Dear Class of 2024:
Beginning your time at UGA during the historic circumstances of a global pandemic makes the start of your college experience different than anyone ever could have expected. While it may not be the beginning you imagined, you can still complete the items on this must-do bucket list during your four (or more) years in the Classic City.
Social distancing and other new vocabulary terms will certainly be necessary, but we know you’ll make the best of it. Even if you need a mask or a pocket hand sanitizer, these memories will last a lifetime.
1. Find an excuse to ring the Chapel Bell
Why wait until you graduate? If you win big in the classroom or have another reason to celebrate, give it a go.
2. Take part in the Dawg Day of Service
You’ll learn about volunteer opportunities around Athens and campus as you meet new people and take part in helping a worthy cause of your choosing.
3. Attend a Georgia Theatre concert
Check out the center of the Athens music scene at the Georgia Theatre or its iconic rooftop to get music and a view.
4. Attend an event inside the Chapel
It’s not just for taking photos outside! Built in 1832, the Chapel still holds special lectures, student organization events, and more. You will definitely see a wedding party heading inside one day.
5. Watch the sunset from the North Campus parking deck
With a view of all of downtown, this parking lot makes for a great place to stop and sit for a while.
6. Learn about the people the Hunter-Holmes building was named for
Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes integrated the University of Georgia in 1961. Make a point to learn about them and other notable alumni who have made campus a more inclusive and diverse community.
7. Order ‘chocolate cake for breakfast’ at Mama’s Boy
Most Athenians know Mama’s Boy for its biscuits and brunch. But it takes a bold soul to order this menu item: cake smothered with whipped cream and fruit.
8. Meet Uga
Though elusive, it’s entirely possible to meet college football’s best mascot in real life, either at a special event or before a game. Give him a pat on the head and tell him he’s a good boy.
9. Pick a pumpkin, at Washington Farms
Located just outside of Athens in Bogart, Washington Farms offers fall festivals and hands-on harvesting.
10. Attend Museum Mix
Get some culture — along with food and music — at this exhibit/dance party hosted at the Georgia Museum of Art.
11. Visit the Morton Theatre
Opened in 1910, the Morton Theatre was one of the first vaudeville theaters to be built, owned and operated by an African American, Monroe “Pink” Morton. The venue still hosts performances to this day.
12. See the Iron Horse (ideally at sunrise)
The modern art sculpture sits in a field off Georgia State Route 15, where it’s been since it was removed from campus in 1950s following student protests.
13. 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.
14. Sit through an entire early season football game
It takes fortitude, hydration and sunscreen to last four quarters of a September game. Sweat it out in your seat and take in the wonder of a sea of red and black in the crowd.
15. See all the sports
Make it a mission to root for each team — from volleyball to track — at least once. Most events are free or very low cost for students, and you’ll cheer on athletes who really appreciate the support.
16. Visit the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at UGA
Taking a stroll through the flower gardens in the spring or the changing colors in the fall makes for a memorable trip. There’s nothing better than fresh air on a sunny day. Plus, it’s a good place for a socially distanced hang out.
17. Browse the vinyl at Wuxtry Records
Down on Clayton Street, this classic record store shows why Athens is so well known for its music.
18. Catch a movie at Tate
First, it’s free with your student ID. Second, it’s a great way to connect with other students. Third, movies are always better on the big screen than Netflix.
19. Find all the bulldog statues
Anyone can take a selfie with the bulldog statues downtown. But it takes real effort to track down all the statues — there are dozens — scattered throughout Athens. Bonus points if you’re wearing a mask — especially if it’s Georgia-themed.
20. Visit Bear Hollow Zoo
A must for animal lovers, this (free) zoo in Memorial Park is a refuge for injured and rehabilitated native Georgia species. The bear’s birthday celebration is a great time to visit!
Make this more than a UGA vocab term (see our jargon decoder here).
22. Take a selfie at the R.E.M.trestle
The old railroad bridge might not mean much to you, but send a snap of this to your parents or your aunts and uncles who are big 1980s music fans. They’ll be thrilled.
23. Attend a Greek philanthropy event
Attending an event like Mr. Milledge or Greek Grind is a low-key way to get a flavor of Greek culture while also supporting a good cause.
24. Spend a summer in Athens
You’ll have a lease. Take a few summer courses and discover the joys of the Classic City at a slower pace.