12 Attractions in Auburn, Alabama

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled in eastern Alabama’s Piedmont region, Auburn is a vibrant college town that offers visitors plenty of things to see and do. Home to Auburn University, the city brims with school spirit and southern charm. Beyond the famous football games and game-day celebrations held on campus, you’ll find historic landmarks, intriguing museums, performing arts venues, outdoor recreation areas, and unique local shops and eateries.

No.AttractionDescription
1Toomer’s CornerA historic site and gathering spot, especially after football victories.
2Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine ArtA museum showcasing a diverse collection of American and European art.
3Kiesel ParkA large park offering recreational facilities and natural beauty.
4Chewacla State ParkA state park known for its trails, waterfall, and lake.
5Auburn UniversityA prestigious university with a beautiful campus and rich history.
6Jordan-Hare StadiumThe tenth-largest stadium in the NCAA, hosting Auburn Football games.
7Southeastern Raptor CenterA rehabilitation center for birds of prey, offering educational programs.
8Telfair Peet TheatreAuburn University’s venue for performing arts, including theater and music.
9Auburn ArenaThe home court for Auburn University basketball teams.
10The HoundA family-owned restaurant and bar known for its American cuisine.
11Auburn ArtA gallery featuring works by local artists and Auburn-themed gifts.
12Grand National Golf CoursePart of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, offering challenging courses.

From Chewacla State Park’s stunning natural scenery to downtown Auburn’s lively Toomer’s Corner, this guide covers 12 top attractions that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Auburn. Delve into the city’s history and culture by exploring its museums and heritage sites.

Marvel at beautiful local parks and gardens perfect for an afternoon stroll. Catch a show at the local theater, take in some art, or shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Read on to discover the best things to see and do around town.

Toomer’s Corner

Name and Location: Toomer’s Corner is located in downtown Auburn at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, next to the Auburn University campus.

History and Significance: Toomer’s Corner has been an Auburn tradition since the 1950s. After Auburn wins, especially in football, fans gather at the intersection to “roll” the trees with toilet paper. The beloved oaks tragically died from herbicide poisoning in 2013 but new trees were planted in 2017.

What to Expect: Expect a lively intersection filled with Auburn fans, students, and visitors. Grab some lemonade at Toomer’s Drugs, take photos by the toilet paper covered trees after a win, and soak in the Auburn spirit.

Visitor Information: Toomer’s Corner is open 24/7 and always free to visit. Be respectful of the trees and help clean up toilet paper after celebrating.

No trip to Auburn is complete without stopping by the iconic Toomer’s Corner downtown. Located at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, this bustling corner has long served as a gathering place for Auburn fans and community members.

Toomer’s first became a gathering spot when Sheldon “Toomer” Toomer opened Toomer’s Drugs on the southeast corner of the intersection in 1896. While the drugstore is sadly no longer there, a later business built over the site echoes the location’s history with its name, Toomer’s Corner Store.

These days, what draws people to Toomer’s Corner are Auburn football victories. To celebrate a win, loyal fans famously drape toilet paper over the two massive, 130-year-old live oak trees anchoring the intersection.

Experiencing the wild post-game toilet paper toss firsthand creates memories that will last a lifetime. Even if a football weekend doesn’t coincide with your visit, you’ll still find students and locals hanging around the lively intersection grabbing coffee, catching up with friends, or picking up Auburn gear from shops like Tiger Rags and Anders Bookstore.

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

Name and Location: The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art is located on South College Street in Auburn, Alabama on the Auburn University campus.

History and Significance: Established in 2003, the museum’s collection includes over 3000 works ranging from the early 19th century to present day, with a focus on American art. The museum hosts exhibitions and programs to enrich the cultural offerings of Auburn University and the community.

What to Expect: Expect rotating exhibits of various mediums showcasing respected artists. Enjoy self-guided audio tours and occasional lectures/performances. The museum shop offers unique gifts and souvenirs.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free and open to the public.

For art aficionados visiting Auburn, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art showcases a stellar permanent collection as well as an array of rotating exhibits spanning various time periods and artistic styles. Opened in 2003, the museum sits beside the 9-acre Dudley Park in the center of Auburn University’s campus.

The museum’s name honors the generous patronage of local arts advocate Jule Collins Smith and her late husband, artist Warren A. “Jack” Smith.

The museum’s permanent collection centers around 19th and 20th century American and European works. Standouts include pieces by prominent American painters like Thomas Hart Benton, Helen Frankenthaler, John Singer Sargent, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Andrew Wyeth. But you’ll also discover works by lesser-known names and regional artists from Alabama.

For a taste of European art, peruse French Impressionist paintings, 18th century British portraits, and Old Master prints. Beyond the permanent galleries, special exhibitions shine a spotlight on various artists and themes spanning ancient to contemporary art in a variety of mediums from painting and sculpture to photography and mixed media. Don’t miss the small gift shop filled with art-inspired souvenirs on your way out.

Kiesel Park

Name and Location: Kiesel Park is a 340 acre recreation area with hiking trails, athletic fields and an 18-hole disc golf course located at 550 Chadwick Lane in Auburn, Alabama.

History and Significance: Originally farmland, Kiesel Park was purchased by the city of Auburn in 1990 and developed into a diverse recreation area for public enjoyment and environmental education programs. It offers free outdoor fun for all ages.

What to Expect: Expect mostly wooded hiking/mountain bike trails and open green spaces with picnic spots. The park hosts community events like food truck rallies. The on-site lodge and pavilion are available to rent.

Visitor Information: Kiesel Park is open daily dawn till dusk. Leashed pets allowed. Most amenities are free but some fields require reservation/fees.

Nestled alongside the winding Chewacla Creek about two miles from Auburn’s downtown, Kiesel Park charms visitors with its family-friendly recreational facilities set amidst tranquil natural scenery.

At the park’s heart sits a peaceful 7-acre lake filled for fishing and dotted with splendid cypress trees dripping in Spanish moss. Visitors come to fish the lake year-round as it brims with largemouth bass, bream, and catfish.

The park also features children’s playground equipment, walking trails circling the lake, a pavilion available to reserve for gatherings, and a short trail leading down to the Chewacla Creek.

Nature lovers delight in spotting turtles sunbathing on logs around the lake’s edge as well as the many species of birds including herons, kingfishers, and the occasional migrating duck or goose.

Free admission and convenient parking make this 76-acre park the perfect spot for an easygoing afternoon picnic or leisurely stroll enjoying lovely natural views unique to the region. Leashed pets are also allowed in the park. So bring the whole family out including your furry friends to delight in a fun and relaxing day discovering Kiesel Park’s pastoral charms.

Auburn University Campus

Name and Location: Auburn University Campus stretches across the city of Auburn, Alabama located about 50 miles east of Montgomery.

History and Significance: Founded in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, Auburn University is one of the largest universities in the South. Its beautiful campus and strong academic programs make it a popular choice for students across Alabama and beyond.

What to Expect: Expect gorgeous Gothic inspired architecture blended with contemporary buildings spread across over 1200 acres. Visitors can tour the campus, attend events at athletic facilities, explore museums, and visit beloved spots like Toomer’s Corner.

Visitor Information: Self-guided walking tours are available year-round during daylight hours. Some buildings require ID access. Free parking is available in designated visitor lots.

No visit to the loveliest village on the plains passes without touring the gorgeous Auburn University campus—all 1,840 acres of it. Auburn’s iconic buildings, beautiful outdoor spaces, and unique landmarks create opportunities for visitors to learn about the history and culture behind Alabama’s first land-grant university.

Founded in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, Auburn welcomed its first female students in 1892 and became Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1899 before adopting its official name in 1960.

Must-see spots on campus for any visitor include Samford Hall, Auburn’s oldest and most recognizable building, whose clocktower chimes ring out to announce the time. Catch a glimpse of the 15-foot tall tiger statue guarding Jordan-Hare Stadium, home to Auburn football games and the raucous student section called The Jungle.

Relax while strolling through The Quad lined with glorious old oaks or meander through tree-shaded Duncan Drive. Of course, pay a visit to Toomer’s Corner to glimpse the live oaks forever associated with Auburn’s celebratory toilet paper tradition.

In addition to soaking up the university atmosphere, visitors can learn more about Auburn’s history by booking a specialized campus tour or visiting the Auburn University Special Collections and Archives housed inside the stately Ralph Brown Draughon Library.

There you can view the actual founding documents of the university along with rotating exhibits drawing from extensive university archives.

Donald E. Davis Arboretum

Name and Location: The Donald E. Davis Arboretum is a 65 acre arboretum and botanical garden located at Auburn University off Lem Morrison Drive in Auburn, Alabama.

History and Significance: Named after Auburn University’s former President Donald Davis, this arboretum was developed in 1986 to showcase native plants and trees of the Southeast and conduct horticultural research. It provides a beautiful natural escape and place for environmental study.

What to Expect: Expect peaceful walking trails passing diverse woody plants, flowers, Landscape gardens, and water features across rolling terrain. Use the audio guide or visit the Patricia Jennings McWhorter Welcome Center for brochures and information.

Visitor Information: Open daily 8am to dusk. Leashed pets and bicycles allowed on trails. Admission is free. Restrooms and water fountains available at the Welcome Center.

As a designated arboretum, Auburn University’s campus dazzles year-round with horticultural diversity. But the crown jewel of Auburn’s public gardens is the Donald E. Davis Arboretum tucked away along Samford Avenue about two miles from downtown.

Encompassing 17 acres south of campus, this stunning arboretum began development in 1985 to display ornamental plants from temperate regions worldwide. Delightful walking paths weave through the arboretum passing over 600 species and cultivars of trees and shrubs showcasing diverse foliage, blooms, and form.

From Chinese fringetrees to dove trees, American smoketrees to Persian ironwoods, and fragrant tea olives to tender camellias, plant lovers find something curious blooming or showing seasonal interest throughout the year in this living tree museum. Benches set amid the plantings make perfect places for reading, picnicking, or simply reflecting quietly surrounded by natural beauty.

Beyond the cultivated arboretum, a section of the park preserves an untouched tract of southeastern forest adding biodiversity. The Davis Arboretum offers free self-guided tours during daylight hours any time of the year making it one of Auburn’s most accessible and rewarding attractions.

Kreher Preserve & Nature Center

Name and Location: Kreher Preserve & Nature Center is a 124 acre zoological and botanical park located at 2222 North College Street in Auburn, Alabama.

History and Significance: Founded in 1994 near Auburn University to protect important green space, Kreher Preserve provides environmental education programs plus wildlife encounters with native rescued raptors, reptiles and other animals.

What to Expect: Expect to see both hardwood forests and open meadow habitats with labeled plants and trees along paved and dirt paths. The Nature Center offers animal exhibits, children’s discovery rooms and event space.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm. Trails open daily dawn to dusk. Admission fees support conservation efforts. Pets prohibited.

Nestled on the southwest outskirts of Auburn, this 122-acre nature preserve and environmental education center protects one of the last undisturbed tracts of old-growth longleaf pine and wiregrass habitat called Red Hill.

Named for its rust-tinted sandy clay soil exposed where the understory remains cleared, this rare ecosystem once dominated the Southeast but now barely exists outside of protected lands like those the Kreher Preserve conserves. Visitors can learn all about longleaf pine savannas and their ecological importance at the center’s exhibits.

But the best part lies in stepping out onto nearly 10 miles of wild hiking trails open year-round to immerse in this unique forest environment. As you walk the preserve’s peaceful paths, watch for rare plants and wildlife that thrive in open longleaf pine habitats, like the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker or unusual carnivorous plants.

Three loop trails of varying length let visitors experience these distinctive habitats more intimately. The preserve also presents special nature programs like night hikes and monthly bird walks guided by naturalists. So take time while in Auburn to reconnect with a landscape little changed from the days before settlers populated this ancient forest zone.

Judge Sanford House Inn & Suites

Name and Location: The Judge Sanford House Inn & Suites is located at 143 N College St in historic downtown Auburn, Alabama close to restaurants and shops.

History and Significance: Built in 1936 as the private residence of Auburn University’s Judge Sanford, this Georgian mansion operated as a makeshift hospital during WWII before being converted into a charming boutique hotel in 2000.

What to Expect: Expect gracious southern hospitality and elegance blended with modern amenities across 11 guest rooms, private cottages and 2-room suites. Unwind in the fireside lounge or courtyard gardens. A full southern breakfast is served daily.

Visitor Information: The Inn is open year-round and requires reservations. Parking and breakfast are complimentary for guests. Check website for rates, policies and event rentals.

History buffs visiting Auburn will delight in a stay at the elegant Judge Sanford House Inn & Suites set downtown amid Turn-of-the-Century homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This restored 1902 Queen Anne mansion built by Auburn judge Herbert Sanford now welcomes guests as a charming bed and breakfast style inn furnishing its rooms with period antiques from the owner’s private collection. Beyond the beautiful historic accommodations, the inn impresses with gracious southern hospitality and sumptuous breakfasts to start each day.

Guests at the Judge Sanford House often remark on the inn’s wonderfully cozy atmosphere and delightful rocking chair front porch—the perfect perch for witnessing downtown scenes unfolding along College Street. Its desirable central location places many local attractions within easy walking distance like Toomer’s Corner or Chewacla State Park while still providing a quiet night’s sleep.

Boutique weddings also frequently take place on the inn’s scenic grounds and in its first-floor Victorian parlor glowing with an elaborate 14-karat gold leaf ceiling. Whether visiting the area as tourists or guests celebrating a special Auburn occasion, visitors adore their stays at this landmark property.

Grand National Golf Club

Name and Location: Grand National Golf Club is a 36-hole championship public golf facility located at 4800 Bent Creek Road in Opelika, about 20 minutes from Auburn, Alabama.

History and Significance: Designed by legendary Robert Trent Jones, Grand National opened in 1992 hosting PGA golf tournaments. Its two scenic 18-hole courses challenge both pros and public players within a relaxing country setting.

What to Expect: Expect immaculate bent grass greens and fairways, driving range, pro-shop and clubhouse dining at Tucker’s Restaurant. Instruction, rentals, memberships and event space available.

Visitor Information: Open daily sunrise to sunset. Reservations required for tee times. Cart rentals, club caddies and fees apply based on season and time. Proper golf attire required.

Since its opening in 1992, Robert Trent Jones Grand National has earned acclaim as Alabama’s top public golf course and as one of America’s most outstanding layouts. Situated on 550 wooded acres along the eastern outskirts of Opelika bordering Auburn, this world-class course impresses pros and amateurs alike with environmentally protected wetlands, mature oaks, and elevated terrain shaping the course’s two challenging 18-hole routings called The Links and The Lake.

Known for tricky doglegs, well-guarded greens, and water hazards on over half its holes, Grand National promises a scenic test of skill for every golfer.

The Links course surprises players with bulkheaded wooden ties reminiscent of seaside British courses guarding the front edges of greens while stacked sod wall bunkers requiring perfectly lofted shots protect pins. The Lake course challenges with water hazards, like the namesake 6-acre lake in play on five holes, necessitating skill in distance and accuracy.

Beyond its 36 championship holes, Grand National entices visitors with a luxury clubhouse offering dining, event venues, pro shop merchandise, and immaculate practice facilities. The club also accommodates overnight guests at a comfort golf villa overlooking the courses.

From newbies learning the game on expertly designed practice greens to tour pros competing in championships, all golfers find enjoyment tackling Trent Jones’ magnificent layouts at Grand National.

Chewacla State Park

Name and Location: Chewacla State Park is a 696 acre park located at 124 Shell Toomer Parkway in Auburn, Alabama, about 9 miles south of downtown.

History and Significance: Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s on old Creek hunting grounds, Chewacla features rugged terrain, thick forests, Lake Chewacla and Little Chewacla Lake for swimming, fishing and paddling opportunities within minutes of Auburn University.

What to Expect: Expect 26 modern campsites, 6 backcountry campsites, picnicking spots, playground, short hiking trails with scenic views, boat launch access and a Canyon Mouth Gorge waterfall cascading into the lake after heavy rains.

Visitor Information: Open daily from 6am-10pm. Day use facilities and campsites available for fees. Pets allowed on leashes in designated areas only. Reservations recommended for campsites.

Set amid wooded hills draped in mountain laurel just 4 miles from bustling downtown Auburn, the 696-acre Chewacla State Park packs an abundance of outdoor recreation into its peaceful boundaries.

As Auburn’s beloved backyard playground, locals flock here year-round to hike shady nature trails, fish the creekside lake, splash in the pool complex, camp overnight, or picnic amid beautiful scenery.

Of Chewacla’s 20 miles of hiking paths, some favorite routes include the 2.5-mile Lakeside Trail encircling the 25-acre lake or the Cascade waterfall trail showcasing unique Alabama geology. Seasonal highlights bring peak spring wildflowers, summer fishing for bass and bream, vibrant fall colors, and even captivating winter views after leaves drop.

Engineers will marvel at the historic 1896 damming of Chewacla Creek backing up the long, narrow lake. While recreation remains the park’s main draw, protecting and interpreting natural features also matters here. Signage helps visitors identify native wildflowers and trees while the CCC-era bathhouse serves as the park’s nature center filled with educational exhibits.

Whether camping lakeside or just visiting for an afternoon, time spent at Chewacla State Park lets everyone better appreciate Alabama’s ecology and natural heritage. Of 82 state parks across Alabama, Chewacla stands as both the oldest and most frequently visited thanks to its outstanding facilities and convenient location minutes from Auburn.

Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center

Name and Location: The Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center is located in historic downtown Auburn at 222 East Drake Avenue.

History and Significance: Named after a dedicated Auburn arts patron, this 1929 building served as the city’s first public high school before being renovated into an arts center showcasing local talent plus hosting classes and cultural events.

What to Expect: Expect rotating visual arts exhibits in the two galleries, occasional live music and theatre performances in the Auditorium, and a variety of arts education programming. Rentals available.

Visitor Information: Free general admission. Open Monday-Friday 9am–5pm. Closed on weekends and city holidays. Some facility use fees apply.

As Auburn and east Alabama’s preeminent home for celebrating performing and visual arts, the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center brings world-class cultural opportunities to locals and visitors alike.

Originally opened in 1993 as the Auburn Arts Association, this nonprofit organization moved into expanded dedicated facilities in 2009 renaming itself to honor longtime arts patron Jan Dempsey.

Visitors entering the sleek modern building will find the main theater hosting musical performances of all genres along with plays and dance productions in an intimate 330-seat hall with perfect acoustics and sightlines.

The arts center also runs a year-round gallery showcasing regional artists across media from paintings to jewelry to ceramics, welcoming over 15,000 visitors annually to its free exhibits. For budding creatives, the center provides a full slate of arts education programming including classes, workshops, summer camps, and outreach initiatives to support aspiring talents.

Music lessons in strings, piano, vocals, drums and more take place in the center’s professional studios. Special events like festival performances, film screenings, guest lectures, and artist demonstrations mean something exciting always happens here. So whether an observer or participant, patronizing the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center allows all visitors to experience Auburn’s flourishing cultural scene at its best.

Auburn Valley Bookstore

Name and Location: Auburn Valley Bookstore is located at 248 East Thach Avenue in downtown Auburn, Alabama close to Toomer’s Corner and Auburn University.

History and Significance: Founded in 1993, Auburn Valley is the largest independent bookstore in the area supplying students and readers with a wide selection of books, gifts, school supplies and Auburn merchandise. They host frequent author events and support community literacy.

What to Expect: Expect two floors brimming with books of all genres, educational toys and games, locally made items, War Eagle memorabilia and cozy spaces to relax plus a cafe serving coffee drinks and quick bites.

Visitor Information: Open Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm and Sundays 11am-5pm. Paid parking available on streets or public decks downtown.

In an era when big box stores and online giants have shuttered countless independent booksellers, Auburn Valley Bookstore persists as a cherished mainstay supplying the community’s literary needs for over 25 years.

Located in a cozy historic bungalow just two blocks west of College Street’s downtown dining and shopping, Auburn Valley offers visitors a personally curated selection of books across genres along with charming atmosphere and dedicated staff.

Beyond well-stocked shelves holding over 20,000 new, used and rare books, regular author events, children’s story times, and knitting circles make this beloved indie bookstore an experience like no other.

Owner Lisa Holton characterizes her passion project store as “Auburn’s Front Porch” where everyone feels welcome to talk books while relaxing in homey rooms filled with potted plants, comfy chairs, and lively conversation.

The perfect spot to purchase unique literary gifts and souvenirs for the bookworm back home, a trip here also supports the local business keeping Auburn’s community spirit thriving.

Hotel at Auburn University

Name and Location: The Hotel at Auburn University is located on South College Street overlooking the Auburn University campus within easy walking distance to downtown shops and restaurants.

History and Significance: Opened in 2008, the Hotel at Auburn University operates on the campus of Auburn University providing upscale accommodations and amenities for university visitors, game-day crowds, families of students, alumni and business travelers.

What to Expect: Expect well-appointed guest rooms and suites with school spirit decor plus flexible event spaces equipped with modern technology for meetings or social events. Unwind at the pool terrace, fire pit lounge or 1856 restaurant.

Visitor Information: As the official Auburn University hotel, reservations are recommended especially on busy football game weekends. Valet parking and custom university packages available.

For visitors aiming to stay steps away from Auburn’s beloved campus amid luxury accommodations, the Hotel at Auburn University situated along South College Street promises ideal proximity paired with four-star hospitality.

Managed by Hilton as part of the chain’s Curio Collection emphasizing unique and upscale properties, this boutique hotel brings a contemporary yet comfortable vibe utilizing reclaimed materials, regional artworks, and nature-inspired hues reflecting east Alabama’s environment.

With only 131 rooms and suites, the hotel delivers attentive service with amenities like the Southern food-focused 1856 restaurant, evening room service, free bicycle rentals to explore campus, a well-equipped fitness studio, and indoor saltwater pool.

Rates often get booked once Auburn football schedules are announced or graduation dates set, so reserve well in advance for stays during peak demand weekends. Along with its fantastic central location and indulgent features perfect for celebrating special occasions, the Hotel at Auburn University also captivates with little touches like the tradition of rolling Toomer’s Corner with guests after a big win.

Conclusion

Between a lively college town spirit, historic southern charms, and abundant opportunities for recreation and culture, visitors find boundless ways to fill their time in Auburn, Alabama. Attend a football game weekend or catch a groundbreaking exhibit at the art museum. Go hiking among wildflower-strewn trails or shop for the perfect souvenir downtown.

Marvel at soaring longleaf pines or learn local history while strolling the gorgeous university campus. However you choose to experience it, Auburn offers warm southern welcomes to guests seeking heritage, nature, arts, cuisine, or sporting thrills during their stays.

Leave a Comment