Best College Towns: Athens GA

What makes Athens (University of Georgia – UGA) such a great college town?

1. Great entertainment
Great music scene – Athens claims The B-52s, R.E.M., Widespread Panic and countless other groups of at least local renown. It hosts AthFest, a summer weekend festival showcasing local and regional bands that perform on outdoor stages by day and in downtown clubs by night. There’s even a musicians’ incubator. Also, the work of local artists can be found on display all over town, UGA hosts a ballroom dance craze that’s been in full swing for several years, lots of local theater in multiple venues, a major film festival, and a reputation for great writers.

2. Affordability
Athens is a very affordable place to live. Because the city revolves around the university, local prices are set with student budgets in mind. Housing and transportation costs are modest.

3. University economic development program:
University-related business incubators and technology transfer programs are central to Athen’s economic growth. The Athens New Media Synergy Center is an incubator for digital media startup companies downtown, and another incubator houses several biotech startups in a wing of UGA’s new Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, attracting $30 million in venture capital and corporate financing.

4. Health & Fitness/Recreation:
Many people seek an outdoor venue for exercise. UGA officials cooperated to purchase 200 acres of land along the Oconee River to create an extensive bicycle and walking trail. People park cars in decks and walk or use the bus system. Surface parking lots were converted into parks.

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