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Athens Uptown for the Holidays

If you are looking to shop in a place that offers a magical holiday atmosphere, unique local stores selling one-of-a-kind gifts, and an eclectic mix of crowd-pleasing restaurants and breweries, then Athens, Ohio, is your perfect destination this holiday season.

Nestled in the Appalachian foothills and gracefully situated on the shores of the Hocking River, Athens is well-known for its scenic beauty and artsy vibes, and both are on full display during the Athens Uptown for the Holidays events, running all through December.

Feel like you are on the set of a holiday movie during the Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, December 1 from 6-8 pm, as your stroll around the quaint Uptown area, noticing the lights that adorn Court Street twinkling on the brick-lined streets and listening to a live musical performance. Watch Santa ride into town on a horse-drawn carriage to help count down the lighting of the Athens Community Tree, and then take a selfie with the Big Man himself at Santa’s Workshop.

Hop on a free horse-drawn carriage ride and get a tour of historic Uptown Athens, which dates back to the early 1800s. Once back on Court Street, catch a holiday movie being screened at the Athena Cinema or check out all the special (and free) holiday activities put on by local businesses, including cookie and ornament decorating, story time, face painting, and more.

Many of these special holiday events last all December long, with Santa’s Workshop, horse-drawn carriage rides, musical performances, holiday movie screenings, and more taking place Thursdays and Saturdays throughout the month.

The Athens Community Tree will also be on display all month long and will feature quirky ornaments created by Passion Works, a collaborative community arts studio famous for producing Passion Flowers – the official flower of Athens – and other original and distinctive pieces that make charming gifts.

Unique gifts and experiences abound in Athens. In the few blocks that comprise the Uptown area, you can find everything from novel takes on hand-made goods like jewelry and pottery to Ohio-centric apparel and gear to Ohio University branded products to vintage items, rare instruments, and much more.

If you visit on a Saturday, venture a few minutes away from Uptown to the Athens Farmers Market, rated as one of the best markets in Ohio and host to booths featuring a wide variety of high-quality, locally-produced foods and hand-crafted items by local artists.

And no visit to Athens is complete without a stop at one of its many award-winning breweries, restaurants, or coffee shops, all of which brim with holiday cheer this time of year.

For a full schedule of holiday events, call the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce at 740-593-9353 or visit

Athens Uptown for the Holidays

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