The South is home to more than just the charming big cities of Nashville and New Orleans. In fact, some of America’s best Southern towns — including Georgia’s beloved Athens — often fly under the radar.
Travel experts set out to find the 12 best of the best in “cool” and deemed the tiny 1.5-square-mile town of Marfa, Texas, worthy of the coveted No. 1 spot. The Texan city boasts the “insta-famous” Prada Marfa storefront, art galleries and curated shops.
The city of Athens, lauded for its food, music and art scene, came in fourth on the list.
Here’s what Jetsetter had to say about the home of the Georgia Bulldogs:
“The college town that birthed two major bands—the B-52’s and R.E.M.—never lost its groove. Everyone from Widespread Panic to The Police have played at The Georgia Theatre (and John Mayer recorded his video for "No Such Thing" there). After a show, go for drinks at Five Bar, where there are (blessedly) only five choices of any given thing – five red wines, five local brews on tap, five cocktails (trust us, you want the Bordeaux Bourbon, with Maker's Mark, St. Germain, Bordeaux cherries and ginger ale). From there, make your way to Last Resort Grill for the crispy pork belly and classic salmon and grits. You'll be ready to take on the town's endless outdoor diversions, including hiking through Sandy Creek Park and kayaking the Middle Oconee. Just make sure to spend at least one day hip-deep exploring the city's art galleries and museums; the Georgia Museum of Art is world-class, with works by blue-chip artists like Georgia O'Keefe and Elaine de Kooning.”
Athens was also recently ranked among the top college towns in the country by Niche.com.
“Enough age to give it character, but modern enough to be innovative and accessible,” one student reviewer wrote.
Not only that, it’s foodie scene got a national nod by USA Today as one of the South’s most underrated food destinations.
1. Marfa, Texas
2. Greenville, South Carolina
3. Abingdon, Virginia
4. Athens, Georgia
5. Bentonville, Arkansas
6. Florence, Alabama
7. Oxford, Mississippi
8, Abita Springs, Louisiana
9, Wilmington, North Carolina
10. Monroeville, Alabama
11. McMinnville, Tennessee
12. Natchez, Mississippi