15 Best Things to Do in Athens, GA

15 Best Things to Do in Athens, GA

Placed with a background of the mighty Blue Ridge Mountains, Athens is one of the most amazing places to check out in Georgia. The town is mainly town for its cotton mills and music! But, are you aware of how beautiful Athens is?

Filled with Southern hospitality- Athens is one of the best places to plan a vacation. Let us take a look at the top 15 things to do in Athens-

Take a stroll around Downtown Athens

Downtown Athens
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

On the first day of the trip, we’d recommend taking a walk around the most important part of the city. Yes, Athens is quite an old city. But, do you know which is the oldest part? Yes, it is Downtown Athens.

Enlisted on the National Register of Historic Places, Downtown Athens used to be significant in the old days. Even today, you can see a lot of people crowded here during the evenings. The area is remarkable.

You can see a lot of buildings that resemble those from the British Victorian era. But, there are some modern ones too. This shows that Athens is a perfect mixture of the old with the new!

Do check out the City Hall, as it is one of the most important structures of the area. The nightlife is amazing too and you can see a lot of restaurants lined up here as well.

Appreciate nature at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is one of the prettiest places to see in Athens. Under the wing of the University of Georgia- the State Botanical Garden of Georgia has flourished as one of the most gorgeous places you can visit.

Not only are there a lot of wildflowers, camellias, and even azaleas for your eyes- there is also a medicinal garden you could check out. There are 11 areas into which the botanical gardens have been divided. These different regions have different types of flora and fauna in them.

There are natural trails inside the gardens through which you can walk. Did you know that the State Botanical Garden of Georgia even has a tobacco garden inside? Hummingbirds are flying freely too.

See the art at the Georgia Museum of Art

Georgia Museum of Art
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

The Georgia Museum of Art is not only one of the most gorgeous art museums you will ever see on a trip, but it is also the official one of Georgia. Are you interested in taking a look now? Come on, we shall be telling you more about it.

There are some gorgeous art pieces over here and there are about 8000 of them. You can see a lot of art that were created by talented American artists in the 19th and 20th century.

The museum organizes trips where you can go and check out all the art and even learn the story behind it.

Try out kayaking

When it comes to the waters in Athens- we have only one word to describe it- ‘Gorgeous.’ And, these waters provide some of the best adventures too. In such a case- kayaking is a must.

If you are done with your morning activities, we recommend exploring the waters and the shorelines on a kayak. Sounds fun, right? Let’s get going.

Middle Oconee River provides the best views on your kayaking trip. You can explore the waters as there are almost 3.5 miles to look around. You can rent these kayaks and it takes almost an hour or two to explore around the river.

Visit the Bear Hollow Zoo

The Bear Hollow Zoo is a nice place to hang out with your kids on a lazy afternoon. There is a certain specialty about this Bear Hollow Zoo. And, it is not like other zoos.

Instead of bringing perfect animals over and displaying them, the Bear Hollow Zoo does quite a special job. It only brings in the tortures or the injured animals to care for them. After bringing them back to health the animals are given a home.

It is also an interactive zoo, so the kids usually have plenty of fun here. You can go on, have a look, and meet the animals.

Snap a few pictures of The Tree That Owns Itself

Now, we shall be taking you to see quite a quirky tourist attraction of Athens. The Tree That Owns Itself is an oak tree, but the special part about this tree is that it owns itself. Can you imagine a tree’s owner is a tree? Well, here in Athens- anything is possible.

Colonel William H. Jackson who is a professor in profession owns the land where the tree is located. He was quite passionate about the tree. You will realize that from the fact that he gifted a small portion of the land around the tree to the tree itself! Yes, there is an actual deed!

Go hiking along Birchmore Trail

Stream on Birchmore Trail
Jmrobath / Shutterstock.com

Are you looking for a speck of nature to run along? We got your back. We can recommend quite a nice hiking spot. Birchmore Trail is one of those spots that are located just inside the city and has some great views.

Situated beside the Great Wall of Athens, the trail attracts many nature lovers. Fred Birchmore built this wall and the trail also has the name after him. He is one of the legends of Athens. And, the man built this entire bridge when he was 70! The trail is pedestrian-friendly too, so you can go on a run here!

Visit the Georgia Museum of Natural History

Affiliated to the University of Georgia- Georgia Museum of Natural History is a place of interest to science lovers. If you are into the different branches of science like anthropology, geology, entomology, or geography- you’d love the Georgia Museum of Natural History.

You can find a lot of plants and animal species native to the region of Georgia in this museum.
You can also learn a lot about the different endangered species of Georgia in this museum. This museum is like a slice of paradise for all kinds of science lovers.

Have some beers at Terrapin Brewery

Come on. No-one says no to beers on a vacation. We are right, aren’t we? It is now your time to go on and have some locally brewed beers. You might be imagining why we are not talking about some breweries. Okay, we shall get to it at once!

The Terrapin Brewery is one of the most popular ones in Athens. There are not many reputed craft breweries in Athens, but Terrapin Brewery makes up for it. You can take a tour around and see for yourself how the beers are brewed. It is a fully functional brewery so you might catch the brewers making the beers right in front of your eyes!

Taste some of the best beers of your life. You can even take home some of those which you like!

Check out the local flora and fauna at Sandy Creek Nature Center

Are you looking for some hiking trails amid the lush greenery? Sandy Creek Nature Center is your destination. The place is the best for accessing some great hiking trails with wonderful scenery. And, the presence of the wetlands as backgrounds truly makes the place more lovable.

You can be in close touch with nature here for the place is filled with the flora and fauna native to this region. Are you looking forward to meeting some animals? You might come across an armadillo while hiking here!

There is even a log house for you if you are looking for some more information about the spot. Learn about the flora and fauna and even the animals of the Sandy Creek Nature Center here.

Go to see the double-barreled cannon

Double-barreled cannon
Gualberto Becerra / Shutterstock.com

It is now time to see some exclusive historic spots in the city. When you were walking around downtown, you must have seen the City Hall building.

And, in front of that building lies a structure that might seem odd at first glance, but is quite an important thing when it comes to the historical point of view.

John Gilleland built this cannon which was initially a gift for the Confederate forces. But, the gift was not accepted as there were a series of hilarious reasons.

Before accepting the gifts, they fired a couple of rounds as an experiment. And, in these experiments some trees were uprooted, a cornfield was massacred, and even a cow was killed. None of the targets were proper and now the cannon just stands there as a memory.

Visit the Amicalola Falls State Park

Amicalola Falls State Park
JayL / Shutterstock.com

There are some truly blissful spots just on the outskirts of Athens. You need to admit that these places have truly been blessed with some indescribable beauty.

Have you read the famous work of Bill Bryson- A Walk in the Woods? If yes, you should know what we are talking about. And, if not, that’s perfect for you shall get the pleasure of seeing something so magnificent with your own eyes.

Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the most beautiful pieces of land. And, the Appalachian Trail that runs through it is gorgeous on its own. Your eyes shall be blessed with some of the most splendid waterfalls too.

Taste the wines at Wolf Mountain Vineyards

Are you up for some spirits after seeing the true beauty of Athens? We hope you are, for we have one of the nicest places that we’d like to introduce you to.

But, that nice place needs a nice drive first. And, we assure you that we are going to quite a lovely place. Located in the heavenly Chattahoochee National Forest, the Wolf Mountain Vineyards has some of the best wines of Athens.

Though it is one of the newest wineries in the USA, it has already received a lot of awards for its great wines. Almost a thousand cases are produced by the winery every year. You can go on a tour inside the cellar room and get to see how things are done.

Plan a day trip to Helen

Helen Square, GA
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

We have planned a nice day trip for you! If you have checked out the whole of Athens, and you still have some time on your hands, we urge you to check out this quaint town. Just a short drive of roughly 62 miles away from Athens, the town of Helena lies.

We are not yet commenting on the beauty, but it reeks of Bavaria! Though it is situated millions of miles away, you cannot help but notice the uncanny resemblance.

The background of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes Helen much more beautiful. The beauty of this little village cannot be described in words and the way it resembles old European structures is unbelievable.

Do visit the little town and have some fun in the Chattahoochee River as well. The best part about this town is that you can go cycling around.

Check out the Dahlonega Gold Museum

Dahlonega Gold Museum
Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com

The Gold Rush played an important role in American history. When you go to visit the places, that faced the Gold Rush- you will figure out that a lot of remnants are still there, Same is the case with Athens.

When you see the Dahlonega Gold Museum, you will be reminded of how the old gold days used to be. There is a museum along with a county courthouse.

In the museum- you can see a lot of equipment from the days of the Gold Rush. You can see see the panning instruments along with some old gold coins too. The Dahlonega Gold Museum is located in a building that is quite old. The construction dates back to almost the 1830s.

Right now, this is all we have in Athens. We shall be back very soon with another one of the beautiful trips. Till then, stay tuned and have some great trips.