Going off to college is an exciting time, but especially so if you're lucky enough to be a new UGA Bulldawg! Are you ready to call the Classic City your home for the next four years? Athens is the ultimate college town and is brimming with local culture, eclectic restaurants and shops, and UGA pride. UGA Orientation can be overwhelming for both students and their parents--but we are here to help alleviate some of that stress with some highlights you simply can't miss in your new hometown.

Ring the Chapel Bell

Athens Ga Campus Chapel Bell Credit Visitathensga.com Web

The University of Georgia was the first state chartered university in the nation, founded January 27, 1785. All of North Campus is historic and beautiful, but the Chapel may be the most recognized of all. A beloved university tradition is ringing the Chapel Bell. The bell originally signified the transitioning of classes, but later evolved to being rung to celebrate a football victory or personal accomplishment. You can frequently hear the bell during football season and finals week. Why not celebrate the beginning of your journey at UGA by knocking one tradition off your Athens bucket list? Parents, feel free to ring the bell as well; sending a child off to school is an accomplishment in and of itself! 

Brunch at Mama's Boy

mama's boy pulled pork

Local favorite Mama's Boy takes brunch to a whole new level. With the restaurant's home-like feel and Mason jar cups, their slogan "Southern Fun Dining" couldn't be any more accurate. Try entrées ranging from Pulled Pork & Potato Hash to Georgia Peach French Toast-- Mama's Boy has everything you need to satisfy any sweet tooth or craving. Want to dine like a local? Then make sure to order the strawberry lemonade and biscuit with homemade fruit preserves. Check out more restaurant recommendations here

Adventure Downtown 

Dynamite Vintage Clothing

It's no secret that downtown Athens is a cultural hub, but what exactly makes it so great?  It's the deep commitment to creating a local culture of restaurants and businesses. Looking for something completely unique and stylish? Then check out Dynamite Clothing, Community, and Agora for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that are sure to be a showstopper! Is gearing up in red and black more your style? Then head on over to The Clubhouse and The Red Zone to find everything you need to get ready to cheer on the Dawgs at the home football opening! All the shopping making you hungry? Stop by The Grill and try some of their legendary feta fries. It's an Athens staple, and the best part? It's open 24/7. 

Visit a Local Coffee shop


One of Athens' best-kept secrets is the abundance of unique coffee shops the city has to offer. From catching up with friends to cramming for finals, these shops will become a regular part of your college experience. Get ahead of the pack and pick your favorite before the school year starts! Located in the ever-hip NormaltownHendershot's boasts an expansive outdoor patio and often features live music from local musicians. Coffee shop by day and bar by night Walker's Coffee and Pub is conveniently located just footsteps from North Campus in the Downtown Historic District. Or go check out the new location of 1000 Faces Coffee downtown. This coffee shop doubles as a micro roaster with a focus on creating a more sustainable coffee culture. Head on over for a study break with friends, or opt to be productive and crank out some work while you enjoy a latte. 

Hear Live Music

Georgia Theatre

A visit to Athens simply would not be complete without attending a concert at one of Athens esteemed music venues. The B-52s and R.E.M. put Athens on the map, but the today Classic City is home to hundreds of bands specializing in all different genres. Check out these great venues to catch a show. The Georgia Theatre hosts a variety of local bands and fan favorites. Be sure to visit their rooftop restaurant and bar before heading down to the show. The 40 Watt Club was a key venue in the launch of American punk rock and still puts together an eclectic lineup of up-and-coming artists and local favorites. Come witness history yourself and see why this venue is recognized worldwide. Live Wire has summed up their mission for the past ten years in two words: Love Music, and they exhibit just that. Experience the state-of-the-art sound quality and dance the night away on their expansive dance floor.

Have any tips for a new student or other visitors'  first trip to Athens? Drop them in the comments section below!