Have you been Uptown in Downtown?

Photo by Patrick A. Albright, McoE Photographer

Commentary by Christopher J. Warner, MCoE Public Affairs /

FORT BENNING, Ga. – Have you ever been sitting around the house wondering what there is to do during after-duty hours in the Fort Benning and Columbus, Georgia area? My wife and I always have this conversation when Friday comes around.

I have lived in the Columbus and Fort Benning area on and off during my career, both uniformed and as a civilian, for over 15 years, and I didn’t really know what amazing places existed in the area.

It definitely isn’t the Columbus I knew back when I attended Basic Training or when I was assigned to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

Recently I had an eye-opening experience with Leadership Columbus, which is a program sponsored by the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Columbus Alumni, that allowed me to see in a new light what is affectionately called “Uptown” by locals.

During our recent arts and culture tour of Broadway Street and the Uptown area of historic downtown Columbus, I got to explore the National Naval Civil War Museum, the Columbus Museum, the Frank R. Martin Pedestrian Bridge, the RiverWalk, the RiverCenter for Performing Arts, the Springer Opera House, Columbus State University’s Theatre, and a few local restaurants and shops.

I was astonished that all these places were in my own backyard, and I hadn’t taken advantage of them.

I am not big on crowds or loud places, but, surprisingly enough, Uptown offers something for everyone. Whether it is family-friendly places, like the White Water experience on the Chattahoochee River, or adult social spots, like the Loft or Cannon Brew Pub, there is something for everyone.

A great place my daughter discovered through the Columbus Youth Running Club is the Splash Park, which is along the RiverWalk at the 1100 block. How cool is that? You can enjoy a good run or walk with the family, then cool off at the Splash Park while overlooking the beautiful Chattahoochee River.

If you haven’t visited Uptown lately, I encourage  you to take a trip and explore the area. See what favorite places your family and friends can find and enjoy the arts and culture our very own Uptown has to offer. You might find something that sparks a new passion or interest in something you might not have otherwise known about.

Share your experiences and recommendations with us @FortBenningMCoE so other Fort Benning Soldiers and Families can get to know their community.

Chris Warner is a student in the Leadership Columbus program and he works as a public affairs specialist for the Fort Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence Public Affairs Office.

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