Picture this: You’re deep into your semester as a college student at UGA and have been busy building your new life in Athens, away from home. Suddenly, your parents call you up and tell you they’re planning to visit you soon for a weekend. Now you need to quickly figure out how you’re going to occupy their time for an entire family-friendly weekend in Athens.
If this sounds scary to you, know that it shouldn’t be! Parent weekend can actually be fun. In fact, we’ve put together this helpful guide of great hotels, restaurants, and activities in Athens that you and your parents might enjoy during their stay.
Best Places to Stay in Athens
There is an assortment of places to stay in Athens and whatever your parents choose is dependent on their preferred price point and location. If they’re interested in staying on campus, they may want to consider booking a room at the UGA Hotel, near Snelling Dining Hall. The hotel even has a “Parents Club Special” where parents can receive a bunch of benefits and discounts for joining the free membership. Staying at the UGA Hotel is a great option if you’re planning on having your parents join you for a game-day weekend! On the other hand, if they want to stay Downtown, there are several options–including the Sleep Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, the Homewood Suites, and several more. However, staying Downtown can be a little pricier, especially during game-day weekends. If your parents are driving, staying at a hotel that isn’t Downtown may be more affordable, and luckily, there are plenty of options for those too!
Where to Eat in Athens
A great feature about Athens is that there is a seemingly endless number of restaurants to choose from, as well as a diverse range of cuisines. In addition, most are family friendly. We’ve listed some suggestions for restaurants down below.
Mama’s Boy is a very popular and well-loved breakfast spot in Athens and has been for nearly two decades. They have a wide menu of breakfast options, including classics like their Georgia Peach French Toast and Buttermilk Biscuits. They’re also big on southern hospitality and making their food from scratch.
If you live in Athens, you know about Jittery Joe’s. Jittery Joe’s coffee is well-loved amongst UGA students and general Athens residents alike. In addition to coffee, they also offer smoothies, teas, and some traditional cafe foods like bagels, muffins, croissants, and more!
Barberitos is a Mexican food franchise chain based in Athens and is also a great option for lunch. There are multiple locations throughout Athens, including one on campus. They serve burritos, tacos, quesadillas, salads, and more, and it is delicious!
Marti’s at Midday
Marti’s at Midday is a nearly five-star, locally owned restaurant located in the heart of Normaltown. Customers can enjoy their southern-style sandwiches, salads, and casseroles. You also have the option of take out or dining in.
JINYA Ramen Bar
JINYA is an authentic Japanese restaurant and bar that is known for serving noodle soups, dumplings, and craft beers–amongst a few other menu items. They also have both vegetarian and gluten-free options if that’s something that you’re looking for. This restaurant is located Downtown and is a walkable distance from North Campus and The Arch.
Activities to Do with Your Parents
Attend a UGA Football Game
This one is pretty obvious but enjoying a game day with your parents is a great way to spend your weekend with them at UGA! There are so many activities around campus and Athens on game days that will keep you occupied all day. A large part of Southern football culture is tailgating, so finding one of those can be a fun way to pass time until the game. After tailgating, you may want to consider attending the Dawg Walk–where you can watch cheerleaders and the Redcoat Band cheer on the football players as they enter Sanford Stadium. This occurs exactly two hours and fifteen minutes before each home game and is something you won’t regret missing.
Athens has a great shopping scene–with so many local boutiques and shops worth visiting. Particularly in Downtown Athens, you can find several clothing boutiques, merchandise, and antique stores all within walking distance from each other. Still want to shop? The Georgia Square Mall is also in Athens and is only about a ten-minute drive from campus. There are a lot of apartments with parking garages in downtown near places to shop and eat. They allow guest parking through the park mobile app perfect for when parents come to visit.
Athens has several museums worth visiting, including the Georgia Museum on campus. Admissions are free and signing your parents up for a guided tour could be a great way to spend time with them. If you’re still looking for something to do in Athens, you might want to consider visiting the State Botanical Garden as well. Admissions and parking are also free, and you can explore 313 acres of beautiful gardens and displays.
Fortunately, there are so many parts of Athens and UGA that you and your parents may find great joy in experiencing and exploring. And if all else fails, you could always just sign them up for a campus tour or take them along with you to experience a “day in your life” as a student at UGA. Whatever you choose to do, it's likely that your parents will just be happy to spend time with you! Nonetheless, we hope this guide has helped you generate some ideas on how to spend your parent weekend at UGA.
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