Athens is a small city in McMinn County, Tennessee. Before the city was established in 1822 and chosen as a county seat, the area was populated by Cherokee Indians. The city is surrounded by the Unicoi Mountains, the Tennessee River and the Starr Mountain. McMinn County Living Heritage Museum is great place to learn about the culture and history of the area. Athens is also home to the Swift Museum Foundation, a museum that shows history of famous Swift training planes. Loch Low-Minn quary lake is great spot for fishing and scuba diving. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Mayfield Dairy Farm

Mayfield Dairy Farm
© Mayfield Dairy Farm

Mayfield Dairy Farms is a 100-year old dairy farm located in Athens, TN, on I-75, between Knoxville and Chattanooga. Stop by the Mayfield Visitors Center and take a tour of the farm, before tasting the best, freshest ice cream you have ever tasted. They have many delicious flavors and also have a small gift shop with souvenirs and unique gifts. Mayfield Dairy Farm was established in 1910 when T.B. Bayfield Jr. bought 45 Jersey cows and started supplying his neighbors in Athens with fresh milk and cream. The farm is still in the family hands, with new generation running things. The milk production is now modern and the ice cream business grew to become one of the well-recognized brands and favorite treat for the folks in Athens and surrounding areas.

806 E Madison Ave, Athens, TN 37303, Phone: 423-745-2151

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2.McMinn County Living Heritage Museum

McMinn County Living Heritage Museum
© McMinn County Living Heritage Museum

Located in downtown Athens, Tennessee, McMinn Country Living Heritage Museum is a museum of local culture and history founded in 1982. The Museum is a private, non-for profit organization. It has 30 permanent exhibits with more than 10,000 artifacts that portray the culture and history of Southeast Tennessee in the period from the 1700's to 1940's. There are also four rotating displays that change throughout the year. Each exhibit has a unique storyline about events and people that made the difference in the region. The Museum also offers educational programs and special events.

522 W Madison Ave, Athens, TN 37303, Phone: 423-745-0329

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3.The Gardens of Sunshine Hollow, Athens, TN

The Gardens of Sunshine Hollow, Athens, TN
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Gardens of Sunshine Hollow is an event and wedding venue in Athens, Tennessee. The location right between Knoxville and Chattanooga makes it popular for all big celebrations and events in the area. . While being conveniently near the cities, visitors can also enjoy a taste of nature – the property has some of the most beautiful and largest private gardens in East Tennessee. The magnificent gardens are filled with more than 2000 perennials such as roses, azaleas and lilacs. Around the gardens are well-maintained grounds with two lakes and a forest. There is a wedding pergola surrounded by hanging baskets filled with seasonal blooms. If the weather turns bad, the wedding can be moved to the ballroom inside.

198 Co Rd 52, Athens, TN 37303, Phone: 423-745-4289

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4.Swift Museum Foundation, Athens, TN

Swift Museum Foundation, Athens, TN
© Swift Museum Foundation

The Swift Museum, located at the McMinn County airport in Athens, Tennessee, is a museum dedicated to the display, restoration and preservation of Globe and Temco Swift aircraft. The museum displays a number of Swift aircraft including the prototype #1, several production examples and Swifts modified between 1946 and 1951. There are also two T-35 Buckaroo USAF trainers. The military versions of the Swift trainers were tested in the early 1950s by the USAF. One of the T-35’s was donated to the Museum by the Saudi Arabian Air Force. The Museum present Swift’s training planes produced from the start in 1946 to today. The Swift Museum Foundation collection of Swifts is considered the best in the world. While there is a Swift hanging in the Smithsonian for everyone’s viewing, at the Swift Museum visitors can stand right next to these historic planes and look into the cockpit.

223 Co Rd 552, Athens, TN 37303, Phone: 423-745-9547

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5.Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort, Athens, TN

Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort, Athens, TN
© Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort

Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort in Athens, Tennessee provides unique experience for beginners and experience divers to explore beautiful, crystal clear ten acre quarry lake. What makes the lake especially exciting for divers is the fact that it is home to the ancient species of fish called paddlefish, as well as many other aquatic species. Paddlefish has been introduced to the lake in cooperation with the Tennessee Aquarium and the Choo Choo Diving and Aquatic Center in Chattanooga, TN and it can grow to six feet. The beautiful lake is nestled in the lush wooded hills of East Tennessee and its crystal clear waters have an amazing average visibility of 35 feet, so the divers are sure to see much of its fish and other attractions. Besides paddlefish, the lake is home bluegills, bass, catfish, and an eclectic range of artifacts.

116 Co Rd 420, Athens, TN 37303, Phone: 423-746-0798

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6.Buddy's BBQ, Athens, TN

Buddy's BBQ, Athens, TN
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Located in the Congress Crossing shopping mall in Athens, Tennessee, Buddy’s BBQ is one of 14 popular family style restaurants in Tennessee. The restaurant is cozy, homey and laid-back, serving their famous Southern-style pulled pork, ribs, smoked chicken and much more. Buddy’s is famous for their hickory-smoked pit bar-b-q. All Buddy's dinners are served on a bun or with hush puppies and come with two side dishes: Corn-on-the-Cob, Baked Beans, French Fries, Potato Salad, .and more. Most popular are family packs for five or 10 people. Buddy’s also offers catering for events of any size.

1718 Decatur Pike, Athens, TN 37303, Phone: 423-746-9920

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6 Best Things to Do in Athens, Tennessee

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