Downtown Athens is a safe, family-fun environment where you can explore and experience with your kids. We’ve put together a family-oriented itinerary for each time of the day to give you ideas about how to spend your day playing north of the arch.
Our friends from the Vu-Le family spent a hot July Saturday in Athens to see if downtown Athens is actually as kid-friendly as we think. We had a pretty fun day together, and we’ve included their feedback throughout the post to help you navigate your options.
Here’s a snapshot of Anh, Anson (age 10), and Elan (age 7) at the beginning of our Saturday.
You can find everything you need downtown, but if you plan to spend the whole day following this itinerary, you might want to bring a ball to play in Herty Field and make sure to wear your walking shoes. Park in the College Avenue Deck and get started exploring the district! Your first 30 minutes are free in each downtown deck, and then parking is only $1 per hour.
Enjoy your breakfast:
- Mayflower Restaurant: this family-run operation has been in Athens since before the 1950s, and they still open extra early for the early-risers.
- Athens Bagel Co: We recommend the jalapeno-cheddar bagel toasted.
- Einstein’s Bagel
- Wuxtry’s Records: Teach your kids about your old 8-tracks and let them explore the upstairs comic shop! Named one of the best record shops in the USA according to Rolling Stones magazine. When we visited, Anson was happy to explain how a vinyl record works, and both kids thought visiting the upstairs comic shop was the best thing all day.
- Another fun and quirky record shop can be found down Washington Street at Low Yo Yo Stuff.
- Find some adorable threads for your kids in the children’s section of Heery’s, Too or Frontier.
- Blue Sky Concerts: The ADDA has a seasonal outdoor concert series in College Square on Wednesdays at noon.
- Visit the world’s only double barreled cannon from the Civil War in front of City Hall.
Stop for lunch:
- Transmetropolitan Pizza: The Sicilian pizza is perfect for a family to share.
- The Grill: Make sure to order their signature malt shakes and feta fries!
Early afternoon “pick me ups” on College Square:
- Ben & Jerry’s
- Walker’s: Try a London Fog Tea or chase a local beer at this pub-style cafe.
- Jittery Joe’s: An Athens original coffee shop, this regional powerhouse is rightly known for its delicious brews. Ask for the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe blend.
- Cine: This movie theater often screens children’s movies in the afternoon. Check their schedule to see if one is playing!
- Rook & Pawn: You can play endless board games at this awesome game-shop for $5 per person. Perfect chance to wind down after a busy morning or to stay dry during a rainy afternoon.
- KA Artist Shop: The classes and camps here are perfect for your older children to take while you shop or do business downtown.
- Take a ball or frisbee and spend some time playing outside on Herty Field or the North Lawn on UGA’s campus.
The shade and fountain coupled with the collegiate atmosphere at Herty Field made it one of Ahn’s favorite stops of the day.
- Ring the UGA Chapel Bell!
If you’ve spent the day downtown, finish out your evening and have your spouse, partner, or friends park at the Washington Street deck to meet you.
- Clocked!: Your kids will love the hip diner feel of this local favorite.
- Ted’s Most Best has an outdoor sand pit/play area for young children that makes it a huge hit for families.
- Little Italy Pizzeria: an Athens classic pizza joint, if you come on a Tuesday evening you can let your kids learn chess skills while enjoying a slice with Chess & Community
- Viva! Argentine Cuisine at the Bottleworks offers fantastic South American fare, and your kids will love Gaby’s Atomic Cupcakes for dessert.
Family Night Life:
- Lyndon House Arts Center hosts a monthly Art Tour on the Third Thursday of every month.
- Thomas Lay Park offers many outdoor recreational activities for your kids, but we especially recommend their playground, located right across from the parking lot.
- Artini’s: Sign up to paint and enjoy a relaxing evening with your child!
- Georgia Theatre or The Foundry
- Athens on Ice: Ice skating will run during the fall and winter.
- Ice Dawg Hockey: Support the UGA Dawgs downtown! The season starts in the fall.
- Chess & Community Events: Check out Chess & Pizza and Chess & Ice Cream