36 Hours in Athens: Where to dine, drink and discover

Though consistently rated one of the top college towns in America, Athens offers a variety of things to do beyond attending football games and University events. Here are a few places around Athens to see during a weekend trip.

Friday

9 p.m. See a show. While you may be familiar with bands such as R.E.M. and Widespread Panic who got their start in Athens, there are dozens more exploding on to the scene. Check out a concert at 40 Watt Club, Caledonia Lounge, Georgia Theatre or Live Wire Athens, formerly known as New Earth Music Hall.

Saturday

9 a.m. Go shopping. Not only do you have the chance to purchase fresh, sustainably-produced, healthy foods, but when you stop by the Athens Farmers Market at Bishop Park or the West Broad Farmers Market, you are also supporting local farmers and promoting economic development in the area. Harvesters, craftspeople and volunteers work together to provide a marketplace for locally-grown and hand-prepared food. As a consumer, you'll have the opportunity to ensure that from farm to fork, your food has been carefully monitored.

11 a.m. Go shopping — again. This time, shop for what's going on the outside of your body. Try on a repurposed varsity letter jacket at Dynamite Clothing, add some matching jewelry from Margo Sterling Silver, don a designer handbag from Agora Vintage and top the look with handworked accessories from Masada Leather. And If you're still looking for a going-out outfit for the evening after that, step into Heery's, Pitaya, Red Dress Boutique, Cheeky Peach, Encore or Entourage for some new threads. You can also find newly opened chain stores Dress Up Boutique and Urban Outfitters in the downtown area. Looking for knickknacks and souvenirs? Tinfish Gifts, which was born after Junkman's Daughter's Brother closed, is your one-stop shop. How about some Georgia Bulldog apparel? The Red Zone is your store.

1 p.m. Spend some time in the sun. Walk through the grass of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and you'll forget that you're in the same city. With acres upon acres of green space, spend your time viewing the conservatory, treading through the gardens or trekking over five miles of nature trails. For a relaxing getaway, travel about 30 minutes outside of downtown to float along the Broad River by kayak or canoe — you won't regret it. In the event of rain, gallery viewings at the Lyndon House Arts Foundation and the Georgia Museum of Art make for pleasurable afternoons.

3 p.m. Enjoy a book on UGA's North Campus. What could be better than sprawling out on the North Campus lawn? Having a book in hand. Pick up a novel from Jackson Street Bookstore or Avid Bookshop, find yourself a reading spot on North Campus — the Founders Garden is a good pick — and fall into a story before dinnertime. Buildings date back to the early 1800s and could probably tell stories of their own.

6 p.m. Grab a bite to eat. Whether you're craving Barbecue, Soul Food or Latin American cuisine, here are some of our other favorite restaurants in Athens.

8:30 p.m. Treat yourself. After a day of running around, delight your taste buds with a sweet taste. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Condor Chocolates located in Five Points or Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Shop and Insomnia Cookies located downtown.

11 p.m. Spend the night out (and stay until last call). Each of more than 100 bars in Athens has its own personality. Find your best fit here. If you're feeling hungry after the bars close at 2 a.m., stop by [one of our favorite] late night joints.

Sunday

9 a.m. Brunch. Here are some of [our favorite places to eat brunch] around Athens.

For more things to do in Athens, click here.