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Experience Southern Charm in the “Mule Capital of the World”


Columbia is located in the heart of Maury County, just 45 miles south of Nashville. This charming Southern town is most famous for its annual Mule Day Parade, but it is also the ancestral home of our nation’s 11th president, James K. Polk. Historic antebellum homes and beautiful Tennessee scenery will delight visitors. And with Nashville only a short drive away, Columbia is a great place to start your journey through central Tennessee.



Historic Columbia


Historic Columbia Square is one of the state's oldest historic districts, with over 90 buildings 100 years old or older. The Square is filled with antique shops and unique stores, and also serves as a venue for several community events.


Columbia, known as the “Mule Capital of the World,” hosts an annual Mule Day in April. This 170-year-old tradition attracts more than 200,000 visitors and features a parade, mule pull contest, traditional Appalachian food, music, dancing, and crafts. The community’s annual Christmas Parade is also hosted downtown. Marching bands, motorcycles, and lighted floats delight spectators in December.


Located just two blocks from the center of town is the ancestral home of the 11th president of the United States, James K. Polk. Visitors to the James K. Polk Home and Museum can enjoy a guided tour of the main house, where original possessions of President and Mrs. Polk are displayed. Visitors can also check out the Sisters’ House, where two of the President’s married sisters lived with their families at different times. The two homes include exhibits of Mrs. Polk’s ball gown and jewels, Polk’s inaugural Bible, Mexican War memorabilia, and the family gardens.


Columbia is home to a number of historic buildings and houses. With so many Civil War-era homes on display, Maury County earns its reputation as the “Antebellum Homes Capital of Tennessee.” You won’t want to miss Historic Elm Springs, a Greek revival-style, two-story mansion built in 1837. Another must-see is the Athenaeum Rectory, which operated as a school for girls from 1852 to 1904. The Moorish Gothic architecture sets this unique building apart from others in the area. 


To see remarkable Gothic Revival architecture, tour the churchyard and grounds of the St. John’s Episcopal Church. Built to serve the four Polk plantations, the church was used as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War.


»Mule Day
»James K. Polk Home and Museum
»Athenaeum Rectory
»Columbia Farmers’ Fresh Market
»Natchez Trace Parkway
»Duck River Blueway
»Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
»RCA Studio B
»Ryman Auditorium
»Grand Ole Opry House
»Tennessee Department of Tourist Development