Wandering around Athens
May 10, 2011 11:46 AM   Subscribe

What to do in Athens, GA?

I'm visiting for three weeks from late May to early June for training. I expect to spend most of my time in the lab, but what are some classic or time-specific Athens things for a single person to do? I've already looked at the tourist sites, but would appreciate a local's perspective. From what I gathered at metafilter, it seems like an awesome town! My restriction is that I'm under-21.
posted by xinglin91 to Travel & Transportation around Athens, GA (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would very strongly recommend you enjoy a meal at Weaver D's. I spent a Christmas in Athens when my sister was living there, and she is the most amazing cook, but that Weaver D's meal is still the first thing that pops up in my mind when I remember that visit. Weaver D's was a hangout for the members of REM and they named their album "Automatic For The People" in honor of the restaurant.
posted by padraigin at 12:06 PM on May 10, 2011

The food in Athens is amazing. If you like meatball subs - go to Little Italy Pizzeria. The Grill is open 24 hours, I think, downtown, and have fries and feta (yum, try it!) and milkshakes.

They are delicious. There's a ton of good music & music venues there.

If you like comics, hit Wuxtry comics - they have a quirky & awesome store.

I mostly like to go for the shopping & the food these days, and I'm sure things have changed since I went to college there, but I remember all the different food fondly.
posted by needlegrrl at 12:10 PM on May 10, 2011


Five Star Day for brunch.
Then go to the Grit for brunch another day.
Last Resort.
East West Bistro.

There is something called a Farm Cart? Hopefully ewagoner will drop by this thread but if not hit him up. He's local to Athens and super cool.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:14 PM on May 10, 2011

Spent an enjoyable couple of days there last fall. I too recommend Weaver D's and Five Star. If you like REM, anyone in town can show you the broken-down church where they used to play before their records came out. And of course you can go to the 40 Watt Club and see an unknown local band play -- then when they become the next REM or B-52s you can say you were there first! (I tried this with Twin Tigers, who were really good but appear not to be famous yet. Well, these things take time.)
posted by escabeche at 12:29 PM on May 10, 2011

If you're doing research on South Campus, be sure to head to Cali n Tito's for lunch one day. I would also recommend walking down to the Five Points intersection and eating at Kelly's Jerk. Say YES to the cornbread, A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

Even as a local, I liked the tourist-y attractions at the Botanical Garden and Memorial Park. Go visit the bears. I like to stand there all, "HAHA BEARS. LOOKITYOU. SLEEPING LIKE A BEAR." It takes about 20 minutes, but it's a fun and free 20 minutes.

Get your swim on at Legion Pool. It's a nice pool and it's like three bucks if you have a UGA ID. It's across the street from the MLC aka the SLC. It has a snack bar that sells like ice cream truck novelty ice creams and chips. I used to bring a little lunch/snack/dinner and buy an icy cold soda there.

Go to the Classic City Rollergirls bout on May 21 or June 11. It's at Skate-a-Rama, behind Lowe's on the East Side. May 21 is an A-team/All-Stars bout, so it'll be better derby.

The Athens Pirates play at Smith Field, which is in the Smith family's backyard off of Epps Bridge Parkway, behind Trader Joe's. It is baseball in its purest form. I won the 50/50 there twice one season. The first time I got $27. The second time I got $11 and a pizza, because they felt bad just giving me the $11. You can bring your own dinner; there's a Barberito's right next to the Trader Joe's.

GodDAMN, am I jealous of your summer in Athens.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:47 PM on May 10, 2011

Manhattan for cocktails. I'm there most Fridays between 6 and 8. Wait, just noticed under 21.

Lots of food choices, go to any music venue which will allow you entrance (if you care about music). Tickets are cheap for UGA baseball, if you like that sort of thing. Kayak the Broad River.

Summer is kind of a slow time for Athens.
posted by Classic Diner at 1:20 PM on May 10, 2011

I 2nd Cali n Tito's (it's a play on words... the owners are not Cali nor Tito). Get the fried yuca and fish tacos. Mmmmmm.

This time of year should be a good time to float down the Broad River (I've used Broad River Outpost before).

If you like punk/indie house parties, go down any of the streets north of downtown on a Friday or Saturday night. If you see people hanging out on the porch or a band playing, just walk in and pretend like you're supposed to be there. Trust me, nobody will know the difference. Pulaski and Barber street are always good bets.

The University of Georgia has a beautiful campus. You should at least walk through the north part near downtown. There are some great spots to take a break and read a book.

Depending on if you'll have a car, there are some beautiful waterfalls in the mountains an hour or two north/northwest of Athens (easily found by googling "North Georgia waterfalls" etc). Tallulah Gorge is a must see!

Watson Mill Bridge State Park is a short drive from Athens and also worth seeing if you like old stuff like covered bridges.

(I would not recommend Weaver D's. It's standard greasy, heart-clogging southern food [which I love!]... it's just not particularly special, and better food can be found in Athens for less money. I think most of their business comes from hype.)

That's all I've got, surprisingly. Athens was a great place to live, but now that I think about it, there's not a lot to do if you're just visiting, don't know anyone, and aren't 21 :)

I live in northern California now and will never move back to Georgia, but if I did, Athens would be the only place I'd go. I love that town.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 1:23 PM on May 10, 2011

Athens is a great place to live *and* to visit. Whatever your interests, there are things to do and see.

You didn't say what you like, so first off take a look at The Flagpole Guide to Athens, put out by the free weekly Flagpole Magazine, the *first* place to look to see what's going on in town.

Athens is known for music, naturally, but also art and, more recently, food. I'd be happy to help you find aspects of all three that meet your taste. If you're into the outdoorsy stuff, you picked a great time to come because the crowds will be gone and the heat won't yet be too oppressive. There's plenty to do right in town, but as others above have mentioned, there are lots more things within 30 minutes of town.

If you do the Broad River float, you'll be going right by my farm. Let me know, and I'll wave and have a refreshing beverage ready for you.
posted by ewagoner at 1:31 PM on May 10, 2011

Have breakfast or lunch on the patio of Big City Bread or Ike & Jane's. Breakfast is a grand affair in Athens as the NY Times has noted.

I applaud the recommendation for a show at the 40 Watt. Also, the Miller Learning Center and Tate Center are hubs of student activities. Not sure when summer session begins, but you may find some peers in the halls of these two locales. If you enjoy the outdoors, Sandy Creek and Lake Herrick are good destinations. Lake Herrick is the intramural destination for UGA students: tennis, jogging trails, athletic fields, etc. If you have access, the Ramsey Center is quite nice. Sports Illustrated once named it the top recreational facility among NCAA schools.

Finally, the Boulevard and Cobbham neighborhoods are nice if you are in search of historic homes.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 6:16 PM on May 10, 2011

The Grill's fries, but only with Feta Cheese. It magically makes them very tasty.

Spend some time walking around North Campus. Being in the lab probably means you'll be in South Campus and miss out on it otherwise. I miss it thinking about it.

Go see some shows at 40 Watt. Shows are to be had any night of the week.
posted by jmd82 at 7:24 PM on May 10, 2011

Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I'll definitely check out 40 Watt. :)
posted by xinglin91 at 8:37 PM on May 10, 2011

I work across the street from the 40 Watt, so again, let me know and I'll wave and have a refreshing beverage ready for you :)
posted by ewagoner at 7:55 AM on May 11, 2011

Oh, I forgot, you should check out Cine while you're downtown if you like independent movies. Great place!
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 8:28 AM on May 11, 2011

Visit the Guidestones. A time capsule of rationality hidden amongst farms.
posted by iurodivii at 10:11 PM on May 11, 2011

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