2 Dahlonega Gold Museum, Jack Anthony

Strike gold 65 miles north of Atlanta in Dahlonega, Georgia, site of the first U.S. Gold Rush. This gem of a destination recently received the 2016 Great American Main Street Award® (GAMSA) from National Main Street Center, Inc., and it’s easy to see why. A National Register Historic District, Dahlonega’s downtown area has 12 buildings individually listed on the Register. Rooted in history, Dahlonega today maintains a hip vibe, drawing more than a million visits each year with Southern Appalachian hospitality experienced throughout its locally-owned businesses, art galleries, restaurants and 65 retail stores. A restored theater and courthouse, plus special events like Dahlonega’s “Gold Rush Festival,” “Bear on the Square Festival,” and the Southeast’s largest bicycle event, “Six Gap/Three Gap” keep the good times rolling. In only 15 years, Dahlonega Main Street has catalyzed remarkable investment, with 180 projects generating $64.8 million in private and public investment and netting 108 new businesses and 289 new jobs within the central business district. Downtown’s economic activity averages more than $300 million dollars annually showcasing an American Main Street at its finest. Dahlonega is also home to the University of North Georgia, founded in 1873. Gold medal wineries, waterfalls, wedding venues, world-renowned bicycling, hiking trails, rivers and relaxing lodging accommodations, from boutique hotels, villas, B&Bs, to the “Historic Hotels of America” affiliate, the Smith House, keep guests coming back again and again. Whether visiting or establishing permanent roots, treasure awaits you in Dahlonega, Georgia. DahlonegaDDA.org

Downtown Dahlonega Key Facts

  • Investment Statistics: Entering Georgia’s small Main Street Program, Dahlonega’s 2000 vacancy rate was 20%. The current vacancy rate is 2%. Reinvestment statistics from 2004-2014 show:
    • Private construction investment $63,466,165
    • Public improvements $1,273,106
    • 180 property rehab projects
    • Total investment $64,739,271
    • 108 net new businesses
    • 35 expanded businesses
    • 289 net new jobs
  • Visitors annually
    • Downtown Welcome Center Desk – 220,000+ (second only to Savannah in the state of Georgia)
    • Gold Museum – 40,000+ (second most visited historic site in the state of Georgia)
  • Businesses in Downtown
    • Downtown is a regional destination for shopping and dining with 65 retail stores, 18 restaurants, and 7 wine tasting shops in a walkable 20 block downtown district.
  • Festivals/Special Events Downtown
    • “Gold Rush Festival” 200,000+
    • “Bear on the Square Festival” 40,000+
    • “4th of July Festival” – 10,000+
    • “Old Fashioned Christmas” – 6 weeks of extended shopping hours and beautifully decorated downtown area
    • Cycling – Southeast’s largest bicycle event “Six Gap/Three Gap” 10,000+
    • “TrailFest” 5,000+
  • Arts & Entertainment
    • The Holly Theatre features quality drama and music performances in its 300-seat, 1947 building (on the National Register of Historic Places).
    • The Crimson Moon, known as the “Southeast’s Most Intimate Music Venue,” supports, promotes, and rewards creativity and community. Located in the 1858 Parker Nix Storehouse, the 94-seat venue offers up-close concerts with national and regional touring artists.
    • Four sales galleries feature fine art and craft in all media in downtown Dahlonega.
    • The University of North Georgia’s downtown campus presents concerts, films, art exhibitions, and sports events, all well attended and enjoyed.
  • Weddings
    • 400 plus weddings each year
  • Wine & Beer Tourism
    • 5 wineries in Lumpkin County (furthest being 12 miles from Downtown)
    • 7 wine tasting rooms downtown
    • 1 growler/beer sampling downtown
  • Strength of Tourism Effort: Partial list of awards/achievements attesting to tourism program:
    • Great American Main Street City” – National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2016
    • “Best Historic Small Town” – USA Today/10 Best Readers’ Choice Award, (#10)2016
    • “Best Small Town Weekend Escape” – USA Today/10 Best Readers’ Choice Award, (#6) 2016
    • “Best Southern Small Town” – USA Today/10 Best Readers’ Choice Award, (#4) 2015
    • “Best Summer Weekend Escape” – USA Today/10 Best Readers’ Choice award, (#4) 2014
    • “Downtown Development Award of Excellence 2010” – Georgia Downtown Association
    • “Accredited National Main Street Program City”
    • “Preserve America Community” – President’s Council on Historic Preservation
    • “Georgia’s Wine Tasting Capital” – Georgia State Legislature
    • “Georgia’s Premier Sports Cycling Community” – Georgia State Legislature
    • “Appalachian Trail Community” – Appalachian Trail Conservancy
    • “Tree City USA Community” (15 years) – National Arbor Day Foundation
    • “Best Downtown”- Georgia Magazine Readers Choice 2007
    • “Best Wine Town Runner Up, Southern Dream Towns” – Garden & Gun Magazine
    • Top 20 Events – Old Fashioned Christmas and Annual Family 4th of July – Southeast Tourism Society

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