June 06, 2019 Allison Duke
Woman Golfing

Things to Do in Auburn, AL: 4 Hidden Gems

Historic Auburn, Alabama, is a rapidly growing community in the heart of SEC country. We’re known for our college athletics, lively downtown, world-class culinary scene, and, of course, Auburn University. But scattered throughout our college town are several hidden gems that only locals and savvy travelers know about, including our very own Piccolo, a trendy live jazz lounge. The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center hosts hundreds of events, retreats, and celebrations each year, effectively alluring thousands of out-of-towners to downtown Auburn annually. Upon arrival, you’ll quickly discover our luxurious amenities, nearby eclectic shopping, world-class restaurants, and hip bars, but we also recommend venturing to these four lesser-known things to do in Auburn!

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

Auburn is widely considered the premier university in Alabama for several reasons, including the astonishingly beautiful Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Smith Museum is home to nearly a dozen unique exhibitions ranging from jaw-dropping outdoor sculptures to award-winning photography. You’ll stroll past artworks from hundreds of artists spanning centuries inside this contemporary, 40,000-square-foot building which is highlighted by its smooth limestone exterior. An absorbing, retrospective visit to the Smith Museum is gradually becoming one of the top things to do in Auburn.

Grand National

Despite being one of the most beautiful stops along Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf TrailGrand National remains a hidden gem among casual tourists. This world-class golf trail spans 11 cities and 26 courses. Grand National is a 54-hole jewel set along Lake Saugahatchee in neighboring Opelika, AL. Eighteen holes of golf remains one of the most popular things to do in Auburn as there are several excellent courses in the area. We recommend choosing between Grand National’s three unique courses (Lake, Links, and Short Course); or just play all three during your well-deserved getaway to our luxurious Auburn hotel!

Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar

A small, walk-up milkshake and hot dog joint in Opelika has stood the test of time. Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar remains an Alabama staple for locals, but only savvy travelers know about this tiny shack, located six miles from the top-rated hotels near Auburn University. Their milkshakes are still made one at a time using an old-fashioned ice cream machine, while the footlong chilidogs utilize a chili recipe that’s been passed down through generations. A visit to Mrs. Story’s is an unforgettable experience all by itself, but the yummy treats are the main event!


Exploring historic downtown remains one of the most popular things to do in Auburn. Seven nights a week, travelers from across the South wander along College Street and Magnolia Avenue in search of the best shops, restaurants, and bars. After enjoying shrimp capellini or chicken parmigiano and a bottle of award-winning wine at Ariccia Cucina Italiana, slip over to Piccolo, our relaxing, elegant live jazz lounge. Piccolo, which is connected to Ariccia, has live jazz on Friday and Saturday nights. Enjoy a signature cocktail while a house band whisks you away to a simpler time. To book a well-deserved mid-summer getaway to The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, please give us a call today at 1-800-228-2876, or book now online at!