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Augusta Comes Alive With These Exciting Destinations

Soulful, funky, and historic are commonly used to describe Augusta, and they couldn't be more accurate. Founded in 1736 on the western bank of the Savannah River, it quickly became a bustling trading outpost and one of the premier cities of the 13 colonies. History lives on in Augusta's many historic properties and museums, but the city's robust heritage has also given way to a cutting-edge arts, culture, and entertainment scene that's visible anywhere you step. From centuries-old tradition to new-age wonders, Augusta is an adventure lover's paradise.

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01Augusta Museum of History

Start your adventure by immersing yourself in Augusta's storied past. With the renowned exhibition Augusta's Story, you'll embark on a 12,000-year journey through history. Other exhibits highlight artifacts, images, and dioramas that tell the Augusta story in vivid detail. You'll view everything from ancient archeology to clothing and accessories, vintage buses, a Victorian-era exhibition, home decor, and historic documents. Simply select the topic or period that catches your eye, and discover little-known facts about the people, places, and objects that shaped Augusta's past. The museum also hosts engaging events throughout the year, including an annual Night at the Museum complete with performances, beverages, and hors d'oeuvres, a private White Glove Dinner, in which guests examine historic manuscripts, maps, and artifacts while wearing white gloves, and the Holiday Gingerbread Village.

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02Ezekiel Harris House

The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America lists this Federal-style building as "the finest eighteenth-century house surviving in Georgia," and this historic property lives up to its name. As the former residence of tobacco merchant Ezekiel Harris, traverse the vaulted hallways to discover a bygone era when tobacco was the city's top cash crop. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this home reveals the story of Harris, a mega-rich entrepreneur who led the area's tobacco industry, fostering fierce competition and controversy along the way; he was even tried and found not guilty of a murder in 1797. Explore everyday life in the era and learn more about Harris and the Augusta tobacco trade with a guided tour.

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03Imperial Theater

Imperial Theater at night downtown Augusta Georgia Billy F Blume Jr / Shutterstock

An Augusta staple since 1918, this 853-seat theater hosted some of the state's first vaudeville and photoplay performances. The first tickets started at just 10 cents, and although many celebrities have stopped by through the years, Charlie Choplin was one of the first. Today, you can catch an array of impressive shows and events, from Broadway plays and musicals to ballets, short films, local and national recording artists. There's always a new performance popping up on the event calendar, offering something for everyone to enjoy.

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04Lucy Laney Craft Museum

Augusta's go-to destination for black history, discover African American accomplishments in the arts, athletics, entertainment, and politics, immerse yourself in educational experiences, and explore more about the history and culture behind this dynamic community. As the largest museum of its kind in the Central Savannah River Area, this small home was the former residence of its namesake, Lucy Craft Laney. Tour the museum to discover a variety of engaging exhibits, including the Pilgrim Health and Life Insurance Exhibition, the Alice Davis Collection, and the Augusta Ebony Legacy Collection, which showcases the contributions of black Augustans from the local to the international level. Rotating exhibits feature up-and-coming artists, educational forums, programs, and day camps for children, and limited displays featuring famous African Americans and historic moments.

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05Morris Museum of Art

The first museum in the country to showcase art and artists from the American South, you'll discover innovative, evolving collections that are impossible to find elsewhere. The permanent collection features works from the late eighteenth century through the present, with ten unique galleries to explore. Explore images of the Civil War, abstraction, nineteenth-century portraits, Southern landscapes, stories, and still-lifes all in one place. Temporary exhibitions highlight favorite artists and periods through history, and you'll also find a robust schedule of exciting events, from art classes to free days, film screenings, and themed lunches.

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06Augusta Riverwalk

Augusta, Georgia, USA downtown scene at River Walk SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Spanning the 3.4-mile loop from 6th to 10th street in Downtown Augusta, this pristine stretch features scenic views dotted with nature and entertainment. At the 8th Street Plaza, you'll find a charming brick road free from vehicles. Here, take in panoramic views of the Savannah River, check out the summer Candlelight Jazz Series, or shop for treasures at the Saturday Market. The 9th and 10th street plazas are also pedestrian-only, so you can explore the area further on foot. Within walking distance, hotels, shopping, and dining abound, and at 9th street, the 1,800 seat Jessye Norman Amphitheater features national and internationally-renowned performing artists and events throughout the year. At 10th street, discover Heroes Overlook, a memorial park with over 900 bricks honoring area service members. In the Japanese Gardens, explore a tranquil oasis complete with a waterfall — the ideal spot for Instagram-worthy photos.

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07Sacred Heart Cultural Center

Built in 1897, this former Catholic Church houses Augusta's finest arts and entertainment. A revolving calendar of events includes options for all ages and interests, including the city's annual Garden Festival. A night out on the itinerary? Book your tickets; this convenient downtown location is the base for the Augusta Ballet, the Augusta Choral Society, the Augusta Children's Chorale, Augusta Players, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, and the Greater Augusta Arts Council, so there's always a performance to catch. Audio tours are just $5 if you want to explore the building, and free Eye Spy scavenger hunts are available for children.

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08The boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson

he Boyhood home of Woodrow Wilson in Augusta, Georgia Harold Stiver / Shutterstock

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this charming museum is the state's oldest presidential residence. Today, it's both an educational experience and historic attraction in the heart of the city's historic district. The house showcases the life of Wilson as he was growing up during the Civil War and Reconstruction era, serving as a time capsule into life at the time. The 28th president lived in the home from 1860-1870, and his background experiencing war in the deep south forever shaped his life as both a leader and an individual. Tours are available throughout the week, with experienced guides revealing the true story behind Wilson's life and the Georgian experience during a bygone era.

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09Living History Park

Watch history come to life through robust performances and representations of 18th-century life. The grounds house an era-accurate village that you can explore and engage with every step of the way, including a meeting house, tavern, Blacksmith's forge, hunter's cabin, print shop, village mercantile, and much more; it's the closest thing to traveling back in time! Workshops, classes, and demonstrations are held throughout the year, and actors in historic costume reenact scenes from Augusta's past. Discover life as it once was in a truly immersive, one-of-a-kind way.

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10Pexcho's American Dime Museum

A recreation of a 19th-century dime museum, this innovative attraction provides a 21st-century take on historic freak shows for the bizarre. The more adventurous-minded will find themselves at home in collections featuring crowd-pleasing horrors, such as shrunken heads, two-faced lambs, unicorn skulls, mysterious medical devices, and flesh-eating toads, to name just a few. As you explore, you'll find yourself back in the 1800s amidst galleries of subdued lighting and dark draperies, with guided tours delivering an authentic Victorian experience. Spooky shows and performances also take place here, including enticing takes on Sweeney Todd and the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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