Athens : Georgia

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What it's Like to Retire in Athens

Athens is an immensely successful (population just over 100,000) university town in the hills of northeastern Georgia. It is extremely popular as a retirement community. The University of Georgia has helped to create an unusually liberal community with a thriving artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual scene. A number of musical groups such as REM and the B-52’s have gone on to international fame from here.

The University of Georgia with its 26,000 students has a large and beneficial impact on the city. The downtown, centered on College Avenue, is one of the most interesting and vital centers in the nation. It offers many interesting restaurants, nightclubs, music stores, sidewalk cafes, bars, bookstores, and shops. The housing choices for active adults 55+ and those in retirement are quite varied.  New high rise condos are being constructed in downtown Athens which plan on linking to a new Multi-Modal Transportation Center.  Fourteen of Athens’ neighborhoods are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Athens is located in Athens-Clarke County. For profiles on over 900 cities and towns go to  best retirement communities.
Thanks to Wikipedia and Richard Chambers for photo of downtown Athens. Athens Tourist Bureau


Where to Retire in Athens and Home Prices

There are many different neighborhoods to consider, such as west of Pulaski Street, where there are a number of historic homes. Five Points is another neighborhood near the downtown and the university. Five Points is mostly single family homes with nearby shopping and galleries. Fourteen of Athens’ neighborhoods are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are some golf communities in or near Athens (see link at right).
According to, the median price of a home in Athens was about $128,000 in early 2015.


What is special about Athens

•  Bustling college town • Internationally famous music scene – “The Liverpool of the South” • One of the best small downtowns in the nation • A variety of housing choices for retirees • University of Georgia • Multiple neighborhoods on National Register of Historic Places

What is not special about Athens

Active adults who have moved to Athens report that it is not without its problems. They report there is no supermarket close to downtown. Public transportation is not all that it could be. And it can be hard to find an affordable apartment.


Who will like retirement in Athens

The Athens community attracts those who want to live in a university town with a thriving downtown. Many are attracted to the outstanding retirement living and active adult 55+ choices that are available. For more information about how to retire in Georgia or Augusta

Local economy is driven by

The economy is vital and diverse. It is primarily driven by the University, hospitality services, manufacturing, music, retail, and health care. For Athens Craigslist

Climate and Physical Environment

Athens is located in the hills of northeastern Georgia, 71 miles from Atlanta. View Google Map for Athens GA.
The average July high temp. is 90, the avg. Jan. high is 53, and the average Jan. low is 33. March is the wettest month with 5".

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are many festivals, such as the AthFest - Music and Art Festival, Stitching Stars Storytelling Festival, and the Athens Music Hall of Fame. The University of Georgia’s Performing Arts Center offers many cultural resources. Many nightclubs in downtown Athens, such as the 40 Watt Club and the Georgia Theatre. The downtown Classic Center is a multi-purpose facility containing a performing arts center and convention space. Additional cultural enrichment and lectures are available at the Georgia Museum of Art and its new Lamar Dood School of Art. There is an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.


Athens has a high crime rate.


Medical facilities

St Mary's Hospital; Athens Regional Medical Center



Athens Airport offers commuter flights to Charlotte, NC; Athens Transit System offers local mass transit; Athens is above average in walkability when compared to other communities.


Valuable Links

Athens on Wikipedia

What people are saying about Athens

Comments about Athens from several different Members
These Comments are from several different Members: Jim C: Where in GA do you live? My nephew is in Hoschton and I will be moving to Athens eventually from NYC. How do you like it? by Stacey — September 16, 2016 | Edit This Jim C. I plan to move to Athens, GA area as soon as my house sells here in Vieques, Puerto Rico. I have lived in the Atlanta suburbs twice before and feel Athens is out far enough but still close enough to Atlanta should I want to make a day trip there. My friend is minister at the Unity Church there, and she says I will love Athens. I have already signed up with the city for their daily announcements. I do not remember how I found that site, so whenever I see it again, I will post it. It has all kinds of information including road work, police matters, free things to do, job openings in the city departments, and so much more. by June — September 17, 2016 | Edit This I am also interested in the Athens area. Have family members about 40 minutes east, but that area seems a little congested. The crime rate seems high. Is it a good retirement spot? Looking at areas north and east of Atlanta. by Sue — September 17, 2016 | Edit This Stacey, I live in Gwinnett County, GA which is in the Atlanta metro. Personally if I was moving here for retirement I would avoid the Atlanta area. To be honest I’m not very familiar with Athens but have not heard any negative comments in all the years I’ve lived here. Its far enough away from Atlanta to have its own identity. My choices in GA would be the North Georgia Mountains and the Georgia coastal area. by Jim C — September 17, 2016 | Edit This I chose Athens because of the OLLI program at UGA. Continuing education is very important to me. Plus they have a lot of different clubs which is a great social outlet (especially when you don’t know anyone). There is also a Reform Temple there which I like as well. I don’t want to be in a 55+ community…I like diversity of ages. All in all, Athens seems like a good choice. by Stacey — September 17, 2016 | Edit This
Posted by admin on September 19, 2016
Does Athens Fit?
My wife and I (both in early 60\'s) are looking to retire in an active community. I am retired Navy and we love to bike, jog, and play golf. We eat healthy (Whole Foods?) and enjoy the arts. We are also looking for reasonable rental homes (800-1000) and safe neighborhoods. How does Athens measure up?
Posted by jgilfoy1 on October 24, 2013
Nice college town, but
Athens is a very cool college town. It might not necessarily have the greatest infrastructure for a retiree moving here without connections, however. We can see it as very appropriate for someone with ties to the University or Georgia. We have also seen criticisms that living in the downtown area meant it was hard to shop for everyday stuff, as well as get around. Would love to hear perspectives from others.
Posted by admin on November 03, 2011

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Facts about ATHENS
  • State: GA
  • Environment: College Town,Cultural Center,LGBT,Singles,
  • City Population: 100,001+
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 41-60
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 20,001-40,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $100,000-$200,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: 2000-4000
  • Total Crime Index: 121+ (very high)
  • Cost of Living Index: 91-100 (slightly below average)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: jb

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

Athens retirement communities
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1. Overall Retirement Ratings Discuss

1. Rating: 3.2/5 ( 24 votes cast)

2. Expense:
Inexpensive to Luxury Discuss

2. Rating: 2.9/5 ( 8 votes cast)

3. Taxes:
Inexpensive to Expensive Discuss

3. Rating: 2.9/5 ( 13 votes cast)

4. Culture:
None to Cosmopolitan Discuss

4. Rating: 3.9/5 ( 10 votes cast)

None to Summer camp Discuss

5. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 11 votes cast)

6. Transportation:
Boondocks to World Hub Discuss

6. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 7 votes cast)

7. Security:
Dangerous to Ft. Knox Discuss

7. Rating: 2.4/5 ( 15 votes cast)

8. Medical Facilities:
None to Excellent Discuss

8. Rating: 3.3/5 ( 9 votes cast)

9. Political Situation:
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9. Rating: 2.9/5 ( 7 votes cast)

10. Environmental:
Oblivious to Ultra-Green Discuss

10. Rating: 4.0/5 ( 5 votes cast)


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