Columbus, Georgia is one of the South’s best kept secrets. Nestled on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, the once-quiet river city has become a bustling hotspot for adventurous foodies with a passion for culture. While the city still possesses the quaint feel of a small town, its amenities and infrastructure make it the perfect destination for couples looking to explore someplace new.
Whether your ideal romantic getaway involves dining at a four-diamond restaurant and walking through world class art galleries, or you’re seeking whitewater rafting and barbecue, Columbus, Georgia has something for every couple looking to get away!
Columbus is home to one of the top urban whitewater courses in America and is also the only place you can zipline across a state line and back. The area is also a haven for cyclists and boasts incredible trails sprinkled all throughout the Chattahoochee Valley.
It's important to know that just down from the whitewater course, the water calms a bit. This makes for a perfect environment for paddle board yoga classes (check out SUP Yoga!) or take some fly fishing lessons. Not everything has to be full speed to be fun!
Above: Check out Charlotte, now our outdoor
contributor, teaching a SUP Yoga class on the river!
For those who love hiking, a visit to Providence Canyon is a must do. Recently voted one of the top ten hikes in Georgia, Providence Canyon sits just a short drive away from Columbus and offers accessible hiking options for all ages.
We’d be remiss not to mention the popularity of our local bike shop, Ride On Bikes, which offers daily rentals of everything from California cruisers to mountain bikes. Cycle along the Riverwalk between Columbus and Fort Benning, or test out the newly developed Dragonfly Trail which connects Columbus’ Midtown area to Uptown and back.
Arts & Culture
High adventure isn’t all there is to do here. Just steps from the river are art galleries, theatres, breweries, and restaurants that offer an unexpected dose of culture like nowhere else.
The city’s thriving creative community boasts 7 theatres and 5 art galleries all within just a few city blocks of the recently-developed Uptown area. Depending on the weekend, it’s likely you’ll be able to catch a theatre production at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts or the Springer Opera House, Georgia’s Historic State Theatre.
A Rainy Day at The Bo Bartlett Center with Sonnet Moore. | Sonnet is standing in front of one of the many wall-sized paintings by Columbus native Bo Bartlett.
Fine art enthusiasts simply cannot miss the opportunity to visit the internationally-acclaimed Bo Bartlett Center located in Columbus State University’s Corn Center for the Arts. Opened as an educational and rotating gallery focused on the work of living artist and Columbus native Bo Bartlett, the center boasts an incredible collection of Bartlett’s work held there year-round as well as a second gallery of rotating exhibits from around the world.
St. EOM's walkway toward the center of Pasaquan.
If you're a folk art buff, you've simply got to visit Pasaquan. The seven-acre compound in nearby Buena Vista, Georgia was created by the late Eddie Owens Martin (known by St. EOM) for what the artist believed would be a utopian society of the future. The site recently underwent a complete restoration through a partnership between The Kohler Foundation and Columbus State University, making it the perfect time to experience the mystical world of Pasaquan for yourself.
Not willing to travel out of town? Check out the newly opened Highland Gallerie. Owner DeeDee Tebeau opened the modern do-good gallery in honor of her late grandmother, and dedicates a portion of all sales directly back into the revitalization of the neighborhood in which the gallery resides. Depending on the time of year and the show currently on display, Highland Gallerie is where you'll often find the work of lots of popular local artists like Lulie Wallace, Teil Duncan Henley, Kate Waddell, Katie Jacobson, Helen Brooks, Gloria Mani, Garry Pound, and Bunny Hinzman.
Looking for a more traditional Southern art gallery? Check out Glori Mani Fine Art in the gorgeous MidTown area. Mani is a second generation painter and art restorer who's been working professionally in Columbus for over 50 years. Stop into her shop for a look at a diverse volume of her work, and some of the restoration projects she's working on from collectors across the South.
Left: Art by Gloria Mani.
Another romantic cultural gem to walk through is The Columbus Museum, which houses work focused on American artists. Contained in the collection are pieces by famous Columbus artists like Amy Sherald, Alma Thomas, Anna Betbeze, and more. The Columbus Museum also offers a wide variety of unique classes—including a couples’ glass blowing class—that has become a hit as a romantic date night for local couples across the city. Check out their schedule here!
Military history fans will enjoy trips through the National Infantry Museum (currently up for Top Free Museum in the Nation!) and the National Civil War Naval Museum. Both museums feature interactive galleries, artifacts, and films.
Food & Beverage
7th Street Provisions has become known for their pork chop, a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
Columbus, Georgia's food scene has grown with the city’s exponential development and continues to be a driving force behind the rising popularity of the town as a Southern destination. Local stars include 11th & Bay, 7th Street Provisions, Stock Market, and Bare Roots that each, in their own way, provide delicious spins on the farm-to-table movement that’s swept the nation in recent years.
For the top-rated dining experience in the city, head to EPIC, only one of two four-diamond restaurants in Georgia located outside of Atlanta. Chef Jaime Keating and his team have received award after award for their imaginative spin on American cuisine that continues to push the envelope with every season. As an added bonus, the restaurant features art by Columbus native Teil Duncan Henley throughout its warm and intimate space. Keating also offers a unique dining experience called “The Chef’s Table” in which guests sit at a private table in the kitchen and witness Keating at work with his team throughout the evening. It’s truly an experience unlike any other.
If casual dining is more your speed, Columbus has a variety of restaurants to choose from. A local favorite is Mabella’s Italian Steakhouse which offers stellar cocktails, steaks, and desserts.
For seafood, head to Salt Cellar, a Mediterranean restaurant with a killer bar and the same pastry chef as Mabella’s. Known for its modern and streamlined atmosphere, Salt Cellar is the perfect stop for fancy, flavorful, accessible fare.
Mabella's presents a fresh take on the traditional Italian steakhouse.
If Latin food is your jam, check out Vertigo Fusion Kitchen. The fusion-style restaurant opened in 2019 and wowed locals with its imaginative dishes, unique appetizers, and extensive specialty cocktail selections. We love the hot street corn dip and the tiramisu dessert.
One last culinary destination to mention is Columbus’ only speakeasy, 18th Amendment. As it’s a speakeasy, we can’t tell you how to find it, but what we can suggest is to ask for directions to the only cigar shop on Broadway. We’re sure you’ll find your way from there...