The University of Georgia has a multitude of traditions — both official and unofficial — and not every UGA student gets to complete every one before graduation. The good news is there’s still time.
With your time in Athens running out, here are nine places to go, things to do and landmarks to visit before you leave.
1. Pick berries at Washington Farms
Washington Farms, located just outside of Athens in Bogart, is the perfect place for berry-picking. Strawberries are available from April to June and blueberries and blackberries are available from June to July. For $12 a gallon, pick some berries and brave the kitchen to make some jam or berry-infused treats.
2. Watch the sunset from the College Avenue parking deck
Although promises of a panoramic view of the skyline might sound tempting, many don’t get the opportunity to experience it. The deck has a no-loitering rule and it’s strictly enforced, so don’t linger too long after the sun goes down.
3. Eat chocolate cake for breakfast at Mama’s Boy
Having chocolate cake for breakfast is the pinnacle of adulthood and we’ve arrived. While most Athenians know Mama’s Boy is a popular place to grab a bite for breakfast, one item on the menu may have always seemed daunting. You’ve graduated — celebrated with chocolate cake for breakfast, smothered with whipped cream and fruit. Although it’s pretty rich, it’s worth enjoying at least once.
4. Go to the farmers market at 8 a.m.
The Athens Farmers Market is a popular venue for farmers, artisans, students and community members to connect. While you’ve been vowing to get to the market by its opening time at 8 a.m. to beat the Farm Cart line or be the first to buy a fresh bouquet of Three Porch Farm’s flowers, you only have a few more Saturday mornings to make it happen.
5. Visit the Tree That Owns Itself
The Tree That Owns Itself isn’t new. The original tree supposedly sprouted sometime in the mid-16th to late-18th centuries and its “son” sprouted in the ’40s after the original fell. It’s located at the corner of South Findley and Dearing streets, and every graduate should enjoy a nice stroll through the wooded residential streets to check out this independent landmark.
6. Check out Athens’ 24-hour museum
Hotel Indigo, located on the corner of Strong Street and North Jackson, offers a 24-hour art exhibit with an array of pieces — all for free — through the GlassCube. The free-standing exhibition space provides a temporary home for local art all year round.
7. Enjoy a picnic at the newly-reopened Lake Herrick
The revitalized Lake Herrick at UGA was reopened in 2018 after being closed to the public for 16 years. Luckily for students and locals, the recently-opened Half-Shepherd Market & Cheese Shop offers specialty sandwiches to go, perfect for a picnic at the lake.
8. Go to the Iron Horse at sunrise
Although many have heard of the Iron Horse and aim to visit the sculpture at sunrise before graduation, it can prove a little tricky to find. The landmark sits in a field off Georgia State Route 15, where it’s been since the 1950s. Despite its tucked-away location, the monument is a curiosity worth visiting for locals and students.
9. Check out the observatory on the top of the physics building
The UGA Department of Physics and Astronomy hosts a few open house events per year for those interested in taking a peek into the night skies. While the open house is free, there’s limited space in the observatory dome and not everyone knows of its existence, so many UGA students don’t get to stare at the stars before they graduate.