Founded in 1821, this Southern town boasts a rich historical heritage, recreation for those who enjoy the indoors and outdoors, comfort food guaranteed to soothe the soul and an unparalleled musical legacy. With all that and more, it’s really no surprise Columbus is known as “The City That Has It All.”
Because Columbus has been an active community for almost 200 years, there are literally hundreds of historical destinations within the city limits worth a visit.
“There’s a lot to see here when it comes to history,” says Nancy Carpenter, CEO and executive director of Visit Columbus. “The city actually has three National Register Historic Districts, with more than 650 properties on the National Register.”
For the wanderers, Columbus is easy to explore alone. But for those seeking a more guided, educational route, there’s the Spring Pilgrimage Home Tour, which offers a particularly unique opportunity to admire the city’s history. This one-of-a-kind experience will take place between March 26 and April 4, 2020, giving visitors the opportunity to embark on a guided trip back in time.
March 26-April 4, 2020
With more than 650 National Register properties and three National Register Historic Districts, the 80th annual Spring Pilgrimage is a bucket-list event for history buffs and music lovers. Enjoy home and garden tours, live music and a week of historical celebration and Southern hospitality.
The 2020 Pilgrimage not only embraces history but also gives visitors a chance to celebrate everything Columbus has to offer. Highlights include touring historic homes and gardens like the Whitehall Antebellum Home and White Arches Antebellum Home with carriage and double-decker bus rides, sipping mint juleps at the garden party, and enjoying fresh catfish and live blues music in Catfish Alley.
Those who are feeling particularly brave can even explore the spookier side of the city during the Tales from the Crypt graveyard tour.
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When it comes to Columbus recreation, visitors should get ready to lace up their sneakers and hit the ground running – starting with the city center.
“Columbus is home to a beautiful downtown with all kinds of specialty shops and restaurants,” Carpenter says. “You can even spend some time at the wonderful Rosenzweig Arts Center, which hosts weekly art shows and other fantastic events.”
For those hoping to return home with a Columbus souvenir or two, be sure to make a pit stop at the Grassroots Natural Candle Company. Each of their candles is made from 100% natural soy wax and essential oil blends. The jars and containers are all reusable, too, making each of their products eco-friendly.
After maxing out on retail therapy, it’s time to go for a stroll along the scenic Columbus Riverwalk. Beginning at Main Street and winding along the Tombigbee River, this 4.4-mile trail gives pedestrians and cyclists a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the area without being far from some of the finest amenities Columbus has to offer.
The fun doesn’t have to stop there. Columbus is also home to multiple golf courses, world-class fishing and a number of boating and water sports.
Though Columbus is known for its antebellum homes, there’s so much more depth to its rich history. Columbus boasts many markers on the renowned Blues Trail, which identifies influential musicians who left their mark in the musical world.
Notable stops on this trail include everything from the Big Joe Williams marker and Howlin’ Wolf marker to perhaps the most famous: the Catfish Alley marker. This historic location is celebrated as North Mississippi’s epicenter of blues, jazz and soul music, bringing in a number of nationally acclaimed musicians, including B.B. King, Louis Armstrong, James Brown and Duke Ellington.
Catfish Alley may be known for the blues, but it’s also a distinguished historical location that had a reputation for delicious catfish sandwiches. But throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this was also the hub of African-American business and social life – not to mention the place to be if you wanted to listen to some of the finest blues performers in the South.
March 30, 2020
There’s no better way to honor the history of Columbus than to attend the 11th annual Catfish in the Alley event. Complete with delicious catfish, countless vendors and some of the finest blues musicians in the country, this free event is fun for the whole family.
For those with a craving for catfish or a desire to enjoy a fancy date night out on the town, Columbus has it all – and every single dish is served up with some good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality.
Café on Main serves up classic homestyle meals, including what many locals consider to be the best fried chicken around. Choose from a variety of vegetables and casseroles, salads, sandwiches, burgers and more. Just make sure to pop into the gift and sweet shop for a homemade dessert or ice cream to go.
Southern Flour Bakery is another local gem, tempting visitors with everything from homemade cakes and pies to cupcakes, cookies and fresh-baked breads.
There’s no wrong way to spend time in “The City That Has It All.” From history and music to that beloved Southern hospitality, Columbus is a must-visit city.