Located just 15 minutes northeast of Auburn, the growing city of Opelika, Alabama is home to approximately 30,000 people, offering a unique blend of historic charm, modern convenience, forward thinking, and southern hospitality. At Lowder New Homes, we understand the challenges involved with settling into a new community, especially figuring out what to do with your “downtime.” The good news is there is plenty to see and do in the Auburn-Opelika area if you know where to look. If you have recently moved to this vibrant area, or if you’re planning to relocate, we’ve prepared this locals’ guide to help you get oriented. Here’s a taste of what there is to do in Opelika, Alabama.
1. Get Moving at Opelika’s Golf Courses and Sports Facilities
For a city its size, Opelika has a remarkably broad community athletics program to help kids get active and learn self-confidence. The city currently offers classes and league play for various age groups in baseball (including T-ball), softball, basketball, football (flag and tackle), soccer, cheerleading, karate, tennis, track & field, gymnastics (trampoline/tumbling) and swimming. No matter your child’s interests, Opelika offers a way to learn a sport and get involved.
Not to be outdone, the grown-ups have plenty of opportunities to get active, as well. Golf enthusiasts have lots to be excited about here; the sprawling Grand National Golf Course, one of the premier courses along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, is right here in Opelika. There are at least three other courses in addition to the Grand National Golf Course. Nearby Auburn also offers several adult sports leagues, including softball, kickball, and soccer. And as an added bonus, Auburn also has public access pickleball courts in several locations, available for free play or by reservation for the entire family.
2. Opelika is a Great Area to Enjoy Nature
If you don’t particularly feel like playing sports, the natural beauty surrounding Opelika still gives you opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature. Aside from numerous city parks around town, nearby Chewacla State Park is one of the most popular places in the area to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, camping or a picnic with the family. For a more structured and educational nature experience, be sure to check out Kreher Preserve & Nature Center, located between Auburn and Opelika. This natural preserve allows you to explore seven different natural habitats over six total miles of hiking trails, accompanied by all sorts of year-round educational programs to enhance the experience.
3. Show Your Team Spirit
College sports is huge in eastern Alabama, thanks in part to the vast athletic program at Auburn University. There’s Tiger football in the fall, men’s and women’s basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring — not to mention soccer, golf, track, volleyball, and a slew of others. Whatever sports you’re into, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to attend games and meets and cheer on great teams and athletes.
4. Immerse Yourself in Opelika History and Culture
Historic landmarks and architecture abound throughout this area, so if you’re a history buff, you’ll come across plenty of wonderful surprises in your explorations. Not to be missed is the famous Salem-Shotwell Covered Bridge in Opelika Municipal Park, one of the area’s most recognized historic landmarks. You’ll also want to check out the Museum of East Alabama, located in downtown Opelika, which has hundreds of unique local artifacts on display.
For artistic and cultural inspiration, it’s worth taking a short drive to Auburn University to browse the large collection at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art or take in one of the diverse musical, drama, or dance concerts at the Gogue Performing Arts Center that takes place year-round.
5. Fun, Food & Drink in Downtown Opelika, Alabama
Opelika has gone to great lengths to preserve the historic charm of its Main Street district while encouraging new businesses to thrive. From the outstanding treasures you’ll find at Angel’s Antiques and Flea Mall to the milkshakes and hot dogs at Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar, you’ll find plenty to see and do right here in downtown Opelika.
Food & drink options are especially rich! “Test the spirits” at Opelika’s local distillery — John Emerald Distilling Company — or at one of two craft breweries — Red Clay Brewing Company and Resting Pulse Brewing Company. Enjoy local eateries like Niffer’s on the Tracks or Zazu Gastropub. Browse the numerous original boutiques and antique stores for hidden treasures. And be sure to check the calendar for community events like Opelika Main Street on Tap, On the Tracks wine-and-cheese tasting trail, and the annual Christmas in a Railroad Town celebration. You’ll quickly see that downtown is the heart of the community, and you’ll have plenty of chances to meet your neighbors.
Lowder New Homes is proud to be a preferred builder in the new subdivision of Camelot in Opelika, Alabama, with new construction homes starting in the low $300s. We’d love the opportunity to welcome you to Opelika and help you select your new home. To learn more, give us a call at 334-270-6789.