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Auburn, Alabama

Great Destination:

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Total Stars:

Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know … ?

  • Auburn is the only U.S. city with a line item in its budget for removing toilet tissue from trees.
  • Auburn University’s football team has participated in 39 bowl games.
  • When founded in 1856, Auburn University was the East Alabama Male College.
  • War Eagle VII, a resident of Auburn’s Raptor Center, participated in the opening ceremonies at the 2002 Olympics.
  • The Alabama-Auburn football rivalry dates from their first game in 1893, attended by 450 fans.

The ‘loveliest village’

Auburn is a company town, but without the smokestacks. The company is Auburn University and the business is education. As a result, the small city (of nearly 50,000 people) in eastern Alabama boasts many of the pleasing amenities associated with a university.

It has, for example, the stately campus buildings, theater, art museums — and sports in a big way. Athletics are very important, not just to students, but to Auburn townies and all Alabamans, as well.

Football is a major event as witness the outsized rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University teams, but Auburn athletes also excel at other sports, as indicated by the school’s many National Collegiate Athletic Association championships, most of them in swimming. The others were in equestrian competitions, football and women’s outdoor track and field.

On the other hand, sports fanaticism is not a requirement for coming to town for a holiday! The city’s nickname, with literary allusions, is revealing: “the loveliest village on the plains.” That moniker is adapted from the first line of Oliver Goldsmith’s 1770 poem, “The Deserted Village,” which says, “Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain.”

In other words, it is easy on the eye, and part of the campus itself has been designated the Auburn University Historic District.

For visitors who are particularly interested in historic architecture or simply settings that recall times before the mid-20th century, it is worth knowing that Auburn abuts a smaller sister city, Opelika, which has designated three of its neighborhoods as historic districts.

Given its location in the U.S. South, Auburn enjoys a sunny and warm climate, with mild winters. The weather is conducive to outdoor activities year round, and a number of recreation areas in or near town provide suitable settings. These include Chewacla State Park, the Donald E. Davis Arboretum and the Harding and Tuskegee lakes.

Finally, the Auburn area is well supplied with golf courses including one that is part of the state’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Attend an Auburn University football game. Be ready to paint the trees with toilet paper if the team wins.
  • Compete, if you want to call it that, in the Amphibious Warrior Mud Run set for spring. This is a charity, so you will buy tickets for the privilege of dealing with hurdles and mud pits — and going home filthy.
  • Overnight in the 696-acre Chewacla State Park. Choices are campsites, primitive and modern, and a few cottages.
  • Run in the Auburn Classic Half Marathon in January.
  • Look for live jazz in town or other live music in Auburn’s nightspots.
  • Slip out of town to Lake Tuskegee where choices include kayaking, sailing and waterskiing. Or get the fishing license and head to Lake Harding.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Come to town for the Auburn CityFest, an outdoor arts and crafts festival held in April.
  • Do your hiking in the 110-acre Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, a nature center devoted to environmental education.
  • If the timing is right, attend a college basketball or baseball game.
  • On any Thursday in June through August, head for the Market at Ag Heritage Park to shop for locally produced foods, including those that can travel home with you. Or, how about goat’s milk soap?
  • Get on a bicycle and use those bike lanes found around the university campus.
  • Get a little serious about historic architecture in the region and take in neighboring Opelika’s three historic districts: Downtown, North Opelika and Geneva Street districts. This stroll will include the renovated and still-active 1896 Lee County Courthouse.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Play golf. One choice, at nearby Opelika, is the Grand National course, which is a stop on the state’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
  • Take in the Auburn University art collection housed in the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art.
  • Bring your camera and take a leisurely stroll through the Auburn University Historic District. The same can be said of the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, which houses more than 500 native plant species, including wildflowers.
  • Attend one of the free Auburn Sundown Concert Series. The events, held in city parks, are set for select Thursday nights in the spring and fall.
  • For a homier experience, stay at a B&B in Auburn or adjacent Opelika.
  • Take the kids to the Surfside Water Park for surefire watery diversions and a picnic.

 

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Auburn and Opelika Tourism Bureau at www.aotourism.com