Athens is a great town for singles, families and kids. I've been here for 12 years. Came for school, never left. Eastside has cheaper rent but you miss the whole Athens experience. On the whole rent is cheaper than the national average for desirable places. Athens is big enough to not be small but still a small city. Drive for 7 minutes in any direction and you're likely to be surrounded by pastures and cattle.
There are 97 bars in the downtown district which doesn't take up as much room as your standard shopping mall.
Summer is the best time to be here musically if you're looking to meet people and start new projects. If you're downtown on a regular basis (around the 40 Watt) you'll run into Patterson Hood, Dave Schools, Michael Stipe (on occasion), and Mike Mills. Everyone is down to earth and even the rock stars are regular old people. I've found myself having a conversation with Stipe without even realizing who I was talking to :) I've also managed to bump into J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth).
Weather: It's hot as balls in the Summer but there are multiple public swimming pools spread across town in the various parks as well as the Legion pool and the pools at the YMCA. The river is also available for canoe trips. Botanical Gardens are here too. It snows maybe 2-3 times a year with less than 13" accumulation at most for the big snow each year (didn't get it this year).
I really suggest living off of Prince Ave, Milledge Ave, Boulevard, 5 Points if you want to get the Athens experience and be near campus. Oh and Campus is MASSIVE. Learn the bus routes.
Dear country music "artists," If all your songs are about how "country" you are, you aint country at all.