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6 Exciting Things to Do in Athens Georgia
Welcome to Athens, Georgia—a lively city packed with culture, history, and exciting activities for locals and visitors alike! Whether you’re looking for a cozy place to relax or an adventure that will pierce your heart, you’ll find something special in Athens.
From exploring world-renowned galleries to discussing the latest local politics over craft beer, there are plenty of opportunities to experience all that Athens offers. Here are 6 things to do in Athens Georgia.
State Botanical Garden of Georgia
Get ready to experience 313 acres of pure botanical bliss in Athens, Georgia, at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. The garden was established by the University of Georgia in 1968, and offers a perfect blend of education, research, recreation, and public service. The Lower Flower Garden and the Upper Flower Garden, which showcase seasonal bulbs, cut flowers, dahlias, daylilies, tropical foliage plants, and peonies, are a must-see. And nature lovers rejoice! You can step onto more than five miles of nature trails or bask in the beauty of a tropical conservatory or a serene lake.
Not convinced yet? Listen to this. USA Today declared the State Botanical Garden of Georgia as one of the best botanical gardens in the United States. And if you need a perk-me-up, Café Botanical is the perfect spot to sip a coffee while enjoying the garden view. Plus, 3 yrs back, the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden opened, allowing children to explore and learn about nature in an exciting and stimulating environment.
But wait, there’s more! With over 20,000 azaleas and diverse wildlife, the garden is a mecca of natural diversity. It’s no wonder that the garden attracts over 230,000 visitors annually. And if you’re itching to learn more about Georgia’s rare and endangered plants, snag a copy of the comprehensive guidebook detailing over 200 species, including two dozen federally listed plants. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a treasure that keeps giving – from its breathtaking beauty to its incredible educational resources.
Athens Institute for Contemporary Art
Prepare to have your mind blown because the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA) is the coolest place in Athens, Georgia. Founded in 2001 by the visionary Lizzie Zucker Saltz, ATHICA is a non-profit gallery that promotes and supports innovative contemporary art and artists. Here’s the deal: ATHICA features exhibitions that showcase artists of all media, from visual to performance. This place is serious about its commitment to the local art community, and they’re not afraid to bring in national and international contemporary artists for its programming.
But wait, there’s more! ATHICA is all about challenging, provocative, and innovative contemporary art. And the best part? It’s all in a non-commercial setting for the cultural enrichment of Northeast Georgia.
If you want to get involved, ATHICA also offers volunteer opportunities, membership, and docenting. Plus, they’re supported by some seriously cool foundations like the James E. and Betty J. Huffer Foundation, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
So what are you waiting for? Get your art on at ATHICA!
The Iron Horse
This is one of the best things to do in Athens Georgia. The Iron Horse, a 2-ton, a 12-foot-tall metal masterpiece by Abbott Pattison, takes center stage in a cornfield near Highway 15. Nicknamed Pegasus Without Wings, this striking sculpture was once the black sheep of Athens but has since become a beloved local landmark – go figure! Visitors can’t resist admiring this beauty at any time of day, especially at sunrise. The future of the Iron Horse is uncertain, as it remains a hot topic for UGA buffs. Fun fact: the name “Iron Horse” used to be reserved for trains.
Sandy Creek Park
Prepare to be surrounded by nature’s beauty at Sandy Creek Park in Athens, Georgia. This 782-acre recreational area encompasses the picturesque 260-acre Lake Chapman and boasts many outdoor activities for all seasons.
With over 125 facilities available, including 20 miles of hiking trails, a delightful swim beach, and even an off-leash dog park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The park is equipped for basketball, tennis, fishing, horseback riding, and camping. Plus, you can enjoy the beauty of the hardwood forests, fields, and disc golf course. Admission is a mere $2 for those aged between 4 to 64 years old. With annual foot traffic of over 110,000 visitors, it’s no surprise that Sandy Creek Park is a cherished location for events such as picnics, birthday parties, family reunions, and memorial services.
Georgia Museum of Art
This is also one of the best things to do in Athens Georgia. The Georgia Museum of Art, situated in Athens, Georgia, is where American artwork from the 18th to the 21st centuries gets its moment in the spotlight. With over 10,000 works of art under its roof, it puts on heaps of exhibitions and programs throughout the year.
The museum’s permanent collection includes names like Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O’Keeffe. There are also exciting traveling exhibitions and educational programming for the young and old.
They’ve got jobs, like assistant editor, on offer too. Director William U. Eiland has scoured the globe for art culture intel, making the Georgia Museum of Art an edifying experience for art buffs and those eager to learn about American art history.
Murals and Bulldog statues in Athens.
Listen up, art lovers. You won’t want to miss Athens, Georgia’s impressive public art scene. The town is practically overrun with bulldog statues, all a part of the “We Let the Dogs Out” project – pun fully intended. The larger-than-life pups are scattered throughout the city and the UGA campus, paying homage to the beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Snap a selfie with as many as you can find – it’s a rite of passage. But that’s not all.
Athens’ got some serious mural game, too. You’ll find colorful works of art slapped onto cafe walls, boutique facades, and even a parking deck. Check out the “Hope” mural created by local artist David Hale, celebrating 25 years of the AthFest Music and Arts Festival. Another must-see is the portrait of Monroe “Pink” Morton and other community movers and shakers. These are the things to do in Athens, Georgia. So come for the dogs, stay for the art – Athens is the place to be.
An animated city known for its fascinating sights and activities is Athens, Georgia, which everyone can appreciate. There are many chances to investigate, educate, and enjoy oneself, from touring the famous State Botanical Garden of Georgia to sampling the tasty Greek dishes in the Downtown district. Athens pleases all by offering something to those who seek either cultural experiences or outdoor adventures.