Years ago, when I was stationed at Fort Benning, Columbus was a typical military town - pawn shops, dance clubs, cut rate auto dealers, tattoo parlors, etc. Phenix City, Alabama, directly across the river, was even worse, and the entire city was off limits. When I came back to the area after 50 years, what a surprise I had. Even though Fort Benning has greatly expanded over the years, Columbus, too, has grown.
All the old cotton gins along the river that were mostly abandoned years ago are either restored or in the process of being restored. A walking trail winds along the Chattahoochee River, linking the university and the convention center and the arts building. In the far background the building by the water tower has been developed into trendy condominiums.
With a gym and future shops planned for the ground floor, the condos on the three upper floors are in high demand. The original foot deep walls and cement floors and exposed pipes add to the charm of the units. Most have balconies overlooking the river and park.
The restaurant at the Marriott has a large outdoor patio eating area, so it is one of our favorite lunch spots. The brick street beside the hotel has majestic old Magnolia trees in a row in the median.
The performing arts building always has a good slate of entertainment.
Different sculptures grace nearly every corner of the core downtown area.
While there still may be a "military zone", the downtown area has definitely changed into a trendy financial and college district.