Auburn University

Best Things to Do in Auburn, Alabama

BY Jeff Zanotti | August 12, 2022

Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Auburn, Alabama? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Auburn, Alabama?”

I was born and raised in Alabama and, for as long as I can remember, Auburn has been called “the Loveliest Village on the Plains.” This nickname is an obvious nod to the geography — Auburn lies in a mostly flat part of the state by the Alabama/Georgia line — and gives us insight to the Southern charm that inundates all aspects of the city’s culture. In the past, it also referred to Auburn’s size, though calling the fastest-growing city in Alabama a “village” no longer fits. Home to Auburn University, the state’s land grant university, the area once was lined with agricultural areas and cow pastures. Over the last couple of decades, those open spaces have been replaced by sprawling development and exciting new things for the city. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a tight-knit, sports-crazed city that loves their Auburn Tigers, but the new development has created many more options for entertainment and a sneaky good culinary scene. And being just under a two-hour drive from Atlanta, Birmingham and Montgomery, it’s also easily accessible.

Things to Do

Toomers Corner
#1
Toomers Corner

Explore Toomer’s Corner

100 N College St, Auburn, AL, USA

Downtown meets the campus of Auburn University at this famous intersection. Here, students and fans alike used to gather after big victories and celebrate by rolling the intersection’s giant oak trees with toilet paper, making a Southern winter wonderland. While the original trees were poisoned in 2010 when the Alabama-Auburn rivalry antics went too far, the tradition still lives on. The university has deemed a new batch of replacement oak trees off-limits for the TP treatment, but the sturdier nearby magnolia trees are still fair game. Rolling trees or not, do stop in and check out Toomer’s Drugs when you visit. Toomer’s Drugs has been in operation since 1896 and makes great fresh-squeezed lemonades and shakes.

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Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
#2
Opened in 2003, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is a 40,000 sq. ft. facility with a travertine stone exterior, botanical gardens and reflecting pool.

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

901 S College St, Auburn, AL, USA

Located on Auburn’s campus, this museum features six exhibition halls and over 40,000 square feet of interior space. Exhibits span the spectrum of prints, photographs, sculptures and ceramics, but the highlight of the permanent installations is the “Amber Luster Chandelier” by Dale Chihuly. This 17-foot glass sculpture contains over 600 individual pieces of hand-blown glass and weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

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Chewacla State Park
#3
Chewacla State Park

Chewacla State Park

124 Shell Toomer Parkway, Auburn, AL, USA

Chewacla State Park is a bastion of relaxation and recreation. You can kayak or swim in the 26-acre Chewacla Lake. The lake is also filled with largemouth bass, crappie and catfish for fishing enthusiasts. Hikers can tackle the miles of trails and mountain bikers can get in on the action, too. Whichever mode of transit you choose, make sure to check out Chewacla Falls. This 696-acre park also allows for primitive camping and has 36 modern campsites.

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Auburn Tigers Basketball Game
#4
Auburn Tigers Basketball Game

Attend an Auburn Tigers Basketball Game

Auburn Arena, 250 Beard-Eaves Court, Auburn, AL, USA

Football will always be king in Alabama, but the excitement for Auburn’s men’s basketball team over the past few years has been off the charts. Thanks to a revitalized team under head coach Bruce Pearl, who took the job in 2014, the Tigers went to their first-ever Final Four in 2019 as well as a first-ever No. 1 national ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll in January 2022. Alumni now come from all over the state for home games at Neville Arena.

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Tiger Trail
#5
Tiger Trail

Tiger Trail

South College Street & West Magnolia Avenue, Auburn, AL, USA

Think of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but swap the movie starts for great Auburn athletes, coaches and administrators. Starting in 1995, these sidewalks were adorned with engraved granite plaques commemorating standouts in the athletic world. A new class is inducted every year. Those honored include Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley. The trail extends up and down College Street and Magnolia Avenue near Toomer’s Corner.

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Where to Eat

Acre Restaurant
#6
Acre Restaurant

Acre

210 E Glenn Ave, Auburn, AL, USA

This upscale, farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Auburn brings together the deep traditions of Southern cuisine with a modern feel. Its cozy building design makes it appear more like a high-end residence than a restaurant, which adds to its Southern charm. Chef David Bancroft believes in sourcing responsibly farm raised meat for his menu. So try the Butcher’s Board, a charcuterie of four house-cured meats.  

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Bow & Arrow
#7
Bow & Arrow

Bow & Arrow

1977 E Samford Ave, Auburn, AL, USA

Another of Chef Bancroft’s restaurants. Inspired by his Alabama and Texas roots, Bancroft combines traditional Southern barbecue with Tex-Mex fusion. Try their classic pork sandwich or the smoked brisket melt. As the name suggests, this restaurant has a hunting lodge theme; deer busts and other taxidermy decorate the walls. 

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The Hound
#8
The Hound

The Hound

124 Tichenor Ave, Auburn, AL, USA

A classy, dim lit interior creates a fantastic ambience for intimate dining. This restaurant is known best for its bacon and its bourbon. Order a bacon flight and try the daily bacon variations designed by the chef. Think of it like a beer flight you would get at a brewery, but for bacon. You have to love that concept. Wash that down with one (or a few) of their fine bourbon choices. When you’re not in the mood for bacon, go with their bison burger or their signature meatloaf.

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Amsterdam Cafe
#9
Amsterdam Cafe

Amsterdam Cafe

410 S Gay St, Auburn, AL, USA

This is a local favorite for its Southern and seafood classics like shrimp and grits. Several funnily modified Van Gogh prints hanging along the walls inside add a sense of whimsy to your dining experience. It is perfect for lunch, dinner or brunch. It boasts the crab cake and avocado sandwich that was voted as “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.”

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The Depot
#10
The Depot

The Depot

124 Mitcham Ave, Auburn, AL, USA

Repurposed from an old train depot, thus the name, this upscale dining option specializes in seafood and a large wine list. They were the first restaurant in Alabama to receive the James Beard Smart Catch Award, which honors a commitment to serving sustainable and responsibly harvested seafood. Start with the spicy blue crab dip, then move onto the blackened Mauritius redfish. For those on dietary restrictions, they offer various gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan food choices.

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Niffer’s Place
#11
Niffer’s Place

Niffer’s Place

1151 Opelika Road, Auburn, AL, USA

A regular spot for the college students, you will find a wide array of burgers to choose from at this restaurant. They’re known for their corn nuggets, and their Cajun fries are perfect for adding a little spice to your meal. Check out the “Giggle Juice” menu for alcoholic beverages. Fishbowls, which have four types of liquor, are a local favorite.

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Where to Drink

#12

Skybar Cafe

136 W Magnolia Ave, Auburn, AL, USA

The ultimate college hangout bar in Auburn. It’s massive with several different rooms and floors and has a mix of live music and karaoke. If you really want to relive your glory days, join their rotating nightly games like power hour and beer pong. Needless to say, this place is always a party. 

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17-16 Bar
#13
17-16 Bar

17-16 Bar

156 E Magnolia Ave, Auburn, AL, USA

17-16 Bar is perfect if you want to hear live music and play pool. This bar caters to the late-night crowd and stays open until 2 a.m. every night except Sunday. If you don’t want to look like a tourist, you better know the origin of the bar’s name before you go. Let us help you out with that: the name was the final score of one of the greatest football wins against the University of Alabama in Auburn’s history. In 1972, Auburn blocked two punts late in the game and returned them for touchdowns to win the game by the exhilarating one-point lead. 

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Resting Pulse Brewing Co.
#14
Resting Pulse Brewing Co.

Resting Pulse Brewing Co.

714 1st Avenue, Opelika, AL, USA

One of the few breweries in the Auburn/Opelika area, this local family-owned establishment is a must visit. They offer various seasonal craft beers alongside their perennial staples. Many of the beers offered here are traditional brews with a fruit infusion. The bar hosts live music every week from Thursday to Saturday.

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Cerulean Wine Bar
#15
Cerulean Wine Bar

Cerulean Wine Bar

1188 Opelika Road, Auburn, Alabama, USA

This list has seen a couple of firsts for Auburn and me now. Bacon flights and now wine flights.  Cerulean Wine Bar is the first wine bar in Auburn. It describes itself as a tasting room where you can  hang out and order wine by the flight, glass or bottle. The flights are cleverly given names like “You Had Me at Pinot” and “First Rule of Flight Club Is You Don’t Talk About Flight Club.”

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Where to Stay

Collegiate Hotel
#16
Collegiate Hotel

The Collegiate Hotel

205 S Gay St, Auburn, AL, USA

Once a women’s dormitory, this renovated 40-room boutique hotel offers a mixture of past and bright modern present. Its gigantic front porch is perfect for enjoying the early evening and its rooftop bar has tasty cocktails and beautiful views of downtown Auburn. The hotel is within walking distance to downtown and offers complimentary golf cart rides to and from the local shops, bars and restaurants for those who don’t want to walk. In the downstairs lobby the hotel has a collection of Auburn University yearbooks spanning decades so guests can look up relatives or friends that are alumni, or simply take a look back into the past.

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The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center
#17
The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center

The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center

241 S College St, Auburn, AL, USA

Sitting just over a half of a mile from Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, this hotel is a popular choice for college football weekends. It is not light on amenities either. The onsite restaurant, Ariccia Cucina Italiana, has an award-winning culinary team. In the summer, you can relax by their outdoor pool and pool bar. Artwork from native Alabamians cover the walls in the vast open spaces of the hotel.

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Crenshaw Guest House B&B
#18
Crenshaw Guest House B&B

Crenshaw Guest House B&B

371 N College St, Auburn, AL, USA

Embrace the down-home feel of Auburn at this genial lodging. It is a historic bed and breakfast near the heart of Auburn. The main house features four guest rooms that are decorated with antique furniture from 1890, when the house was originally built. Outside the main house there are three modernized rooms and a cottage. All the modern options have a private entrance. Breakfast is served in the main house, though, for all guests regardless of their room choice.

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