Things To Do In Athens Ohio: (9 amazing things you must see)

Athens its a beautiful and safe place to visit. Before we list the 9 best things to do in Athens Ohio, let’s check some facts about the city. 

Population and Location

Athens has a population of over 24,000. It sits in south east Ohio, around 60 miles from Columbus. The city is located on the banks of the Hocking River. 

Athens County is also the home of Ohio University. The Univesity has over 35,000 enroled students. President Barrack Obama visited Ohio Univeristy during his 2012 election campaign.


If you plan on visiting Athens in the Winter months, then you’ll need to rug up. Temps fall to a frosty average of just 39F in January. December and February the average top temp is 44F.

However, summer is different. Temps climb to an average in the mid 80’s during summer in Athens. As a result, this is the right time to go sightseeing in Athens Ohio.

Annual Events

Athens hosts several annual events and festivals. For example, the annual Halloween Block Party. This event also draws national media attention.

Other annual events held in Athens include.

  • The Blackout Fest music festival. Held in July.
  • Under the Elms summer concert series also held annually in June/July.
  • The Athens Community Music Festival held in August. 
  • Lobsterfest OU Campus Music Festival held every April.
  • The annual Athens International Film and Video Festival also held in April.


Athens is also known for its culture. Athens boasts several museums, arts and culture centres. Together these provide a vibrant and progressive visitor experience. The list below includes the top 9 things to do in Athens Ohio. 


Things To Do In Athens Ohio: Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University

Kennedy Museum Athens Ohio
Image Source: Ohio University website.

The Kennedy Museum of Art is an integral part of Ohio University. Its main aim is to enhance the city through quality art exhibitions. The museum also provides learning opportunities for students and visitors.

Kennedy Museum of Art is located in Lin Hall at The Ridges on the Ohio University campus. It was named in honor of Edwin and Ruth Kennedy. The Museum features significant collections.

These include

  • Native American textiles and jewellery.
  • A contemporary print collection.

The museum hosts permanent collections and traveling exhibitions. It also offers special tours for visitors. 

For visitors the Kennedy Museum of Art is a unique cultural experience. To get there on weekdays visitors catch the CATS Campus Shuttle. Or you can catch the Athens City Transit service. This service runs Monday through Saturday. Admission to the museum is always free.

To check what exhibitions are currently on display visit their website. 

Things to do in Athens Ohio: Pleasant Hill Vineyards

Pleasant Hill Vineyards
Image Source: Pleasant Hills Vineyards Facebook page

The Corder family bought the property and began renovations in 2012. Pleasant Hill Vineyards was orginally a horse farm. As a result, the rolling fields provide the perfect setting.

The Pleasant Hill Winery tasting room is amazing. The room is part of an original 1800’s log cabin. In addition to the great wine, wood stoves and outdoor decks make it ideal for all seasons.

A total of ten wines make up the tasting experience.

These include

  • Chardonnay.
  • Riesling.
  • Pinot Noir.
  • Merlot.
  • A variety of dry, sweet, and semi-sweet blends.

Also, food lovers are certainly looked after. Pleasant Hill Vineyards offers house-made food to go with the wine selection. Their Facebook page is the place to visit for menu details.

In conclusion, perfect scenery, tasty food and great wine. All reasons why Pleasant Hills Vineyard makes the list of things to do when visiting Athens.

Things to do in Athens Ohio: Athens Farmers Market

Athens Ohio Farmers Market
Image Source: Athens Farmers Market website

Locals love these markets. There is much for visitors to enjoy as well. As a result, the Athens Farmers Market makes the list of things to do in Athens for visitors.

The Athens Farmers Market is an organization of local farmers, craftspeople and volunteers working to make locally grown food and craft available for all. They also place a high value on sustainability.

The markets are open twice weekly between late March and mid-December. On Wednesday’s and Saturday’s. The site of the markets is different on both days. On Wednesday the Athens Farmers Market is held at Creature Comforts Brewing Company. On Saturday’s the Markets move to Bishop Park.

They provide low cost and fresh produce for customers. Also, on offer at the markets are craft goods and souvenirs. Entertainment comes in the form of local musicians.

For details regarding opening times and vendors there are two options.


Things to do In Atherns Ohio: The Dairy Barn Arts Center

The Dairy Barn Arts Center
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is a unique attraction and a must see. The Dairy Barn Arts Center is an impressive building. It also has a colorful history which is worth exploring.

The Dairy Barn Arts Center: History

Construction began in 1912 after the hospital purchased the Bower farm and residence. The cow barn cost $10,000 to build. A successful period followed through the 1920’s and 1930’s.

In the 1940’s, patients from a nearby insane asylum worked with staff to maintain the farm. This ended in the early 1970’s. As a result, this led to a decline in productivity. As a result, the barn was scheduled for demolition in 1977.

It was saved from demolition by local activists.  In 1979 the Dairy Barn was converted into the arts center. More details on its history can be found here. 

The Dairy Barn Arts Center: Today

The building has been lovingly restored and is now the cities major local arts hub. As a result, its mission is to promote local artists and develop art appreciation among people of all ages.

The Dairy Barn Arts Center also hosts

  • international juried exhibitions.
  • festivals.
  • touring exhibits.
  • programs of regional interest.
  • live performances.
  • activities for all ages.

The building is imposing and also set on beautiful surrounds. The Dairy Barn Arts Center is one of the premiere things to do in Athens Ohio. More details on its events and exhibitions can be found on its Facebook page. 


Things to do in Athens Ohio: Sells Park

Things To Do In Athens Ohio: Sells Park Athens
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Just minutes away from the center of Athens is Sells Park. Locals describe it as one of Athens best hidden treasures.

Sells Park: History

Sells Park takes its name from its previous owners. The Sells family were a prominent local family in the area during the early 1900’s. They gave the land to the Federal United States Government in 1939. As a result, it became a federal reserve. The land was passed to the Athens council in 1979.

Sells Park: Today

Sells park is a hikers dream with several walking tracks in its pristine landscape. Its also great for mountain bike riders. A map of the trails on offer to riders and hikers is available here.

When arriving at Sells Park visitors are greeted by a small pond.  Benches underneath trees in the immediate area provide shade and seclusion. As a result, this is a peaceful space and designed for family outings and dog walking. Therefore, dogs are permitted on a leash.

Sells Park also connects with the Stroud’s Run State Park trail system. Hikers in the area can walk in and out of the area without driving. For outdoors loving visitors Sells Park is worth seeing. More information on Sells Park can be found on the Athens City website.


Things to do in Athens Ohio: Little Fish Brewing

Things To Do In Athens Ohio: Little Fish Brewing
Image Source: Little Fish Brewing website

This boutique brew house is one of the must do things to do in Athens Ohio. The business is still young and very popular with locals.

Little Fish Brewing is owned by Jimmy Stockwell and Sean White. They opened Little Fish Brewing Company in the summer of 2015. This came following 2 years of planning, financing, and building out the brewery from an abandoned mechanic’s shop.

Little Fish Brewing uses ingredients grown locally whenever possible. As a result, their brews have a distinct flavor unique to the region. According to the Little Fish Brewing website, these incredients include organic raw spelt and corn grits. They are used in the flagship Saison du Poisson and Shagbark Pilsner brews. Also, they also use many specialty ingredients in other brews like locally grown fruits and herbs.

The Little Fish Brewhouse contains an indoor area known as “The Taproom”. This is where the brewing process meets the front of house. In addition a sprawling beer garden awaits visitors outside. As a result the beer garden is the perfect space to quench a thirst and spend time with friends.

On Facebook the Little Fish Brewhouse keeps readers up to date with special events coming up on site. They also list the entertainment planned for the coming weeks on their page. It’s well worth spending at afternoon at Little Fish Brewhouse, one of the best things to do in Athens Ohio.


Things To Do In Athens Ohio: Riddle State Nature Preserve (Hawk Woods)

Hawk Woods Athens Ohio
Image Source: Athens Conservency website

Hawk Woods is an old-growth forest located in central Athens County, Ohio. It’s entrance point for Athens visitors is just outside the city. The preserve includes over 100 acres of foothills.

The Riddle Street Nature Preserve runs adjacent to Strouds Run State Park. In addition, the preserve is owned and managed by the City of Athens. The land was dedicated as a state nature preserve in 2003 and protected from logging.

There is a significant population of white-tail deer in the preserve. Hikers won’t have to travel far before getting an up-close look at these amazing animals. Bird watchers also flock to the area. Birds of note in these woods include the worm-eating warbler, the Louisiana water thrush and big numbers of ovenbirds.

Light streams also litter the landscape, providing a varied habitat for native flora and fauna. Spectacular views and nature experiences is what Hawks Woods is known for. On of the best things to do in Athens Ohio if you love the outdoors.


Things to do in Athens Ohio: Strouds Ridge Preserve

Things To Do In Athens Ohio: Strouds Ridge Preserve
Image Source: Wikipedia

Another must see place for outdoors lovers is Stouds Ridge Preserve. Whilst beautiful and peaceful, this preserve makes up the final part a greenbelt buffer system on the outskirts of Athens.

This section of the greenbelt also comprises of a series of preserve properties. These are located between East State Street and Strouds Run Road.

Strounds Ridge Preserve is also home to many hiking tracks and is popular with nature enthusiasts. Old growth forest, native wildlife and spectacular flora are its main attractions.

Those planning a hiking holiday to Athens will not be disappointed with this area. Above all, its another of the top things to do in Athens Ohio for nature lovers. More information on Strouds Ridge Reserve can be found here.


Athens Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery

Things To Do In Athens Ohio: Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery
Image Source: Athens County website

We finish as we started with this list. An educational and cultural experience like no other. The Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery is an eye-opening opportunity to be entertained while also being educated.

Its mission is “inspire visitors of all ages to explore and discover the world through interactive exhibits and creative experiences”. 

Therefore the museum is hands-on for visitors. It also contains rotating exhibits, frequent live programming and a new craft each week.  Exhibits are suitable for people of all ages.

Opening hours do vary. As a result, its best to get information on opening times on the museums Facebook page.  Ticket prices are very affordable. Just $2 per person or $7 for a family of 4. It’s also fun and educational and a great indoors activity for those visiting in the winter months. Above all, one of the best things to do in Athens Ohio. 



Learn more about Vacation Vine here. 

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In addition, read about things to do in Bowral. 


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