Your downtown Macon guide

Your downtown Macon guide
Photo Credit: Emily Farlow / Cluster Staff

Being new to any town can be difficult, especially as a student. Along with navigating new classes, activities, meeting new people there is also learning the town itself. The Cluster will bring you a series of articles focusing on different hotspots in Macon according to their geography and service category. In this issue, our Opinions Editor, Erica O’Neal, covered places within Mercer Village that one can use- here we present to you just some of the must known places of Downtown Macon.


Rookery- A Macon Tradition since 1976, this local eatery was visited by Harrison Ford and other stars of the movie “42”. They are best known for their various hamburgers with everything from their signature black angus Rookery Burger to the Jimmy Carter Burger with peanut butter and applewood smoked bacon to even the Widespread Diner Burger: double stacked patties, American cheese, sautéed onions, bread and butter pickles topped with mustard and Coca Cola ketchup.

Bearfoot Tavern- This is one of the Hotplates Restaurant Group locations, also including Tic Toc Room, Ginger, and Kashmir; Bearfoot features personal TVs in each booth as well as large high definition TVs. Their tacos are a local favorite along with the large selection of draft and bottled beers.

Roasted- This downtown establishment has you covered for coffee, food and nightlife.  Stop in anytime for your caffeine fix or come in for their Grown Up PB&J featuring peanut butter and jelly in between three waffles. Owner Nick Rizkalla is also a Mercer graduate. For entertainment, Roasted has been known to host impromptu afternoon d.j. sessions featuring the likes of Macon’s own Shawty Slim- tour d.j. for B.o.B. Roasted has also covered everything from bluegrass bands to karaoke nights.

Downtown grill- For an evening out with friends or a date, class it up at Downtown Grill. This restaurant has been home to two previous restaurants including Leo’s, which was where Gregg Allman proposed to Cher.


The Hummingbird Stage and Taproom- “The Bird”, as locals and those here long enough alike call it, has been home to live music and entertainment since opening in 2005. Weekly specials and events include: $1 well drinks on Mondays, Team Trivia every Wednesday, $8 bottomless mugs on Thursdays as well as all you drink PBR and High Life, and live music each weekend. The Hummingbird is closed on Sundays except for private events.

The Crazy Bull- This new entertainment facility will be opening in the near future on Second Street. Boasting three levels upon completion, The Crazy Bull will feature mostly country music with some rock and roll acts. It will even be available for private rentals. Rizkalla states “ we have it all! From coffee and sandwiches to live bands and karaoke!”

Cox Capitol Theatre- The Capitol Theatre opened in 1916 as the premier theater for Macon, but was closed in 1976 and left in disrepair until renovation began in 2003. It would reopen in 2006 as the Cox Capitol Theatre and is available for use now as an event facility as well as for various performances. Edwin McCain will perform here on October 24th.

Grand Opera House- The Grand Opera House has had the likes of Harry Houdini on its stage as well as the Macon Symphony Orchestra. This is where you can catch not just the symphony but also the yearly performance of the Nutcracker and past Broadway shows. This year’s schedule includes Memphis, Bring It On: The Musical, The Ten Tenors: On Broadway and many more.

Macon Arts Alliance- The Macon Arts Alliance’s Gallery is located on First Street. Each First Friday their latest show is launched with a preview party.

The 567 Center for Renewal- This space on Cherry Street in downtown offers everything from art lessons to music events and even hosts New City Church. Those looking to start a new business can even take advantage of their business incubator with discounted office spaces and mentoring programs.


Many times Macon is referred to as the “buckle of the Bible Belt” due to the abundance of churches available. Downtown Macon covers nearly every denomination with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Christ Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Churches, Mulberry Methodist, First Presbyterian Church, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox, First Baptist, Centenary Methodist, and more. Outside of the Christian faith two Jewish synagogues are also downtown: Temple Beth Israel on Cherry Street and Congregation Sha’arey Israel on First Street.

For those who do not wish to walk downtown or do not have their own vehicle, Mercer has partnered with NewTown Macon to provide a trolley program in the evenings. You can find the trolley operating hours here:

Another draw for students to come downtown is First Friday, an event that takes place each first Friday of the month. Many businesses stay open late with some restaurants even hosting live bands on their patios. Macon Arts Alliance’s Communications Director Jonathan Dye states “ Mercer students know about First Friday. They come downtown for lots of great events, and Macon Arts Alliance should be the place to start on First Friday. Our opening receptions are held from 5 until 8. They’re fun and they’re free. Visiting the gallery is the perfect way to start a Friday date night, or just to begin the evening with a group of friends to walk around and check out downtown. With original art by local artists, there’s no place like it, and it’s uniquely Macon.”