Alert
Close

Last Chance: Top the Treasure Hunt leaderboard by 5 p.m. today to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

AARP Bulletin

Best Places to Retire

10 Great Small Cities for Retirement

Looking for a place where there's lots to do, but you won't get lost in the crowd? Check out our top picks

The B-52s performed an anniversary concert at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia

The B-52s perform an anniversary concert at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia. — Chris McKay/WireImage/Getty Images

Athens, Georgia

Great architecture is the hallmark of great cities, and in Athens, 70 miles east of Atlanta, it's all about the antebellum-era buildings and Victorian era homes. The city's 16 historic districts complement a vivacious downtown, a 300-acre State Botanical Garden and a pace of life well suited to retirement.

See also: The 10 most affordable cities

The city is home to the University of Georgia and is legend for its music scene, which produced such big-name bands as R.E.M. and the B-52s. UGA's Performing and Visual Arts Complex is among the top fine arts facilities in the South. It includes the Hodgson School of Music; the Performing Arts Center, which has a 1,100-seat auditorium; the Lamar Dodd School of Art (studios, lecture halls, galleries, a media center and an eco-friendly "green roof"), and the Georgia Museum of Art with 9,000 square feet of exhibition space; and dance, theater and film programs. The arts calendar at the university is always packed. UGA's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute caters to adult students and offers a number of noncredit courses.

The tree-lined streets of downtown Athens are home to numerous venues, including the famous 40 Watt Club and Georgia Theatre, along with a full slate of restaurants, shops, services and more. Don't feel like paying for stuff? The city has a Really Really Free market, a giant free swap meet in a city park.

For active retirees, golf is big here, and the Athens Bicycling group welcomes riders of all ages and speeds. Also, the city is 60 miles south of Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Winters are mild and summers hot, with 49 inches of rain spread fairly evenly throughout the year.

For spectators, college sports are serious business here: The university's Bulldogs, with NCAA Division I teams in most sports, inspire epic tailgating and frenzied rivalries with Georgia Tech and Auburn University.

Next page: The rhythm — and sound — of Bellingham, Washington. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons.com.

AngiesList

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Anna's Linens

Member save 10% every day at Anna's Linens and AnnasLinens.com.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.