Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which had a 2011 estimated population of 301,439, according to the US Census. It joins with the Auburn, Alabama metropolitan area to form the Columbus, Georgia-Auburn, Alabama Combined Statistical Area, which had a 2011 estimated population of 466,089. It is the third largest city and fourth largest metropolitan area in the state, and also the 123rd largest city in the United States. Columbus lies 100 miles (160 km) south of Atlanta. Fort Benning, a major employer, is located south of the city in Chattahoochee County. The city is home to museums and other tourism sites. The area is served by the Columbus Airport. The current mayor is Teresa Tomlinson, who was elected in November 2010. The city was ranked number 4 on the 100 Best U.S. Cities to live by Best Life Magazine.
Columbus is served by one major indoor shopping mall, Peachtree Mall, which is anchored by major department stores Dillard's, Macy's, and J.C. Penney. The total retail floor area is 821,000 square feet (76,300 m2). Major strip malls include Columbus Park Crossing, which opened in 2003, and The Landings, which opened in 2005. Columbus is also served by The Shoppes At Bradley Park, a Lifestyle Center. MidTown contains two of the city's early suburban shopping centers (the Village on 13th and St. Elmo), both recently renovated and each offering local shops, restaurants, and services.
Parks and recreation:
Columbus is home to upwards of fifty parks, four recreation centers, four senior centers and parks, and Standing Boy Creek State Park, a 1,579 acres (6.39 km2) Georgia state park created by the executive order issued by then-Governor Sonny Perdue on January 21, 2004. It offers swimming, boating (on Lake Oliver), camping, hiking, and hunting.
Points of interest:
- Founded in 1953, the Columbus Museum (accredited by the American Association of Museums) contains much artifacts on both American art and regional history, displayed in both its permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.
- Columbus is home to the National Civil War Naval Museum, a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) facility that opened in 1962 and features two original American Civil War military vessels, uniforms, equipment and weapons used by the Union and Confederate navies.
- The Coca-Cola Space Science Center opened in 1996 for the purpose of public education in science, physics, and astronomy. It includes seven flight simulators and a planetarium.
- The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center opened in June 2009 and honors the service of Infantry forces in the United States Army. The museum includes displays related to the history of the Infantry from the founding of the nation to the present. It also has its own IMAX theatre.