to whitewater rafting.
It’s also home to iconic destinations like Fort Benning, one of the largest military bases in the US.
There are world-class resorts with their own swimming pools and golf courses.
There are “drive-thru safaris” where wild animals will come right up to your car.
There are planetariums, shopping malls, and tours of famous shooting locations from The Walking Dead.
Many places to visit are literally one-of-a-kind.
If you’re looking for an amazing, unforgettable destination that’s still something of a hidden gem, here are just a few fun things to do in Columbus, Georgia.
Things To Do In Columbus, GA
1. Chattahoochee RiverWalk
Stretching for more than 15 miles, the Chattahoochee RiverWalk is a gorgeous and pedestrian-friendly trail that’ll take you around some of the city’s most famous tourist attractions.
You’ll pass museums, baseball stadiums, military forts, and more.
You’ll even cross famous historical sites like the grounds of the Battle of Columbus in 1865!
As you might expect from the name, the trail was built along the Chattahoochee River, so you’ll enjoy beautiful views every step of the way.
The path is entirely paved, so it’s accessible to walkers, joggers, and cyclists alike.
Dogwalkers mingle with triathlon trainers and moms with strollers.
Families are welcome, as are solo travelers.
All in all, the Chattahoochee RiverWalk is one of the major points of interest in Columbus.
It’s also a great way to go sightseeing at the beginning of your vacation.
Walk around the city for a bit, take stock of what looks interesting, and plan the rest of your trip accordingly!
Address: Bay Avenue and 11th Street, Columbus, GA 39701, United States
2. Whitewater Express
When you’re done with tranquil walks along the river, how about diving headfirst into its Class IV rapids?
The Chattahoochee offers urban whitewater rafting that you’d never expect from a sleepy Georgia town!
Whitewater Express isn’t the only rafting company in Columbus, but it has the most bang for your buck in terms of fun.
For example, it offers multiple adventure packages ranging from “The Classic Trip” to “The Carnage Trip” depending on your level of experience.
Rafting isn’t the only way to have fun along the river, either.
Whitewater Express is near the Blue Heron Adventure Park, and once there, you can enjoy ziplines, treetop canopy tours, and aerial obstacle courses.
One zipline even crosses the border between Georgia and Alabama, so you can say that you’ve hurdled through the air in two different states!
A day with Whitewater Express is one of the top things to do in Columbus for thrill seekers.
Whether you’re into rafting, ziplining, or other types of fun-filled danger, it’s an adventure company that can get your heart racing and your blood pumping.
Address: 1000 Bay Ave, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
3. The Columbus Museum
You can’t miss The Columbus Museum.
It has a gigantic dinosaur sculpture made out of driftwood on its front lawn, and that’s just the start of its fun, immersive take on history.
The museum houses more than 14,000 objects in total, and they range from watercolor paintings to priceless antiques in the form of furniture, weapons, clothes, and books.
Exhibitions run the gamut from quirky art collections to serious films about the indigenous peoples of the Chattahoochee River.
There’s even a hands-on “Transformations Discovery Gallery” gallery for kids!
The best thing about the museum, however, is that it doesn’t charge for admission or parking.
You can enjoy an educational afternoon with the whole family without paying a dime.
If you’re looking for free things to do while vacationing in Columbus, you won’t want to miss The Columbus Museum.
Address: 1251 Wynnton Rd, Columbus, GA 31906, United States
4. Coca-Cola Space Science Center
Despite the name, the Coca-Cola Space Science Center has nothing to do with the soda brand.
They’re just the sponsors of this amazing, multi-million dollar complex dedicated to the stars.
Buzz Lightyear has nothing on the attractions of the space center.
Activities range from film screenings to flight simulators, many of which are based on real-life astronaut activity, including a launch simulator for the Space Shuttle Odyssey.
Artifacts are on display from the Apollo missions and various NASA space shuttles.
“Sky tours” can be taken at the planetarium theater to take you right out of Georgia and into the cosmos.
It isn’t just a hands-off experience, however.
The space center offers many opportunities for interactive fun, especially for children.
Your little ones can play with flight controls, operate infrared equipment, and more.
If you’re wondering what to do in Columbus this weekend, how about a trip to space?
The whole family can go.
Visit the Coca-Cola Space Science Center to enjoy infinity and beyond!
Address: 701 Front Ave, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
5. RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
While it’s true that Columbus is most famous for its country, down-home charm, it’s no stranger to the finer things in life.
Just look at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
Able to seat more than 2,500 people, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is a grand and opulent building outfitted with everything from red velvet ropes to plush balcony seats surrounding its orchestral stage.
It’s one of the most expensive of all Columbus attractions, and you can see this value reflected in both its aesthetics and its acoustics.
As for its events, you’ll have your pick of Broadway plays to beauty pageants.
It’s played host to musicals, ballets, symphonies, choirs, comedy shows, theater performances, and more.
If you want to experience a little art and culture in Columbus, Georgia, check the schedule of the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
See what’ll be playing during your vacation!
Address: 900 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
Exploring other part of Georgia? Why not check out some of the things to do in Savannah, GA?
6. Market Days on Broadway
Do you smell the freshly-baked bread?
Do you hear the gentle clanking of wooden wind chimes in the breeze?
These are just a few of the sensations that you can experience during Market Days on Broadway.
Held every Saturday from April to November, Market Days take place at a large outdoor farmer’s market.
More than 100 vendors set up shop throughout three square blocks, and goods for sale include soap, candles, jewelry, art prints, and more.
The food options are even better: They range from your usual veggies and jams to exotic offerings such as tamales.
You can get your face painted; you can sign up for a chiropractic massage.
It’s a whirlwind of both activity and opportunity.
If you’re looking for the best places to go this weekend, consider a trip to Market Days on Broadway.
In addition to taking home unique souvenirs for your loved ones, you’ll also be supporting the small business owners of Georgia, so it’ll be a win-win all around!
Address: 1000 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
7. Brushes and Beverages
There are many ways to spend a date night in Columbus, Georgia, including a late-night walk by the river or a shared table at one of its many fine dining establishments.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, however, you might want to expand your horizons to Brushes and Beverages.
Ostensibly an art class, Brushes and Beverages is actually a social event with art as a backdrop.
You’ll learn how to paint a pretty canvas, but you’ll also be vibing to music, chatting with your fellow artists, and sipping on your choice of alcohol.
This atmosphere makes it ideal for a fun and memorable date experience with a special someone.
Are you headed to Columbus and looking for romantic things to do for couples?
Call Brushes and Beverages and see if they have any open spots during their next watercolor class!
Address: 1102 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
8. The Black Cow
Foodies, this one is for you.
The Black Cow is such a popular restaurant that it’s counted among Columbus attractions the same way as museums and military bases.
If you’ll be in the area, you simply have to stop by.
What makes the Black Cow so special?
For starters, its menu is packed with southern staples.
There’s chicken and grits; there’s chicken and waffles.
There’s meatloaf just like mama used to make, and you can order it with a side of fresh collard greens or creamy mashed potatoes.
If you like deep-fried food, you can choose from fried green tomatoes, fried okra, and fried green beans.
If you want to try something new, you can order a fun, unique dish like pineapple casserole.
Another noteworthy thing about the Black Cow is its ambiance.
Furnished with floor-to-ceiling wood, it looks a little like a saloon, so it’s a great place to kick back and enjoy a hearty meal with a cold beer!
Swing by the Black Cow if you’re looking for a top-shelf spot for southern cuisine while on vacation.
It’d be a shame to go all of the way to Georgia without indulging in its authentic cuisine!
Address: 115 12th St, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
9. Callaway Resort & Gardens
Prepare to be amazed at the Callaway Resort & Gardens!
They’re much more than a backyard garden.
They are, in fact, a sprawling complex of venues that offer a huge range of events and activities for visitors from all walks of life.
Kids will love the Butterfly Center and the MegaBugs display.
Teens will have fun at Robin Lake Beach and its many outdoor activities ranging from swimming to kayaking.
Adults will appreciate the beauty of the Azalea Bowl, the Hydrangea Garden, and the Pioneer Life Cabin.
Everyone will love a show at the Discovery Amphitheater!
As for the resort itself, you can rent lodging right at the heart of the action, and you can take advantage of its many guest amenities that include a spa and a golf course.
If you’re headed to Columbus this weekend and thinking about what to do, make time for the Callaway Resort and Gardens.
They’ll offer such an amazing vacation experience that you might be tempted to stay on-site for the entire duration of your visit!
Address: 17617 US-27, Pine Mountain, GA 31822, United States
10. The Touring Dead Walking Tour
Of the many things to see in Georgia, the most iconic are those related to The Walking Dead.
Seasons three and four of the hit TV show were filmed around Senoia, Georgia, which is about an hour away from Columbus.
The Touring Dead isn’t the only tour that’ll let you pretend to be a zombie killer for awhile, but it’s one of the best.
It’ll take you around some of the most famous shooting locations for the show, including Woodbury, the Alexandria Safe Zone, and the Governor’s mansion.
It’s also hosted by knowledgeable fans and pop culture enthusiasts, including several who worked as extras on The Walking Dead.
Rick Grimes isn’t the only one who can look good among Georgia’s ferns.
To experience your own little taste of the zombie apocalypse, sign up for Touring Dead Walking Tour.
Address: 53 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276, United States
Visiting other areas of Georgia? Why not check out some of the things to do in Atlanta?
11. Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center
Columbus doesn’t have a zoo, but the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center can offer a similarly fun experience for animal lovers.
It’s home to alligators, lizards, snakes, snapping turtles, and more.
Run by Columbus State University, the learning center is dedicated to the education and conservation of Georgia’s wildlife and wilderness.
While the animal exhibits are the main attraction, there are plenty of other things to see, including dinosaur fossils, beekeeping equipment, and children’s activity stations.
The critters are also very dynamic; you can view them in their natural habitats or watch them during special shows and demonstrations put on by handlers.
Did we mention that there’s no admission fee?
Donations are gladly accepted, but there’s no cover charge.
This makes the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center one of the best free things to do while exploring Columbus, especially if you have little ones!
Address: 3535 S Lumpkin Rd, Columbus, GA 31903, United States
12. National Civil War Naval Museum
Many things to do in Columbus have historical value, including the site of the Battle of Columbus in 1865.
However, the National Civil War Naval Museum isn’t just a landmark of another time.
It stands today as a testament to the lives and sacrifices of those who fought in one of America’s bloodiest conflicts.
Exhibits at the museum range from vintage flag collections to large-model replicas of naval battleships.
Activities include guided tours of the museum, including fully costumed tours by living history interpreters.
You can also pay to experience live cannon fire!
There’s light-hearted fun to be found at the museum as well.
You can sign up for mystery dinner theater events; you can take paranormal tours during the holidays.
It’s one of those tourist attractions that’s always coming up with new ways to engage its visitors.
Ultimately, however, the strength of the National Civil War Naval Museum is in its preservation of history.
If you’re at all interested in Georgia’s legacy, particularly in regards to the role that it played in the Civil War, you won’t want to miss this destination.
Address: 1002 Victory Dr, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
13. Columbus Dragonfly Trail
The Columbus Dragonfly Trail is one of the most scenic spots in the region.
Built on the remnants of an abandoned railroad track, it winds through the city for a full 33 miles, offering walkers, joggers, skaters, and cyclists a convenient way to enjoy the outdoors.
Rather than taking anyone into the backwoods of Georgia, however, it provides a clean and well-maintained asphalt trail that’s accessible for all.
Things to see on the trail range from the glittering waters of the Chattahoochee River to the wide, grassy fields of the Columbus State University campus.
Depending on where you pound the pavement, you might pass hills, rock quarries, pedestrian bridges, and more.
Several other trails have been incorporated into the main pathway, including the Chattahoochee RiverWalk and the Columbus Fall Line Trace, so you can pick and choose where to start.
Another nice thing about the trail is that it’s only halfway done!
The city’s Rails-to-Trails project wants to expand it to cover more than 60 miles in total, so its scope will only continue to expand.
If you’re looking for fun yet free things to do while exploring the “Tri-City” region of Georgia, consider the Columbus Dragonfly Trail.
It won’t cost you a cent, but its beautiful scenery can help you create priceless memories.
Address: 10th Ave, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
14. Columbus Civic Center
The Columbus Civic Center is the destination for large-scale events in the city.
Whether it’s a Kelly Clarkson concert or the annual Chattahoochee Valley Motorcycle Rally, if it’s meant to draw a crowd of 10,000 people, it’s happening here.
The civic center was originally meant for sporting events.
In fact, it still hosts all kinds of games, and it’s home to the Columbus Lions (football) and the Columbus River Dragons (ice hockey).
Today, however, you can find far more than scrimmages and championships hosted here.
Between concerts, expos, festivals, and WWE smackdowns, there’s always something exciting going on, and tickets are usually open to the public for anyone with enough curiosity and free time.
There are so many shows to enjoy at the Columbus Civic Center that you won’t even know what to do.
Just throw a dart at the event registry and see where it lands.
It’s sure to be something awesome!
Address: 400 4th St, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
15. MidTown Columbus
MidTown Columbus isn’t the grandest of Columbus’ attractions.
In fact, you could probably drive right through it without even noticing it.
If you pay attention, however, you’ll find it to be a quaint and delightful destination filled with old-school charm.
Many of the buildings have historic architecture that dates back centuries.
The tree-lined neighborhoods are charming in a distinctly southern way.
The people are friendly, and the diner owners will remember you if you visit more than once.
MidTown is also the gathering place for many local festivities, so if you go there on a weekend, you can join any number of special and community-organized events.
The MidTown Mingle, for example, is a chance to meet people.
The MidTown Bike Around is a leisurely four-mile bike ride for families.
You can’t visit Georgia without soaking in that uniquely small-town feeling from its quiet, picturesque neighborhoods.
In that respect, MidTown Columbus is one of the top places to go in the entire state!
Address: Midtown Dr, Columbus, GA 31906, United States
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16. Heritage Park
When you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, consider a relaxing afternoon at Heritage Park.
Not only can it soothe your soul with its peaceful atmosphere, but since it’s filled with commemorative elements dedicated to Columbus’ past, you can also learn about the history of your travel destination while you’re there.
The water features are meant to evoke the wonder and might of the Chattahoochee River.
The old-fashioned water mill represents humanity’s ability to harness its power, and as the educational signs will explain, this was a major feature of Columbus’s industrial revolution in the 18th century.
Even if you aren’t interested in history, however, Heritage Park is one of the nicest things to do in Columbus.
Its landscapes, sculptures, and water features will provide a beautiful background for a walk in the sunshine.
When you need to escape the daily grind for a bit, this is the place to do it.
Address: 700 Front Ave, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
17. National Infantry Museum
The National Infantry Museum is one of the coolest places to visit in Columbus.
Not only does it contain everything that you’ve ever wanted to know about infantry, but it’s also located on the outskirts of Fort Benning, one of the nation’s top military bases.
The collections of the museum are extensive, and they cover a time period from the American Revolution all of the way up to post-9/11.
In addition to informative displays and multimedia exhibits, there are combat simulators, memorial walks, a film theater, and a Ranger Hall of Fame.
The grounds include a large field strewn with dirt from Yorktown, Normandy, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
There are things to see at the National Infantry Museum that you can’t see anywhere else.
If you’re curious about Fort Benning, the history of the U.S. infantryman, or the general way that infantry can shape the tides of war, you’ll definitely want to check out the National Infantry Museum.
Address: 1775 Legacy Way, Columbus, GA 31903, United States
18. Columbus Botanical Garden
Are you looking for things to do in Georgia that will get you and the kids outside?
You might like the Columbus Botanical Garden.
It’s a neat, well-maintained place, so you don’t have to go stomping around marshlands to experience it, but it’s also filled with a wild kind of beauty that speaks to the wilderness beyond.
There are several different gardens that you can explore, including a rose garden, camellia garden, ginkgo shade garden, and perennial garden filled with native Georgia species.
Other places to go range from vegetable terraces to cottage herb collections.
There’s a one-mile walking trail if you want to get away from it all, or there’s an event center if you’d like to join special festivities hosted by the center.
Previous events have included “Pollinater Palooza” and “Summer Sounds in the Garden.”
You don’t have to be a horticulturist to appreciate the majesty of the Columbus Botanical Garden.
All folks are welcome to come and smell the roses!
Address: 3603 Weems Rd, Columbus, GA 31909, United States
19. Springer Opera House
Originally built in 1871, the Springer Opera House is a relic of a bygone era that still stands tall today.
Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it continues to host shows, plays, and other crowd-pleasing events.
It’s this combination of past-and-present that makes it one of the best of Columbus’ attractions.
History buffs can take a tour of the building and enjoy a truly backstage experience that includes insider knowledge of some of its most famous performers.
More modern audiences can book a ticket to everything from The Cat in the Hat to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Other stuff to do includes acting labs, improv classes, and workshops surrounding things like sketch writing and musical theater.
Just check their schedule to see what’ll be going on when you’re in Columbus.
If “the play’s the thing” for you, you’ll love the Springer Opera House!
Address: 103 E 10th St, Columbus, GA 31901, United States
20. Columbus Aquatics Center
Georgia can get pretty hot in the summer.
The good news is that places like the Columbus Aquatics Center can cool you right back down!
A clean, state-of-the-art facility, the Columbus Aquatics Center is centered around two pools: one is a small, freestyle “open swim” pool that’s meant for people just splashing around, and the other is a professional, Olympic-sized pool with clearly delineated lanes for lap swimming.
Three diving boards are available at varying heights.
Lessons and exercise classes take place at regularly scheduled times.
When you’re done in the water, amenities include restrooms, locker rooms, and a small snack bar.
There’s even stadium seating if you’re a parent just letting the kids burn off some energy while you browse your phone using the facility’s free Wi-Fi!
When the sun is blazing hot, the Columbus Aquatics Center becomes one of the top vacation spots in the city.
If you’re wondering what to do when the temperatures start rising, grab your swim goggles and make a splash in the pool.
Address: 1603 Midtown Dr, Columbus, GA 31906, United States
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21. Peachtree Mall
Are you ready to take a bite from a Georgia peach?
The Peachtree Mall is the largest of its kind in the entire Tri-Ciry area, and it can offer a good time even during things like inclement weather.
Stores include everything from high-end boutiques to quirky kiosks.
The movie theater offers all of the latest blockbusters.
The food court offers a global cuisine that would be the envy of the Food Network; you can enjoy Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Caribbean, and more.
You might also find yourself at the mall if you attend any special events in the area.
It hosts everything from pet adoption events to book signings by famous authors, so even if you aren’t the shopaholic type, it’s a gathering place that can draw you in.
Don’t let stormy weather ruin your vacation.
If you’re looking for things to do in Columbus whether rain or shine, consider a little retail therapy at the Peachtree Mall.
Address: 3131 Manchester Expy, Columbus, GA 31909, United States
22. Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari
Another great destination for animal lovers, the Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari is one of the best places to visit for wildlife sightseeing.
It’s located a little outside of Columbus in Pine Mountain, Georgia, but it’s less than an hour’s drive, and it’s definitely worth the extra gas.
Nicknamed “the drive-thru zoo,” the safari is a path of 3.5 miles that goes near and through wild animal terrain.
Observable species include deer, giraffe, zebra, and more.
Some of the friendlier critters will walk right up to your vehicle!
If you don’t want slobber on your own hood, you can rent a van from the company or take their guided tour on a safari bus.
Another point of interest from the safari is their Walkabout Adventure Zoo.
Home to more than 150 species, it’s a chance for you to get up close and personal with a variety of critters, including barn animals that you can feed out of your hand.
Whether you’re into towering giraffes or tiny baby goats, the Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari can provide a truly memorable experience when you’re in Columbus.
Fill up the tank and head out!
Address: 1300 Oak Grove Rd, Pine Mountain, GA 31822, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Columbus
These are just a few fun things to do in Columbus, Georgia.
It’s a lively tourist destination disguised as a charming little southern town, so if you’re looking for adventure, excitement, and opportunity, this is the place for your dream vacation.