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.