|Located just 40 miles south of Atlanta is Griffin-Spalding, a destination rich in history and steeped in small-town charm. This busy, yet uncrowded destination has just the right amount of quirkiness to pique the interest of visitors and locals alike. The once railroad boomtown has evolved into a diverse community offering entertainment, rich history, stunning architecture, leisure recreation, and more. Visitors to the area are greeted with Southern hospitality and that’s only the beginning. There’s so much to discover in Griffin-Spalding! Here is a sampling of what Griffin-Spalding has to offer. |
Top 7 Reasons to Visit Griffin-Spalding in 2022
1. New economic development
There is a movement afoot in the Griffin-Spalding area. Natives and newcomers are working together like never before, spurring new economic growth in downtown Griffin and surrounding Spalding County, making this once railroad boomtown destination new again. Since its founding in 1840, the Griffin-Spalding area has evolved many times over. Much has changed from its days of bustling railroads, a major cotton distribution mecca and a leading textile manufacturing center; now, the area is finding a new identity as an eclectic, must-see destination ideal for getaways.
2. Diverse heritage and history
Griffin is undeniably rich in history and the area’s supportive community has served as a launching pad for many natives, turned trailblazers, dating back to the 1800s. Meet one of Griffin’s earliest greats, Dox Thrash, an innovative and influential artist who was born and raised in Griffin. At the age of 15, he left Griffin to head north and after serving in World War I, he turned his focus to fine printmaking. Thrash later co-invented the process of carborundum mezzotint, a printmaking technique. He used this technique as his primary medium for most of his career and created some of his greatest works using it.
Another trailblazer who called Griffin home is Janet Harmon Bragg, the first African American woman to hold a commercial pilot’s license. As a child growing up in Griffin, she enjoyed birdwatching and was fascinated by aerodynamics which later led to her pursuing her dream of aviation. A large, vibrant mural honoring her can be seen in downtown Griffin. She later lived in Illinois and Arizona and was enshrined in the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000. Earlier this year, she was also inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. Bragg remained an actively licensed pilot for 35 years and logged over 2000 flying hours.
3. Small town vibe
There’s something to be said for that hometown, friendly vibe often found in small towns and that’s just what visitors feel when coming to Griffin-Spalding. Folks are genuine, interesting and one never knows what kind of charming quirkiness is around the next corner. While new businesses are opening, existing favorites remain steady fixtures within the community. An overwhelming sense of togetherness and community is felt in every nook and cranny of Griffin-Spalding. Sometimes it’s hard to believe this busy yet unhurried place is less than an hour outside the bustling city of Atlanta.
4. Engaging architecture
It’s easy to slip back in time while admiring the abundant historic architecture in Griffin-Spalding. During the mid-1800s, the Greek Revival building style steadily increased in popularity in the U.S., spreading throughout the country from Philadelphia southward and eventually making its way down the Atlantic seaboard. As a result, Griffin-Spalding has a large number of historic residential and commercial properties. There are eight properties, six of which are privately occupied, on the National Register including a church, a library now used by the Griffin-Spalding County School System, an apartment building, a school building built in 1870 that’s still in use and the Old Medical College Historic Area, now used as apartments.
5. Eclectic eateries, bars and shopping
Offering a wide variety of cuisines, visitors to Griffin-Spalding are sure to find something to delight their taste buds! From homestyle Southern cooking at Louise’s Cafeteria and local favorites at Bank Street Café to hot wings and cold brews at Uncle Bobby’s Wings and Beer to fresh-caught seafood at Fish Tales and steaks at J. Henry’s, there’s something for everyone on the menu in Griffin-Spalding. “Grandmillenials” will gush over The Emerald Chandelier, a fascinating tearoom housed in a circa 1870 home full of eclectic home décor. Patrons will enjoy noshing on delicious bites in a cozy, welcoming setting. Created out of the owner’s love for the unusual and sentimental, it’s a must-see inside and out. (Louise’s Cafeteria, 426 East Solomon Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223; 770-412-9400; Bank Street Café, 126 South Hill Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223; 678-692-8453; Uncle Bobby’s Wings and Beer, 1618 North Expressway, Griffin, Georgia 30223; 678-688-8533; Fish Tales 1587 West McIntosh Road, Griffin, Georgia 30223; 678-688-8527; The Emerald Chandelier, 204 West Poplar Street, Griffin, Georgia 30224;
770-733-5921; J. Henry’s Restaurant, 110 West College Street, Griffin, GA 30224; 678-688-1769)
6. Leisure sports and recreation
Griffin is home to 27 parks ideal for leisure sports, recreation and simply admiring the area’s natural beauty. Known for its expansive pickleball facility boasting 18 courts, it’s no surprise Griffin plays host to the annual Georgia Pickleball Games at Wyomia Tyus Olympic Park. The annual event draws pickleball enthusiasts and athletes from every corner of Georgia and beyond. Wyomia Tyus Olympic Park, 1301 Cowan Road, Griffin, Georgia 30223
Additionally, visitors enjoy learning about Griffin’s great athletes at the Griffin-Spalding Athletic Hall of Fame. Located on Memorial Drive in Griffin, the Hall of Fame features many of Griffin’s accomplished local athletes including three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Wyomia Tyus. Wyomia was the first person to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 100-meter dash. Growing up in Griffin, her father, a dairy farmer in the area, encouraged her to participate in sports and the rest is history! Others featured in the Hall of Fame include Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee/Dallas Cowboy Rayfield Wright, Atlanta Falcon great Jessie Tuggle and Chicago Bears superstar and track star, Willie Gault. The Griffin-Spalding Athletic Hall of Fame is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Griffin-Spalding Athletic Hall of Fame, 841 Memorial Drive, Griffin, Georgia, 30224.
7. A thriving art scene, interesting entertainment and iconic events
Just take a drive through Griffin-Spalding and it is evident that the art scene is alive and well in this quaint town. Many murals sprinkled throughout the downtown area pay tribute to the town’s history and make for interesting photo opportunities for all who visit. Performing arts take center stage too. From performances at Camelot Theatre to seasonal shows performed by the Griffin Ballet Theatre, there’s no shortage of entertainment in the way of performing arts. Camelot Theatre, 205 Spalding Drive, Griffin, Georgia 30223; 678-469-2913; Griffin Ballet Theatre, 111 North Hill Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223; 770-228-1306
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