Equal parts scenic oasis and cultural hub, this vibrant college town is one of the gems of sunny northern Florida.
The home of the University of Florida is one of the region’s most popular destinations. Gainesville has outdoor attractions, cultural offerings and a lovely tropical climate.
Many of Gainesville’s attractions are located at the University of Florida, which occupies the town’s southwestern corner. Admire a selection of the 6,000 pieces of artwork at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art or watch a dance performance at Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Cheer on the Gators football team at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium or stroll around the campus and admire the historic buildings.
In the downtown area, browse through shops and galleries or enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the bistros or restaurants. Stop by the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, which hosts live music and the weekly Union Street Farmer’s Market. When the sun goes down, join locals enjoying the nightlife in bars and clubs or catch a musical at the Hippodrome State Theatre.
Within a 20-minute drive from downtown are plenty of opportunites for outdoor recreation. At Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, see bison, alligators and hundreds of bird species thriving in their natural environment. Climb the observation tower to enjoy panoramic views of the wilderness.
Spend the day swimming or fishing in the warm waters of Lake Wauberg. If you’re a cycling enthusiast, head to San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, where you can bike along 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) of trails. Stroll through rainforest at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park.
See fossils and interactive exhibits at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Walk through the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit and find yourself surrounded by more than 70 colorful species. Head to the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo to learn how keepers interact with the animals.
Gainesville Regional Airport is a 15-minute drive from downtown. The nearest Amtrak station is in Waldo, a 20-minute drive from Gainesville. Enjoy Gainesville’s sunny days and warm weather all year-round. Head to “Gator Country” for outdoor fun and cultural activities in a friendly, college-town atmosphere.