Meagan Hall | FOR THE POST
Athens, Ohio, has been reduced to the home of the party school for far too long. For anybody who has attended Ohio University, questions about Halloween and parties come more frequently than questions about academics.
Offering nearly 20 bars, it's not hard to understand why many believe Athens’ main attraction is drinking. Fortunately, the party school mantra is not entirely true. Athens is a beautiful oasis seated in Appalachia that has something for everyone’s taste.
Athens County is home to sprawling forests and amazing hiking spots. Strouds Run State Park is located just a few miles from campus and has a handful of trails and a lake-side beach. Also in Athens is the 22-mile-long bike trail that leads to Nelsonville. The trail is great for cyclists and also leads to Eclipse Company Store, which features an outdoor stage and sells locally-made products. Outside of the city, the Wayne National Forest and Hocking Hills, popular tourist attractions in Ohio, are within driving distance.
Athens is also home to countless local musicians and venues to go see them. While many of these shows take place at bars or restaurants, they are usually open to anyone 18 and up for a small cover charge. The Union regularly hosts band and even puts on a battle of the bands show where local groups face off for the title of best band in Athens. Other venues include Casa Nueva, Donkey Coffee and Little Fish Brewing Company.
For more nationally-known acts, students can attend a number of concerts through the university’s Performing Arts and Concert Series. This fall, rapper Waka Flocka Flame will be visiting Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Tickets to these concerts can be purchased for as little as $25.
If you're looking for something to do on a budget, Athens is home to three movie theatres where any film can be viewed for just $5. The historic Athena Cinema on Court Street is perfect for indie-film lovers and regularly features best picture winners from film festivals across the country. Not only does the Athena show these films, but it also hosts the internationally-recognized, Oscar-qualifying Athens Film Festival. Filmmakers from all over the world have been showing their work right here in Athens every year since 1974.
If blockbusters are more your taste, the Athena Grand on East State Street and the Fun Barn further out of town on Route 33 feature big-name films for the same price. The Fun Barn even features an arcade, bumper cars and bowling.
Athens offers countless activities, but one of its best features is its restaurants. If you’re looking to grab a quick lunch or go out to dinner with friends, Court Street is home to multiple locally-owned restaurants that all have something unique to offer.
Brenen’s is an alumni-owned coffee shop that offers great breakfast options and buy one, get one free coffee on Tuesdays. Donkey Coffee and Espresso and Court Street Coffee are also great locally-owned options.
For dinner and lunch diners, restaurants like Union Street Diner, which is open 24 hours, offer great options for students. Jackie O’s, Casa Nueva, Uptown Grill and O’Betty’s Red Hot offer a variety of locally-owned options. Court Street has food for anyone's taste.
Athens truly has something for any preference. Local festivals and community involvement are great ways to engage with the community. It's a special place to live, and those of us that get to spend some portion of our lives here are truly lucky.
Athens offers far more than just partying. It's a place of love, understanding and diversity that truly tailors to every taste. It’s a beautiful historically- and culturally-important city that connects people from all walks of life. No matter how you choose to spend your free time in Athens, make sure to explore all it has to offer.
Noah Wright is a junior studying strategic communications at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Noah? Tweet him @NoahCampaign.