Top Ten College Towns

University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
40 Watt Club, Athens, Georgia
INDIE VIBE: Concerts are performed in Athens's renowned 40 Watt Club (Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau)

10. University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia
It might seem counter-intuitive that the Peach State is home to a mecca of indie and modern rock, but that's just what Athens is. REM, B-52s, Widespread Panic, and The Whigs all trace their roots back to this avant-garde city of just over 100,000 people. Make no mistake; the University of Georgia is in many ways, a typical southern school. South Eastern Conference college football reigns supreme, and in Athens, the Georgia Bulldog is king. Students and alumni are undyingly loyal to their team, and on game day the city is awash in a sea of red and black. After football dies down, however, Athens settles back to its earthy-crunchy ways.

Get in on the vibe by catching an indie rock show at the renowned 40 Watt Club or Caledonia Lounge. The Georgia Theatre, another live music gem, reopened with much local support in August 2011, two years after a serious fire closed it down. For die-hard music lovers, AthFest draws upwards of 50,000 fans and some 200 bands. Catch the Athens Folk Festival every year in October. Want to snag some of the cool music you just heard on old-school vinyl? Then skip the chain record stores (if they still even exist) and hit up local landmark Wuxtry Records.

Even the restaurants in Athens have a musical past. REM front-man Michael Stipe owns the building that houses vegetarian restaurant, The Grit. The band's smash album Automatic for the People got its name from the slogan of local soul food spot, Weaver D's. For those who want to take a break from jamming and step outside, visit the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, where roses are in bloom from May until September.

Published: 18 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 16 May 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »