CNN, the NY Times and GO", the in flight magazine of AirTran Airlines, listed Athens as number two in its list of the "20 Best Long Weekends" destinations, out-ranked only by Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco. Sea Island, a few hours away near Savannah, followed as the number three choice ahead of California's Big Sur. Flagpole magazine provides a weekly listing of the Athens music, festival and club events.
Contrasting with the Georgia coast and its numerous sea islands such as Cumberland, Sapelo, Sea Island, Jekyll and the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia are the Appalachian Mountains. Northern Georgia includes the origin of the Appalachian Trail and many pristine state parks and national forests that are accessible in less than two hours as are rapid rivers for rafting and kayaking and large Lakes Lanier, Hartwell and Russell for boating, windsurfing and swimming.
There are also many opportunities to enjoy and explore nature closer to home. In addition to our Jaworski Amphitheatre/garden immediately next to the Plant Sciences Building, the serene Founders Memorial Garden on North Campus (which is a memorial to the first garden club in America organized in 1891), the North Oconee River Greenway and Heritage Trail, a 13-mile walking and biking path that meanders through Athens. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a magnificent mixture of formal gardens and long hiking trails through virgin forest and along streams and the Oconee River.
Daily exercise is afforded by the Ramsey Student Center within walking distance of the Plant Sciences Building. This huge, 8 acre recreational sports complex was designated as the best in the nation by Sports Illustrated.
The venue of UGA's Performing Arts Center includes the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall and smaller Ramsey Concert Hall. These acclaimed facilities offer superb performances throughout the year by internationally reknowned classical and contemporary music soloists, chamber music ensembles, orchestra and choral groups as well as theatre and ballet events. The superior acoustics of these facilities are conspicuous not only when experienced in person but also are certified by recordings of concerts that are very frequently highlighted by National Public Radio's "Performance Today" broadcasts. Besides major performances on weekends, there are free concerts and recitals nearly every weekday evening by School of Music faculty, students and guests.
The Georgia Museum of Art on South campus has an extensive permanent collection and, always changing, special exhibitions, lectures and films. The Tate Student Center's theatre presents nightly showings of classical and contemporary movies for the admission price of only $1 for students. This student union complex also is where many special lectures and small performances are presented.
Athens, a Very Affordable Place to Live Well
Most students find that our assistantships allow a relatively high standard of living without having to take on roommates. Monthly rent for an apartment in Athens is around $500 plus approximately $200 a month for utilities (cable/DSL, phone, electricity, water, gas, trash). In 2005, Kiplingers estimated it would cost nearly $5000 more per year in New York City for the amenities available in Athens.