Macon is a city in central Georgia that’s home to prehistoric American Indian sites and world-class African American museums. If you’re looking for free things to do in Macon, GA, spend time in one of the city’s many pretty parks, like Tattnall Square Park or Amerson River Park. A picnic in one of these parks is also one of the most romantic things to do in Macon, GA.
As for fun things to do in Macon, GA, at night, why not see a show at the Grand Opera House? This just so happens to be conveniently located downtown, which is where you’ll find the best nightlife in Macon, GA. Read on for more things to do in Macon, Georgia, over the weekend.
1. Johnston–Felton–Hay House
The Johnston-Felton-Hay House (often abbreviated to the Hay House) is one of Georgia’s most historic and distinguished structures. It was built between 1855 and 1859 in the Italian Renaissance Revival architectural style. The 18,000 square-foot mansion has 24 rooms over four levels, which are crowned by a two-story cupola. Guided tours of the Hay House are available, so visitors can get a closer look at its nationally-significant architecture, decorative art collection, and stained-glass windows.
2. Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is a prehistoric American Indian site. Visit to see North America’s only reconstructed Earth Lodge, complete with its original 1000-year-old floor. There are also seven mounds, eight miles of hiking trails, and a Colonial British trading post site. Don’t miss a stop at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park visitor center either, which houses over 2000 artifacts from 10,000 BC to the 1800s, and plays a 17-minute orientation film.
3. The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House
The Big House is home to the official Allman Brothers Band Museum. The band, along with roadies, friends, and family, congregated at The Big House in the early 1970s. Now the museum’s multiple rooms house the world’s largest collection of Allman memorabilia, including personal items, musical instruments, and promotional paraphernalia. Only open from Thursday to Sunday, The Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House is a must-see attraction for music lovers visiting the city.
4. Amerson River Park
Bordering the Ocmulgee River, Amerson River Park is surrounded by forest, wetlands, and meadows. The urban park is home to a state-of-the-art playground, seven miles of hiking and biking trails, three pavilions, open grassed areas, and scenic outlooks. If you’re searching for things to do in Macon, GA, in summer, enjoy Amerson River Park’s two-mile tubing adventure down the Ocmulgee River – from the Jay Hall Memorial Canoe Launch to the Bragg Jam Canoe and Tube Takeout.
5. Tubman Museum
Tubman Museum is the southeastern United States’ largest museum dedicated to African American art, history, and culture. The museum’s collection includes its signature mural, which explores the feats of African Americans from past to present. Then there’s the Inventors Gallery, a local history exhibit with artifacts from Macon and across Georgia, a folk art exhibit, and a gallery filled with artwork from Georgia’s best African American artists. Tubman Museum also hosts special events throughout the year.
6. Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
The country’s largest state sports museum, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame has over 400 inductees from several professional sports, including basketball, football, baseball, golf, motorsports, track and field, swimming, and tennis. The state-of-the-art museum houses more than 3000 artifacts showcasing the history of sports in Georgia across categories like the Olympics and college sports. Visitors also get the chance to watch a film featuring many hall of fame inductees and try the interactive NASCAR simulator.
7. Cannonball House
The Cannonball House gets its name from the fact it was the only house in the city that sustained cannonball damage during the American Civil War. Built in 1853, the Greek Revival mansion is now a historic house museum filled with restored furnishings and a Civil War collection. Visitors are able to do 45-minute guided tours multiple times a day, which take you through the main house, the original two-story brick kitchen, and the servants’ quarters.
8. Rose Hill Cemetery
The city’s oldest cemetery, Rose Hill Cemetery first opened in 1840. Scenically located on the banks of the Ocmulgee River, it was randomly a regular hangout for the Allman Brothers Band and now several members of the band are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, including Duane and Gregg Allman, and Berry Oakley. Across its 50 acres, Rose Hill Cemetery has designated sections for Catholics, Jewish people, slaves, and Confederate troops from the Civil War.
9. The Shoppes at River Crossing
The Shoppes at River Crossing is a large open-air shopping complex that is home to plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Its major stores include Belk, Dillard’s, Barnes and Noble, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Crafts, which sit alongside many other specialty stores. Dining options include fast food and sit-down restaurants like the Bonefish Grill, Zoes Kitchen, and Texas Roadhouse. The Shoppes at River Crossing is definitely the city’s top shopping destination.
10. Grand Opera House
Built in 1884, the historic Grand Opera House is the performing arts center of Mercer University. Over the years, renowned artists like Houdini, Ray Charles, Charlie Chaplin, and the Allman Brothers Band have all performed on the Grand Opera House’s stage. Today, it hosts events such as touring Broadway productions, concerts, comedy performances, film screenings, and children’s programs. Seeing a show here is one of the best things to do in Macon, GA, at night.
11. Macon Centreplex
Comprised of the Macon Coliseum and the Macon City Auditorium, the Centreplex is a multi-purpose arena. It’s been home to several sporting teams since its establishment in 1968, but it’s currently only the home venue for Macon Mayhem, a minor-league hockey team. The Coliseum’s 9000-seat capacity means it can hosts a variety of events, including concerts (for the city’s own country music star, Jason Aldean), trade shows and family-friendly performances. Visit the website for upcoming events.
12. Fort Hawkins
President Thomas Jefferson and Indian Agent Col. Benjamin Hawkins established Fort Hawkins in 1806. Located in what was then the Western frontier, Fort Hawkins was an official US Army Fort and Indian Factory, used for trades and meetings with Native Americans until 1824. Today, people can visit the preserved Fort Hawkins’ blockhouse on weekends and for special events. Excavations are also ongoing at Fort Hawkins, as nearly 40,000 artifacts have already been found.
13. Sidney Lanier Cottage
Sidney Lanier Cottage is a historic Victorian home and the birthplace of renowned poet, musician, and soldier, Sidney Lanier. Two of his well-known poems are The Marshes of Glynn and The Song of the Chattahoochee. Today, the historic house museum is filled with various Sidney Lanier artifacts, such as musical instruments, book first editions, and photographs. People are welcome to visit the museum Monday through Saturday, while guided tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays.
14. Tattnall Square Park
One of the best things to do in Macon, GA, on a sunny day is to spend time in Tattnall Square Park’s large open grassed spaces. Located opposite Mercer University, the leafy park is one of the country’s oldest urban parks. It’s home to a children’s playground, a dog park, and the large Tattnall Square Tennis Center. Tattnall Square Park is also known to host local events throughout the year, include outdoor film screenings and festivals.
15. Macon Beer Company
Macon Beer Company is the city’s first brewery since Prohibition. The locally-owned company specializes in producing the finest craft beer. Their beer range is extensive and inventive, as it includes cherry rye, alcoholic seltzer, brown ale, sour beer, nitro stout, and even a milkshake double IPA. Macon Beer Company also distills a selection of spirits – vodka, rum, gin, and bourbon. Visit their taproom to enjoy a flight of beer with a delicious artisan pizza.
16. Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area
Covering nearly 35 miles of shoreline, Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area is home to three public parks: Claystone, Arrowhead, and Sandy Beach. Take your pick from activities like fishing, boating, and water-skiing on the lake; swimming at its three white-sand beaches and mountain biking along Arrowhead Park’s miles of trails. An overnight camping adventure at the Lake Tobesofkee Recreation Area is definitely one of the best things to do in Macon, GA, on a summer’s weekend.