Athens, Ga. is a popular American city, most famous for being the home of the University of Georgia. It is consistently ranked as one of the best college towns in America. So if you're having a tough time figuring out which city you would like to spend your college years residing in, here are some reasons to choose Athens (and the University of Georgia).
Let's start off with the some of the obvious reasons...
1. The beautiful, 230-year-old campus: the University of Georgia is the epicenter of Athens, and it has been since 1785. UGA was the United States' first state-chartered university and shares the title of the oldest public university in the United States with the College of William and Mary and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The beauty of Athens and the 759-acre campus of UGA is unmatched in its unique, small-city/big-campus vibe, and the rich history that is ingrained in the campus is preserved because of the students, teachers, and staff who will be loyal to the university until the day they die.
2. Speaking of the campus, the Chapel Bell
If you've visited Athens before, you've likely toured North Campus and made a special trip to ring the Chapel Bell. Whether it be for a victory, a personal celebration, or just 'cause, ringing this Chapel Bell is on every Georgian's bucket list.
3. The Academics
The University of Georgia has a student population that is involved, athletic, community-oriented, and driven to be the best in their field and, in turn, make UGA a competitor among some of the top universities in the country and the world. Students who come to UGA possess many of the qualities it takes to excel in their respective fields, but they all have one thing in common: They each have excelled academically. UGA currently accepts 54.8 percent of applicants. That number has continuously decreased over the years as an exceedingly high number of secondary students apply for admission to the 62nd ranked university (US News). Attending UGA isn't just a privilege, it's an honor unto itself.
4. SEC Athletics
The Georgia "G" is an internationally recognized symbol of UGA's athletic program, and while the Georgia football team is the most well-known, this university has no shortage of talent or success among its other athletic programs—including but not limited to gymnastics, swimming and diving, basketball and baseball. These athletes compete in one of the best, if not the best, conferences in the country: the SEC.
5. Historic Downtown
In 1785, a charter was granted for a university to be built about 70 miles Northeast of Atlanta, Ga. The University of Georgia was only a fledgling then, but far more than just a university came from that charter. "The Classic City" was born. The city's main focal point is historic downtown. This portion of the city is seemingly connected to UGA's campus and is a hot spot for students, faculty, staff, and Athens residents alike. It features many notable restaurants, small businesses, bars, and other quaint places.
6. The DT Scene
A favorite among the college students, downtown, or DT (as it is endearingly called by UGA students), is the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night (and also Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, if you're into that kind of thing). Downtown Athens has the highest number of bars per capita than any other city in the country—80 in a single mile, to be exact—and they're all a short walk from campus. Whether you drink or not, if you're a student at UGA, you'll find yourself at one of these hotspots at some point in your college career. Whether it's for a concert, fundraiser, or just for a night out, UGA students are the biggest contributors to downtown's success.
7. The Music
Athens is home to famous music venues like 40-Watt and The Georgia Theatre. Even better than the venues? Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, REM, and the B-52s all got their start in "The Classic City."
8. Feta Fries (and The Grill in general)
Feta Fries are the staple of one of the best restaurants in Athens: The Grill, a 24-hour fifties diner located just a block from campus. It serves up milkshakes, burgers, delicious french fries, and a ton of other items that are great at 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m.
9. The Oconee River
The Oconee river flows through Athens and is a popular attraction during the summer months. You can go kayaking with Big Dogs on the River or lie out and relax at Redneck Beach. Students can also get a view of the river 365 days a year with apartment complexes that lie along the beautiful river.
10. The Arch
What's the unifying symbol of all of these things? The Arch. This three-pillared feature that lies on the edge of campus and at the cusp of downtown is easily the most recognizable sign of the city and the University of Georgia.
11. Guide Dogs
Cute puppies everywhere you go. UGA is home to the largest group of guide dog trainers in the country (and the cutest puppies as well). Students have the opportunity to train guide dogs from when they're just a few weeks old to a couple years old, and if you don't have a friend who's training one or get the chance to train one yourself, you'll see them daily around campus and in the classroom.
12. Mrs. Sandra
Mrs. Sandra is no ordinary dining hall employee. She's the face of UGA Dining and one of the nicest women you'll ever have the chance to meet. If you take a visit to Snelling Dining Hall, you'll surely see her at the cash register, and she'll surely give you the biggest hug of your life! Mrs. Sandra adores UGA students, and UGA students love Mrs. Sandra.
13. UGA Dining Halls
The University of Georgia doesn't just have one dining hall... no, UGA has five. East Campus Village, The Niche, Snelling, O-House, and Bolton Dining Commons are all five-star, all-you-can-eat dining halls that the students of Georgia have the privilege of enjoying during their tenure in Athens. Although there are many other eateries on campus and around town, nothing quite beats a handmade milkshake at Bolton, a frappucino at O-House, or a strawberry salad at ECV. These dining halls have it all, quite literally, and the students do too.
14. Bulldog Bucks
Every student, faculty and staff member at the university is required to have a UGA ID, but this ID doubles as a credit card on campus and around town. If you're not feeling a meal at the dining hall, you can go to almost any restaurant in Athens and use your bulldog bucks card to pay. Yes, it is re-loadable, so you can ask mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa to load it up whenever you need some cash. UGA partners with these restaurants not only to allow students to use their Bulldog Bucks there but also to offer discounts to their students.
Ramsey Student Center isn't like every other college gym. No, Ramsey is a three-story fitness lover's dream. Equipped with three weight lifting rooms, 10 racquetball courts, a climbing wall, an Olympic pool and diving well, eight basketball courts, an indoor track and more, Ramsey offers more than just facilities; they also offer adventure trips, an obstacle course, and numerous fitness classes every day. Although membership to Ramsey is included in student activities fees, anyone can purchase a membership—and trust me, if you want to get in shape, Ramsey is the place to do it.
16. Sanford Stadium
Sanford Stadium is home to Georgia Football. Most Saturdays during the fall, more than 90,000 fans will gather in Sanford to watch the Bulldogs take on their latest opponent. The Redcoat Band performs, the crowd does the "Georgia Bulldogs" chant, and the team storms the field. If you haven't been to a game in Sanford, you should go purchase your tickets instead of finishing this article. Seriously. Go.
17. Greek Life
Greek life at the University of Georgia is huge. There are 61 fraternities and sororities that reside on campus, and seeing as 45 percent of students (male and female) are Greek, chances are you could be too. These men and women represent all walks of life and are dedicated to forming lifelong friendships while succeeding academically and giving back to their community through their philanthropies.
18. 600+ Student Organizations
If you don't find your place in Greek life, or just want to get even more involved, you can join one (or more) of the more than 600 registered student organizations. There are the regular campus staples like SGA, Relay for Life, and Debate Club, but there are also many unique organizations like Fencing Club and Campus Kitchen. Whatever you get involved in, make sure you join something. Taking advantage of these organizations helps to make the overwhelming size of UGA and Athens a little more bearable, and in no time you'll recognize people everywhere you go.
19. The Hills
Athens may be one of the hilliest places in the world. When you first arrive, it's hard to walk anywhere without breathing hard, but over time, you get used to it. After just a few weeks in Athens, your legs will look better than ever before, and you'll be even more thankful for your new home.
20. You'll never want to leave
All of the things listed above make Athens special, but there are many more that contribute to the unique atmosphere of The Classic City. After four years (or five or six or seven), one of the hardest things you'll ever do will involve graduating and parting ways with the place you now call home, but don't fret. Athens will always hold a special place in your heart, and it will be waiting for your return so more unforgettable memories can be made.