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8 Things to Do in Downtown Athens, Georgia

Small town Georgia is at its best in Athens. From an alumni-owned chocolate shop to an archery-inspired paper goods store to Graduate Athens itself, everything in Athens has a whole lotta soul. Treat yourself to the quaint Southern spirit that makes Georgia unique, plus the Bulldog pride you just can’t beat. 

Stroll down memory lane or experience a side of Athens you’ve never seen before starting with these eight things to do, see, and eat.

1

Condor Chocolates

Take a walk on the sweet side at Condor Chocolates, a local chocolate shop beloved by students and locals alike. Though you can order chocolates for pick-up, part of the magic is perusing Condor’s glass confection cases packed with chocolates that are as colorful as they are decadent. 

This alumni-owned shop prides itself on their bean-to-bar chocolates, ranging from truffles to sipping chocolate to gelato and more. Stop by to treat yourself to all things sweet perfectly paired with an iced coffee or piping hot espresso. Keep Condor close even after you’ve left Athens by placing an order online—all of which is wrapped in recyclable paper packaging.

Insider Tip

Can’t pick just one? Order an assorted truffle box and try ’em all!

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2

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. 

Rediscover the beautiful world of beer at Creature Comforts Brewing Co., a family-owned craft brewery. Beer lovers from far and wide flock to their tap room for their complex yet balanced flavors, but perhaps the most welcoming aspect of Creature Comforts is their mission to foster human connection. More a neighborhood bar than tap room, Creature Comforts is a place to settle in for a long conversation over a cold beer fresh from the tap. 

Sip on year-round favorites like the subtly piney Cosmic Debris Double IPA or their clean, crisp, Classic City Lager. They also release beers that celebrate the seasons, so depending on when you visit, you might come across unique varieties like a creamy winter milk porter or a fruited berliner weisse perfect for summer sipping.

Insider Tip

In town to cheer on the Dawgs? Grab an Imperial Trop Haze – only available seasonally in September & October.

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3

Last Resort Grill 

Last Resort Grill’s southwestern-inspired dishes should be your first stop for a meal in Athens. Farm-to-table dining gets an exciting update through regional favorites like Carolina Crab Cakes, Horseradish Crusted Salmon, and even veggie-filled options like The Veggie Stack. 

Beyond the menu, Last Resort Grill offers a unique dining experience as they use cooking techniques like open fire, grilling, brining, and more, much of which you can see from your seat in the dining room. Last Resort Grill is also the perfect place to immerse yourself in the flavors of Athens as they do source many of their ingredients from local bakers, makers, and growers. 

Insider Tip

The Last Resort Grill sources ingredients from local Georgia farms.

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4

Mama’s Boy

Breakfast and lunch are at their best at Mama’s Boy. Come morning, their plates are piled high with stacks of pancakes, buttered toast, french fries, and even fried green tomatoes. Self-described as the go-to for Southern fun cooking, Mama’s Boy blends classic Southern cooking with breakfast favorites to keep Athens well fed. 

They are first come, first serve, so get there early to snag a table and the mouthwatering meal that’ll come with it. Dig into pork tacos or tofu stir fry or opt for classics like biscuits and gravy or cinnamon buns.

Insider Tip

If you’re not in the mood for a biscuit, you’re in luck. Yep – you can order Chocolate Cake for Breakfast.

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5

The National

One of Athens’s most unique gathering places, The National strives to embody the casual cafes you’ll find throughout Europe. Though their Meditteranean food and carefully curated wine list will conjure far away places all on their own, the picture is made all the more vivid by their white and blue brick storefront and tables covered with white linen. 

As global as The National feels, many of their dishes showcase the changing seasons of Northeast Georgia. Dig into plates of creamy hummus, stuffed medjool dates, pan-roasted fish, and quality cuts of meat. You can even order The National for delivery from hangouts that don’t serve food, like the tap room at Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Insider Tip

Visiting Athens in the summertime? Made with housemade tonics and bitters, infused liquors and juices from the freshest local produce all summer long.

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6

State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Roam along the riverbank at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, an outdoor lover’s go-to for all things horticulture and conservation. Though the garden does offer science-based, experiential learning programs, you don’t have to be a nature buff to enjoy the many plants, flowers, and walking paths. 

Meander among native flora and fauna, stroll through rows of fragrant flowers, or be transported to a new locale through the International Garden’s Alabama snow wreaths or Chinese sweetshrubs. While at the garden, do as the wildlife do by following The Hummingbird Trail, which charts 21 different spots where you’ll come across these fast-flying birds.

Insider Tip

Need to work up a sweat? Follow the Orange Trail for a nice loop along the Oconee River.

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7

The UGA Arch

This 160-year-old arch has seen UGA through more than a century of graduating classes. Though legend has it you should only walk beneath the arch once you’ve graduated, it’s still among one of campuses best photo ops. With three arches that represent wisdom, justice, and moderation, it also stands as a reminder of UGA’s commitment to serve the people of Georgia—fitting, given that the arch borders North Campus and Downtown Athens. 

See the arch up close to witness the many ways it mirrors Athens, from the Arch’s base that likely comes from the same light poles you’ll see throughout town to the wreath detailing that mirrors those on the Lucy Cobb House porch.

Insider Tip

Make sure you don’t walk under the arch before graduation. Tradition says that anyone who walks under the arch before graduation will not receive a diploma!

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8

Archer Paper Goods

Stationary, greeting cards, accessories, oh my! Archer Paper Goods is a playground for office supply lovers. From colorful pencils to stationary, keychains to candles, if it lives in your office, you’ll find it at Archer. They even offer Athens-made jewelry and office wares, so you can bring home a trinket that’s unique to UGA. 

If you find yourself in Atlanta, Dallas, or Charlotte, don’t hesitate to find their other locations to get your Archer fix.

Insider Tip

Hit up Archer Paper Goods at the beginning of the semester and grab all the cutest Back to School goodies you could ever dream of. It’ll give you that school supply shopping feeling you had as a kid.

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Pencils and Pens