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The Alumni Gateway at Ohio University in Athens Ohio

How To Fill a Weekend (or Two) in Athens

Find out the best ways things to see, do, and eat when visiting this Southeast Ohio city.

The Alumni Gateway at Ohio University in Athens

How To Fill a Weekend (or Two) in Athens

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.

street view of downtown athens 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 sandwich from Bagel Street Deli in Athens Ohio on foil held up against backdrop of woods
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 in Athens ohio

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.

overhead table view of hot dogs and french fries from O'Betty's Red Hot restaurant in Athens Ohio

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.

exterior side view of Jackie O's Pub and Brewery in Athens Ohio
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.

Devil's Kettle Brewing: The Devil's Kettle taproom is a happening spot with great beer. You can pair your brews with dinner from the Devil Dogs food truck parked on-site!

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!).

flight of beers on counter at Little Fish Brewing in Athens Ohio

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!

group of students walking on the College Green lawn at Ohio University in Athens Ohio
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!

Athena Cinema: The beautifully restored, century-old movie house shows current features, documentaries, classics, and is home to annual film festival.

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.

exterior front view of Dairy Barn Arts Center in athens ohio

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.

boy in yellow jacket on dock near boat at Strouds Run State Park in Athens Ohio
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.

boat on shoreline at Strouds Run State Park in Athens Ohio

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!

For more things to do and ways to explore Athens, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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