With no little green men in sight (that Roswell lies in New Mexico), Roswell Georgia abounds in sunshine and southern charm all the same.
For all intents and purposes a suburb of Atlanta to the south, Roswell is separated from the state capital by the Chattahoochee River.
Oozing affluent tree-lined streets as a result of its high-tech businesses, Roswell combines green space, with national-grade museums and a few modern attractions too.
Founded in the 1830s on former Cherokee land, the city was occupied and partially destroyed by Unionist forces during the American Civil War, who thankfully left many of its attractive historic buildings in tact for visitors to see today.
Let’s check out the best things to do in and around Roswell, Georgia.
1. Archibald Smith Plantation Home
This delightful clapboard home was built just a few years after the foundation of Roswell, in 1845. It became the home of Archibald Smith, one of the founders of the city, and three generations of his family.
Now a museum, visitors are able to explore the house, as well as its carriage house, discovering its more than two centuries of history.
Celebrated as one of the state’s best examples of regional architecture, this two-storey farmhouse contains many pieces of its original furnishings and personal items from the Smith family, giving an idea of what was life in Georgia for its upper classes before the outbreak of the American Civil War.
2. Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Sky Zone Trampoline Park is an indoor activity park that allows grown ups to have the sort of fun normally only available to children.
In addition to the wall-to-wall trampolines of Freestyle Jump, there’s a trampoline dodgeball court, Ninja Warrior course, and a Foam Zone among other attractions.
This allows you to test your skills at acrobatics knowing a soft landing is guaranteed.
3. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Located on Roswell’s southern boundary, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area links together a series of green spaces and parkland over 47 miles, with the nearest access only ten minutes from the city center.
The United States’ first National Water Trail, the area is an incredibly picturesque place to wander in the open air for a few hours in relative seclusion.
However, there is plenty of chance for adventure too. During the summer months, it’s possible to rent a tube and drift along the river from Power Island to Paces Mill. There are also chances to go boating, kayaking, and rafting.
A stocked trout river with more than 20 species of game fish, there’s also a three-mile fitness trail at Cochran Shoals, and ruins of the Marietta Paper Mill at Sope Creek.
4. Bulloch Hall
Listed on the US’ National Register of Historic Places, Bulloch Hall was the childhood home of American socialite Martha Bulloch. She was the mother of Theodore Roosevelt, the Nobel-prize winning 26th president of the United States, who visited in 1905.
Built in 1839, the structure follows the Greek Revival style, with a portico of four multistorey Greek columns welcoming visitors.
The exhibits are divided between those that detail the life of the upper classes in the nineteenth century, and the events of the Civil War in the upstairs rooms.
The grounds contain a delightful garden and pond, as well as the reconstruction of the sorts of slave quarters common in the region before the Civil War took hold.
5. Computer Museum of America
This new museum opened on the 50th anniversary of man first landing on the moon in 1969, and is the largest museum dedicated to computing and technology on the East Coast. It plans to become the biggest in the world.
Its collection includes important landmarks in home computing, such as the Commodore 64, and Apple 1.
It also houses supercomputers like Clay-1, which was used in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (birthplace of the atomic bomb) in the 1970s.
Other important exhibits include an Enigma coding machine from the Second World War, eventually decoded for the Allies by British engineer Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer.
6. Chattahoochee Nature Center
The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s remit is a simple one – to provide insight to locals and visitors to the flora and fauna native to this part of Georgia.
Its greenhouse has display examples of local plants, which can also be found in the gardens. Aquaria and aviaries show off a collection of reptiles such as corn snakes, amphibians, and birds of prey, many of whom were rescued and cannot be re-released into the wild.
Chattahoochee Nature Center sits on the banks of the river of the same name, in a site of just over 50 hectares.
Just half an hour south of Roswell is Atlanta, the Georgia state capital and host of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.
Although it was largely destroyed by General Sherman during the American Civil War, it soon rebuilt and has a number of worthwhile landmarks.
These vary significantly, from the glass and steel edifice of the World of Coca-Cola, to the traditional cream and black wooden home where civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr spent his childhood. It is home to the Georgia Aquarium, the largest indoor aquarium in the world, too.
The city is also able to boast the Carter Center presidential library, and the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the author of Gone with the Wind.
8. Barrington Hall
Another important survivor from Roswell’s early history is Barrington Hall, built in the same year and style as Bulloch Hall.
It was the main residence of Barrington King, who alongside his father Roswell King, decided that this spot in Georgia was the right place to found a new city.
Deliberately positioned at the city’s highest point, it remained in the family until 2003. At this time, a large-scale restoration was begun, after which it was opened to the public as a museum.
It contains the only pre-civil war antebellum public garden in the area, which covers almost three hectares, while the interiors include original architectural moldings, flooring, and paintings.
9. Faces of War Memorial
Dating from another horror-filled period of American history, the Faces of War Memorial was constructed to remember those who fought in the Vietnam War.
Placed at the heart of the community, in front of the grand City Hall building, it is made from red brick surrounding a three-dimensional bronze plaque that sees a young child leading a soldier away from the jungle battlefield.
The memorial is relatively unusual in that it commemorates both military and civilian victims of the war.
10. Morgan Falls Overlook Park
Morgan Falls Overlook Park is located in Sandy Springs, roughly 15 minutes south of central Roswell by road. It is one of the region’s newest public spaces, opened in just 2010.
Situated on the banks of Bull Sluice Lake, the park is a family-friendly outdoor space containing walking trails, a picnic pavilion, and a children’s playground.
During the summer months, its possible to rent canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for water-based adventures. The more romantic-minded will be happy to hear that the park is also well-known for its sunsets.
11. Roswell Mill
It was the potential for milling that led Roswell King to found the city that carries his forename where he did. At its height, the series of mills that together formed Roswell Mill was the largest cotton mill in the north of the state.
It produced its textiles from the cotton grown in the region, before expanding to also mill wool and flour.
Only closing down for good in 1975, the mill was powered by the waters of Vickery Creek since its founding in 1836.
The mill produced Roswell Gray cloth for the confederate army during the Civil War, and this history can be discovered along the walking trails that lead to the remains of the mill in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
12. Variant Brewing Company
The modern wood and metal of Variant’s brewery makes for an interesting comparison to older breweries that lie in and around Roswell.
Operating for just a handful of years to date, Variant is an independent craft brewery which goes beyond the usual beer standards to create some truly intriguing flavors.
So alongside imperial stouts, you’ll also find beers such as Compos Mentis, which is barrel-aged with vanilla in old Bourbon casks, and even an English-style barleywine.
The brewery is located on Norcross Street, in central Roswell.
13. Canton Street
Located right at the heart of Roswell’s historic district, Canton Street is a wonderful mix of old and new.
Lined by old-style street lights and mature trees that shed shade over the sidewalks from spring to early autumn, here you’ll find cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining spaces perfect for people watching.
In addition, its veranda-clad buildings play host to a range of small boutique stores, and a lively bar scene come the evening.
This extends to regular live street events over the summer months.
14. Roswell Fire Museum
A museum that’s sure to get kids saying ‘wow’, the Roswell Fire Museum lies within a working fire station (meaning you might find it closed if the team of volunteers are responding to an emergency call).
There are lots of attractive vintage posters, and a potted history of the city’s volunteer service.
However, the piece de resistance (aside from the personnel) is the fire engine dating from 1947 – a Ford American LaFrance Pumper.
15. Presbyterian Church Historic Sanctuary
Constructed in the popular Greek Revival style of the 1830s and 1840s, there’s certainly nothing ordinary about Roswell’s Presbyterian Church Historic Sanctuary.
The first church and place of worship in the city, it dates back to 1840. During the Civil War, it was used as a hospital for Union soldiers injured in battle.
Artefacts from this period, including a checkers (drafts) board made from a cupboard door, can be seen in the special History Room.
Other insightful objects include the church’s original bible, bearing graffiti from a soldier, and the galleries that were built so that slaves could also worship in the church.
While here, listen out for the bell in the tower, cast in Philadelphia in 1827.