Local Area

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Local Area


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5 College Freshman

Local Area: Most the people you see are students and the shopping is limited, but high quality. You can drive to a less than 20 minute drive to the closest mall. Within 10 miles their is fun barn, hocking hills, old man's cave, and so many other fun things to do. The whole area has such an organic feel/look about it.

4 College Freshman

Local Area: Most people are very fiendish and helpful. The area is beautiful.

3 College Freshman

Local Area: Wish there were more restauraunts or shopping places

2 people found this useful Report
5 College Junior

Local Area: Athens is beautiful and the college atmosphere is very apparent.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Local Area: It's such a great community, tons of things to do, many different restaurants to try and fun festivals and events to attend.

2 people found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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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 151 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 151 responses

  • 3% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 55% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 35% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 1% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 6% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 150 responses

  • 30% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 29% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 41% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 152 responses

  • 7% Totally.
  • 43% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 50% No way.



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