American Car Reviews travel

11 ways to have a super time in Athens, GA [that don’t involve football]


Needing a break from the congestion of Atlanta, I took a second road trip to a neighboring, albeit less crowded city, Athens, GA. And thanks to the Ford Escape I had a lovely ride to and from all while easily navigating the college town.

Athens has a reputation for being home to one of the nation’s top party schools, and college footballs are extremely die hard. That doesn’t mean a non football fan can’t fall in love with the city too. Here are 11 of the best things to do in Athens, Georgia that have nothing to do with football.

If you live in Atlanta, you should definitely visit or revisit if you attended UGA. I was so excited that Ford lent me their new hybrid Escape for the drive. Bonus: we never had to fill up the car as we had plenty of gas to make it to Athens and back. And it’s worth mentioning that most places in the Athens you’ll visit are just a short drive (like mostly just five minutes) from each other.

Our hotel for the weekend in Athens,, the Indigo Athens has special parking designated for hybrid vehicles. We really appreciated these parking spots, a since it was quite windy when we visited, we got to park rather close to the entrance which was a nice bonus. Oh and the hotels is so beautiful, I highly recommend staying here if you make a trip to Athens.


More hotels are offering special parking just for hybrids!



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Want to read more about Athens restaurants? Check out my other article on Athens, Georgia here.

  1. Discover the next Michael Stipe. Long before R.E.M. made it big they were playing dive bars in Athens. Visit one of the many live music Venues in Athens such as the much famed 40 Watt and listen to the next great musical artist or band of our time.

    L: One of the most popular music clubs 40-Watt, R: Posing where REM photographed one their popular album covers

  2. Or if you just want to walk the footsteps of bands like the B-52s and REM that’s fine too. You can go on a tour that takes you to spots where they played as well as places where some album covered were photographed. You will have to contact the Athens CVB to help coordinate your tour, hosted by Athens music aficionado, Paul Butchard. He’s lived in Athens for decades and was even in a band that opened up for the famed, REM. Protip: if you go on the Athens music tour with Paul Butchart, which I highly recommend, he’ll take you to he Truss, a famous spot for REM.
  3. Stroll through the luxe Athens botanical gardens (for free). Bird lovers should definitely hit up the gardens, as it gets the Audubon seal of approval, especially for hummingbirds. It’s huge, so plan to spend a couple hours there!

If you visit Athens, make sure to get a picture here with UGA!

4. Visit the soul-food diner that Automatic for the People (the album by REM) was named after. The Instagram worthy sign in Athens still remains. 

5. Meet the tree that owns itself in Athens, Georgia. Yes you read that right. The original giant oak, estimated around 400 years old,  was deeded to itself in 1890 by Colonel William H. Jackson. Now it is a beloved member of the Athens community and quite a popular one too!

6. Dine at a two-time James Beard award winning restaurant, Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten. The lovely restaurant, converted from a home features gorgeous rooms, each with a design of its own. The menu changes often, but rest assured, there’s always plenty of good options. They are quite popular, so be sure to make reservations.

7. Art lover? Wonder at the over 10,000 works of art at the Georgia Museum of Art.

8. Enjoy the fire pits in the outdoor patio at the Hotel Indigo. On a spring or fall evening there isn’t anything better than sipping a glass of wine and having a fantastic conversation with your boo with the warmth of the fire.

9. Go on a food tour with Athens Food Tours. These folks really know what they are doing. DYK? They are veterans of food tours with a great one on the Marietta Square too! This tour will have about five stops, so make sure to plan a light or late dinner that evening. Here are just two of the fabulous treats we got to try in Athens, GA on this food tour. I don’t want to spoil it, but you will be delighted at the stops and it is super if you only have a limited amount of time in the Classic City.


If you are short on time, make sure to go on the Athens food tour if you want to experience some of Athens’ best dining options


10. Visit the music murals through the music city. You’ll see throughout the musical tour of Athens, there is a rich history of black musicians in Athens.


Walk to this mural in Downtown Athens or pass by it when you are on the Athens Food Tour

11. Check out Wuxtry records – one of the last record shops in the country! Athens is a music city right? It is only fitting that Wuxtry records is still standing. There are many collector’s items and memorabilia in the funky record store.


If you love collector’s items and music history, you have to pay a visit to Wuxtry records in Athens

Thanks for the hospitality Athens and to Ford for lending me the super cool Escape to drive for the weekend! What will be the first thing you do when you visit Athens, GA?




There’s so much room in the trunk of the Ford Escape but there’s also plenty of room for passengers too!



About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!