Mercer University is located in Macon, one of the largest metropolitan areas of Georgia. Although Macon is home to four colleges—Mercer University, Macon State College, Wesleyan College, and Central Georgia Technical College—it does not possess an extraordinary “college town” feel. There is a perceptible divide between Mercer students and the Macon community. Though efforts to unify the two separate communities and create a more amiable and profitable atmosphere have progressed in recent years, there remains sentiments of disconnect. About a quarter of Macon’s population is below the poverty line, and crime tends to be higher in Macon than in other areas of Georgia. Rundown and rather unsafe-looking neighborhoods are literally right around the corner from Mercer’s pristine campus.
Still, there are plenty of locations to enjoy around the Macon community, particularly in the popular downtown area. Students frequent the local restaurants, bars, and coffee shops of downtown, in addition to The Shoppes at River Crossing (also known as the “new mall”). Businesses generally welcome the students, and some accept Mercer students’ Bear Card as a form of payment. Bars occasionally host college nights, and there are also local events and festivals held in Macon every year, which students commonly attend. The first Friday of every month is an extremely popular event enjoyed by all—downtown comes to life with art, live music, and entertainment on these “First Fridays.”