You’ve moved in, you’ve attended your first college classes, and you’re making friendships that will last a lifetime — and it’s only been a week! Freshman year of college is indescribable, and everyone has their own unique experiences. But one thing everyone should have in common during their first year of college is trying new things.

Luckily, you’ll find an abundance of new things to try in Macon. During my freshman year at Mercer, I remember being amazed at the variety of activities available. Here are my top seven recommendations.

1. Spend time at Amerson River Park

Amerson River Park is just a five-minute drive from Mercer’s campus but will make you feel like you’re a world away. Need a break from the urban feel of Macon? Take a walk on the trails at Amerson, or grab some friends and tube the river. Grab an inflatable tube of your choice at a store like Walmart or Dollar General and make your way down the Ocmulgee. The portion of the river that runs along Amerson takes about an 1 1/2 to two hours to travel down, and it’s open for floating until mid-September. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

2. Dine at local restaurants

Supporting small businesses is a great way to get to know your community. In downtown Macon alone, we have 55-plus different restaurants. Whatever you are craving, you will find it. Some of my favorite local spots are La Bella Morelia, Oliver’s Corner Bistro and Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen!

3. Go to a Macon Mayhem Game

Before attending Mercer, I had never been to a hockey game. Growing up in the South, I watched football and baseball religiously but wasn’t exposed to hockey. In Macon, we are lucky to have our own hockey team, the Mayhem! From themed nights like hippie or military appreciation to special college nights, you are guaranteed a good time with this crazy team. The season runs from November to March.

4. Hear live music

Southern rock ‘n’ roll was born in Macon in the 1960s, and those music roots have remained strong ever since. Nightly, you can see live bands and musicians at several venues throughout the city. From hip-hop to rock to country bands, there is always a great sound coming out of Macon. You can learn more about Macon’s music history from Rock Candy Tours and visits to sites like the Museum at Capricorn and The Big House Museum.

5. Climb at Macon Rocks

Calling all fitness fanatics! Macon Rocks, our newest gym, is just for you. Grab a day pass and climb at a variety of angles. With climbing spaces that ranges from slab and overhang to dihedrals and corners, you will have fun and get a good workout in. Plus, there is a student discount.

6. See the holiday lights

Last year, Macon was featured in Forbes magazine as one of its “warm weather destinations that celebrate the holiday season in style,” and that is an understatement! Annually, downtown Macon is transformed into the set of a Hallmark movie with over 500,000 Christmas lights. You can even meet Santa and his reindeer. The lights kick off on Nov. 26 and run through New Year’s Day. The Mercer campus also gets decked out in holiday style, as Mercer Village and Stadium Drive become a winter wonderland.

7. Try out Barks N Brews

If you don’t love dogs, you’re missing out. Downtown Macon is now home to a dog park bar called Barks N Brews, and you are guaranteed to have a good time every time you go. If you have your own fur baby, bring them out to play in the huge dog park. But everyone is welcome here, whether you own a dog or not.


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