Summer in Athens is full long, sticky days and a nearly abandoned campus and downtown, basically begging for exploration. The University of Georgia’s campus and the city of Athens offer an abundance of hidden gems and secret spots to spend some of your lazy summer hours.
Everyone has heard of the typical Athens and UGA spots, from the beautiful Founder’s Garden to the Iron Horse sculpture, but here are a few locations to check out this summer that are a bit outside of the norm.
1. The North Oconee River Greenway
Stretching 3.5 miles from the Sandy Creek Nature Center to Dudley Park near Mama’s Boy, the Greenway is the perfect spot for a morning run before the day gets too hot, or for a leisurely evening stroll once the sun is low in the sky. You can hop on the trail at Sandy Creek after browsing the nature center or go for a walk after a hearty breakfast at Mama’s Boy. The trail offers beautiful views of the Oconee River and the wildlife of Athens that normally can’t be spotted on campus.
2. The Oconee Hill Cemetery
Hanging out at a cemetery might not be the first thing that comes to mind when making summer plans, but the Oconee Hill Cemetery shouldn’t be overlooked. Located off of East Campus Road under the shadow of Sanford Stadium, the cemetery offers a comprehensive view of the history of Athens.
Moss adorns stately monuments and graves dating back to the mid-1800s. Notable people buried at the cemetery include Joseph Henry Lumpkin, the first chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court as well as one of the founders of the UGA School of Law, Ben Epps, the first Georgian to make and fly an airplane, and Ricky Wilson, the guitarist for the B-52s.
3. The Green Roof Garden at UGA’s Geography-Geology building
The Green Roof Garden is a hidden oasis set in a heavily academic area, open to students to volunteer at or enjoy during authorized tours. The space is used to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables and is a popular spot for buzzing pollinators.
The produce grown at the garden is given to The Campus Kitchen at UGA, a charitable organization focused on alleviating hunger among senior citizens. The Green Roof Garden hosts tours and volunteers, but access to the garden is limited to UGA students, faculty and staff.
4. Science Library Makerspace
Many UGA students may not know that they have access to the newest technologies right at their fingertips, and it’s all available in the Science Library on South Campus. The Makerspace offers a 3D printer, Virtual Reality goggles, laser cutters, soldering irons and more. Students can explore virtual worlds, work on projects or create works of art. The Makerspace is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. during the school year.
Correction: A previous version of this article included the UGA Creamery, which is closed for the summer. Additionally, it was previously insinuated that the Green Roof was open for students to come and go. This is not the case, as access is only allowed to authorized individuals. The Red & Black regrets these errors.