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Automatic Pizza in the Normaltown neighborhood of Athens, Georgia, is one of Bain Mattox's enterprises. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Originally nicknamed for the State Normal School — a teachers college — Normaltown has gained notoriety for its alternative crowd. A mix of older homes and local businesses line Prince Avenue and its side streets. In 2012, UGA’s Health Sciences Campus opened in the old Normal School campus.

Parks and produce

Bishop Park contains tennis courts, a pool, trails, tennis courts and playing fields. On Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon, the Athens Farmers Market offers a distanced space for shoppers at the outdoor market. 

Cocktails, cheese and carpentry

Stop in Normal Hardware, an old-school store where you’ll find Radio Flyer tricycles, rocking chairs and every fixture imaginable. At Half-Shepherd Market & Cheese Shop, select from specialty cheeses and pick up a baguette. At J’s Bottle Shop, classic Athens beers are stocked along with other crowd favorites. 

Eat well

  • Marti’s at Midday — Healthy and hearty lunches are paired with housemade pita chips.
  • Automatic Pizza — Located in a former service station. Don’t miss thin-crust pies and cannolis.
  • Agua Linda — Generous Tex-Mex platters and popular margaritas can be enjoyed at outdoor picnic tables. 
  • Square One Fish Co. — A relocated incarnation of a local favorite that previously operated downtown.

Drink well

Hi-Lo Lounge is a laid-back neighborhood favorite with a recently restructured menu. Serious mixology and an elegant atmosphere set The Old Pal apart from the typical Athens college-town bar scene. Doted on by its regulars, Normal Bar is lovable and dive-y with outdoor seating, too.

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