From Atlanta, Greyhound arrives at 220 W Broad St. The visitor centre, near campus at 280 E Dougherty St (Mon–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun noon–5pm; t 706/353–1820, w www.athenswelcomecenter.com) has details of tours covering everything from historic buildings to music heritage.
Lodging can be a problem during football games and other big university functions. Downtown choices include the good-value Holiday Inn, 197 E Broad St (t 706/549-4433, w www.holidayinn.com; $81–100), and the hip Indigo, 500 College Ave (t 706/546-0430, w www.indigoathens.com; $101–130), with comfortable rooms. R.E.M. fans head straight for Weaver D’s soul-food café, whose motto, “Automatic for the People”, inspired the band’s 1992 album. A short walk east of downtown at 1016 E Broad St (t 706/353-7797), it serves delicious fried chicken and veggies. The Grit, also near downtown on the northwest side at 199 Prince Ave (t 706/543-6592), offers eclectic vegetarian food from around the globe, while Mama’s Boy, south of downtown at 197 Oak St (t 706/548-6249), serves good breakfasts. As for the bar scene, The Globe, 199 Lumpkin St (t 706/353-4721) is a friendly Athens institution that also does tasty food. For craft beer (try the excellent local brews from Terrapin Brewery), head to The Georgia Bar, a classic dive at 159 W Clayton St (t 706/546-9884). You’ll want to catch some live music in Athens. R.E.M. started out playing at the eclectic 40 Watt Club, though it has moved from its original location to 285 W Washington St (t 706/549-7871, w www.40watt.com); the Melting Point, 295 E Dougherty St (t 706/254-6909, w www.meltingpointathens.com) is a more intimate venue for Americana and roots bands. Until fire gutted it in 2009, the Georgia Theatre, a lovely old movie house at 215 N Lumpkin St (w www.georgiatheatre.com), was one of Athens’ top music venues; it is currently being rebuilt. Up-and-coming bands can be heard at the Caledonia Lounge, 256 W Clayton St (t 706/549-5577, w www.caledonialounge.com), or Tasty World, 312 E Broad (t 706-543-0797). For full listings, check the free weekly Flagpole (w www.flagpole.com).Read More