Why now is a great time to go to Macon, Ga.
Choosing a summer getaway that won't break the bank is often a challenge.
But Macon, just a little over an hour south of Atlanta in the heart of Georgia, offers a cultural landscape with architecture, rich music history, nightlife and soul, all on a budget.
A getaway to Macon boasts big value, without big spending. In fact, Trivago recently ranked Macon No. 4 on its "best value destinations" for travel in 2017.
"People have a chance to come and enjoy all that we have to offer and don't have to spend a lot of money," said Valerie Bradley, Vice President of Marketing for the Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
To help you plan an overnight getaway, here are some of the best places to see, eat and stay in Macon.
What to do
Ocmulgee National Monument
1207 Emery Highway, Macon. 478 752-8257 ext. 222
Explore 17,000 years of Native American history, discover more than 2,000 artifacts on display at the monument’s museum, and traverse the trails leading you past Native American burial mounds. The U.S. National Park Service monument also offers 6 miles of various nature and river trails, including the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, as well as connections to parks and trails outside of the historical site. Free; special events and activities for all ages, like the annual Ocmulgee Indian Celebration in September.
The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House
2321 Vineville Ave., Macon. 478-741-5551
Discover Macon's rich music history through the life of the Allman Brothers Band. The Big House Museum in Downtown Macon offers a guided tour of the rooms where the legends wrote, recorded and slept, as well as memorabilia that lets you revisit the band's history and successful albums. Macon is also the origin of many musical meccas, like Capricorn Records and the Otis Redding Foundation. Macon is the birthplace of Little Richard and home to Otis Redding. They also recorded here, as well as James Brown.
The Hay House
934 Georgia Ave., Macon. 478-742-8155
Constructed from 1855-1859 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the Hay House is a beloved example of Macon's amazing architecture. Daily tours are available of the 18,000-square-foot, seven story Italian Renaissance Revival mansion and its art and furnishings.
The Cannonball House
856 Mulberry St., Macon. 478-745-5982
Named for the damage it sustained during the Civil War and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this beautiful Greek Revival structure in Downtown Macon displays fine decorations and furnishings, as well as boasts an extensive collection of Civil War artifacts. Also in the museum's collection are original Adelphean Society and Philomathean Society artifacts from Macon's historic Wesleyan College. Tours are offered every half-hour, Monday through Saturday.
Cherry Street, in the heart of Downtown Macon, plays host to events and activities, such as First Friday, and the city's steadily growing nightlife. A weekend walk down Cherry Street in the evening offers a multitude of bars, clubs, pubs and live music, perfect for the night owl or the traveler looking to feel like a local. The city's revitalization projects, such as the restoration of the Capricorn Records studio, provide a unique opportunity to see Downtown Macon reclaim its former glory and natural beauty.
Join locals and visitors at upcoming downtown Macon events, including the Macon Film Festival on July 20-23 and the Bragg Jam Concert Crawl at venues including the Cox Capitol Theatre on July 28-29.
The Tubman Museum
For a special way to see the city, take a guided van tour that includes stops at The Tubman Museum and the Museum of Arts and Sciences, along with historic homes.
Where to eat
442 Cherry St., Macon. 478-812-8138
Macon doesn't just offer delicious choices for food, but it offers international variety. Located downtown, LaDDa Bistro serves authentic Thai cuisine for brunch, lunch and dinner. Its many menu choices range from crab-cake eggs benedict to crispy duck.
543 Cherry St., Macon. 478-746-8658
Allman burgers and Jimmy Carter shakes are on the expansive menu at The Rookery, a local landmark and gathering place. The restaurant was featured in Garden and Gun's "Guide to the South's Best Burgers" in 2014, and you also can enjoy a libation at the renowned bar. Sister restaurants Dovetail (for fine Southern cuisine), H&H Soul Food (for breakfast, brunch and lunch) and El Camino (for south-of-the-border flavor) also provide a classic Macon dining experience.
The Tic Toc Room
408 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Macon. 478-744-0123
The Tic Toc Room, formerly known as Miss Anne's Tic Toc, is a must-visit for foodies and music junkies alike. The legendary fine dining establishment offers a glimpse into the lives of early soul artists, including Little Richard, who began his performances in the building housing the restaurant.
Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen
450 3rd St., Macon. 478-254-2337
Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen reflects the growth and excitement in the city's craft beer scene. You'll find unique twists to southern classics, BBQ pulled pork, and craft beer brewed on site — a beer and bar-food enthusiast's dream.
Where to stay
1085 Georgia Ave., Macon. 478-238-1731
Built in 1877 and located within walking distance to downtown Macon, the Burke Mansion is set in a Queen Anne Victorian style with modern updates, such as marble walk-in showers. During your stay, sample hors d'oeuvres in the wine cellar and "sweet nibbles" from an in-house bakery. The luxury retreat, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, prides itself on customer service and spectacular stays.
353 College St., Macon. 478-741-1842
The 1842 Inn provides one of the finest and most unique stays in Macon. The inn and its neighboring Victorian house are furnished and decorated with fine antiques, art and tapestries. The Greek Revival-style inn provides countless luxury amenities, including complimentary breakfast, gorgeous gardens and courtyards, open porches and public parlors, one with a grand piano.
Other accommodations include well-reviewed hotels like Hilton Garden Inn Macon, Springhill Suites Macon, Macon Marriott City Center, and Hampton Inn & Suites Macon I-475.
Macon definitely gives you the "biggest bang for your buck," for an overnight getaway, Bradley said.
The city's cultural landscape is filled with amazing architecture, a rich music history, great places to eat and stay, and plenty of things to do. Macon stays true to its slogan, "Where Soul Lives," making it an exciting and charming destination for any traveler.
Publication: Atlanta Journal Constitution
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