LGBTQ+ Athens Itinerary
Athens is a vivacious, progressive spot on the map, with an active queer community, making it a fantastic LGBTQ+ destination in Georgia, and the Southeast more broadly. We know how important it is to feel safe and welcome while traveling, so we put together this itinerary for LGBTQ+ travelers, including places that are fun, inclusive and welcoming so that you can travel with ease and joy. All of these local businesses have publicly declared their ally-ship, some host queer pride and other LGBTQ+ events, and some are queer-owned, so you can visit knowing that no matter who you love or how you choose to express your identity you'll receive a warm welcome.
WELCOME TO ATHENS!
Check-in at Hotel Indigo, a colorful funky hotel that is TAG Approved by IGLTA, the world's leading network of LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses. Or choose one of several Hilton Brand hotels, since Hilton is an IGLTA Platinum Global Partner. Choices include Homewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn.
Athens has so many restaurants to choose from, there's no reason to leave hungry! Check out The Grit for strictly vegetarian and vegan options (that will please even the strictest carnivore if they'll keep an open mind) or Heirloom Café & Freshmarket for some fresh, farm-to-table vibes. If you're looking for something a little more upscale, try The National (The National is also great for dinner!).
When it comes to shopping, it's hard to narrow down where to stop in downtown Athens! If you're looking for vintage vibes, check out Atomic for a huge variety of booths and collectibles, to walk down to Cillies Clothing, a fun shop with so many things to look at, it may take you a while. If you're looking for something a bit more polished, check out Cheeky Peach or Kempt Clothing. If you're feeling a little more artsy, head to Treehouse Kid & Craft.
Coffee or a snack
After walking around for a bit, stop into Condor Chocolates Downtown Café, for a truffle, a coffee or a cup of sipping chocolate that will make your day. Plus, check out the chocolate-making process while you have your treat. Or stop into 1000 Faces Coffee, one of Athens' coffee roasters and cafés, for a freshly roasted cup of coffee or café beverage.
Take a class or do some art
Get artsy, get moving, get learning! Athens' creative community has so much to pick from! If painting is your thing, try a paint-and-sip class at ARTini's Art Lounge. Want to get your hands dirty? Sign up for a Try Clay class at Good Dirt Clay Studio, where you can learn to turn a lump of clay into a beautiful and functional piece of pottery! If you'd rather get moving, try The Studio Athens, or Revolution Therapy and Yoga.
After a long day of exploring it’s time to treat yourself. Splurge on a plateful of oysters or the best grilled cheese in town at Seabear Oyster Bar (and grab one of their amazing cocktails while you're at it), fresh-made pasta at The Expat, or for something more casual, grab a pizza or a sandwich at Ted’s Most Best, downtown.
Whether you're up and at 'em early or looking for a late morning brunch, Athens has you covered. Run by Hendershot's Coffee for a latte and a muffin, or settle in for a beer and biscuit flight at Akademia Brewing Company. Pro tip: Akademia is one of six stops of the Athens Beer Trail. Get a passport at any brewery and a stamp at each to receive a free beer glass and a ton of bragging rights.
Take a walk
Slow down and enjoy life and nature while taking a walk on the Firefly Trail. This wonderful trail spans 4.1 mi. from E. Broad St. (Athens) to N Rhodes St. (Union Point). If you want to spot some public art along the way, take the North Oconee River Greenway, and be sure to walk by the Rainbow Forest, a public artwork display by Los Angeles-based designer and educator Andrew Kovacs on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. The greenway is made up of 3.1 miles of natural surface hiking-only trails and 8 miles of concrete, multi-use trails that are designated for non-motorized use. See all of the options for great trails that Athens has to offer here.
If you're ready for a bite to eat after your morning of walking, head to Maepole for a fun assembly line style build-your-own bowl meal. Combine a base of grains, veggies or other specials with protein, sides, and a sauce for a delicious combination of flavors that will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied. If something heartier is calling to you, head over to Hi-Lo Lounge for some of the best fries in town and a selection of delicious pub fare.
Shop the Five Points Neighborhood
Downtown Athens is amazing, but if you don't venture out into the rest of the city you aren't getting a feel for all the town has to offer! Head over to Five Points (don't worry! It's less than 2 miles away) to shop and stroll the beautiful historic area. First, head to Avid Bookshop, Athens' indie bookstore, which has a book for everyone, plus gifts and a postcard for anyone who couldn't come with you on this trip! Next, stop into Condor Chocolates (that's right, they have two locations!) for a pick-me-up, or a box of truffles to take home.
Hit the Athens Beer Trail
Athens has six local breweries, each serving up a delightful variety of brews with their own flavor profiles and signature styles, that make up the Athens Beer Trail. Get a passport at any of the breweries and then ask for a stamp at each bar in order to receive a free beer glass! If you hit up Akademia for a beer and biscuit flight at brunch, you've already got a head start! Head to Athentic Brewing Company for one of their delicious beers (anything from sours to porters to seltzers), and if you're lucky you'll catch one of their regular queer trivia nights! If you decide to make multiple stops on the beer trail in one night, please use ride-shares or name a designated driver.
For dinner tonight try out home.made, an elegantly Southern restaurant that takes inspiration from the owner's New Orleans roots. After you eat walk next door to the new cocktail space, Sidecar, the new venture by the owner of home.made which offers inspired cocktails with creative food pairings. Not the vibe tonight? Check out The World Famous. It's a funky, late-night hangout offering local eats, cocktails & draft brews, plus regular live music right downtown.
Athens is known for their night/bar life and live music, and there is plenty to choose from! Check out live music at one of downtown's stellar venues, such as The Georgia Theatre, or hit a bar like Little Kings Shuffle Club for a great cocktail and live music or dancing.
Want more ideas of things to do? Check out the calendar of LGBTQ+ events below or have a look at our other itineraries.