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Athens Community

What strikes most newcomers to Athens is the area’s dedication to cultivating community. Founded in 1797, Athens was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, and the United Mine Workers of America started as a gathering of coal miners in the area.

A nationally recognized local food scene, a location near some of the state’s best hiking trails and parks, a place in the Top 100 Art Communities in America, and a long history of campus and city activism related to sustainability and social justice have all helped to establish Athens as one of today’s “50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever.” Annual local events like the Pawpaw Festival and the Nelsonville Music Festival celebrate the area’s natural beauty and reputation for not only being a growing tourist destination, but also a family-friendly and safe place to live.

Explore Athens, Learn Athens

Since so much of the Ohio University experience relies on just that—experience—take a look around the Athens community through self-guided tours around the area. You can use your phone or computer to "travel" through stops that feature images and interesting info.

Explore mAppAthens


Ohio's First University

Ohio University gets bragging rights as not only the first university in the state of Ohio (established in 1804), but the oldest university in the U.S. established by federal legislation (aka, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787) before the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1790. From its start with one building, three students, and one professor, OHIO now boasts around 30,000 total students. Talk about growth.


OHIO History & Traditions