The city of Augusta lies along the banks of the Savannah River and is both the second largest and second oldest city in Georgia with an estimated population of nearly 200,000 residents. It is located 150 miles east of Atlanta and approximately two and a half hours from the Atlantic beaches as well as the scenic Appalachian Mountains. According to a local resident survey done in 2008, some of the top reasons for living in Augusta included the weather, optimal medical facilities, and being a comfortable-sized community.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
In Augusta, the housing options are as varied as the community itself. Some of the areas within the city are:
- Downtown Augusta is the most vibrant part of Augusta. Shopping downtown means stops at such boutiques as Merry's Trash and Treasures, Nicole Madison's Fine Furniture and Antiques, Trends and Traditions and Art on Broad. While shopping in the downtown district, visitors will want to eat at any one of dozens of local restaurants, including Broad Street's 1102 Downtown Bar and Grill, Casa Blanca, Silla Cafe, Mocha Delights or the Broad Street Market.
- The Riverwalk District is one of the area's most popular attractions. There is a walking path that meanders along the Savannah River, passing museums, shops and restaurants. The walkway features a Japanese garden and waterfall at 10th Street, commemorative historical plaques and a sundial where one can stand on the month of the year and that person's shadow points to the time of the day.
- Augusta's Summerville District is famous for the historic homes of the area's elite. Among the mansions are the John Millege House, the Queen Anne style Bryan Cumming House, the Governor Charles Jones Jenkins House and Salubrity Hall, built in 1928. While most of the homes in Summerville are private residences, there are some that are open to the public, including the Appleby Library, The Partridge Inn, the Stephen Vincent Benet House, The Chafee House, Harper House, High Gate and the U.S. Arsenal.
Shopping in Augusta offers a variety of options, whether you are looking for a mall experience or want to meander through small shops and boutiques. Augusta is home to the region's largest shopping mall, the Augusta Mall, as well as the accessible Surrey Center. Nearby Artists' Row, with its various art galleries, studios, and exhibits, makes for a fun shopping venture.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Augusta's prominent industries include light manufacturing, an expanding service sector, and the medical industry.
Augusta's Medical District is estimated to have a $2 billion annual impact on the city, making it the largest industry in the city. It employs more than 25,000 medical professionals at the following facilities:
- Doctors Hospital
- Medical College of Georgia Medical Center
- University Hospital
- Georgia Radiation Therapy Center
- Augusta Sickle Cell Center
- Specialty Select Hospital
- Norwood VA Medical Center
- Trinity Hospital
Other top employers located in Augusta include:
- Savannah River Site, referred to as the "bomb plant" by locals, is a Department of Energy nuclear facility
- The U.S. Army Signal Center at Fort Gordon
- Fairway Outdoor Advertising
There are several post-secondary schools in and around Augusta. These include:
- Augusta State University, a public university, is the oldest institution in the state of Georgia. The school enrolls more than 6,000 students and offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees in over 50 programs of study.
- Augusta Technical College is a two-year college, offering Associate of Applied Science degrees.
- Medical College of Georgia is a public medical research university located in downtown Augusta.
- Paine College is a historically black liberal arts college in the city.
- Savannah River College
- Georgia Military College
- University of Phoenix satellite campus
- Cambridge College
- Troy University
Augusta is best known by sports fans for the Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the important Masters Tournament, one of the four PGA major tournaments in men's professional golf.
Sports fans in Augusta cheer on their college sports teams and also support two minor-league athletic teams: in baseball, the Augusta Green Jackets (a Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants), and in football, the Augusta Colts (a member of the American Indoor Football Association).
- The James Brown Statue at the Augusta Common is located on Broad Street directly across from the Augusta Common, between 8th and 9th Streets. The Arts Council of Augusta has installed a security camera that is directed at the statue. There are directions on the statue for visitors to dial a number into their cell phones and pose, and the camera will take a photograph to be posted on the council's website.
- Artists' Row is a collection of more than two dozen art spaces, galleries and studios. Located on Broad Street, visitors can view galleries such as Art on Broad, Artistic Perceptions, Gallery on the Row, Schweitzer Art Glass and Zimmerman Studio. Artist's Row also features related shops, including Blue Magnolia, Cloud Nine and Elduet's Treasures. On the first Friday of every month, many artists open their workshops and offer demonstrations.
- The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art was founded in 1937. Located in a converted mansion, the art institute offers exhibitions by local and national artists, quarterly classes and workshops in such disciplines as drawing, painting, photography and sculpture, and also sponsors special events such as artists' markets, receptions and festivals.
- The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area is an historical district run by the National Park Service. It includes a three level canal with two head gates, a canal dam and a stone quarry. There are five textile mills along the lower end of the first level that date from the late 1800s. One of the mills, the Enterprise, now houses exhibits and artifacts related to the canal and its history.
- Augusta Golf and Gardens is home to the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. The grounds include Butterfly and Aquatic gardens, a rose garden, and The Hall itself, which has a 55,000 square foot main building with a rotunda, interactive displays, a gift shop and a 1,500 seat theater.
- The Augusta Museum of History was founded in 1937 and includes more than 60,000 artifacts relating to the area that date from the Paleo-Indian period. The museum collections include prehistoric artifacts, quilts and furniture, weapons and Civil War artifacts. The exhibits related to transportation include a 1914 steam locomotive, a trolley car and a Model T automobile.
- Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson was built in 1859, and occupied by the Wilsons from 1860-1870. The museum offers tours and travelling exhibitions. The house is available to rent for special occasions, such as showers, parties, weddings and luncheons.
- The Fort Discovery Science Center offers visitors an interactive exploration of science. The center features such exhibits as an indoor lightning storm and a high-wire bike. There is 128,000 square feet of exhibition and attraction space.
- The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History celebrates the life of Lucy Craft Laney, who was born eleven years before the end of slavery and was an educator who started the first school in Augusta for black children. The museum hosts many events, such as exhibitions, luncheons and a summer camp for youth. It is located in the Laney-Walker District, and is housed in the former home of Miss Laney herself.
- The monthly First Friday festival at Artists' Row features street vendors and local bands. The area's galleries and studios remain open these evenings to debut new works.
- The Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival is a full weekend of food, crafts, and music that is great for kids.
- Mayfest is free music festival featuring gospel, jazz, and rock 'n' roll.
- The Westobou Festival is a 10-day event encompassing downtown Augusta, including Augusta State University and Paine College. Each day and evening features an array of dance, musical, theatrical, and visual arts events showcasing the area's wealth of local and regional artistic talent.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Imperial Theatre is located at 749 Broad Street and is home to the Augusta Ballet, the Augusta Opera and the Augusta Players. The theater also hosts concert events and film screenings. Event seasons overlap year-round and events are scheduled monthly.
- Le Chat Noir Theatre is an 80-seat, off-Broadway style theatre, cocktail lounge, & cabaret.
- The Bell Auditorium is a venue for national tours.
Music Halls and Performances:
- James Brown Arena is an 8,500-seat arena for concerts and special events. It is also the venue for Augusta Colts indoor football games.
- Sky City is a 500 capacity live music venue in downtown Augusta.
- Local professional artists work with the Augusta Symphony, Augusta Choral Society, and Augusta Players.
The area's local newspapers are:
- The Augusta Chronicle
- Augusta Medical Examiner
- The Metro Courier
- Metro Spirit