Top Attractions for…
Athens is a great destination for families looking for educational and fun activities. The Georgia Museum of Art offers family-friendly programs and events throughout the year, including hands-on art making activities and scavenger hunts. Kids will love exploring the many interactive exhibits at the Georgia Museum of Natural History, like the Foucault Pendulum and the Okefenokee Swamp exhibit.
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia spans 313 acres and features picturesque nature trails that are perfect for a family hike. Let the kids burn off some energy at Southeast Clarke Park, which has playgrounds, sports fields, and a skate park. End the day with a picnic dinner from one of Athens’ farmer’s markets.
If it’s your first time visiting Athens, you’ll want to see some of the classic landmarks around town. Start with a tour of the University of Georgia’s historic North Campus. Highlights include the grand columns at the entrance to North Campus, the Chapel Bell, and famous Sanford Stadium.
While you’re on campus, grab a bite to eat at the eclectic collection of restaurants along Lumpkin Street. Next, head downtown to see the Morton Theatre, a historic performing arts venue, and the iconic 40 Watt Club music venue. Shop for unique gifts and souvenirs at the Athens Welcome Center and Georgia Museum Store.
Don’t leave without visiting the double-barreled cannon on the grounds of City Hall. Legend has it that when the cannon was test fired, it flew backwards and knocked down the chimney of a nearby house!
Wine & Beer Connoisseurs
Athens has a fantastic local beer and wine scene. For craft beer lovers, make sure to visit Creature Comforts Brewing Co., the creators of the famous Tropicalia IPA. Sample brews straight from the source at their tasting room.
Terrapin Beer Co. offers brewery tours where you can learn about their brewing process and sample a flight of their signature beers like Hopsecutioner IPA. Wine lovers will want to explore the wineries right outside Athens in the North Georgia foothills. Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery and Mercier Orchards Winery are renowned for their picturesque settings and award-winning wines.
Many local restaurants like The National and Five & Ten source ingredients from nearby farms, so you can taste the best of Athens’ food and drink scene all in one spot. Cap off the night with craft cocktails at bars like Manhattan Cafe and Old Pal.
As home to the University of Georgia Bulldogs, Athens is a paradise for college sports fans. Attend a football game at the legendary Sanford Stadium for the ultimate UGA experience. If football season is over, catch a basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum or a gymnastics meet at Stegeman Coliseum.
When the Bulldogs are on the road, you can cheer on the local minor league baseball team, the Athens BanJohnson Pirates, at Sanford Stadium. The BanJohnson Pirates play from May through August.
Athens is also just over an hour away from Atlanta, home to major league teams like the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons. Book a charter bus to Mercedes Benz Stadium or Truist Park for an away game.
Foodies will be delighted by Athens’ fantastic culinary scene showcasing southern cuisine and local ingredients. Head to the Athens Farmers Market on Saturdays for farm-fresh produce, artisanal cheeses and baked goods.
For a classic southern meal, try Mary Mac’s Tea Room, known for their fried chicken and fresh vegetables. The National specializes in low country cuisine and locally sourced seafood. Clocked has drool-worthy burgers and over 30 beers on tap.
Athens is also home to several James Beard Award nominated chefs like Hugh Acheson and Peter Dale, who own restaurants 5&10 and The National, respectively. Make reservations at one of their renowned eateries for a world-class dining experience.
Shoppers will love exploring Athens’ local boutiques and art galleries. Downtown is filled with fabulous shopping, especially along Clayton Street. Some highlights include Heery’s Clothes Closet for stylish fashions, Avid Bookshop for books by local authors, and Donna Meyers Art Gallery which sells paintings and pottery from regional artists.
Antique hunters will have a field day perusing the stalls at the Athens Antique Mall. If you’re looking for some retail therapy, head to the shops at Georgia Square Mall or Tanger Outlets in nearby Commerce.
Don’t leave without picking up some UGA Bulldogs souvenirs! The University Bookstore and The Red Zone have the best selection of t-shirts, hats, tailgating gear and other UGA merch.
How to Get Around Athens
Unfortunately, Athens does not have a light rail system. However, the city does have a public bus system called Athens Transit that can be useful for getting around town without a car. Buses run daily along major routes, with reduced service on weekends.
Fares are $1.50 per ride or $3.00 for a day pass. You can pay using cash (exact change only) or a Breeze Card. Keep in mind buses generally run every 30-60 minutes, so you’ll need to plan your schedule accordingly.
Taxis and Rideshares
Taxis and rideshares like Uber and Lyft are readily available for on-demand transportation in Athens. This can be a convenient option for shorter point-to-point trips, especially at night when the buses stop running.
However, for longer trips or moving large groups around Athens, rideshares can become expensive and inconvenient. You’ll need to request multiple vehicles which can take time, and keeping track of everyone in different cars can be tricky.
For ultimate convenience and affordability when traveling in large groups, consider reserving a charter bus. Our team at 706-583-6708 can provide charter bus rentals for groups of any size, from a 18-passenger minibus to a 56-passenger motorcoach. A charter bus keeps your entire group together in a single vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about coordinating multiple rides or keeping track of different passengers. Your professional driver will pick you up and drop you off wherever you need to go.
harter buses offer comfortable, spacious seats plus amenities like TVs, WiFi, power outlets, and restrooms on larger coaches. When you split the cost between passengers, the per person rate is very affordable.
Ready to Get Started?
We hope this beginner’s guide has given you a good overview of things to see, do, and explore in Athens for first-time visitors. With so many family-friendly activities, historic landmarks, great shopping and dining, Athens truly has something for everyone. The best part is that our charter bus team makes it easy to get your group around the city for any occasion. Call 706-583-6708 when you’re ready to start planning your Athens charter bus rental. We look forward to helping with your group transportation needs!