54 Perfect Day Trips from Atlanta

2 venues to discover the best in indie music

Georgia Theatre
Flaming Lips perform at the Georgia Theatre

Photograph by Jason Thrasher

Some touring bands just downright snub the state’s biggest city in favor of the little university town just over an hour up State Route 316. We’re talking, of course, about Athens, which boasts as rich a music history as any small town in America, having hatched the likes of R.E.M. and the B-52s. That allure still runs deep, and the intimate 40 Watt Club and the hardly bigger Georgia Theatre still play host to the best in cool indie songwriters and bands, from rock and folk to punk and electronica. This fall, catch the likes of Johnny Marr of the Smiths at the 40 Watt, or Social Distortion and the Head and the Heart at the Georgia Theatre. Major bands like My Morning Jacket and the Athens-born Drive-by Truckers occasionally pop in to perform on these iconic stages, too.