Macon rocks mural in downtown Macon, Georgia

Downtown Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Brush Up on History in Macon

For an immersive journey through history, whether you’re interested in music, art, culture, architecture, stories of the Black and Indigenous experience in Georgia, or something inherently familiar yet completely unexpected, there’s no place like Macon. The charming Georgia town has an abundance of activities, landmarks and opportunities to see the paths that laid the foundations for life as we know it today, in Georgia and beyond.

Things to Do

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon, Georgia
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park

Begin your historic journey at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. Occupied for thousands of years by Native American tribes, it is central to the foundation and prehistoric origin of Macon. Before planning your visit to the magnificent mounds, be sure to check the calendar for recurring programming on the site, including annual cultural events like the Ocmulgee Indigenous Celebration held in September. Visit in spring for the Lantern Light Tour (offered during Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival), where you’ll walk from the Visitor Center to the Great Temple Mound with a lantern and hear interpretive talks at various points along the paths.

The site is free for visitors year-round and open daily. There are more than 2,000 artifacts dating from as far back as 10,000 B.C.E inside the museum, and outdoors you’ll find 12 trails measuring one mile or less, leading through 1,860 acres of forest and vibrant wetlands along Walnut Creek and Ocmulgee River to seven historical mounds. Fishing is permitted in certain areas with a required state license.

Mark Smith Planetarium at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia
Mark Smith Planetarium at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia

Museum of Arts and Sciences

The paths of history don’t end at the mounds. Continue your journey of discovery with visits to the Museum of Arts and Sciences. Dig up remains from the past in The Discovery House, which features three floors of interactive art, science, and humanities exhibits, including a 40-million-year-old whale fossil nicknamed “Ziggy,” where you can dig for fossils. You'll also find rotating exhibitions and collections of fine art, as well as a 44-foot planetarium where daily shows are screened using some of the most high-resolution technology available in the U.S. Dial up the educational experience by viewing Science on a Sphere, which displays planetary data using computers and video projectors to create a six-foot globe that creates animated visuals of scientific data such as atmospheric storms, ocean temperatures and more.

Exterior of Hay House in Macon, Georgia
Hay House in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Hay House

Fans of architectural history will love Hay House, an expansive and extravagant four-story Italian Renaissance Revival home whose construction was completed in 1859, features a two-story cupola and sparkling stained glass, wine cellar, and a secret room.

Untold Stories exhibit at the Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia
Untold Stories exhibit at the Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Tubman Museum

Explore Black history at the Tubman African American Museum, from a 55-foot mural chronicling achievements of Black people from Africa to the U.S. to an exhibit of inventions that originated from some of the world’s most brilliant Black minds, including a push lawnmower, the hand-powered pencil sharpener, and the ice cream scoop.

Painting and records display at The Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon, Georgia
The Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

The Allman Brothers Band Museum

Discover music history in Macon with a stop at The Allman Brothers Band Museum, a.k.a. “The Big House,” where the pioneering Southern rock band lived and created music together in the early 1970s. Fans of the band will love the meticulously kept building and its rotating exhibits of musical instruments and artifacts displayed throughout the year.

Capricorn Sound Studio in Macon, Georgia
Capricorn Sound Studio in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Capricorn Sound Studios and Museum

There’s also the gorgeous Capricorn Sound Studios and Museum, considered one of the birthplaces of Southern rock, where you can listen to songs from the Capricorn Records catalog (including tunes from Otis Redding, Percy Sledge and more) and where talented musicians still perform, rehearse and record today.

The Little Richard House

While you’re in the melodic mood, take a free 30-minute visit to The Little Richard House, one of the city’s historical landmarks in the Pleasant Hill community where the original rock and roll icon spent his childhood before conquering the world with some of the greatest songs of all time.

Stage inside Douglass Theatre in Macon, Georgia
Douglass Theatre in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Douglass Theatre

The legacy of Black entertainment continues at the Douglass Theatre, established in 1921 by Charles Douglass, the son of a former slave, who created a welcoming place for Black audiences to enjoy Vaudeville shows written and performed by Black talent, and musical performances from jazz and blues icons, from Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington to James Brown and even Little Richard’s early introduction to the stage. Completely renovated, the theatre still screens a variety of films and hosts stage performances.

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Where to Stay

1842 Inn in Macon, Georgia
1842 Inn in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

1842 Inn

For an overnight sleep surrounded by Southern charm, book one of 19 guest rooms at the 1842 Inn. The elegant boutique on historic College Street gives you the option of staying in a towering white mansion or nearby cottage, with amenities including a pristine courtyard, which they boast as being “Central Georgia’s best front porch,” and a parlor, which pours from a high-end selection of bourbon whiskeys.

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Where to Eat

Fried chicken with sides at H&H Restaurant in Macon, Georgia
Fried chicken with sides at H&H Restaurant in Macon, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Downtown Grill

Once you’re ready to dine, grab dinner at Downtown Grill, a fine-dining steakhouse that specializes in Prime Black Angus cuts of beef, fresh pasta and more.

H&H Restaurant

And for your next breakfast, lunch or brunch meal, if you’re in the mood for something a little more specifically Southern and indulgent, H&H Restaurant is a can’t-miss. The Macon institution is history itself, having been founded in 1959 and famous for classics like fried chicken, collard greens, and mac ‘n cheese, all of which wash down perfectly with a house-made Arnold Palmer. It’s a great way to get a literal taste of history in one of Georgia’s most celebrated cities.

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Published: October 2023
Written by: Mike Jordan
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