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Free Things to Do in Athens, GA

Located just 60 miles east of Atlanta, the city of Athens, Georgia is the perfect destination for your next getaway, whether you’re seeking a romantic weekend or a foodie's trip packed full of Athens’ distinctive cuisine. Among the city’s extensive list of attractions are several free areas to explore, ideal for vacationers on a budget.

Explore Athens

All throughout Athens, you’ll discover immersive attractions that won’t cost you a penny. Consider beginning your day with a stroll along Memorial Park’s 1.25-mile Birchmore Trail. After you’ve finished the route, check out the Bear Hollow Zoo at the same location. The small zoo houses a range of animals, from birds to amphibians and beyond.

After breaking for a bite to eat in Athens’ downtown district, be sure to peruse the city’s additional free options, including:

  • Sandy Creek Nature Center: Ideal for the adventurous traveler, this wildlife hub boasts more than four miles of trails along with an indoor Education and Visitor Center featuring live animals and other exhibits.
  • Trail Creek Park: This 113-acre park is packed with exciting features, including mountain bike trails, soccer fields and a playground. For $1, visitors can enjoy the new splash pads, which offer an easy opportunity for little ones to cool off on a sunny day.
  • Firefly Trail: Home to the world-famous Athens Twilight cycling event, it’s no surprise that Athens offers plenty of cycling paths. The Firefly Trail is the latest addition, and while it’s still under construction, its first segment (along with many other trails throughout the area) is open for use.

Architecture enthusiasts and visitors wishing to dive deeper into Athens' rich history should also plan a stop at the Ware-Lyndon House. The fully restored Late Greek Revival home showcases historic artifacts and offers a self-guided audio tour to transport guests into an earlier time. Or check out the Athens Welcome Center, located inside the c. 1820 Church-Waddel-Brumby House Museum, believed to be the city’s oldest surviving residence.

Explore UGA

Your trip to Athens wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the University of Georgia campus. One of the state’s premier academic institutions, the campus offers some of the region’s most notable attractions – many of which are free.

Popular points of interest on the UGA campus include:

  • Georgia Museum of Art: Established in 1945, this complex serves as the official art museum of the state of Georgia. Inside, you’ll find more than 10,000 works alongside a host of temporary exhibitions, while the museum’s outdoor property features a sculpture garden highlighting women sculptors.
  • State Botanical Garden of Georgia: This generously sized botanical garden, measuring a total of 313 acres, allows you to explore five miles of nature trails, where you’ll see the Flower Garden, International Garden, Shade Garden and other breathtaking exhibits.
  • UGA Special Collections Libraries: A must-visit for any history buff, the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries chronicle Georgia’s rich cultural history through a variety of exhibits.

Free Athens Attractions for the Budget-Conscious Traveler

Seeking a low-cost vacation destination? Look no further than Athens, Georgia. Browse our list of free things to do below, or explore our full list of attractions to learn more about all that Athens has to offer.

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