Athens named one of America’s most underrated, overlooked cities by travel experts

It's homecoming in Athens as Georgia hosts Vanderbilt Saturday.

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It's homecoming in Athens as Georgia hosts Vanderbilt Saturday.

Georgia Bulldogs fan or not, Athens, Georgia, has quite a lot of charm to offer. In fact, travel experts at DK Eyewitness Travel recently named the small town one of America's 20 most overlooked cities.

To come up with the list of the nation’s most underrated cities, the company’s travel editors and writers came together with their picks after analyzing each city’s culture, restaurants, architecture and more.

» RELATED: Vintage photos of R.E.M., Pylon, B-52's in Art Rocks Athens exhibit

The most overlooked and underrated city in America is Madison, Wisconsin, according to experts.

Athens, Georgia, about an hour and a half from Atlanta, came in at No. 3 on the list for its musical edge, craft beer scene and, of course, UGA football fanaticism.

» RELATED: Creature Comforts expanding with new Athens brewery

Here’s what the experts had to say about the pick:

In the 1980s, Athens became one of the coolest college towns in the world thanks to home-grown bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s, and Widespread Panic. Today, live music venues 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theatre ensure it retains a musical edge.

The city’s Victorian-era downtown supports a flourishing craft-beer scene (led by the likes of Copper Creek Brewing), and students from the University of Georgia still supply the famous tailgate parties and fanatical support for the Georgia Bulldogs football team, making for a lively atmosphere.

» RELATED: Best late-night places to eat in Athens

Though Athens is the only Georgia city on the list, a few Southern towns made the cut including Jacksonville, Florida; Galveston, Texas; Greenville, South Carolina, and Mobile, Alabama.

Here are the most overlooked cities in the U.S., according to DK Eyewitness Travel:

1. Madison, Wisconsin 

2. Sacramento, California 

 3. Athens, Georgia 

4. Rochester, New York

5. Tucson, Arizona 

6. Jacksonville, Florida 

7. Santa Cruz, California 

8. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

9. Galveston, Texas 

10. Las Cruces, New Mexico 

11. Worcester, Massachusetts 

12. Mobile, Alabama

13. Greenville, South Carolina

14. Anchorage, Alaska

15. Olympia, Washington

16. Des Moines, Iowa

17. Missoula, Montana

18. Grand Rapids, Michigan 

19. Springfield, Illinois

20. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

More on the ranking at

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