Last Updated on July 7, 2023

Columbus is the seat of Lowndes County on the eastern border of Mississippi. This lively small town of about 23,000 folks is huge on southern hospitality. The Columbus motto is “the friendly city.” When locals tell you Columbus is the city with it all, they refer to the elegance of the past, the energy of the present, and the expectation of a favorable future.

The historic buildings are filled with craftsmanship and character. The town is bursting at the seams with art, musical and literary heritage. Columbus, Mississippi, has all the charm, kindness, and great food visitors seek in the south. Just be aware that once you’ve been there, you’ll have a yearning for returning.

10 Best Things to Do in Columbus

Relish Nature

Columbus MS
©Angela Dowdy

Riverwalk and Riverside Park — Natural beauty provides fabulous photo ops of the Tombigbee River and bridges. One bridge was built in 1927 and listed as a Historic Place in 1988. It became a pedestrian walkway in 2013. You can hike, bike, picnic, or simply relax while taking in the views.

Just a 4-minute drive away from the park is the historic mansion built in the early 1850s, Riverview.

Cordiality at Tennessee Williams Home

Tennessee Williams Home and Welcome Center — Take the tour as a knowledgeable guide explains how this building has been a rectory, a home, a literary landmark, a museum, a gift shop, and a welcome center. The 1875 Victorian, must-see home starts your adventure on a most pleasant note.

Appreciate Architecture Downtown

The Blue House - Columbus MS
©Angela Dowdy

Columbus, Mississippi, has an abundance of magnificent historical antebellum and Victorian buildings dating from 1830 to 1858, like White Arches and Whitehall. The pillars, porches, and intricate design details are a true joy to behold.

Stroll with no particular destination. Explore, take your time and take your camera.

Scrutinize Sculptures at Friendship Cemetery

When ladies decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers here in 1866, it inspired the poet Finch to write “lovingly laden with flowers alike for the friend and the foe.” It may have inspired the beginnings of Memorial Day. One of the most picturesque sights is the Angel of Grief, also called the Weeping Angel.

Get Interactive

Tenn-Tom - Columbus MS
©Angela Dowdy

Tenn-Tom Museum— An impressive museum merits a long name like The Agnes Zaiontz Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Transportation Museum. Here you may meet Executive Director Hope Oakes (pictured above), who uses interactive exhibits and more to explain the important history of the 234-mile man-made “Tenn-Tom.”

Get Artsy at the RAC in Columbus

The Rosenzweig Arts Center uniquely houses the Columbus Arts Council. Featuring regional artists such as Elayne Goodman, Penny Dobson, and Stephen Phillips, the RAC also has a theater and classrooms. This is the best place to see if art warms a part of your heart.

Get an Education

W Gate - Columbus MS
©Angela Dowdy

The first state-supported college for women in America was chartered in 1884 and is named Mississippi University for Women. The “W” began admitting males, by law, in 1982 and offers over 50 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate degrees.   The campus is quite lovely, and faculty are quick to extol the literary virtues of award-winning writer Eudora Welty, their most famous alumna.

Inspect Train Restoration at Probst Park

The Columbus and Greenville Railway (CAGY) began in 1879. Retired #178 locomotive is proudly preserved and parked on permanent display, complete with cars and caboose, at Propst Park. The park is located on South Main Street and has a great softball complex and other amenities.

Follow the Blues Trail in Columbus

Catfish Alley - Columbus MS
©Angela Dowdy

At 4th and Main, view a mural of the heyday of African American activity on Catfish Alley. Imagine the smell of the hot catfish sandwiches once served here. Walk one block south on 4th and read the history of this area’s Blues. Icons like BB King and Louis Armstrong have performed, and local festivals are still held.

Feed Your Inner Foodie

A visit to Columbus means ample opportunity to sample culinary delights. For locally roasted coffee, muffins, and eclectic art, go to Coffee House on 5th. For burgers and cold brew, the undisputed local favorite is Zachary’s.

Where to Stay in Columbus

Looking for where to stay in Columbus? Check out these hotels located in Columbus.

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Is Columbus Worth a Visit?

What does true southern hospitality look like? It looks like Columbus, Mississippi. Warm smiles, twinkling eyes, and helping hands of the likable locals will absolutely touch your heart and win you over. Allow them to elaborate on their history and heritage and show you their art and architecture.

What does southern hospitality smell like? It smells like early morning mist as you stroll along the banks of the Tombigbee River. It smells like the fresh coffee you sip while you plan your day. Or maybe it smells like catfish. Visit Columbus, Mississippi, and then you can decide for yourself.

Author

  • Angela Dowdy

    Angela Dowdy worked in radio broadcasting and counseling until taking disability due to arthritis. She writes on positive aspects of people and places in the southern United States. Her writing has included psychology essays, commercials, poetry, and travel narratives. Her writings have been published in DavesTravelCorner.com, Jitter, The Latest, and Pink Pangea. When not traveling or writing, she can usually be found at home in Florida painting or playing with her dog Gizmo.