48 Hours in Opelika, Alabama

map of opelika alabama
from Google Maps

I recently headed to Opelika, Alabama with my husband on a business trip.  We arrived late in the day on Thursday and headed for home on Saturday.  It was a quick trip and I packed in all of the site-seeing I could manage in that short period of time.

Here’s what I learned in my short time in Opelika…

Like Cincinnati, they have some pretty good chili dogs.  Based on a recommendation we found in a brochure, we headed to out on Thursday night to find Mrs. Story’s.  We weren’t able to find it with our phones/map so we asked for directions at the hotel. Even with some pretty good directions, we still drove right on by it… a number of times.  After a few trips up and down the street, we finally noticed it and pulled in.  It’s a spot that we would call a “Creamy Whip” here in Cincinnati. Being from Cincinnati and feeling like chili dog connoisseurs, we ordered two chili dogs and a chocolate malt.

mrs. story's in opelika alabama

The chili dogs from Mrs. Story’s were quite a bit different than what we’re used to but REALLY good nonetheless. We ordered two varieties – one with chili and cheese and the other with chili and slaw.

chili dogs from mrs. story's in opelika, alabama

We were both surprised to find the dogs were wrapped up in foil.  And we also expected the cheese to be piled on top but, as you can see on the dog on the left, their cheese was more of a liquid variety. We liked the chili cheese dog but we LOVED the slaw dog. That little extra crunch added great texture. We wolfed that one down between the two of us. And the malt… OMG.  The malt was divine. Don’t miss their malts- trust me on that one!

Small towns have some REALLY cool places.  My favorite find was this place – The Overall Company.

the overall company in opelika alabama

We were looking for a local place for a good southern breakfast and happened to drive by this place and decided to stop in. WOW! Am I glad we did.  I loved this place so much that I actually stopped back by there later in the day to do some work.

The Overall Company is what I’d consider to be a great local coffee shop and an awesome place to sit around with a good book or a laptop.

the counter at the Overall Company in opelika, alabama

There’s a lot for a history buff to enjoy in this part of the country and the Overall Company is no exception. The building used to house… you guessed it… an overall company. I found it fascinating to know the company actually quit making overalls during the Civil War to manufacture Confederate uniforms for the soldiers.   The original shop sign hangs inside on the wall (modified a bit).

overall company sign in opelika alabama

Today they serve up all kinds of great food and drink. We had an amazing southern biscuit with pimento cheese and ham for breakfast. They also have a very nice selection of craft beers in the coolers and even have wine tastings on occasion. But what drew me back later in the day was this…

Pouring salted caramel popsicles at the Overall Company in Opelika Arkansas

They also offer Overall Pops which are gourmet popsicles made in their Pop Factory.  The owners gave a me a quick tour of the Pop Shop where they make all kinds of great artisan pops – both fruit based and cream based.  Above you can see the salted caramel pop being poured into the molds. And below you will see my custom pop – a Salted Caramel Overall Pop with a coating of their house-made chocolate sauce topped with sprinkles.

salted caramel popsicle from the overall company in opelika alabama
popsicle case at the overall company in opelika alabama

The Overall Company was not the only place I loved in Opelika (although I did spend an inordinate amount of time in there when you consider the whirlwind of a visit!).  My other favorite place? Resurrect.

resurrect antiques in opelika alabama

A fellow pop lover at the Overall Company actually told me about this place. It’s an antique shop but, let me tell you, Resurrect Antiques is not your Grandma’s antique shop. This place was amazing.  I am sorry that I took so few photos. Honestly, I was in love with this place and was so busy looking at everything that I totally forgot to snap many pics!

resurrect antiques in opelika alabama

Resurrect has a great mix of “old stuff” mingled with some new stuff such as burlap for crafting and decor, soaps, muslin bags… the list goes on and on.

While we were there, it was sunny and warm – a huge contrast to the snow and Polar Vortex conditions we left behind in Ohio. I was determined to spend all of the time I could outside and, once again, eastern Alabama did not disappoint.

Sunset in Opelika Alabama

I got to enjoy two great nearby parks. The first was Chewacla State Park which is about 30 minutes southwest of Opelika. The park offered some amazing views of the Alabama wilderness.  I did a bit of geocaching there and a bit of hiking, enjoying all the warm weather I could soak in.  The second park I visited was actually located in Opelika itself (but was a bit of a tough find) – Opelika Wood Duck Heritage Preserve and Siddique Nature Park. After finding the place and then parking, I wandered down a long trail and ended up at a rather remote “duck blind” on a huge lake. It was a great spot to watch for birds and ducks on the lake as well as a quiet place to take it all in.

parks in and around opelika alabama

Whew! Would you believe I even squeezed in a trip to Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery during our brief stay?! I will have to write that one up separately before I turn this post into a short novel!

If you ever make it near east central Alabama, make a pit stop and join in on the fun stuff that’s happening in and around Opelika, Alabama!

58 Comments

  • Hi, I was born and raised in Cincinnati, only to get married at 30 and move to my husbands hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. I miss Cincinnai so much and love to read your posts on Facebook. We are going to Auburn this weekend which is close to Opelika so we will try to visit the places you mentioned especially the chili dog place and the antique store! Keep up the good work and your love of one of the lovliest cities in our nation as will I of my precious Cincinnati! Many thanks! Adriana Wahl Morros(grew up in Kenwood, went to Indian Hill and received my under grad and grad degrees from UC, my house was featured in the local home showcase and I had to name it so I named it the”Cincinnatian”.

  • I grew up in Auburn, next to Opelika and now live in Northern Kentucky (near Cinci). How wonderful to see someone from the Northern states trek down and enjoy my beloved home state of Alabama. Next time, visit Auburn and its beautiful surroundings. Opelika/Auburn is a great place to visit and even greater place to grow up! Ps- visited Story’s Dairy Bar several times, food was great!

    • We did a brief “drive by” in Auburn while we were there but it was at night and most places were already closed (except for food and we had a dinner date back in Opelika). It’s a gorgeous campus, especially at night. I had hoped to get back there during the day and just ran out of time. I hope to get back that way some day to explore further!

  • Thank you so much for your nice comments about our little town. We are very proud of our community and southern life styles. Opelika is agreat place to live and work. Should you ever decide to want to make this your home , please contact me or any of our friendly agents here at John Rice Realty . And yall come back now .

  • I just have to share with you that I have lived in Opelika for almost 9 years now, not even 5 minutes from the wood duck preserve and drive past it almost every day. I honestly never realized what all was to it. It really doesn’t look like much at all. When I read your article and then the link to it I cannot wait to go check it out. How crazy that it’s so close to me and I never even gave it a look! Thanks so much for sharing about it!

    • I know exactly what you mean, Kendra. I have places around where I live that other people will say, “Hey, did you know about this?” and I think to myself – I can’t believe I STILL haven’t explored there! It’s a great place to enjoy a walk. Take some old shoes if it’s been rainy as some spots are muddy. It’s a great secluded way to “get away from it all”.

  • What a fun read!!! I am going to Opelika next week to visit my mother for a couple of days with two of my children who will be on Spring break. I am so happy to learn about these amazing finds in that wonderful little hamlet. I already know of Mrs. Story’s….it’s an institution 🙂 …..but haven’t yet heard of the Overall Company nor Resurrect! Eager to visit both places next week. Thanks so much for posting about them…funny how it takes an Ohio visitor to introduce me to wonderful places in my own, beloved state. 🙂 I’m confident Opelika truly appreciates all the well deserved attention and not one mention of its somewhat better-known twin city, Auburn…not even when you shared about visiting Chewacla there. 😉 Thanks, Bridgett!

    • Be sure to stop in at the Overall Co. when the Pop Factory is open. The kids would love the popsicles!

  • I have been to the Overall Company and it’s was so much fun…. great atmosphere and great food…. coffee was off the charts….

    I would recommend everyone to visit this unusual place for fun and food !

  • Thanks for visiting our fabulous little city of Opelika. We have lots of benefits that even Cincinnati would like to have. We have incredible restaurants. On your next visit be sure to give some of them a try!

  • I am from Cincinnati, lived in Opelika for 28 years, and now live in Montgomery, AL. Over the years I have traveled back to Cincinnati many times to visit relatives. I also really love Cincinnati Chili, and usually go straight to Skyline from the airport! But I agree, Mrs. Story’s chili dogs and chocolate malts are really awesome!! I’m glad you loved our little town of Opelika, and would have loved for you to have written more!

    • Oh, a fellow Cincinnati chili addict! It’s fun to see all of the comments from people who have connections to both Opelika and Cincinnati!

    • I would love to come back to visit again, Anna. I do wish we’d had a few more days to spend there. I would have loved to have some of your great southern BBQ while I was there. Next time!

      • Yes, you really did miss out by not sampling the local BBQ. The Opelika/Auburn/Phoenix city area actually has a native style of BBQ that isn’t to be missed. I grew up in the area and moved away a bit over 10 years ago. I have missed the local BBQ ever since. If ever back, I highly suggest Chuck’s BBQ, as I truly believe it to be the best I have ever had. Papa Joes runs a close second. Just know that I am not talking about BBQ Ribs and such. I am talking about a Chopped or Chipped Pork Sandwich. The kicker is in the sauce, which is very different from other regions.

  • Hi! I am originally from Opelika (now live further south is Spanish Fort, Al) and just came upon your post. You mentioned all of mine and my husbands favorite things to do in Opelika except one! Next time you are in Opelika, you must go to Papa Joes BBQ!!!! It is a must for us every time we come home to visit family. Often we go multiple time in a 48 hour window.

    Thank you for your sweet comments about my sweet home town!

    • I am hoping to get back to have some of that BBQ, Melissa. We simply ran out of meal times while we were there! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this great article on Opelika, AL. My mother is from Opelika, and we grew up going there every weekend to visits my grandparents. Mrs. Story’s is still one of our favorite spots to visit before going home!

  • I am actually from Opelika. I live in Metro Atlanta now and I must say that I miss Ms Story’s. They have an Amazing Super Dog. Their Cherry milkshakes are Amazing as well. I refuse to eat at local favorite The Varsity here because it does not measure up to Ms Story’s. I will have to visit The Overall Company when I visit home next time. I have seen it several times, but never thought to drop in. Funny the Opelika Wood Duck Heritage Preserve I HAVE NEVER BEEN THERE! LOL. I feel so ashamed. I will try to visit there during the summer. Little known history fact: The movie Norma Rae starring Sally Field was filmed in Opelika.

    • I grew up in Opelika, moved away for years and am living back in Opelika. I ate at the Varsity and did not like it. People I worked with in Atlanta could not understand why I did not like the Varsity. They had never eaten at Mrs. Story’s.

      • LOL! My coworkers think I am weird because I won’t eat it. I have tried to explain it to them, but they can’t wrap their head around something being as good as their beloved Varsity. I just recently found a wing place that equals in comparison to Jim Bob’s. Still haven’t been able to locate a pulled or chopped pork sandwich better than Chuck’s here. Atlanta has some good places but I miss those truly down home places.

        • I’m from a small town just south of Auburn/Opelika area and am also in the Metro Atlanta area. I want to know what wing place you’re talking about up here. I’m still looking! I prefer Mrs Story’s over the Varsity as well and can’t find real BBQ. People around here seem to think that BBQ is meat with sauce dribbled on it! Opelika and surrounding areas have some of the best food and great history.

  • What a great write up on my hometown. I grew up here and know the charm of our small town. I had a new appreciation for Opelika after returning home after living in south Louisiana. Our town is small, but interesting. I hope if you return, you will be able to go to the museum in Opelika. Also consider returning the annual Christmas tradition – the Victorian Porch tour. Our little town is truly inspirational!

  • Thanks for visiting our little corner of the world! If you come back, I’ll show you around; I’ve lived here 50 of my 54 years (today, actually)…the four away were for college. =) We’d love to have you come back and “stay a spell..”

  • I am from Opelika. Loved the blog and actually learned a little something I didn’t know about my hometown. I have been eating Mrs. Story’s foot long hot-dogs since I was a toddler. They are still as good today as they were back in the 1960’s. They have the best chocolate shakes in town! If you are going to visit just remember that Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar is closed on Sunday.

  • I loved you column about Opelika Alabama. I have live here for 35 years now. I love Mrs. Story’s, and most of the places you have mentioned but the Wood Duck I don’t remember. I have probably been there just didn’t remember the name. Since you went to the Overall Co., you had to of seen the fountain in front of the Lee co. Court house, they normally color it green for St. Party’s day, blue for Easter and pink for the Breast cancer walk. I’m glad you had a wonderful time in our town. Come back when you can stay longer and explore more. Opelika has a lot more to see.

    • No one mentioned the colored water in the fountain. How fun is that?! The Wood Duck Preserve looks like it’s really new, Tina. I would love to have had more time there. I know I missed a lot. Your little town is simply chock full of treasures!

  • I was born and raised there. Mrs. Story’s chilli dogs have not changed a bit since I was a little girl. Still my most favorite food! Except I get a hot fudge Sunday with walnuts instead of a malted shake 🙂

    Stop by the old train depot just under the bridge down from The Overall Co. great place to snap some pictures.

    The refurbished remnants of our Salem-Shotwell Covered Bridge are at the Opelika Municipal Park. https://www.opelikapepperellhistory.com/id229.html

    One of our towns claim to fame is that Norma Rae was filmed in Opelika. And many of our Natives were extras.

    Check out the page below for more facts about Opelika from the locals 🙂

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/214493605264580/

    • I wish I’d known about those gems while I was there, AJ. I would have loved to see the train depot. That sounds cool. I don’t know how I missed it!

  • I live just 15 minutes north of Opelika and I know one of the businesses you mentioned but not the other two. Same with the parks even though I’ve never been to either I know where one is. I’m always looking for new things to do and new places to visit so thank you for this write up.

  • Thanks so much for the insight into what outsiders see in our small town. Please come back and visit again soon. We love visitors.

  • It was so awesome reading this! I live about 15 minutes north of Opelika and we spend a lot of time there and in Auburn. What made me the most happy was seeing that you went to Ms Story’s!! I have been going there since I was a child and now I take my kids there. Its one of my favorite places. I’m glad to hear you had a good time while in my area!

  • Love your blog about Opelika AL. I am a native Texan and moved to Opelika 15 years ago. I still haven’t tried Mrs Story’s but I am always told I am missing out. This blog makes me think I am missing out on a few things that are right down the road for me hahaha. Great read, and glad you liked our little town. We sure love it too. I could never imagine living anywhere else now lol.

  • If you come back, visit Mama Mocha’s Coffee Emporium in Auburn on S. Gay Street. The coffee is roasted on site and is the best coffee in East Central Alabama.

  • Dear Bridgett, I was born in Opelika while my parents attended Auburn University it was known as API back then. You have captured the beauty of that area and I’m sure you noticed how friendly folks are there in Lee County. I really think you should have a show that captures small town life. Really enjoyed your expressions , I could see what you were describing and got excited. Best Regards, Randy

    • We really had a great time, Randy. You have a beautiful place to call home and I’m thankful to have been there for a visit.

  • I have a child that goes to school in Opelika and we spent one day touring the city. I agree—my favorite places were The Overall Co and Resurrect!!! We found Mrs. Story’s(after riding by many times also) but have not eatern there yet!! We had just finished coffee and pimento cheese biscuit at the Overall Co.!!! Can’t wait to go back!

    • You are making me hungry for one of those biscuits again, Denise! There’s nothing that compares to a good southern biscuit! Nothing!

  • I have no idea how I found your blog but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am so glad that you found my state a pleasant stop. I wish that I had known you were in Montgomery. I love meeting fellow bloggers and would have given you the insider’s tour. ; )
    Next time.
    Cindy

    • It would have been great to meet up with some bloggers, Cindy. I spent a long morning in Montgomery and LOVED it. Your city is so rich in history. And gorgeous!

  • As a Cincy native who went to Auburn, I have to say this was fun reading. If you ever make your way back down there, here are a few places worth checking out in the Auburn/Opelika area, in no particular order:

    The Hound: a gastropub in downtown Auburn that was originally a newspaper shop and was a brewpub in the early to mid 2000s before the craft beer revolution really hit

    Toomer’s Drugs: possibly the best lemonade you’ll ever have.

    Eighth and Rail: a martini and jazz bar in the railroad district in downtown Opelika (about 1/2 mile from Overall Co)

    John Emerald: also in the railroad district, Alabama’s first craft distillery, opening soon.

    • We had Toomer’s on our list and simply ran out of time, Drew. The jazz bar sounds like an awesome stop as well. Too bad we didn’t pick that one up on the first night we were there (our only free night). And I’ve never met a craft distillery I didn’t like so that will have to be on the return visit someday!

  • Next time you’visit, go by Sweet Malisa’s and get a slice of homemade Caramel Cake. Mmm! She ‘s located on 9th St. S. near the railroad tracks.

    • I probably walked right past it too, Jim! I usually have a radar for good cake. I’m surprised I didn’t sniff it out!

  • What a great travel article! Good clear writing and pictures makes you feel you’ve gotten the “true” story on each spot. I am amazed at how much the author packed in on such a short trip. I went to college at Auburn and spent many good times in Opelika also. Yet, I’d never been to the Duck Blind Preserve. Can’t wait to get back and go to Story’s.

    • We had a PACKED two days while we were there and loved every minute of it. There was so much to see! Your little town is not so little once you start exploring!

  • Opelika is the best place in the world to live. I have lived in Georgia and Texas and have been to Europe but Opelika is still the best. You can get a great education from kindergarten to a doctorate. There are great churches of most faiths. Walk into any service and you will be welcom. The weather is great most of the time. We, like most of the country, had some cold this winter. Spring is great as the flowers have started to bloom. Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery are in easy driving distants. The mountains and sea shore are about 3 hours drive. We have lots of hotels and motel and several are new. Most of us are friendly and will be glad to direct you and give information. Auburn plays great football.

    • I agree with you in that Opelika is very centrally located to many great destinations. I spent a long morning in nearby Montgomery while I was there and loved that I could get so much sightseeing into just one day!

  • Thanks for your article. It was very well written. Next time you need to stop by the Municipal ‘Monkey’ Park and ride our miniature train. It is open April – October every weekend. If you come back during the Christmas Season we light up the park into a Winter Wonderland and run the train thru it at night. It is a wonder way to Open up the Christmas Season.

  • My mother’s family lives in Alabama so I have spent many summers there…it is my second home. I have never been to Opelika but I am going to visit while we are there in August. Two of my favorite places to visit are Marian and Selma which is near our farm. There is so much history there,

  • Hi Bridgett, my name is Betty and I am responding to your article that you recently posted on my home town of Opelika, Alabama.Although I no longer live in Alabama I still have plenty of relatives there that I try to go see every summer, there is something about the southern atmosphere that keeps me coming back home. I am glad you made some fond memories and hope you come back to see us soon “ya hear”!

  • I was born and raised in Price Hill Cincinnati, graduated from West Hi and after an exciting Navy career, my husband and I settled down just outside Opelika, Alabama in a little town called Notasulga. We love living in Alabama on our nice sized farm but I do miss Cincinnati at times and look forward to my visits, seeing my family and friends and always enjoying Skyline Coneys. I am happy that you came for a visit to this lovely part of our country. I hope you can stay longer on your next trip.

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