Once you get settled into your University Commons apartment you’re going to want to get out and about and enjoy all Athens, Ohio has to offer.
Often named one of the best college towns in the nation, Athens features a campus intertwined with the town itself, meaning everywhere you want to go is just a short distance away. And in Athens, you’ll soon find there’s plenty you’ll want to take advantage of during your college years and beyond!
- Avalanche Pizza – Regularly the recipient of awards like “Best Pizza in the United States” by entities such as the Food Network, World Pizza Championships, and the North American Pizza Competition, this local favorite always has people coming back for more.
- Big Mamma’s Burritos – For delicious and filling Mexican food, you can’t go wrong with this local chain. It’s a favorite of Ohio University students and we know it’ll soon be one of yours as well. We recommend the chipotle ranch burrito.
- O’Betty’s – Another local favorite, O’Betty’s serves up a variety of specialty hot dogs and sauces that certainly hit the spot. Be sure to check out their happy hour specials.
- Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina – This restaurant and bar provides delicious Mexican cuisine in a lively atmosphere which regularly features live music and art shows.
- Bagel Street Deli – Offering a wide assortment of sandwiches on over twenty varieties of bagels, this eatery not only delivers on great food, but also provides a charming atmosphere for its customers.
- GoodFella’s Pizza – With two locations downtown, GoodFella’s has become a much-trafficked and beloved part of Athens night life by students and locals alike. The pizza is delicious, the service is fast and the prices are very reasonable.
- Donkey Coffee – One of Athens’ gems for great beverages, socializing, and enjoying the arts, this business has certainly ingrained itself in the local culture.
- Whit’s Frozen Custard – This regional chain has twenty-three franchises throughout Ohio, with their Athens Court Street location being incredibly popular with students looking for tasty treats.
- Insomnia Cookies – This national chain offering dozens of delicious confections has recently come to Athens, and their scrumptious deserts are perfect for a late-night craving.
- Court Street Diner – For a little trip back in time, try the Court Street Diner, a charming eatery with a retro ‘50s aesthetic. Hearty burgers and fries, thick milkshakes and delectable breakfast foods are just some of the delights to be found here.
- Union Street Diner – By being open 24/7, this diner has endeared itself to many Athens locals, and students love the good food and reasonable prices offered.
- Pleasant Hill Vineyards – Relax and enjoy one of ten varieties of wine along with gourmet appetizers in a charming 1830s log cabin and its serene grounds.
- Village Bakery & Café – Enjoy tasty pastries, hearty brunch items and delicious smoothies at this business that’s been a part of Athens culture for over a decade.
- OMG! Rotisserie – Using local ingredients to make delectable chicken and soul food dishes, this recently-opened restaurant has made a big splash on the Athens scene. Best yet, catering and delivery are additionally available.
Bars & Pubs
- Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery – With over ten years’ experience in the Athens area, this local brewery has fast become a beloved favorite. Choose from a wide assortment of drafts and bottles while you sample some tasty appetizers.
- The Union Bar & Grill – Following a tragic fire 2014, The Union has now returned to its former glory, once again able to offer up cold beer and lively local shows.
- The Pigskin – This bar and grille sits in a highly-trafficked area of Athens’ famed Court Street, making it exceptionally popular. Try one of their Black Widows and catch up with old friends on the back patio.
- The Over Hang – Opening in 2013 in a location held by many former Athens’ bars, The Over Hang offers a host of domestic and imported favorites which are sure to hit the spot.
- Cat’s Eye Saloon – Another local watering hole offering a slew of drink specials and terrific apparel.
- The Pub – For over four decades this bar’s been delighting locals with great food and cold beers. Stop in and get what the Athens News has called “the best burger in town.”
- Athens Uncorked – As Athens’ first wine bar, this charming spot offers delicious wines and gourmet appetizers. Be sure to stop by for a lovely vintage.
- West End Cider House – With house-made cider, wine and mead, along with tasty appetizers, this is one charming spot you’ll certainly want to track down.
- Little Fish Brewing Company – Offering up a selection of ales, sours and lagers, this business is dedicated to serving great drinks while remaining conscious of the environment.
Nature & History
- The Ridges Cemeteries Nature Walk – While Athens has many nature trails to choose from, this one, winding through famed site The Ridges, is incredibly beautiful and serene.
- Hocking Hills – Just outside of Athens sits Hocking Hills, a premier spot for camping, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, and so much more. Be sure to visit famed Old Man’s Cave while in the area.
- Nelsonville Antiques and Vintage Market – Step back in time at this historic public square, featuring lovely antique shops.
- Hocking Valley Scenic Railway – Another attraction located in nearby Nelsonville, this company offers scenic train rides for a variety of functions.
- Athens County Historical Society & Museum – For an in-depth look at the rich cultural history of Athens, along with many historical artifacts spanning decades, be sure to visit this great museum.
- Strouds Run State Park – If you’re looking for great fun for the whole family you’ll find it at Strouds Run, which features fishing, boating, swimming, hunting and an assortment of nature trails.
Entertainment & Shopping
- Haffa’s Records – Athens’ only independent record store offers art lovers thousands of LPs, CDs, DVDs, posters, shirts and assorted memorabilia to choose from. A must-visit for the vinylheads out there.
- Banana Road – This quirky shop sells posters and prints perfect for sprucing up any apartment walls, and the attached costume section is a great resource for Halloween and parties.
- School of Theater – Considered one of the finest theater programs in the country, Ohio University’s school of theater puts on numerous shows each semester featuring tomorrow’s future stars.
- Lost Flamingo Company – As Athens’ only student-run theater organization, Lost Flamingo offers those who aren’t part of the OU theater program the chance to write, direct and star in a variety of shows. Be sure to check them out.
- Baker University Center – As one of the central hubs for student activity, Baker hosts a variety of plays, musical events, open mics and comedy shows throughout the year. There’s always something going on.
- Escape Room Athens – Being part of the nationwide trend of live puzzle games, Escape Room Athens provides a unique experience perfect for parties. Can you solve the mystery?
- The Athena Cinema – The premier movie theater in Athens, Ohio for over a century, the Athena features art house films alongside popular favorites as part of special events and midnight screenings. Highly recommended.
- Athena Grand – The larger counterpart to the historic Athena Cinema, the Athena Grand sits on the outskirts of campus and plays more mainstream and blockbuster movies, and features 3D capabilities.
- The Dairy Barn Arts Center – Showcasing art exhibitions, festivals, live performances and educational programs, this art center has become a principal location for local and visiting artists.
- The Ping Center – This 168,000 square foot complex provides opportunities for running, weightlifting, aerobics, basketball, dance and so much more. The perfect place to get fit in Athens.
- Memorial Auditorium – One of the major centers for art and entertainment in Athens, Ohio, MemAud brings in famous speakers, comedians, musicians and artists from all over the world.
- Ohio University Basketball – Go to a rousing game at the Convo and root on your hometown Bobcats, a team with a lot of spirit and who recently appeared in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
- Ohio University Volleyball – See some thrilling matches from our volleyball team, winners of the 2015 MAC title.
- Ohio University Football – Stand up and cheer for your Bobcats at historic Peden Stadium, often nicknamed “The Wrigley Field of College Football.”
Festivals & Special Events
- Ohio University Homecoming – Always a fun, raucous affair, OU Homecoming brings in Alumni from all over the country and the world to relive their college days and enjoy local shops and bars. Book your hotels early!
- Athens International Film & Video Festival – For over 40 years Athens has hosted this film festival which has brought hundreds of talented artists to the city and has made an indelible mark on the region’s culture.
- Spring Literacy Festival – Organized by the Ohio University English Department, this festival invites fiction, nonfiction and poetry writers each year for readings, lectures, workshops and more.
- Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Festival – For over 20 years, this festival has served as a space for cooks and foodies to come together and enjoy delicious chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket among other barbecue delights.
- Ohio Pawpaw Festival – Offering good food, entertainment for the whole family, and pieces by local artists and craftsmen, this late summer festival is the perfect segue into fall fun.
- Ohio Brew Week – With over 200 beers available from over 40 Ohio breweries, along with an assortment of delicious local foods, this summer event is essential for foodies and beer lovers.
- Athens Halloween Block Party – Without a doubt, one of the things Athens is most famous for is its annual Halloween celebration, which regularly brings in thousands of outside guests ready to get in on the spooky fun.
As you can see, finding excitement in Athens is simple as can be. And these of course are only a sampling of what’s in store for you, since there are hundreds of additional shops, restaurants and bars to enjoy.
For more information about great local activities and news about Athens student housing, be sure to follow the University Commons blog. And if you’re ready to get moved in and start living the Athens lifestyle, be sure to contact us today!