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Athens named in Best Hometowns by Ohio Magazine

Published: August 4, 2022 Author: Story by Macklin Caruso, Photos by Ben Siegel and Joel Prince, Courtesy of the Athens County Visitor's Bureau

Affirming what thousands of Ohio University students and alumni know to be true, Athens has been recognized by Ohio Magazine as one of the best places to live, work and visit in Ohio. The official recognition will be part of the magazine’s annual Best Hometowns issue, which will be published on Nov. 1.

Each spring Ohio Magazine accepts hometown nominations and then visits each town over the summer. The editors then evaluate the finalists in six categories: Community Spirit, Education, Entertainment, Health and Safety, Business Environment, and Culture and Heritage.

The honorees will be featured in the upcoming fall issue and the July/August 2023 issue, as well as online.

Ohio Magazine has been awarding Best Hometown since 2006 to communities across Ohio. They describe the winners as places where strangers are treated like friends, local improvement is a focal point of community pride and where progress still honors the past.

To nominate a town, readers submit a short essay highlighting local efforts in the community.

This will be the second time Athens has been awarded the honor, winning it first in 2008.

Other winners of this year’s Best Hometowns include Bellefontaine, Kent, Perrysburg and Versailles.

Click on the photos to view captions.

Photographs of the Japanese cherry blossom trees at Ohio University along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio.

The Japanese cherry blossom trees at Ohio University, located along the Hocking River in Athens, Ohio, are a favorite place for students, faculty, staff, visitors and the entire Athens community to walk, jog, relax, play music and welcome spring.

Wendy Minor Viny shows us a DIY halloween mask that can be made with cardboard, a pool noodle, a bike inner-tube, and some paint. Required tools for the job include scissors, a glue gun, and a stapler.

Wendy Minor Viny, a regional artist who works with Passion Works Studio in Athens, models a DIY Halloween mask for the annual Honey for the Heart parade. The mask, created by Viny, can be made with cardboard, a pool noodle, a bike inner-tube, and some paint.

Photograph of the Word of Mouth band playing at Tony's Tavern on Dec. 15, 2015. They play every Tuesday night which is now being called "Jazz Night" by locals.

The Word of Mouth band performs at Tony's Tavern in Athens, Ohio during one of their live jazz nights. Live music from local bands and performers fill the streets of Athens all throughout the year.

Beautiful skies across the Athens County Horizon in Athens and Waterloo Townships on August 8, 2019.

The rolling hills and beautiful skies of Athens County add to making Athens a wonderful place to live, work or visit.

Photographs of musicians taking part in the Old Time Jam on the grounds of Little Fish Brewing in Athens, Ohio on June 8, 2016.

There is never a dull moment in Athens County as outdoor events continually populate the city and surrounding community. Shown here are musicians taking part in the Old Time Jam on the grounds of Little Fish Brewing in Athens.

Fog rolls in at sunrise in the hills surrounding the city of Athens.

Fog rolls in at sunrise across the hills surrounding the city of Athens.

Photographs of Gifford State Forest on August 26, 2017.

The Gifford State Forest, although the smallest of Ohio's state forests at 320 acres, is filled with spectacular scenery and just a short drive from downtown Athens and Ohio University's campus.

Photographs of mountain biking at Strouds Run State Park in Athens, Ohio on Nov. 16, 2017.

Strouds Run State Park in Athens, Ohio offers numerous hiking and biking trails for visitors to enjoy.

Photographs of the Ohio University mens basketball game against Miami University on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at the Ohio University Convo in Athens, Ohio. The OU Bobcats beat the Miam U Redhawks 76-64.

The campus and community come together to support the Bobcats at athletic events throughout the year. Shown here is an enthusiastic crowd at the Battle of the Bricks men's basketball game between Ohio University and their rival, Miami University, at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.

Photographs of various events during the 2017 Ohio Pawpaw Festival at Lake Snowden in Albany, Ohio on September 16, 2017.

The annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival at Lake Snowden in Albany, Ohio features local artists, food vendors, musicians and more, all while celebrating the beloved fruit native to the area.

Photographs of the Ohio University International Street Fair on Court Street near the college campus in uptown Athens, Ohio on Apr. 16, 2016.

The Ohio University International Street Fair in uptown Athens celebrates the many international individuals in the community, allowing them to share their culture, food, stories, and history with fellow Athenians.

Honey for the Heart parade on Court Street.

The annual Honey for the Heart parade is a staple during the Halloween season, making its way down Court Street and creating a positive and accessible art-filled community experience. The parade, put on by Passion Works Studio, features handmade puppets, masks, costumes and more, all created by artists in the community. 

A cyclist stops to enjoy the cherry blossoms in bloom along banks of the Hocking River in Athens.

A cyclist on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway that spans from Athens to Nelsonville, Ohio, stops to enjoy the cherry blossoms in bloom along the banks of the Hocking River in Athens.