10 Things to Do in Athens Ohio – 2024 Ultimate Guide

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Welcome to Athens, Ohio – a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Midwest that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Known for its vibrant arts scene, charming brick streets, and friendly locals, Athens is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic and enriching experience. From exploring the historic sites of Ohio University to hiking the picturesque trails of Strouds Run State Park, there are endless things to do in Athens Ohio that cater to every interest and passion. So, pack your bags and get ready to uncover the treasures of this captivating city that will leave you wanting more.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Ohio University:

Essential Information

– Address: Athens, Ohio
– Opening Hours: Varies by department and season
– Fee: Free for campus visits
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Students, history buffs, architecture enthusiasts


Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, stands as a beacon of higher education excellence in the Midwest. With its picturesque campus nestled in the rolling hills of Appalachia, this historic institution offers visitors a glimpse into the academic and cultural heart of the region. Founded in 1804, Ohio University boasts a rich history and a vibrant campus life that continues to attract students and tourists alike. From its iconic red-brick buildings to its lush green spaces, the university provides a serene setting for exploration and learning.

A visit to Ohio University is a must for those interested in experiencing a blend of academic tradition and modern innovation. The campus features a mix of architectural styles, including the stunning Gothic Revival structures of College Green and the sleek, contemporary designs of newer buildings. Visitors can stroll through the tree-lined pathways, take in the sights of the historic College Green, or explore the various museums and galleries that showcase the university’s cultural heritage. Whether you’re a prospective student, a history buff, or simply a traveler seeking a peaceful retreat, Ohio University offers a unique and enriching experience that captures the essence of higher education in America.

Hocking Hills State Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 19852 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138
– Opening Hours: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm daily
– Fee: $10 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, families


Nestled in the heart of Athens County, Ohio, Hocking Hills State Park is a natural wonder waiting to be explored. With its rugged cliffs, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls, this park offers a serene escape for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The park’s extensive trail system provides ample opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and photography, making it a must-see destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself with a strenuous hike or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, Hocking Hills State Park has something for everyone. Plan your visit today and discover the natural beauty that awaits in this hidden gem of Ohio.

Strouds Run State Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 11661 State Park Road, Athens, Ohio
– Opening Hours: Daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm
– Fee: $5 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, families


Nestled in the heart of Athens County, Strouds Run State Park is a natural oasis waiting to be explored. With over 2,600 acres of lush forests, scenic trails, and serene lakes, this park offers a perfect escape for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to hike through the rolling hills, paddle along the tranquil waters, or simply relax amidst the beauty of nature, Strouds Run State Park has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of the park is Dow Lake, a picturesque reservoir that provides a peaceful setting for fishing, boating, and picnicking. The park’s extensive trail system caters to hikers of all levels, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Birdwatchers will also delight in the diverse avian species that call the park home, making it a birding paradise in the region.

For those seeking a day of adventure and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Strouds Run State Park is a must-visit destination in Athens, Ohio. Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors with family or seeking solace in nature, this hidden gem offers a rejuvenating experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Kennedy Museum of Art:

Essential Information

– Address: 100 Ridges Circle, Athens, Ohio
– Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-5pm, Closed on Sundays and Mondays
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Art enthusiasts and history buffs


The Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio, is a must-see destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike. With its impressive collection of over 1,500 artworks spanning various genres and time periods, this museum offers a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. From contemporary pieces to ancient artifacts, visitors can explore a diverse range of exhibits that showcase the artistic evolution of the area.

One of the standout features of the Kennedy Museum of Art is its focus on Appalachian art and culture, providing a fascinating insight into the traditions and stories of the local community. The museum’s commitment to preserving and celebrating these heritage pieces makes it a valuable resource for those interested in learning more about the history of the region.

Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or simply curious about the cultural tapestry of Athens, a visit to the Kennedy Museum of Art promises a rewarding and enlightening experience. With its free admission and convenient opening hours, this hidden gem is a must-visit attraction that offers a deeper understanding of the artistic legacy of Ohio.

Dairy Barn Arts Center:

Essential Information

– Address: 8000 Dairy Lane, Athens, Ohio
– Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
– Fee: Admission is free, donations appreciated
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Art enthusiasts, families, history buffs


The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, is a cultural gem that showcases the rich artistic heritage of the region. With a history dating back to the early 1900s, this former dairy barn has been transformed into a vibrant hub for contemporary art exhibitions, workshops, and events. Visitors can explore a diverse range of art forms, from traditional paintings and sculptures to cutting-edge installations and multimedia displays.

A visit to the Dairy Barn Arts Center is a must for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the local art scene and discover the creative talents of Ohio. The center’s rotating exhibits feature works by both established and emerging artists, offering a dynamic and engaging experience for art enthusiasts of all ages. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply curious about the cultural offerings of Athens, a trip to the Dairy Barn Arts Center promises to inspire and delight.

Athens Farmers Market:

Essential Information

– Address: 1000 E State St, Athens, OH 45701
– Opening Hours: Saturdays 9am-12pm
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Foodies, families, and those interested in local produce


The Athens Farmers Market in Athens, Ohio, is a vibrant hub of local culture and community spirit. Every Saturday morning, visitors can explore a wide array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and homemade treats from local vendors. This bustling market offers a unique opportunity to support small businesses and farmers while indulging in the flavors of the region.

Strolling through the market, you’ll be greeted by the sights and smells of seasonal fruits and vegetables, freshly baked bread, and handcrafted items that showcase the creativity and talent of the local community. Whether you’re a foodie looking for organic ingredients, a family seeking a fun outing, or simply curious about the local scene, the Athens Farmers Market is a must-see destination.

So, if you find yourself in Athens, Ohio, on a Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the Athens Farmers Market for a taste of the region’s best offerings and a glimpse into the heart of the local community.

The Ridges:

Essential Information

– Address: 197 W State St, Athens, OH 45701
– Opening Hours: Daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, nature lovers


Nestled in the heart of Athens, Ohio, The Ridges stands as a historic landmark that beckons visitors to delve into its intriguing past. Once a former mental asylum, this site now offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty that captivates all who wander its grounds. The Ridges is a must-see destination for those seeking a glimpse into the rich heritage of the region while immersing themselves in the serene surroundings that now grace this once somber institution. As you explore the expansive grounds, you’ll encounter remnants of the asylum’s past, from the iconic red brick buildings to the peaceful walking trails that wind through the lush greenery. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply a nature lover, a visit to The Ridges promises a memorable experience that seamlessly intertwines the past with the present.

Athens County Historical Society and Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 65 N. Court Street, Athens, Ohio
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm
– Fee: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and families


The Athens County Historical Society and Museum in Athens, Ohio, offers a fascinating journey through the region’s rich past. With a collection spanning from the early Native American inhabitants to the industrial era, this museum provides a comprehensive look at the history of Athens County. Visitors can explore exhibits showcasing the area’s coal mining heritage, the impact of the Civil War, and the development of local industries.

One of the highlights of the museum is the extensive collection of artifacts and photographs that bring the stories of the past to life. From vintage clothing to antique tools, each item on display offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who shaped the region. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs, making it an engaging destination for both history buffs and families looking to learn more about the area’s heritage.

The Convocation Center:

Essential Information

– Address: 95 Richland Ave, Athens, OH 45701
– Opening Hours: Varies based on events
– Fee: Ticket prices vary
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Sports fans, concert enthusiasts


The Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, stands as a hub of entertainment and excitement for both locals and visitors alike. This multi-purpose arena hosts a wide array of events, from thrilling basketball games to electrifying concerts, making it a must-see destination for sports fans and music enthusiasts. The venue’s central location and modern facilities ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

Whether you’re cheering on the home team during a nail-biting game or swaying to the music of your favorite band, The Convocation Center offers a dynamic atmosphere that guarantees a memorable time. With its convenient address on Richland Avenue, this venue is easily accessible and serves as a gathering place for the community to come together and celebrate shared passions. Plan your visit to The Convocation Center for an unforgettable experience filled with entertainment and camaraderie.

The Athena Cinema:

Essential Information

– Address: 20 S Court St, Athens, OH 45701
– Opening Hours: Varies, check website for showtimes
– Fee: Ticket prices vary, discounts available for students and seniors
– Visit Duration: Typically 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Movie enthusiasts, families, students


The Athena Cinema in Athens, Ohio, stands as a cultural gem in the heart of the city. This historic movie theater offers a unique cinematic experience that blends modern technology with old-world charm. With its central location, The Athena Cinema is a convenient stop for locals and visitors alike looking to enjoy a night out at the movies.

Featuring a diverse selection of films ranging from independent productions to blockbuster hits, The Athena Cinema caters to a wide audience. Movie enthusiasts can revel in the cozy atmosphere of the theater while indulging in their favorite flicks. The cinema’s commitment to showcasing a mix of mainstream and art-house films ensures there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re seeking a solo outing, a family-friendly activity, or a date night destination, The Athena Cinema offers a welcoming space for all. With its rich history and dedication to providing quality entertainment, this beloved cinema is a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of the silver screen.

Food and Cuisine


Why is it so special:

Gyros are a popular Greek dish that has made its mark in Athens, Ohio. This dish consists of seasoned meat, usually beef, lamb, or chicken, cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is then thinly sliced and served in a pita bread with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. The combination of tender meat, fresh vegetables, and creamy sauce creates a flavorful and satisfying meal that is loved by locals and visitors alike.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic gyro experience, head to Opa! Gyros and Kabobs, a local favorite known for their delicious gyros made with high-quality ingredients. If you’re looking for a more upscale setting, check out Zoe Fine Dining, where you can enjoy a gourmet twist on the classic gyro dish.

Ohio Pawpaw

Why is it so special:

The Ohio pawpaw is a unique fruit that is native to the region and has a tropical flavor reminiscent of a mix between a banana and a mango. This fruit is often used in various dishes, including desserts, smoothies, and even savory dishes. The pawpaw is a versatile ingredient that adds a sweet and exotic touch to any dish.

Where to Try It:

To taste the Ohio pawpaw in all its glory, visit the Athens Farmers Market where you can find fresh pawpaws and pawpaw-inspired treats like pies and ice cream. Another great place to try this local delicacy is at Casa Nueva, a restaurant that incorporates Ohio pawpaw into their seasonal menu offerings.

Events and Festivals

Ohio Brew Week

Ohio Brew Week is a popular annual event in Athens that celebrates craft beer culture. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of craft beers from local and regional breweries, as well as attend beer tastings, brewery tours, and beer pairing events. The festival also features live music, food vendors, and beer-related activities. Ohio Brew Week typically takes place in July and attracts beer enthusiasts from all over the region.

Ohio University International Street Fair

The Ohio University International Street Fair is a vibrant cultural event that showcases the diversity of the university and the local community. Visitors can experience a wide range of international cuisines, traditional music and dance performances, and cultural exhibits from various countries. The street fair offers a unique opportunity to learn about different cultures and traditions in a festive and inclusive atmosphere. The event usually takes place in April and is free to attend.

Ohio Pawpaw Festival

The Ohio Pawpaw Festival is a fun and quirky event that celebrates the pawpaw fruit, which is native to the region. Visitors can enjoy pawpaw-themed food and drinks, live music, cooking demonstrations, and educational workshops about the fruit and its culinary uses. The festival also features a pawpaw cook-off competition and activities for all ages, making it a great family-friendly event. The Ohio Pawpaw Festival is held in September and attracts both locals and tourists looking to experience this unique fruit celebration.

Interesting Facts

– Athens, Ohio is home to Ohio University, which is the oldest university in the state and one of the oldest public universities in the United States, founded in 1804.
– The city of Athens, Ohio is known for its vibrant arts and music scene, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year, attracting both locals and visitors.
– Athens, Ohio is surrounded by the beautiful Hocking Hills region, known for its stunning natural landscapes, including waterfalls, caves, and hiking trails, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

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