There's plenty to entertain the college-aged (and beyond) in Athens, Ga. — home of flagship school the University of Georgia — one of the most famous college towns in the country. Here's your guide to find some awesome an hour's drive from Atlanta, in the Classic City.
FILL 'ER UP: No visit to Athens is complete without tasting the local brew, so don't pass up Terrapin Beer Company's (265 Newton Bridge Road, 706-549-3377, www.terrapinbeer.com) tasting tours of its 45,000-square-foot brewery, complete with a souvenir beer glass for $10. Looking for a different kind of buzz? Grab a cup of coffee at one of the many Jittery Joe's (www.jitteryjoes.com) littered throughout town. You can find a slew of UGA students hanging out at the Broad Street location between classes.
THE TASTING ROOM: Athens boasts one of the best restaurants in the state — and, fortunately for you, one of the most reasonable. Celebrated chef Hugh Acheson's The National (232 W. Hancock Ave., 706-549-3450, www.thenationalrestaurant.com), the more affordable little sister to Acheson's acclaimed Five and Ten, is located in a hip building downtown. The Mediterranean-inspired veggie plate is worth the drive alone. Need to pad your belly after a late night of overconsumption without breaking the bank? The Grill (171 College Ave., 706-543-4770, www.thegrillathensga.com) is the spot to grab some greasy — and awesome — food after a long night hitting the bars. Plus, it's open 24 hours! Athens is also a city that loves its brunch. Cure your hangover at Mama's Boy (197 Oak St., 706-548-6249, www.eatatmamasboy.com) for down-home Southern fare like peach-stuffed French toast or biscuits and gravy.
TENDING BAR: UGA was just crowned the No. 1 party school in the nation by the Princeton Review, so there's never been a better time get down in Athens. But instead of getting caught up in the madness, skip the rowdy bars for the Globe (199 N. Lumpkin St., 706-353-4721, www.globeathens.com), one of the best laid-back pubs in town. After seeping in the sophistication at the Globe, head to 283 Bar (283 Broad St., 706-208-1283), which boasts a hipster vibe and killer jukebox, and is one of the best spot to throw back a few pints on the cheap. Take a break from the tradition bar scene and hit up JR's Baitshack (142 N. Jackson St., 706-208-9100) for a tropical experience replete with fruity drinks and Jimmy Buffet theme nights.
DEBT COLLECTORS: For the ultimate in window-shopping check out Heery's (195 College Ave., 706-543-0702, www.heerys.com), a fixture in the heart of downtown with designer-label clothing and accessories for the sorority set. For those living on student loans and Ramen noodles, Entourage (2095 S. Milledge Ave., 706-546-7090, www.entourageathens.com) offers a more wallet-friendly shopping experience. Prefer to dig for deals? Go vintage at Agora (260 W. Clayton St., 706-316-0130, myspace.com/iheartagora), an Athens staple beloved for its funky home décor pieces, or Dynamite (143 N. Jackson St., 706-543-1243, myspace.com/dynamiteclothing), which sells American Apparel next to consignment.
TUNE OUT: Wuxtry Records (197 E. Clayton St., 706-369-9428, www.myspace.com/wuxtryrecords) features classic vinyl selections next to new releases from local bands. The landmark spot opened in 1976 and has since spawned a Decatur location. For live jams, try the famed 40 Watt Club (285 W. Washington St., 706-549-7871, www.40watt.com), the venue that helped launch the careers of R.E.M and, more recently, Of Montreal and the Whigs. Mark your calendar for indie darling Jenny Lewis' show at the club Sept. 24, eschewing Atlanta's bright lights for the Athens scene.
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