Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

Weekend Getaway Guide: Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

There are plenty of great things to do in Athens, Ohio to keep you busy during a weekend getaway! Located in Southeast Ohio, in central Athens County, the quaint town of Athens sits along the Hocking River. Athens has been a vital hub of Athens County since the early 1800’s, when it was known as the halfway point between the two largest settlements in Ohio: Chillicothe and Marietta. Home to the first university of the Northwest Territory and the oldest public institution of higher learning in Ohio, Ohio University, Athens is often recognized as a “college town.” Although the vibrant Ohio University students give the town a youthful vibe, I found that Athens is more than just a “college town.” The thriving heart of Athens County offers visitors historical tours, charming Athens Block brick streets, local restaurants and shops and the sense of community spirit found throughout the town makes for a welcoming Ohio weekend getaway! Here is my weekend getaway guide showcasing where to stay, what to eat and drink and what to do in Athens, Ohio!

Looking for more Ohio getaway options? Explore our Ohio Weekend Getaway Guides

Are you a motorcycle enthusiast? Check out the Best Motorcycle Rides in Ohio: The Scenic Windy 9, all routes begin in Athens.

Getting to Athens, Ohio:

Weekend getaways are also the perfect short road trips! What better way to see all of Ohio’s natural beauty than to drive to your Ohio destination?! Getting to Athens from various Ohio cities is an easy drive from

                                                                                               *Columbus ~ 66 Miles                        *Cleveland ~ 217 Miles

                                                                                               *Cincinnati ~ 140 Miles                      *Toledo ~ 217 Miles

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

Cruising Athens’ brick streets

Where to Stay: Hotels in Athens, Ohio

From chain hotels to cabins and bed and breakfasts, Athens has plenty of options for your weekend getaway! We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, conveniently located a few miles from Ohio University and Uptown Athens.

Hotels In Athens, Ohio

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott

Other popular accommodation options in the Athens:

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio:

There’s plenty of things to do in Athens, Ohio during your weekend getaway. From strolling the historic brick streets of Uptown Athens, exploring Ohio University’s campus or eating your way through Athens on the 30 Mile Meal, you might find that you need more than one weekend to accomplish your “must-see & do list” in Athens! Keep reading to learn about all the fun things to do in Athens!

Strolling the historic brick streets of Uptown Athens

Uptown Athens has been the heart of Athens County since the early 1800’s. A stroll along the charming Athens Block brick streets leads you to historic buildings which house local restaurants and unique shops. You can find most of these bricks along Court Street.

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

Athens Block brick streets in Uptown Athens

Exploring Ohio University’s beautiful campus

Ohio University is the oldest public institution of higher learning in Ohio and the first in the Northwest Territory. Classes began in 1808 since then, the historic university has grown from three students in its first year to more than 20,000 students per year attending the main campus. With its 210 buildings nestled upon 1,800 acres, take an hour or two to stroll along the historic buildings, College Green, Emeriti Park, The Class Gateways, The Ridges and search for the historical marker, the Sundial.

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

Ohio University Campus

Eating your way through Athens on the 30 Mile Meal

The 30 Mile Meal campaign was launched in 2008 as a way to introduce visitors to the thriving local food scene in the region. Local participating restaurants source their fresh ingredients from local farmers and then provide fresh and delicious meals. With over 160 food partners within a 30-mile radius of Athens, eating your way along the 30 Mile Meal will have your taste buds wanting more! Read about my journey along the 30 Mile Meal for Tourism Ohio here.

Tasting local ingredients at the Athens Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning (9A-12P, year-round) and Wednesday morning (9A-12P, April-December) local vendors display locally grown and locally made goods at the Athens Farmers Market (located in The Market on State Mall). With over 100 indoor and outdoor vendors, visitors can find fruits, vegetables, cheeses, honey, meats, eggs, baked goods, flowers, herbs and plants from local farmers and growers. Stroll the market, meet the local vendors, ask for recipes and cooking advice, and enjoy fresh samples during your visit to the farmers market.

  • Address: 1000 E. State St., Athens, OH

Arts, Culture and History:

Arts & Culture: With the influence from community members and Ohio University, the importance of arts and culture in Athens can be found throughout the city and surrounding county! Here are a few places where you can enjoy arts and culture in Athens County.

Athena Cinema

The College of fine Arts at Ohio University, through the Athens Center for Film and Video maintains the historic cinema (built in 1915) of Uptown Athens. The premiere art-house cinema showcases independent and international films.

More details:

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

The historic Athena Cinema

Dairy Barn Arts Center

Built in 1914, the Dairy Barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features a 6,500 square-foot gallery!

More details:

Stuart’s Opera House

Built in 1879, the restored Stuart’s Opera House is one of Ohio’s last remaining fully operational opera houses. Located in Nelsonville, the opera house hosts more than 75 events each year. The opera house lobby serves as an art gallery, Gallery 1879 showcases artwork from local, regional and national artists in a variety of mediums.

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Kennedy Museum of Art

Located on Ohio University’s campus, the Kennedy Museum of Art features significant collections of southwest Native American textiles and jewelry and a renowned contemporary print collection.

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Ohio University Performing Arts Series and Ohio University’s School of Dance, Film and Theater and the School of Music offers visual and performing arts from both talented students and internationally acclaimed artists.

Athens, Ohio History: Athens County formed from part of Washington County in 1805. With over 200 years of history, the stories made from Athens’ past as a coal mining community and how this town pioneered education for all of Ohio, are preserved throughout Athens and its surrounding communities. To experience Athens, Ohio history, check out these great historical spots.

Southeast Ohio History Center

The Southeast Ohio History Center features a vast collection of local history and tells the historical stories of Athens and Athens County.

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Historical Marker Tour

With nine Ohio Historical Society Historical Markers commemorating specific sites and events which occurred in Athens County, history buffs will love to take a driving tour to visit each historical marker and view the beautiful Ohio surroundings.

More details:

Athens, Ohio History

Ohio Historical Marker

Covered Bridge Tour

Covered bridge enthusiasts will enjoy touring Athens County’s back roads to find the historic covered bridges. The earliest bridge dates back to 1876 and all three bridges remain open to traffic!

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Indian Mounds

Between 1,000 B.C. and 200 A.D., Athens County was home to the Adena Indians. The Adena Indians where a hunter-gatherer tribe which predated the Hopewell Indians. When settlers arrived in the early 1800’s, at least thirty mounds where found in The Plains, an area just north of Athens. Visitors can view the unexcavated and largest mound, the Hartman Mound (at 40 feet high and 140 feet in diameter) and the Connett Mound.

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Where to Eat: Athens, Ohio Restaurants

Athens is referred to as a “Garden of Eatin’” with plenty of food options for every type of foodie! From local flavors, farm-to-table dining, ethnic foods, coffee shops, bakeries and so much more, I spent the weekend eating my way through Athens. With lots of great food choices, I would suggest trying them all! The best way I have found to try everything is by sharing. We stopped in nearly a dozen restaurants in two days (that’s a lot of eating in 48 hours!) and the only way that I still fit into my pants after the weekend is because my husband and I shared a variety of small plates at every place we visited! And if you don’t feel like sharing and want to eat everything in Athens, well just pack a pair of stretchy or loose pants to wear home after your weekend getaway! 🙂 Let the list of awesome Athens, Ohio restaurants commence…

Bakeries and Coffee Shops (the best places to keep you caffeinated for exploring Athens!):
Donkey Coffee and Espresso
  • Address: 17 1/2 W. Washington St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 7am-12:30am Monday-Friday, 8am-12:30am Saturday & Sunday
  • Website: http://donkeycoffee.com
Court Street Coffee
  • Address – Two Locations: Uptown- 67 S. Court St., Athens, OH and Holzer Clinic – 2131 E. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 7am-9m Monday-Thursday, 7am-6pm Friday, 8am-7pm Saturday, 8am-9pm Sunday
  • Website: https://www.courtstreetcoffee.com
Village Bakery and Café
  • Address: 268 E. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 7:30am-7pm Tuesday-Friday, 7:30am-5pm Saturday, 9am-2pm Sunday
  • Website: https://www.dellazona.com
Brenen’s Coffee Café
  • Address: 38 S. Court St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30am-8pm, Friday 7:30am-7pm, Saturday 8:30am-7pm, Sunday 8:30am-8pm
  • Website: https://www.brenens.com
Crumbs Bakery
  • Address: 94 Columbus Rd., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 5am-2pm Monday, 8am-4pm Tuesday, Closed Wednesday, 5am-2pm Thursday, 7am-1pm Friday, 4am-2pm Saturday, Closed Sunday
  • Website: https://www.crumbsbakery.biz
Fluff Bakery
  • Address: 8 N. Court St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 7:30am-3pm Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm Saturday & Sunday
  • Website: http://fluffbakery.com
Fullbrooks Café
  • Address: 6 Public Square, Nelsonville, OH
  • Hours: 7:30am-5pm Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm Saturday, Closed Sunday

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

Baked Goods at Village Bakery

Athens Area Food Trucks & Carts:

Some of the best food in Athens you can find at a food truck. While their locations may vary, the food is always tasty. Here are a few to check out:

Athens, Ohio Restaurants:
Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina
  • Address: 4 W. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 8am-2am Monday-Friday, 9am-2am Saturday & Sunday
  • Website: https://casanueva.com
Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery
  • Address -Two Locations: Brewpub- 24 W. Union St., Athens, OH and Public House- 22 W. Union St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: Brewpub- 7pm-2am Thursday, 4pm-2am Friday & Saturday 2pm-2am; Public House- 11am-11pm Daily
  • Website: http://jackieos.com
O’Betty’s Red Hot
Restaurant Salaam
  • Address: 21 W. Washington St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: Lunch- 11:30am-2pm Monday-Friday, Dinner- 5:30pm-9:30pm Daily, Brunch- 10am-2pm Sunday
  • Website: http://www.restaurantsalaam.com/home
Sol Restaurant
  • Address: 700 E. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 11am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 11am-10pm Friday, 9am-10pm Saturday, 9am-9pm Sunday
  • Website: http://www.solrestaurant.net
Zoe Fine Dining
  • Address: 24 1/2 E. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 5pm-9pm Tuesday-Saturday
Cutler’s Restaurant
Lui Lui Restaurant
  • Address: 8 Station St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 11:30am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-9:30pm Friday, 4pm-9:30pm Saturday & 4pm-9pm Sunday
  • Website: http://luiluirestaurant.com
OMG! Rotisserie
Miller’s Chicken
  • Address: 235 W. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 7am-7pm Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm Saturday, Closed Sunday
Union Street Diner
Bagel Street Deli
  • Address: 27 S. Court St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 7:30am-9pm Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm Saturday & Sunday
  • Website: http://bagelstreetdeli.com
 Larry’s Dawg House

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

             Casa Nueva Restaurant & Cantina                                        OMG! Rotisserie 

*Full disclosure, I didn’t eat at all of the restaurants listed, but I sure as heck gave it my best shot! 🙂

Refreshing Libations and Nightlife:

With over thirty bars, local microbreweries, wineries and a distillery, refreshing libations and vibrant nightlife (great live music scene) are abound in Athens! There’s nothing better to wash down local foods than locally crafted beer and wines. Along with eating my way through Athens, I sampled numerous local craft beers and delicious Ohio wines that made me proud to be an Ohioan! Drink your favorite cocktail or beer and sample Ohio-made micro brews and wines, just remember to always drink responsibly and never drink and drive!

Local Bars:
Casa Cantina
  • Address: 4 W. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 8am-2am Monday-Friday, 9am-2am Saturday & Sunday
  • Website: http://casanueva.com
Cats Eye Saloon
  • Address: 12 N. Court St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 4pm-2am Monday-Thursday, 3pm-2am Friday, 1pm-2am Saturday & 2pm-2am Sunday
  • Website: https://www.catseyesaloon.com
The Pigskin Bar & Grille
Smiling Skull Saloon
  • Address: 108 W. Union St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 10am-2am Daily
Tony’s Tavern
  • Address: 7 W. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 3pm-2am Daily
 West End Cider House
Breweries:
Devil’s Kettle Brewing
  • Address: 97 Columbus Rd., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 4pm-10pm Wednesday-Friday, 12pm-10pm Saturday, 10am-8pm Sunday, Closed Monday & Tuesday
  • Website: https://www.devilskettlebrew.com
Little Fish Brewing Company
  • Address: 8675 Armitage Rd., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 3pm-10pm Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday, Noon-11pm Saturday, Noon-10pm Sunday
  • Website: https://littlefishbrewing.com
 Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery
  • Address -Two Locations: Brewpub- 24 W. Union St., Athens, OH and Public House- 22 W. Union St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: Brewpub- 7pm-2am Thursday, 4pm-2am Friday & Saturday 2pm-2am; Public House- 11am-11pm Daily
  • Website: http://jackieos.com
Wineries:
Athens Uncorked
Pleasant Hill Vineyards
Shade Winery
  • Address: 401 Gilkey Ridge Rd., Shade, OH
  • Hours: 4pm-9pm Wednesday-Friday, Noon-9pm Saturday, Noon-6pm Sunday
  • Website: https://shadewinery.com
Dutch Creek Winery

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

                    Drinks at Casa Nueva Cantina                                                     Pleasant Hill Vineyards

Where to Shop in Athens, Ohio:

Whether you are looking for accessories, antiques and vintage finds, a unique gift, garden supplies, home décor or a new outfit, Athens has a wide selection of local shops to choose from:

Antiques and Vintage Shops:
Athens Antique Mall
Random House
  • Address: 12 W. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: Noon-5pm Sunday, 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday
Accessories and Gifts:
Passion Works Studio
  • Address: 20 E. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 10am-6pm Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm Saturday, Closed Sunday
  • Website: https://www.passionworks.org
Mountain Laurel Gifts
Beads & Things
Import House
Blue Eagle Music
White’s Mill
Clothing:
Figleaf Boutique
Artifacts Gallery
  • Address: 2 W. State St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 11am-6pm Daily
Uptown Dog T-shirts
The Other Place
  • Address: 43 S. Court St., Athens, OH
  • Hours: 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday

Outdoor Adventures in Athens, Ohio:

Southeastern Ohio is known for its beautiful scenery and Appalachian landscapes. Athens County is no exception, with sixteen federal, state and local parks, outdoor enthusiasts are sure to feel the invigorating spirit of the great outdoors! Whether hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking or canoeing, or hugging the winding curves of the road on your motorcycle, getting back to nature and exploring Ohio’s natural beauty is easy to do in Athens County!

Things To Do In Athens, Ohio

Enjoying the beauty of Athens

Best Views:

Radar Hill (highest point in Athens, trail can be picked up at The Ridges)

Bong Hill (ask an Ohio University student for directions)

Cycling:

Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

Brewed on the Bikeway

Forests:
Gifford State Forest

Ohio’s smallest state forest with 320 acres

Wayne National Forest

Over a quarter million acres of Appalachian Foothills and is Ohio’s only national forest!

Parks:
Strouds Run State Park
Burr Oak State Park
Desonier State Nature Preserve
Sells Park
The Ridges

Once the site of the former Athens Lunatic Asylum, now the 700 acres are home to numerous hiking trails.

 Hocking Hills State Park

Looking for more on Hocking Hills? Check out the 7 Must-See Hocking Hills, Ohio Locations

Motorcycle Riding:
Ohio’s Windy 9

Nine routes which make up nearly a thousand miles of twists and turns through Ohio’s back roads.

Looking for more on Ohio’s Windy 9? Read my experience Ohio’s Best Motorcycle Routes: The Scenic Windy 9. 

 

Who doesn’t need a weekend getaway every once in a while? Go ahead, plan your Ohio weekend getaway with this guide to the best things to do in Athens, Ohio…you deserve it! An Ohio weekend getaway is the perfect escape to drink, eat, explore and shop local!

Need more ideas for your weekend escape to Athens? Visit www.athensohio.com.

Don’t forget to save this to your board on Pinterest!

Athens, Ohio is only a short road trip from all of the major cities in Ohio! It’s full of history, charm, and delicious foods. Check out our extensive guide of all the best places to eat, sleep, drink, shop, and explore in Athens, Ohio. We fell in love with this beautiful town and can’t wait to visit again! It’s your turn to fall in love with Athens. Don’t forget to save this pin to your travel board! USA Travel.

*Last Updated May 2019

A special thanks to Visit Athens Ohio. I was on assignment for Tourism Ohio and was an invited guest of Visit Athens Ohio. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, all opinions are my own!

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