25 Best & Fun Things to Do in Athens (Ohio)

Are you visiting Athens on vacation or sightseeing? or perhaps you’re a student at the Ohio University and you are seeking the fun and interesting things to engage in during your leisure hours? Then be glad because you are in the right place! 

If you’re looking for a fun vacation location, that has a rich historical background and centers around arts, crafts, and learning then Athens will be a great pick for you. 

This city Athens, found in the Athen county, the southeastern part of Ohio, is a beautiful city with exquisite locations and sights that you’re bound to enjoy. 

One thing that Athens prides itself on possessing is the Hocking River, which flows in-between vast hills, valleys, and landscapes.

Also, the climate in Athens is mostly favorable which makes it more appealing to tourists and visitors, and of course, Athens prides itself on being the home to the prestigious Ohio University, Ohio Athens. 

Now, I’d like to share with you 23 of the best things you could do while in Athens, as well as places you could visit such as eateries with delicious food, scenery, parks, landscapes, etc. 

25 Most Interesting Things To Do In Athens(Ohio).   

1. Visit the Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms, Athens is one of the most sensational spots you should visit, where new and fun games are constantly being developed. 

In recent times, “Escape Room Games” have rapidly gained popularity throughout the country because it’s an excellent way to spend some fun time with friends or family.

You can work together as a team and try to solve mind-twisting problems at these sorts of games before the allocated time runs out. 

There are over six different types of escape rooms available to be chosen that will leave anyone in a mesmerizing maze of choices

Escape rooms will ensure you have a swell time finding hints and solving complicated and uncommon puzzles to find a way out.

Escape room games at Athens are entertaining, thrilling, and exciting, and enable you to create memories with your loved ones. 

2. The Dairy Barn Arts Center

The Dairy Barn Arts Center is one of the rare places in Athens with inscribed importance in the city’s history.

This place is continual remembrance of how a Democrat helped to save historical statues on the dairy farm where the arts center is found. 

After some time, the Dairy Barn provided milk for the residents of The Ridge, and the barn covered great areas of land.

Eventually, It was converted into an art center and to date, the grand art center still offers its visitors several aspects of immersive artworks.

Some of these amazing forms of art include quilting which is one of the primary forms of art displayed here and other stunning artifacts that were carefully made.

3. The Spring Literary Festival

The Spring Literary Festival is an incredible three-day festival that is hosted at the prestigious Ohio University.

Authors from all professions are invited, and various genres are also explored, varying from fiction to nonfiction and also to poetry.

The Spring Literary Festival has hosted several book readings and analyses of different classical and well-known books and their authors since they started. 

This festival is sponsored by the university and hosted by the English department specifically.

Attending the festival is affordable for tourists as there is no entrance fee charged to tourists.

4. Stroud Run State Park

one of the most interesting things  to do in Athens is some outdoor time at Stroud Run State Park is very suitable 

Stroud Run State Park is full of nature’s beauty and has incredible hiking trails coupled with various water bodies like lakes and beaches.

One of the popular beaches in the Park is the 900-foot sand beach on the eastside of Athens.

In this place, Visitors can also enjoy free diving as scuba diving kits are constantly available. Therefore, tourists can have a close-up experience of the beautiful sea life.

Forest and rugged landscapes with multiple trees circulated across large acres of land are also notable traits of the Stroud Run State Park.

5. Southeast Ohio History Center

It will be a great idea to have fun while learning by visiting the Southeast Ohio History Center before having a great time at the Ridges as both of them are in the same area.

The Ohio History Center is a great learning center where the record of the asylum is well uncovered and  It also showcases many displays from the hospital.

Other lovely items at this historical center include ancient handmade Quilts from the civil war era and intricate photograph gallery housing paintings by great artists like Elise Mitchell Sanford.

6. Old Man’s Cave

This cave is one of the most thrilling tourist interests situated on the outskirts of Athens. Old Man’s Cave is a geographical marvel which can be best described as a natural valley.

This remarkable valley has picturesque, soothing, and spectacular views that are sure to leave you amazed. Most nature photographers describe the Old Man’s Cave as an interesting delight in nature photography.

The Old Man the Cave has been named after an elderly isolate named Richard Rowe, who lived in the valley with his two dogs.

Although the cave gives you a sensational feeling, the scenic view around you compensates for keeping you and your senses feeling composed and at peace.

There are various fun spots along the valley as the gorge itself slashes through some massive Blackhand sandstone.

If you love Hiking, then you would love the old man’s cave as there are areas for hiking and different trails to choose from. 

7. Hiking trails in Athens

Nature Preserve Trail at The Ridges

Hiking is one of the most teasing activities that anyone can engage in and feel a sense of success.

Athens has over 9 State Parks and 3 State Forests, and 1 National Forest, which offer such a wonderful hiking adventure in Athens.

Some extraordinary places to go hiking and trekking are Cedar falls, Cantwell cliffs, and Ash Cave.

The Rock House is one of the spots proposed by several tourist guides. It is also considered the only real cave in Hocking Hills. It is remarkable and tiring but also captivating.

Rock house is located midway down a 150-feet cliff and has beautiful tunnel-like corridors.

8. Kennedy Museum of Art

Athens is a city that has been graced with varied important historical structures and is very affluent in culture and ancestry. 

To explore these ancient landmarks in Athens, the Kennedy Museum of Art will help you out.

The Kennedy Museum of Art is found at the Lin Hall, an administrative building for the Athens Lunatic Asylum or popularly known as The Ridges.

This museum is free to the general public, and it is also free as it requires no entry fees and has displays that showcase many beautiful antiques and monuments.

9. Lake Logan State Parks

Lake Logan State Park is a fabulous place to have a bright day out with your partner, family, or friends, especially if you love nature and want to enjoy its full glamour.

Lake Logan is filled with nice interesting spots that offer Canoeing and kayaking services.

Learners and experts have a vast range of options with canoes and kayaks of various lengths, serving everyone’s different goals of a fun time.

Enjoy the raft trips through the slow currents in the water, this will allow you to embrace the dazzling beauty around you.

10. Hocking Hills State Park

The Hocking Hills State Park is beautiful but more beautiful during Spring. 

Therefore, the spring break is also the perfect time to go to the Hocking Hills State Park, along with  with  your spouse or friends on a short vacation trip, 

A Camping trip is one of the nicest choices to make if you want to spend some fun and quality time with your family and fortunately, the hocking park offers just that. 

The High Rock Hideaways and Hocking Hills Campground are some great spots for camping.

You can have a pleasant and quiet weekend and also enjoy some stargazing at night and identify star constellations. 

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11. The Ridges

The Ridges is another name for the Athens Lunatic Asylum.

It may seem strange to you, to visit a house for deranged people, but that’s not the main purpose of this visit, the architecture of this building is. It is so beautiful that people come from all over the country to see it.

Although the building is no longer functioning, the building still sits firmly even after a very long period. 

The facility has always been a clear reminder that wars will always inflict loss on all sides regardless of the course. 

The Ridges used to be the home of various Civil war veterans who had endured trauma from those harsh wars.

12. Cedar Falls

Cedar falls is an area where beauty, peace, and nature come together. 

Cedar Falls is situated close to the  Lower Gorge of Old Man’s Cave. A trip to Cedar Falls will leave you breath taken,  as that is the beauty of this place. 

The spectacle here looks very much out of this world. Also, it’s usually a tranquil place making it a great place for couples. 

13. Nelsonville Antiques and Vintage Market

If you are an antique lover visiting Athens, then you’ll love to pay a visit to the vibrant Nelsonville antiques and vintage market which offers a great collection of artifacts and antiques at cheap prices.

There are also furniture and clothing from classical times that you would love, kept on display.

You can also shop for these as part of souvenirs to take home with you. 

14. Athens Farmers Market

The Athens Farmers Market is governed and overseen by the local farmers, artisans, and volunteers.

In this market, everyone has a role to play in making locally cultivated food and craft very sustainable and always accessible.

The farmers market has a lot of attractions, both for the locals, farmers, and visitors.

The Athens Farmers Market is open only on two different days of the week and from March to December. 

On Wednesdays, The Athens Farmers Market happens at Creature Comforts Brewing Company, while on Saturdays, the farmers market changes its setting to Bishop Park.

Shopping at this market is very cost affordable and also offers you fresh produce for customers.

15. Sells Park

Sells Park is situated very close to the center of Athens, and it is popularly referred to as the most hidden treasure in Athens. 

The Sells Park was originally owned by The Sells family way back in the 1900s.

Eventually, the property was given to the federal United States Government in 1939 and then in 1979, the Sells Park was created.

This  Park gives a glorious and exciting hiking experience to its guests. 

This incredible experience happens as a result of the several walking tracks in its immaculate landscape. This landscape is also perfect for biking scenery.

This Park assures you of a tranquil space designed specially to grant you a great quality time with your family and pets.

16. Pleasant Hill Vineyards

Pleasant Hill Vineyards was originally a horse farm but was recently bought and renovated in 2012. 

Therefore, the vineyard now has eaten every with glamorous rolling fields that provide an ideal setting.

Amongst all, The Winery tasting room is one of the significant highlights of Pleasant Hills, and the room is a log cabin with architecture that was common in the 1800s.

Furthermore, Pleasant Hill Vineyards also offer homemade meals that will please your taste buds. This also offers a lovely twist to the wine selection process.

17. Riddle State Nature Preserve 

 Riddle State Nature Preserve, also known as Hawk-Woods is an ancient forest located in central Athens County, Ohio, covering over 100 acres of land.

The Riddle Street Nature Preserve is located adjacent to Strouds Run State Park and is managed and administered by its owners; The lovely City of Athens, as well as protects the land from logging.

Hiking in this preserve is pleasant and can be best defined as taking a trip into wildlife as Hikers do not have to wander too far into the forests before getting an up-close look at the amazing animals and birds.

18. Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery

Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery is an interesting, fun and educational place to visit with your children. 

They stimulate visitors of all age ranges to explore and learn about the world through imaginative and interactive exhibitions.

The Museum of Discovery usually alternates its exhibitions with time. Nonetheless, they guarantee that people of all age grades are happy with the exhibits.

19. Hockhocking Adena Bikeway

Instead of holding along the Hocking Hills, you could easily enjoy This 21-mile bike path that has a  very easy and gentle slope that makes it a terrific choice for people of all age groups and physical strength. 

This grand trail offers an exceptional opportunity for all visitors and tourists to have some free meditation time, especially for people who prefer feeling some air on their faces.

20. Geocaching

If you love the outdoors then geocaching is a great choice for you.

Geocaching is just a treasure hunt where people are expected to find unique items as well as hide them for fun. 

One unique thing about geocaching in Ohio, and Athens is that there are already accessible trails, which you may not easily find in other countries.

21. Go Hunting!

Hunting is one of the most interesting fun activities. The delight and excitement you get while hunting and the thought of catching and preparing your meal are very surreal.

As you’ve seen so far, Athens is the right place to visit if you are one of the few people who appreciate spending part of their day in the forest or close to nature.

However, to avoid problems, be sure to confirm all of the rules and regulations for hunting before heading to the forests

22. Enjoy Great pizza at the Avalanche pizza restaurant.

There in Athens, there are numerous, great restaurants you should try out, one of the most prominent for pizza is “Avalanche pizza”.

This restaurant has gained worthy titles like ” Best Pizza In the United States” by major bodies like the world pizza Championship and a whole lot more. 

Supporting the reason why if you pay a visit here, you must surely come back for more. 

23. Try Out Delicious Mexican food at “Big Mamma’s Burritos”. 

Big mamma’s Burritos is a local food restaurant that serves the best Mexican food, and as such has become a delight for most Ohio university students. 

They serve the best homemade food that tastes divine, you want to give this a try. 

There are many other restaurants you should try out like; O’s Betty, Casa Nueva Restaurant, Bagel Street deli, Goodfellas pizza and so much more! 

24. Check Out The Fun Bars And Pubs In Athens. 

In Athens, as much as there are fun places to go to and restaurants to eat, there are also good bars and pubs that offer the best drinks.

Some of the best of these bars you should try out are our Jackie O’s pub and brewery, The Union Bar and Grill, The pig’s Skin, The OverHang, The Pub, and Cat’s eye Saloon.

These and many more provide great drinks and wines that you’ll love. 

25. Enjoy Shopping and Entertainment at the Best Places. 

There are a lot of places you could go to if you enjoy shopping, or you just want to be entertained. 

Some of these places are; Haffa’s records. This is for individuals who love arts as there are lots of CDs and DVDs that you could choose from. 

Also, you’ll find other places like Banana road, Athenian cinema, School of Theatre, and many others. 


So Far, we have discussed a lot in Athens, Ohio. In the beginning, it was mentioned that Athens is rich in history and possesses amazing parks and valleys, educational centers, and even a waterfall. 

No doubt we have seen all of these and lots more on the things you could do in Athens. All of these showed how beautiful the city of Athens is. 

Further, great restaurants that offer good food, as well as bars and pubs with the best drinks, were all mentioned.

Putting all these into consideration, I’m ecstatic that if you were still contemplating a visit to Athens, by now you should have been wowed and convinced on why Athens is perfect for you. 

Also, If you’re a student at Ohio University,  you can make the best use of your leisure time by touring these places. After all, when you work hard, you play hard!

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