Photography by Natalie Thompson.
WHY VISIT THE CHARMING SOUTHERN CITY of Augusta, Georgia? The Scout Guide Augusta editor Ann Knox can name a few reasons. Whether you’re headed in April to see those famous azaleas for yourself, or you’re planning a trip any other time of year, this historic riverside town on the South Carolina border is sure to charm. In search of the ultimate pimento cheese? You’ll find it in Augusta. Interested in a shopping mecca? Augusta has you covered. And if you’re hoping for an alligator sighting, you just might be in luck.
Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Ann shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHEN TO GO // You do not want t0 miss Augusta in the springtime. The city is known for it’s stunning floral display—especially the azaleas—and everyone should experience it at least once in a lifetime. Also, the excitement in the air is palpable as locals prepare for The Masters golf tournament.
WHERE TO STAY // The Partridge Inn (2110 Walton Way). An Augusta staple since 1836. Recently restored, the stately hotel sits atop a hill with stunning views of downtown, best taken in from their iconic rooftop bar.
Hyatt House (1268 Broad Street). For a downtown experience, consider checking in to the brand-new Hyatt House. A visitor can easily walk to a bevy of Augusta’s amazing restaurants and bars from its central location.
The Crowne Plaza (1060 Center Street, North Augusta). Just across the river in North Augusta, the Crowne Plaza is within walking distance to the beautiful neighborhood of Hammonds Ferry and also features a rooftop bar. It’s worth a visit no matter where you stay.
WHAT TO DO // Imperial Theatre (745 Broad Street). This stately old theater, dating back to 1918, is a great spot to catch traveling musical acts, theater, and cult classic movies.
Sacred Heart Cultural Center (1301 Greene Street). This historic church in the heart of downtown Augusta dates back to 1900 and epitomizes the charm of the city. Buy tickets for one of their events or try the audio tour for a personal and historical narrative of the church and city.
Augusta Riverwalk (10th Street). Stroll along Augusta’s charming Riverwalk, home to a three-season Saturday market—Ann’s favorite gathering place.
The Morris Museum of Art (1 10th Street 2nd Floor). Boasting an extensive collection devoted to art and artists of the American South, the Morris Museum of Art is a perfect way to end your Riverwalk.
The Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson (419 7th Street). History buffs won’t want to miss this little-known Augusta gem. If you go at the right time, you might even have the place to yourself.
SRP Park (187 Railroad Avenue, North Augusta). Bring your family across the river to North Augusta and watch the GreenJackets, Augusta’s Minor League Baseball team, play. Enjoy river views from the bleachers and don’t forget to have lunch at The Hammond’s Ferry Larder (89 Crystal Lake Drive).
The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Boat Tour (1450 Greene Street #400). Visitors can choose from nature and history tours, or tours featuring live music on Friday evenings. Keep your eyes peeled for alligators!
James Brown Statue (850 Broad Street, Augusta, GA). While downtown, be sure to stop by the bronze replica of Augusta native, James Brown. The life-size statue of Mr. Brown contains the world’s only James Brown CAM which will take your photo and send it to your cell phone within minutes.
WHERE TO SHOP // Surrey Center (Highland Avenue/Berckmans Road). This three-level outdoor shopping center is a balanced mix of retail chains and local boutiques. “You will find absolutely everything you need here,” Ann says. “And then some. Trust me!”
Shoes at Surrey (487 Highland Avenue). Chic boutique that houses a well-curated selection of women’s fashion, from handbags to ladies’ shoes.
Rivers & Glen Trading Co. (387 Highland Avenue). This outdoor store is stocked with gear for all your outdoor pursuits, plus a great selection of activewear for both men and women.
Design Images & Gifts (459 Highland Avenue). In addition to beautiful items to enhance your home, this shop also has a great collection of hostess and girlfriend gifts, including jewelry and a pajama and loungewear line. They are also home to the oldest bridal registry in Augusta.
Charleston Street (449 Highland Avenue). If you’re on a quest for all things flowers, hostess gifts, and unique home goods, this is your destination.
WHERE TO EAT // Bodega Ultima (353 Highland Avenue). Enjoy breakfast and coffee on their lovely side patio. Located in Surrey Center, you can start your morning off right before doing some shopping.
Finch & Fifth (379 Highland Avenue). The perfect spot to enjoy a creative spin on traditional brunch food. You’ll want to try their Monte Cristo sandwich served on French toast.
The Southern Salad (1008 Broad Street). Perfect for when you need a break from all that homestyle cooking. Build a bowl of fresh, local ingredients for a light lunch.
The Bee’s Knees (211 10th Street). Asian-inspired tapas menu with something for everyone, including vegans.
Frog Hollow Tavern (1282 Broad Street). Known for its pork chop special and rich mac and cheese, this is the place to celebrate a special occasion like a local.
WifeSaver (3316 Washington Road). This local favorite is famous for its Augusta pimento cheese, but you’ll want to sample the fried chicken and banana pudding, too. Grab a bite for either lunch or dinner. They also cater.
Beck’s (2111 Kings Way). An excellent seafood restaurant in a true river town, locals know Beck’s for their oysters and open, neighborhood ambience.
Abel Brown Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar (491 Highland Avenue). Another top-notch oyster and seafood restaurant. Head here for a more cozy, intimate setting.
WHERE TO DRINK // Bodega Ultima (353 Highland Avenue). Do like the locals and fuel your mornings and/or shopping spree with coffee from Bodega Ultima. Fuel your mornings in a different way with a mimosa at the full bar.
Finch & Fifth (379 Highland Avenue). This is Ann’s favorite place for a cocktail. “Stay for a cheese plate and a second hand-crafted cocktail, if you can.”
Edgar’s Above Broad (699 Broad Street). The new kid on the block, this is Augusta’s newest rooftop dining and entertainment experience. Grab a drink and play some checkers on their life-size checkers board.
Savannah River Brewing Co. (813 5th Street). Voted Augusta’s best brewery every year, beer snobs will love the craft beers, brewery, and taproom.
Riverwatch Brewery (1175 4th Street). Another Augusta brewery staple, enjoy the selection and atmosphere at Riverwatch.
LOCAL PRO-TIP // Head north on Fleming Road from Walton Way if you’d like to catch a glimpse of the clubhouse at Augusta National in the distance.
For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Augusta, follow The Scout Guide Augusta on Instagram.