Gainesville: A hip and innovative college town
With a lively arts scene, innovative museums, and plenty of trails and parks, Gainesville and Alachua County embrace an outdoor lifestyle with energizing creativity. Hometown to the University of Florida and the Florida Gators, this is one city you don’t want to miss.
SEE AND DO
Hike La Chua Trail across Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park to witness wild horses, buffaloes and alligators in a natural environment. Identify more than 215 bird species found at Sweetwater Wetlands Park. Descend 232 steps into a sinkhole with its own ecosystem at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park or try your hand at grinding corn at the 1850s Dudley Farm Historic State Park.
Cyclists can enjoy views of Paynes Prairie Preserve from the 16-mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail or tackle 20 miles of off-road trails in the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park.
Rent a paddleboard and hit the Santa Fe River in nearby High Springs to explore some freshwater springs. Or grab a tube and float down the spring-fed Ichetucknee River. Certified diver? Plunge into the underwater caverns at Ginnie Springs. Golf devotee? Tee off at the award-winning Ironwood Golf Course.
Art fanatics adore this creative community where 27 murals decorate historic downtown as part of Gainesville’s Urban Art Initiative. Visit galleries at the historic Thomas Center and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. Attend a stage performance at the Hippodrome Theatre or a concert or sporting event at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Explore a limestone cavern, view 65million-year-old fossils and experience a butterfly release at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Rainforest. Try your hand at science in the Creativity and Fab Labs at the new Cade Museum for Creativity + Invention, opening spring 2018.
DINE AND PLAY
Downtown, an eclectic mix of dining ranges from traditional steakhouses like Mark’s Prime Steakhouse to vegetarian restaurants like The Daily Green. Sample Southern fare, like catfish and green fried tomatoes at the Sweet Tea Restaurant in the historic Sweetwater Branch Inn. Or satisfy your taste buds at the award-winning restaurant in High Springs, The Great Outdoors.
Craft beer aficionados love Gainesville’s microbreweries. Try Alligator Brewing Company, First Magnitude, Swamp Head Brewery, Blackadder Brewing and Cypress & Grove Brewery. Prefer wine? Island Grove and Bluefield Estate Wineries produce blueberry wines among other selections.
TOP: Nightlife in downtown Gainesville.