Opelika is a city in and the county seat of Lee County in the east central part of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. According to 2010 Census, the population of Opelika was 26,477. The Auburn-Opelika, AL. MSA with a population of 135,833 combined with the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area and Macon County, Alabama, comprises the greater Greater Columbus, Georgia, a region home to approximately 500,000 residents.
Over the past several years, Opelika’s economy has shifted away from a traditional basis in textile manufacturing. Since 2004, the city has experienced revitalization in many segments of the economy, including commercial, residential and industrial activity. Since January 2005, the City of Opelika has announced new industry investments and existing industry expansions totaling $546 million, and created more than 2,000 jobs.
The TigerTown retail shopping complex continues to expand its commercial developments with stores like Kohl's, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Home Depot along with many restaurants like Chick-Fil-A, McDonald's, and Olive Garden.
Opelika has received several honors in recent years for its success in attracting new business. In 2004, the city of Opelika's Economic Development Department was named one of the top 10 economic development groups in North America by Site Selection magazine, a national industry trade publication covering corporate real estate management and economic development. Site Selection again recognized the efforts of the Opelika Economic Development Department in its Top Groups 2005 list in the Honorable Mention category.
Opelika is located between the Hyundai-Kia automobile manufacturing facilities with the Kia Motors manufacturing plant about 18 miles (29 km) east on I-85 and the Hyundai Motors manufacturing plant about 67 miles (108 km) west on I-85/I-65.
In early 2006, the Economic Development Association of Alabama named Opelika the top community in Alabama for business recruitment for the year 2005. Opelika also received the #1 rank in the South as "Small Market of the Year" by Southern Business and Development magazine, a professional publication helping corporations around the country (and world) in their expansion, relocation and development decisions.
In August 2005, the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Statistical Area was named by Golf Digest as the #1 area for golf in the United States. One part of the reason this area received this ranking is that Opelika is home to Robert Trent Jones Grand National. The site for the course, which hugs the edge of Lake Saugahatchee in Opelika's northwest, was described by Jones as the "single greatest" site for a golf complex that he had ever seen. The course, which is considered to be the jewel of Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, has hosted a number of national tournaments, including the 1997 Nike Tour championship, the 1998 LPGA Tournament of Champions, and the 2000 NCAA Men's Division 1 National Championship. Another reason that the Auburn-Opelika MSA was named the #1 area for golf in the United States was for the local public golf courses like Indian Pines Golf Course here in Opelika.
Auburn/Opelika is a family that could easily become yours. It's a ball in a cup, one under if you're very lucky or very good. Eagles live here. And tigers too. It's a spirit that is not afraid. We take our football seriously but know that no one can play golf without a sense of humor, and people all around the world know we have the best of both. Auburn-Opelika is the proud home of Auburn University, Alabama's biggest, and the Robert Trent Jones Trail, the world’s finest. It's the coolest college town in the South, according to us, and one of the top 10 cities in the US for small businesses, according to Forbes. Centrally located near Atlanta, Birmingham and Montgomery, Auburn-Opelika is easy to get to and easy to love.
RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National
Grand National, by all reports, was the single greatest site for a golf complex Robert Trent Jones, Sr. had ever seen. Built on 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee, 32 of the 54 holes drape along its filigreed shores. Both the Links course and the Lake course were in the top 10 of Golf Digest's list of "America's Top 50 Affordable Courses" and all three courses at Grand National are listed among the nation's 40 Super Value courses by Golf Digest's "Places to Play".
National Village, a golfing community on the Trail, is adjacent to these courses and the Marriott Hotel.
Chewacla State Park
Open 8 a.m. to sunset. Admission: Weekdays $2 for Adults; Weekends $3 for Adults; Children 6 to 11 years of age: $1; Senior Citizens 62 years of age and older: $1
Tranquil park facilities include a 26-acre lake, rental boats, swimming area, playgrounds, hiking trails, a modern campground and more! Chewacla’s 696 scenic acres are a delightful pause from nearby interstate traffic. Also available are picnic areas with tables, grills and shelters. You’re bound to fall in love with their rustic family cabins. Chewacla State Park is a great place to get away for some rest and relaxation or the perfect place to stay the weekend of the big ballgame. You can watch the sunset on the lake from your cabin and enjoy the fireplace on a cool fall day.
Jule Collins Smith Museum at Auburn University
Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Sat 10:00 a.m.to 4:45 p.m.
For more than seven years, the Jule Collins Smith Museum at Auburn University has broadened the cultural horizon in Auburn & Opelika. Besides traveling and temporary exhibitions of international, national, and regional focus, JCSM has children's programs, concerts, films, lectures by artists and scholars, and a varied and interesting permanent collection that focuses primarily on American and European art. The museum's gorgeous landscaping consists of 15 acres of gardens complete with walking paths and sun-filled terrace overlooking the front lake. Inside the museum, the lobby opens onto a central rotunda with a breathtaking, 17-foot chandelier by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Browse the eight galleries which house exhibitions from the permanent collections as well as traveling exhibitions, which normally change three to four times a year.
Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve
Open seven days, sunrise to sunset.
The Forest Ecology Preserve is a nature center established as an outreach program of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences designed to reach out to all people of every age with a strong focus on families and children. Besides providing 110 acres with miles of beautiful wooded hiking trails and other special features, it also provides regularly scheduled programs presented by professionals in their field. Field trip opportunities for school age children are available by reservation. These programs include exciting hands-on environmental education activities that support the Alabama curriculum course of study. Features include the Frank Allen Turner Memorial Canopy – a 150- seat multi-level meeting area with restrooms, fireplace, wheelchair ramp and drinking fountain; pavilion and welcome center/office; 1/8th mile handicap trail; kiosks providing maps and other information; more than 15 named trails through various habitats; Global Positioning System (GPS) Benchmarks; and permanent orienteering course. Don’t miss the reptile viewing area, fern viewing area, native azalea area, pond and streams, waterfall, butterfly garden, an old home site and barn.
Opelika Northside Historic District
This Opelika neighborhood features turn-of-the-century homes restored to their original grandeur. Home of the Victorian Front Porch Christmas tour. Driving and walking tours for groups available through the Tourism Bureau.
The main intersection of Auburn and Auburn University where Auburn fans and friends gather to celebrate everything from athletic victories to the new year. Look for the orange tiger paw painted in front of Toomer's Drugs. An original soda fountain-style diner and drugstore, Toomer's has been an Auburn tradition for over a century! Located in the heart of downtown Auburn where the city and campus come together, you'll find delicious sandwiches, soda fountain specialties, and snacks along with a full line of Auburn souvenirs. Home of world famous Toomer's Lemonade, a featured member of Auburn-Opelika’s Top 10 Eats.
Auburn Opelika is home to many independent restauranteurs and talented chefs who created exceptional establishments with specialty dishes you'll find nowhere else in the world. Among these restaurants you'll find something suitable for every taste and budget - whether it's a downtown student haunt or a white tablecloth dining room with a 300-bottle wine list. Our restaurants have been featured in Southern Living, Gourmet, and Wine Spectator, just to name a few, and we're pretty proud when the world discovers what we already know. From tapas to tacos, and squash to sushi, make your trip especially memorable when you visit these Auburn-Opelika legends.