Best Things to Do in Macon, GA

When it comes to making an impact on American music, the small town of Macon, Georgia can hang on to the best of them. Located less than two hours from Atlanta, Macon is the hometown of Little Richard and Otis Redding, two titans of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music.

A soft melody or heavy bass is always within earshot, whether you’re visiting a Native American ceremonial site, sipping local craft beer, or cheering on Macon Bacon. Here is our list of the best things to do in Macon, Georgia.

Groove to the greatest at Capricorn Records

Walden founded Capricorn Records in the 1960s with Jerry Wexler (formerly of Atlantic Records) and Frank Fenter. After years of success, the company suffered personal and financial setbacks and finally closed in 1980. But in 2019, Mercer University restored Capricorn Records as a museum and music incubator.

Phil’s legacy as well as that of his younger brother Alan, who ran Lynyrd Skynyrd, is told on Rock Candy Tours. Owned by Alan’s daughter – Jessica – and her husband, the walking tours visit landmarks related to the city’s musical history.

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive deals straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.

Little Richard’s house has been restored and is open to visitors © John Coletti / Getty Images

Head to the homes of Little Richard and Otis Redding

Mâcon is the homeland of royalty. Otis Redding, the “King of Soul” and Little Richard, the “King of Rock and Roll” were both born and raised in the city before coming of age.

Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, grew up in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood until his hit song “Tutti Frutti” shot him to stardom. The home was saved from a wrecking ball in 2016 and was even moved a mile from its original location to make way for an interstate expansion. The house has been restored and is now open for viewing by appointment.

Otis Redding lived in Macon until his death in a plane crash in 1967. His family still lives in town and honors his legacy with the Otis Redding Foundation, a downtown showcase and museum.

Pay homage to the Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band may have started their career in Jacksonville, Florida, but the band is forever tied to Macon. This is where the group succeeded and where most of the members died.

The band shared a Tudor home in the Vinewood neighborhood with their families. Now it’s the Allman Brothers Band Museum filled with concert posters, instruments and clothing.

Back when the Allman Brothers Band were “starving artists,” owners Inez Hill and Louise Hudson fed the band at their H&H restaurant on Forsyth St. Known for its mouth-watering fried chicken, this iconic dining spot has recently unveiled a mural on the building depicting the band with Inez and Louise. Downtown Grill is a local steakhouse, originally called Le Bistro, that has attracted countless celebrities over the years. It’s best remembered as the place where Gregg Allman proposed to Cher in 1973.

Following the tragic deaths in a Macon motorcycle accident of Duane Allman in 1971 and Berry Oakley in 1972, the couple were buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, not far from the grave that inspired the song “Little Martha.” and the photo shoot site for their album Or. Gregg Allman, who died in 2017, is also buried there.

Interior of an empty opera house with curved balcony seats
Macon’s historic Grand Opera House has hosted renowned artists © mstroz / Getty Images

Explore even more music history and locations

Capricorn Studios isn’t the only place to delve into Macon’s vast musical history. Built in 1904, the Grand Opera House has opened its doors to performers such as illusionist Harry Houdini and Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. Later, musicians Hank Williams and the Allman Brothers Band took the lead.

During the segregation era, the Douglass Theater (named after local businessman Charles Douglass) featured top black artists like jazz maestros Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, and blues singers Bessie Smith and My Rainey.

Today, the Douglass Theater hosts events like the HBCU Art Series which promotes the performative and visual arts of historic black colleges and universities.

Visit the Antebellum Houses of Macon

Macon stops along Georgia’s Antebellum Trail, a self-guided route between towns that escaped Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea, a military campaign in the American Civil War. Many houses are now museums.

One of the most popular is Hay House – an 1859 Italian Renaissance revival unique in town. The residence includes a double living room where the family received its guests and a dome overlooking the city, visible from the guided tour.

Encourage the Macon Bacon

After a fan contest in 2017, Macon’s new minor league baseball team was officially named Macon Bacon. The Coastal Plains League team play at historic Luther Williams Field, the site of Jackie Robinson’s biopic 42 (2013). Team merchandise is a popular souvenir, with actor and muse Kevin Bacon even sporting a hat. The team mascot, Kevin, is named in his honor.

Sip local foam at the Macon Beer Company

Macon’s breweries follow a beer tradition that dates back to at least the 1800s. Prohibition nearly ended that legacy, but in 2013 the Macon Beer Company became the first brewery to open in town since “the American failed experiment.

Macon Beer Company offers the best burgers in town, as well as beers inspired by the city. Macon Love has cherry blossoms on the box, which bloom every spring, and a cherry wine flavor profile. Macon Mounds is a bittersweet bearer named after the Ocmulgee Mounds. If you don’t like beer, the menu also includes Willy Wonka-style candy cocktails with homemade spirits.

A mound of green lawn with a gate in it
The mounds of Ocmulgee date back over 17,000 years © Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock

Learn about the area’s first inhabitants at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park

This Native American sacred site in Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park dates back over 17,000 years and has seven ceremonial mounds. Park rangers organize tours of the “Earth Lodge”, a council chamber dating back over 1000 years.

The largest archaeological dig in the country took place at Ocmulgee. Archaeologists have uncovered over 2,000 artifacts, including arrowheads, pottery and jewelry. One of the best outdoor activities in Macon is the park’s eight miles of hiking trails.

Admission is free except during the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, which brings together Native American tribes with storytelling, dancing, food, arts and crafts.

Spend a night at the historic Forty Five Hotel

The Forty Five Hotel is Macon’s first boutique hotel, located in the historic district and named after the 45-degree angle of the side streets. Perks include a cafe and restaurant, plus a rooftop bar overlooking the city and mid-century modern-inspired rooms. It also sits across from the Macon City Auditorium, where a young Little Richard watched a transformational performance by guitar icon, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Catch concerts at Grant’s Lounge

Macon holds concerts all over town, but Grant’s Lounge is a popular spot. Opening in 1971, Grant’s hosted early performances by the Allman Brothers Band, Tom Petty and the Marshall Tucker Band. The self-proclaimed “Original Home of Southern Rock” still hosts local musicians such as blues legend Robert Lee Coleman.

Stroll through the museums of Macon

The heart of Macon is home to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, a sprawling complex with artifacts from Georgia’s varsity teams, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and professional soccer, baseball, and soccer teams. See a jug of Eagle Creek water from Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia mascot Uga’s jersey.

Across the street, the Tubman Museum showcases black excellence with artifacts related to historical figures. Here you will find a sculpture by Harriet Tubman, the piano by Little Richard and works of art by foreign artist Mister Imagination. The museum also hosts the annual Pan-African Festival at the Tubman Museum of Georgia.

Dinner at the Rookery

There are more than enough places to eat in Macon, but if you only have time for one, it should be The Rookery, which has been part of the community since 1976.

The casual restaurant has an upper level that overlooks the stage of Widespread Panic playing one of their first shows. The menu pays homage to Georgian legends with a mushroom and Swiss burger named after the Allman Brothers and a Jimmy Carter milkshake made with (what else!) peanut butter.

Comments are closed.