- By K.M. Hudson For the AJC
Labor Day is fast approaching and while it may signal the unofficial end of summer, that doesn't mean the fun has to stop.
Just a short drive from Atlanta, Athens is a town steeped in history and the arts. It's as avant-garde as it is antebellum, playing host to historic tours, the latest in music and a cutting edge culinary scene. It's also home to the nation's best college football team (although this writer may be a little biased).
This coming Labor Day Weekend, there's sure to be something to do for everyone. Here are five things you don't want to miss:
It's time for football!
Without a doubt, the largest event of the weekend will be the UGA home opener on Saturday between the University of Georgia and Austin Peay. The Bulldogs are starting the season ranked No. 3 in the nation and will definitely draw a crowd of dedicated fans. Athens loves its Dawgs and there will be a wide variety of celebrations to fit everyone's fancy. Of course, the best way to experience the game is at Sanford Stadium, but tickets are selling out fast. If you can't get into the game, consider watching at the rooftop bar at the Georgia Theater. Admission is free. Just be sure to wear red and black! Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.
Music, music, music
Speaking of the Georgia Theater, Saturday night's rooftop entertainment features DJ Rell. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, DJ Rell made a name for himself in Seoul, South Korea, and is known for dropping the hottest, newest tracks and mixes. Admission is free. If you're looking for something a little more "Dirty South," swing on over to the historic 40 Watt Club for Pastor Troy. Tickets start at $15 (this show is limited to ages 18 and older).
Run for fun
If running is more your speed, the 14th Annual Restoration 5k & 11k may be the right fit for you. The event, held 20 minutes southeast of Athens, in Crawford, is hosted by the Oglethorpe County Chamber of Commerce. Registration is $25 for one run or $40 for both.
Everybody's gotta eat
Athens is a paradise for foodies. From fine dining to lip-smacking chicken & waffles, there is a bit of everything for everyone. For breakfast, brunch or lunch, try Mama's Boy (197 Oak Street) for traditional southern fare with a flare! Another amazing option is Five & Ten (1073 S. Milledge Avenue), an eclectic eatery serving traditional southern dishes with a nouveau twist. If you've been out participating in Athens' vibrant night life and are looking for something to nosh on before heading home, there's no better spot than The Grill (171 College Ave.), a classic "greasy spoon" open 24 hours a day.
There are few better places to go in Athens than the historic downtown district. It has given birth to movements in the arts, music, food and many other walks of life. Walk around, soak in the history and explore the various shops, galleries, and restaurant this southern gem has to offer. Check out Wuxtry Records (197 E. Clayton St.), where the members of R.E.M. first met,as well as local bars, breweries and pizza joints. Last, but not least, visit the breathtaking campus of the University of Georgia, which is the oldest state university in the United States.
Happy Labor Day and enjoy Athens.