What to do in Augusta, GA
April 28, 2009 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Have to spend a day in Augusta, GA, on a Saturday. What to see or do and where to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Travel & Transportation around Augusta, GA (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think the James Brown exhibition at the Augusta Museum could be cool.
posted by ND¢ at 2:37 PM on April 28, 2009

Check out Amen Corner at Augusta National Golf Club? I don't know if strictly the public is allowed in there, but it'd be worth seeing if there was a public tour or something available. Supposedly one of the most gorgeous places in the United States.
posted by indiebass at 3:02 PM on April 28, 2009

The Azaleas have probably bloomed out at Augusta but it still is an amazing place to visit. Not sure what they offer for tours outside of Master's week though.
posted by COD at 3:44 PM on April 28, 2009

Augusta National is definitely off limits to the public. The James Brown exhibit would be good, and if you are interested in Southern art, The Morris Museum of Art is a short walk down the street and often has some good exhibits. Beyond that, a lot depends on what your budget is, what sort of things you like to eat/do, when you will be there. I have lived in Augusta for most of the past 40 years and so have plenty of suggestions but need some help to narrow it down. Augustans seem to eat out constantly, so there are a number of restaurant options. Also, do you know where you will be staying? Feel free to memail me with more details if you don't want to put them here. When I have a little more time (I am about to get dinner ready) I will give you a few more details.
posted by TedW at 3:46 PM on April 28, 2009

Ah, Disgusta - my home town. I don't live there anymore, but my parents and siblings and about fifty bizillion relatives still do.

First off, unless things have drastically changed, you're not going to get in to Augusta National unless you're a member. So no luck on Amen Corner.

If you have a car, here are the places I'd go eat. These are the places my folks always go, and when my wife and I are in town to visit, these are the places they always take us.

Breakfast - North Leg Family Restaurant. Great food, good prices, and the people are really friendly.
Lunch - The Village Deli. I love the Village Deli.
Dinner - this depends on how fancy you want to go. I've been to Snugs a few times, and the steaks are good. The restaurant at The Partridge Inn is nice, and if you like fried seafood, T's is an old family favorite that has been there for nearly 50 years. And I can't forget possibly my favorite restaurant in the entire CSRA, Sconyers. When ever my folks come to visit us, they always bring Sconyers BBQ for me.

There are also a lot of new and hip places downtown, but when I left Augusta in the early 1980's, downtown Augusta was a ghost town thanks to Regency Square and Augusta Mall. I'm sure someone else will be able to make recommendations for places there that might suit you.

For something to do, I'd suggest the Riverwalk if the weather is nice, and also maybe a tour of the Augusta Canal. Augusta is a very old city, and there are a lot of walking tours you could take.
posted by ralan at 3:47 PM on April 28, 2009

If you have a car, you may want to keep an eye on the I20 Augusta page which has good info on all the I20 construction. (I drive through Augusta a lot).
posted by pointystick at 3:56 PM on April 28, 2009

Response by poster: Will have wheels and a nice budget. James Brown and Art sound good. Less of a shopper and more of an explorer, not a golfer at all. Staying at the Courtyard by Marriott, on Stevens Creek Rd. Oh hey, I should find a map, I don't know where that is...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 PM on April 28, 2009

I have family there, but I haven't lived there since the nineties, so take this with a grain of salt.

Re the Augusta National: I'm not sure if they have tours this time of year. I will say that I grew up there and lived within 5 miles of the course and have never actually set foot inside the place - they don't exactly welcome the public and, well, it's a golf course. It looks very pretty on TV, but... golf course. YMMV. *g*

Riverwalk is pretty, and most fine Saturdays you can find some little touristy shops to browse. Sometimes they have festivals there, check it out for your date.

There used to be some kind of museum thingy called the Cotton Exchange near the river. We went there on field trips for Georgia History class.

There are a few historic churches downtown that are nice if you like looking at historic churches. One of them is now a cultural center.

Augusta is about a half-hour drive from a lake (I think it's called Thurmond Lake on the SC side and Clark's Hill Lake on the GA side) that has recreational facilities.

There are sometimes touring shows at the Imperial Theatre, the Civic Center, or the Bell Auditorium, or the amphitheatre at the Riverwalk.

There is currently hellish construction traffic on I-20; be prepared, and also be careful because it's really easy to get ticketed.

As far as food goes, here are some local places:

Great pizza at Giuseppe's - real NY style pizza, owned and run by a NY Italian family. They also have other Italian food.

Louisiana/Cajun food at French Market Grille (2 locations). Their desserts are fantastic. They have really good and affordable lunch specials.

Fried chicken and sides - Wife Saver (several locations) is pretty popular. The sides are my favorite, especially the macaroni and cheese.

There used to be a very yummy soul food place called Hot Foods By Calvin, but I'm not sure if they are still open.

If you are up for a road-trip-within-a-road trip my family used to road trip to a place called Old Macdonald's Fish Camp that was out in the country. Fried fish and grits, hushpuppies, it was built in the middle of the lake and you could feed catfish off the bridge, that sort of thing.

Hope this helps... feel free to MeMail me if you want more details on any of this.

On preview: Seconding The Village Deli, it's awesome. I've only been to the Partridge Inn once and I remember it as being kind of overpriced - it's the kind of place kids go to on prom night and people have wedding rehearsal dinners at - but it's supposed to be good. Funnily enough, you see Sconyers stuff EVERYWHERE in Augusta but I've never actually been there because I didn't develop a taste for BBQ until recently - I'll have to give them a try next time I visit.
posted by oblique red at 4:16 PM on April 28, 2009

Lived there for 10 years. Lots of good memories in this post. The Village Deli is great. French Market and Old MacDonald's good too. Everything I thought of has already been mentioned so just wanted to say enjoy your stay.
posted by pearlybob at 5:28 PM on April 28, 2009

Seconding French Market for dinner or lunch. I'm from Aiken, right across the river, and my family knows a chef there. You won't be disappointed.
posted by derogatorysphinx at 5:52 PM on April 28, 2009

For fried chicken and general "I can't believe this really exists" kitsch, I'd recommend eating at Wife Savers. Slogan: put some South in your mouth. Seriously. Amazing.
posted by rachelpapers at 6:48 PM on April 28, 2009

Okay, I have a little time here, so a few more thoughts. All of the above ideas are pretty good. The hotel you are staying at is on the west side of town just off I-20 and in the middle of the construction people are alluding to above, so be aware that your maps may not be accurate. One big change is that the westbound on ramp to I-20 at Washington Rd. is closed and the detour takes everyone right past your hotel, so there are a lot of disoriented drivers in that area. Your hotel will be just off Riverwatch parkway which if traffic and construction (in addition to the I-20 construction there is a big project underway downtown as well) allow will get you downtown in less than 10 minutes. The parkway ends with the river on one side and broad street on the other. The Morris museum and Augusta Museum are just of Reynolds Street, which parallels the river. A couple of blocks over is Broad street, with a number of art galleries, restaurants, and live music venues. For sort of a funky take on Tex-Mex, there is Nacho Mamas, the Soul Bar is one of the businesses that started the revitalization of that part of town in the 1990s, and Blue Sky Kitchen has some good food. The Sunshine Bakery is a deli that is a local institution. Further down Broad Street is Luigi's, another Augusta favorite; the Greek food there is better than the Italian, but the real attraction is the decor straight out of the 1950's, complete with the little coin-op jukeboxes at each booth that are stocked with big band hits and 50's pop music. Right next door is the Sports Center, which is a pool hall/greasy spoon with the best hamburger and coldest draft beer in town. At the other end of the spectrum, Augustino's on the river and La Maison a few blocks away offer good fine dining. There are a number of good barbecue places throughout the area, including the aforementioned Sconyers, which is on the south side of town. Closer to you is Motts, which I also like.

If you are here in late May-mid August, you might want to drive over into SC near the town of Johnston and get some fresh peaches. Old McDonald's Fish Camp mentioned above is in that general direction as well. You mention that you don't play golf, but if you play disc golf, the PDGA is headquartered at Clarks Hill lake about a 30 minute drive away (and there are several other courses in the area) and if you want someplace to just hang out and meet some locals, Rhineharts Oyster Bar is right around the corner from you; the food isn't particularly great but the raw oysters are always good and it is as much a local hangout as it is a restaurant.

Well, that's a start; as I mentioned I have lived here for most of my 45 years and grew up and still live near where you will be staying, so I could go on but will restrain myself. If you want more suggestion, though, let me know. If you check the Augusta Chronicle or Metro Spirit websites (the local daily and weekly newspapers) they can give you info about special events going on while you are here. Just don't read the Chronicle's editorials; not everyone here is a slack-jawed Neanderthal.
posted by TedW at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2009

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