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University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

As the nation’s first state-chartered university, the University of Georgia is a leading public university with its 762-acre main campus located in the heart of Athens. Offering over 140 degree programs, UGA is recognized nationally in several fields of study. It is a large institution, both in land area and enrollment, topping 35,000 students including graduate students and students at other extension campuses in Georgia. At such a large school, campus life is diverse and plentiful. Clubs and activities exist for almost any interest and personality type. On any given day, organizations can be found in the centrally located Tate Plaza promoting events or recruiting members. Something is always happening at UGA. Athletics are an integral part of the UGA experience. The Georgia Bulldogs are always prepared to cheer on the red and black in whatever sports season it may be. From football Saturdays in Athens to winters supporting the nationally ranked Georgia Gym Dogs, UGA athletics make the weekends, and some weekdays, in Athens so great. The UGA campus is known for its great spots for students to hang out when they are not in class. The large dining halls, numerous campus cafes, 24-hour learning center, and spacious nature areas make great places for studying or socializing. Athens is the definition of a college town. The city revolves around the happenings of campus. It is rich in history and simultaneously current in character, a combination that quickly makes it feel like home to even the most foreign visitor.

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Living at University of Georgia


A quick walk up Lumpkin Street from main campus, Downtown Athens is a hotspot for students. College bars are numerous, each with their own unique scene. The rooftop of 100 Proof is a popular spot for hanging out, while 9d’s is the place to be for dancing to throwback jams. Athens is widely known for its music scene, producing bands like R.E.M. and the B-52’s. As such, there are many music venues in the area for hearing local acts and some fairly big-name stars. The Georgia Theatre and the 40-Watt Club always have acts lined up for music lovers. Nightlife is a way of life in Athens. The bars are full of students having a good time, even on weeknights.


For getting around campus and the city, Athens has several options. UGA Campus Transit is a nationally recognized university transportation system that operates nine weekday bus routes, three nightly routes, and one overnight route. Campus Transit provides 24-hour service on weekdays and operates two routes on weekends. The system is free for all to use and touches every major part of campus. For off-campus travel, Athens Transit buses have routes that stop both on and off campus, which are free with a UGA student ID. Additionally, many local apartment complexes offer their own individual shuttle services to and from campus. Many students also choose to ride their bikes to campus and around town, as Athens streets usually have bike lanes, and drivers are used to being cautious of bikers.


Although UGA has a large campus, many students will walk to and from classes, dorms, and apartments. Campus is very hilly, which often defers the UGA community to transit systems. The Downtown Athens area is much more flat and easy to walk around. Depending on how much of a walk you are willing to put in, UGA and the surrounding areas can be easy to walk for both practical and exercise purposes. Most anything one would need can be reached with a 10-20 minute walk.

Party Scene

UGA consistently ranks in the top 10 party schools in the nation by The Princeton Review, although that placement is continually declining. Greek organizations are always hosting parties, sometimes with notable musical guests. There is even an organization at UGA that throws totally dry, alcohol-free parties, for those seeking a calmer experience. The bottom line is that Athens is a college town and operates as such. UGA students work hard and play hard, whether that be in the bars or at parties.

Area Crime

Athens area crime statistics fall right around the median for national and state statistics. The most common crimes in Athens are alcohol and drug related offenses and petty theft. Athens and UGA show very few reports of violent crime. The UGA campus is considered safer than most, but some people may still feel unsafe on campus or the surrounding areas at night. The UGA Police Department suggests avoiding poorly lit areas and walking alone. While the chances of becoming a victim of a crime at UGA are low, taking standard precautionary measures will make the chances even lower.

Off-Campus Dining

Athens is quickly becoming a foodie town. Everything from fast food to fine dining is available within walking distance from campus and many apartment complexes. Downtown is home to everything including taco stands, pizza shops, crepe bars, and bistros. Many places are open late, often as late as 4 a.m. Local Athenians love breakfast, and there are many bakeries and bagel shops to choose from. One of these is the ever-popular Mama’s Boy, which can have a line out the door on any given weekday. For lunch, The National and Big City Bread Café are popular favorites. At dinner, Last Resort Grill is an undisputed winner for southwestern style foods. For dessert, a trip to Ben and Jerry’s or Insomnia Cookies will satisfy any sweet tooth. Athens is continuing to develop a diverse palate as more and more restaurants serving all types of food continue to spring up. From Korean BBQ, to Latin-Asian fusion, to everything in between, Athens continues to cater to its population, which is always looking for new things to try.

Neighborhoods around University of Georgia

Five Points

Five Points is a neighborhood on the southwest edge of the UGA campus with a mix of residents, including students and older adults. Five Points runs right through the middle of sorority row, featuring many historic homes and buildings. Notable businesses in the area include Five Points Bottle Shop, Two Story Coffeehouse, and Earth Fare organic foods. Five Points is a favorite neighborhood for many students and faculty at UGA. The closeness to campus makes it attractive for living and working, as well as visiting for dining and errands. Award-winning restaurant 5 & 10 is an upscale option sitting in a residential-like building in the heart of Five Points.


There is no question that Downtown Athens is a great place to go for food and fun. Downtown is home to numerous restaurants, bars, boutiques, gift shops, hotels, and apartment complexes. Just across the street from the famed UGA Arch, many students choose to live in the Downtown area for its walkability and ease of access to North Campus. A downside to Downtown can be the busyness and traffic, especially on home football game weekends. Parking in Downtown is difficult to come by, and most restaurants and bars are full to their brims on these days. Nevertheless, Downtown is trendy with tons of locally owned shops and restaurants, and many UGA students enjoy spending time there.

East Side

Students and locals refer to the Barnett Shoals Road area as the East Side. Athens’ East Side is a couple of miles from campus, but many students choose to live there regardless. East Side has more local families than some other neighborhoods, and the area has largely commercial businesses versus locally owned. East Side is generally about a ten-minute drive from campus with traffic. Athens Transit buses also run to the East Side to assist with commutes.


Normaltown is Athens’ retro hipster haven. Normaltown is gaining popularity with students and locals, as many new, locally owned businesses begin to spring up. It is a one-stop shop for food, shops, and services. The popular Ike and Jane’s bakery is a favorite for breakfast and doughnuts, while Normal Bar is a place for drinks separate from the traditional college bars. One of the first venues for native Athens bands R.E.M and the B-52s, Normaltown sits just past the Downtown area. Walking from place to place in Normaltown is easy, as it has a much more relaxed vibe than the busyness of Downtown.


Roughly a five-minute drive from campus, Beechwood is a popular area for shopping and dining. Beechwood has many commercial restaurants including Chick-fil-A, Moe’s, Chili’s, and Chipotle. It is also home to the closest grocery stores to campus, Kroger and The Fresh Market. Beechwood is a go-to destination for students, day or night. It is quite a busy area, but there are some quieter residential areas near by. Beechwood is also home to Beechwood Cinemas, Athens’ cheapest movie theater option for students.

Epps Bridge

Epps Bridge is the area that begins the Athens loop, often thought of as the entry to Athens. This area is full of restaurant and shopping options, as well as a few student apartment complexes. Epps Bridge is more of a drive from campus, usually taking about 15 minutes, yet many students find themselves in the area on a regular basis. Although the drive can be a concern, many students choose to live in the Epps Bridge area due to generally lower apartment rents. The shuttle service that runs from these complexes to campus helps assist with the troublesome commute, and it stops at the major areas of campus.

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