Cooler weather isn’t the only thing returning to Athens this fall: football is being played between the hedges, trails are lined with the look and feeling of fall, and socially distant events are popping up on the calendar.
From nature walks to patio talks, visitors to Athens can safely experience the thrill of a weekend away while enjoying ample opportunities for safe and scenic open spaces. Anyone longing for a getaway should reclaim the Book Now button and choose an ATHventure.
OCTOBER THINGS TO DO
Outdoor ATHventures abound in Athens. Home to more than a dozen nature trails, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, murals “hidden” in plan sight, and plenty of restaurant patios, fall in Athens is the perfect place to socially distance.
All trails at Sandy Creek Nature Center are well under a mile, even as short as ¼ mile, which is a perfect distance for children just getting started with nature walks and trails. For those looking for more of a challenge, Sandy Creek Park offers three different trails with a combined total of more than 16 miles. And, families will love the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia featuring over two acres of interactive play for all ages, in addition to garden sculptures, trails and bird-watching.
There are many murals around town, providing fun backdrops for Instagram photo opps. A few local favorites are the Hot Corner mural (located across from the Morton Theatre), the Greetings from Athens postcard mural (located next to Classic City Cycling), and the I Love Tacos mural (located at El Barrio). Set off on a public art ATHventure and tag #VisitAthens.
Local food and drinks remain an essential pleasure of an Athens getaway, and luckily, there are plenty of expanded outdoor dining options at top spots, from the most casual to the most celebrated. The Last Resort recently transformed its parking lot to an outdoor oasis of Adirondack chairs, tables, and a bar. Athens is now home to six breweries, all of which are offering curbside pickup or patio service. The newest addition, Athentic Brewing Company just opened in summer 2020.
Athens has long been known for its live music scene, and while there is less of that to be had at the moment, music fans will have a blast walking along the new Athens Music Walk of Fame which runs past heralded music venues like the Georgia Theatre and the 40 Watt Club. The first 10 inductees were installed in September and include some household names (R.E.M., the B-52s, Widespread Panic) as well as some performers that a new generation should get to know better (Hal Johnson, Elephant 6.)
Athens is always full of activity and fall 2020 is no exception. Some events are virtual, some are in-person with safety precautions in place, but all are sure to guarantee fall fun.
The famed Wild Rumpus Parade & Spectacle has been reimagined for 2020. The costumed parade through downtown streets has been moved to a decentralized “Rumpus in Place” for small groups like family and friend pods that live together. A collective experience will remain, through a 30-minute Holiday TV Special airing on social media, and interactive posts from event organizers and participants. It all goes down on October 31.
Boo! The Athens Haunted Pub Tour is all all-new event designed offer a spooktacularly safe time on October 30 and 31. Attendees can book an overnight getaway package for two that includes hotel, tour tickets, discount towards dinner at DePalmas, one drink ticket, and breakfast, all for just $150 per couple (or $125 individual.) The tour will wind around downtown Athens with stops along the way for those who choose to partake in a pub pit stop.
Zombie Farms Haunted Trail is the ultimate open space fright fest. The immersive experience is a 3/4 mile walk through dark and spooky woods filled with scary monsters and creepy characters who will scare you, entertain you, and sometimes even make you laugh. Open through Oct. 31. Admission is $20 - $25 per person, based on group size and day of week.
Outdoor live entertainment includes Athens Creative Theatre’s production of “Live Drawing: A Portrait of the Mona Lisa,” which will be presented on the lawn of the Lyndon House Arts Center on October 17. Admission is $6 per person and groups of up to eight will share a designated 12’ x 12’ picnic square on the lawn.
Live music will return to Athens Oct. 23 with a co-headlining performance from Cicada Rhythm and Sam Burchfield. Terrapin Beer Co. and Classic Entertainment present this Ready, Set, Go Safely concert at The Classic Center Theatre.
UGA football is not the only game in town. UGA women’s tennis will host an SEC Tournament October 23-25 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The tournament is a wonderful opportunity to see some of the university’s top athletes in action.
Other fall annual events that have adapted virtually include
- North Georgia Folk Festival (through Oct. 10)
- Sunflower Music Series (Oct. 8 & 22)
- Historic Athens PorchFest (Oct. 15-18)
- Athens to Savannah Ride (Oct. 23-24)
- AthHalf: The Athens Georgia Half Marathon and 5K (Oct. 24-25)
- Firefly Trail Relay (Oct. 30 – Nov. 8)
The complete Athens events calendar is available at VisitAthensGA.com/events.
VisitAthensGA.com/athventure provides complete information on these events plus more fall ATHventures to plan an amazing Athens getaway.