By Nick Dekker
Posted On: Oct 6, 2022
Athens offers the unique convergence of fun activities: it's a beautiful college town tucked along the Hocking River, it's a haven for fans of great food and drink, and it's surrounded by the rolling hills, lakes, and scenic rivers of southeast Ohio.
There's enough to do that you could easily fill a couple weekends in Athens, so I've rounded up some favorite spots to eat, drink, visit, and explore!
Bagel Street Deli
Where To Eat
There's no shortage of great eats in Athens! You could spend the entire weekend just bouncing between the bakeries, food trucks, fried chicken, and hot dog joints.
Donkey Coffee: Start your day with a cup of cold brew or a steaming mug of java from Donkey Coffee. The multi-level space is a favorite for studying, hanging out, or attending events in their backroom space.
Bagel Street Deli: This local favorite doubled their square footage earlier this year, which means more area to serve their enormous menu of dozens and dozens of bagel sandwiches. Do you have a favorite?
The Burrito Buggy: Look for the bright yellow food trailer parked near campus, serving a late-night menu of gigantic burritos.
Casa Nueva: This long-running and much-loved cantina is owned by the employees. They're known for leaning heavily into sourcing local ingredients to create classic Mexican dishes.
Fluff Bakery: This cozy downtown spot serves breakfast sandwiches and burritos, rice bowls, salads, and sandwiches - on top of coffee, espresso, and fresh-made pastries.
Miller's Chicken: The old school Miller's proves that sometimes simplest is best. Head there for excellent fried chicken, seafood, sandwiches, and loads of great sides.
O'Betty's Red Hot: A funky, hole-in-the-wall, pin-up girl-themed hot dog spot serving French fries and dogs with names like Hootchy-Kootchy or Mata Hari. Be sure to take time to tour the Hot Dog Museum!
Village Bakery: The charming Village Bakery serves up breakfast, sandwiches, soups, and salads, with lots of local sourcing.
Jackie O's Pub & Brewery
Where To Grab A Drink
Athens has led the way in Ohio for the creation of great beer, ciders, and spirits.
Jackie O's: The award-winning Jackie O's has been recognized across the state for its wide range of beers, from brown ales and IPAs to wheat beers and barrel-aged stouts. What started as a production facility and taproom has grown to include a brewpub, public house, and bake shop (with another location coming soon to downtown Columbus!).
Little Fish Brewing: Little Fish excels at farmhouse ales and sours, served in an eclectic taproom, with a focus on local ingredients. Their kitchen serves creative fare with locally sourced ingredients, too.
Pleasant Hill Vineyard: Pleasant Hill offers spectacular views while you sip wines and nosh on cheese boards and flatbreads.
West End Ciderhouse & Distillery: Kick back at West End with their lineup of house-made ciders, all crafted from Ohio apples. You can also sip cocktails made with their diverse range of spirits. If you're there on a weekend, hit up the distillery retail store, too!
The College Green at Ohio University
What To See
From world-class arts to farmers markets to Ohio University's beautiful campus, you'll find plenty to fill your time around Athens!
Athens Farmers Market: Now in its 50th year, the Athens Farmers Market runs year-round and features loads of local produce and farm fresh fare.
Dairy Barn Arts Center: The Dairy Barn is indeed housed in a massive historic dairy barn, and is known for its exhibitions, workshops, classes. It's produced the annual Quilt National show for over 40 years!
Kennedy Museum of Art: Located on Ohio University's campus, the Kennedy features rotating exhibitions of world-class art.
Ohio University: There's a reason why they call Ohio University the "Harvard on the Hocking!” OU's beautiful campus is perfect for a stroll any time of year.
Random House: Open for more than 40 years, Random House offers hours of shopping through antiques, records, furniture, and more.
Strouds Run State Park
Where To Get Outdoors
Athens benefits from being surrounded by scenic countryside, so you’re only minutes away from hiking, boating, and other adventures.
The Moonville Rail Trail: Not far from Athens you can pick up the eastern end of the Moonville Rail Trail, a 16-mile stretch of former B&O rail line that's maintained as hiking trails by the Athens Conservancy. Along the way is the famous (and slightly creepy) Moonville Tunnel.
Lake Snowden: Only five miles southwest of Athens sits Lake Snowden, a 675-acre park featuring a large lake, campgrounds, trails, picnicking grounds, and much more.
Strouds Run State Park: Located just a few minutes from downtown Athens, Strouds Run surrounds Dow Lake and offers miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails. Rent boats to hit the lake during the warmer weather!