Local Atmosphere

Athens, OH
Tuition (in-state)
$19,246 ($10,282)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Athens is a small, charming town that has a good college feel to it. It is only 20 minutes away from Wayne National Forest where one can partake in outdoor activities. There are also many athletic departments that are open to students whenever they want them. The school is very active with students by putting on shows, holding craft nights, and socials. Little shopping is available, but that is probably a good idea since we don't blow all our money. Local attitude towards students is very welcoming and I am happy to be here.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The local atmosphere in Athens, Ohio is great. Everyone is so welcoming and helping towards each other. If you go off campus, there is local farmers markets every weekend which is a great place to be. Campus is full of locally owned restaurants and places to eat.

4 College Student

Local Atmosphere: Athens is definitely unique. As a place more populated by college students than townies, OU obviously has a huge influence on the area, but the residents of Athens add their own flair. Though rural Ohio may be lacking some of the attractions of big city life, Athens never feels stifling. There is so much natural beauty to explore around the area, and believers in the supernatural won't be disappointed, as Athens is one of the most haunted areas in the US.

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3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Athens has a pretty cool atmosphere uptown at pretty much any time of day. There is not much to do, but there are hiking trails up by the ridges and I have heard of a lake nearby that students like to go to, but have not yet been there. I usually feel fairly safe here, especially when I would compare how I feel at other schools when i visit them.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: great hiking trails and cool stores


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Nash Bober
Berlin Heights, Ohio
Management information systems/Marketing
View all previous student authors

OU students agree: Athens is unique. A small town built around a college, it is full of distinctive personalities. There are small, specialty shops and great restaurants that you won't find anywhere else. Practically any student you ask will say that the atmosphere is one of the greatest parts of going to OU. Athens is the epitome of a college town: tree-filled greens, colonial architecture, brick streets, all of which makes for a very quaint and comfortable learning atmosphere. However, at times, it can seem like Athens is closed off from the rest of the world (when a Wal-Mart finally opened a store in Athens a few years ago, students rejoiced). Shopping can be really difficult (the closest mall is about 45 miles away in Lancaster) and most students resort to online shopping or driving an hour and a half to Columbus. There are plenty of exceptional, cheap thrills in and around Athens, though, such as the haunted areas and the skatepark.

The residents of Athens are very tolerant of the rowdy OU students and, for the most part, friendly (part of their patience might have to do with the fact that their businesses rely a great deal on the students). "Townies," as they are affectionately known, range from upper-class citizens to hippies, creating an eclectic and downright weird community. A great college town, it's hard not to love Athens; just be prepared to escape to the "real world" every now and then when you need a Target or Starbucks fix.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Athens is notoriously haunted; from the spooky Ridges, which used to be an insane asylum, to the five cemeteries that form a pentagram around the city. Athens was even voted the 13th most haunted place in the world by the British Society for Psychic Research. Athens was also featured on FOX's Scariest Places on Earth TV special.
  2. There are tons of unique, fun festivals in Athens County throughout the year, including Parade of the Hills, the Ohio Paw Paw Festival, the Bead International Festival, and the Jambalaya Jam.
  3. The new 17,000-square foot Athens Skatepark was designed by award-winning Grindline Skateparks and partially funded by the Tony Hawk Foundation. It was even featured on the MTV show, Viva La Bam, when broken in by the show's star Bam Margera during a 2004 episode.
  4. Athens is a paradise for hikers, bird watchers, and nature lovers. The city is surrounded by several state parks (Burr Oak, Lake Hope, Lake Snowden, and Wayne National Forest), making it easy to take a weekend hiking, backpacking, or camping retreat.
  5. Thousands of partiers head to the small town every Halloween to partake in what has been called the "Mardi Gras of the Midwest."
Notable Natives
  • Dow Finsterwald - champion professional golfer
  • Maya Lin - architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • David Wilhelm - campaign manager for Bill Clinton and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Points of Interest
  • Athens Skate Park
  • Burr Oak State Park
  • Hocking Hills
  • Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp
  • Kennedy Museum of American Art
  • Old Man’s Cave
  • The Ridges
  • Splash Down
  • Stroud’s Run
  • The Wilds
Shopping Centers
  • Athens Mall
  • River Valley Mall
  • University Mall
Movie Theaters
Athena Grand
1008 E. State St.
(740) 593-8822
Major Sports Teams
  • Cleveland Browns: football
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: basketball
  • Cleveland Indians: baseball
  • Columbus Crew: soccer
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Cleveland: OH: 4 hours
  • Columbus: OH: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 116 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 118 responses

  • 5% Painfully remote.
  • 1% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 35% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 56% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 3% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 118 responses

  • 41% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 27% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 32% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 118 responses

  • 55% No way.
  • 40% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 5% Totally.



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