Awesome Things to Do in Gainesville, Florida
If you are planning a trip to Florida, but want an awesome locale with unique natural attractions and plenty of cultures, without having to fight big-city crowds, Gainesville, Florida might just be the vacation destination of your dreams! Consider getting a energy drink in Gainesville for your needs to shop with some passion.
Why You Should Visit Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville doesn’t quite fit the mold of a stereotypical Florida vacation. Sure, there’s plenty of sunshine, but you won’t find world-famous amusement parks or beautiful beaches to explore here. Instead, Gainesville boasts a vibrant college town atmosphere mixed with a plethora of fantastic natural attractions.
As the home of the University of Florida’s main campus, Gainesville has plenty of the things you’d expect from a college town: trendy restaurants, hot nightlife, sporting events, and world-class museums. Oh yeah, and there are plenty of fun festivals going on in Gainesville throughout the year, so be sure to check their official events calendar before visiting.
People who are interested in a budget Florida vacation will undoubtedly love a trip to Gainesville. Here you won’t find jacked-up admission fees, restaurant menus, or hotel bills that are common in more touristy cities like Miami or Key West. Indeed, many of the best cultural and natural attractions in Gainesville are totally free.
As an added bonus, Gainesville isn’t terribly far from many fantastic destinations in Northeastern and Central Florida. For instance, it only takes about 1.5-hours to drive from Gainesville to Saint Augustine, Jacksonville, or Orlando. This makes day-tripping to or from Gainesville very convenient.
Awesome Things To Do In Gainesville, Florida
While many of Gainesville’s popular attractions are on the UF campus, there are natural areas well worth exploring in the surrounding area. For convenience’s sake, we’ve organized our list into two categories. First, we’ll go over the best attractions on UF’s campus. Once we finish our college tour, we’ll explore the best things to do around Gainesville.
Gainesville Attractions On the University of Florida Campus
1. Florida Museum of Natural History
One of UF’s crowning glories is the Florida Museum of Natural History, which has served as the Sunshine State’s official natural history museum since 1917. Full of fossils, Native American artifacts, and wildlife exhibitions, the Florida Museum does a great job teaching visitors about the ecological and cultural diversity of the 27th state.
Without a doubt, the exotic Butterfly Rainforest is the most popular permanent exhibit in the Florida Museum. Inside this 6,400-square-foot exhibit, you’ll get up close and personal with roughly 1,000 colorful butterflies from dozens of different species. Since the plants and butterfly populations are always changing, no two visits to the Butterfly Rainforest are ever identical.
The Florida Museum is usually open between 10 AM – 5 PM Mondays through Saturdays and 1 PM – 5 PM on Sundays. General admission to the museum’s permanent exhibits is free except for the Butterfly Rainforest. To find out more about ticket prices and special events, be sure to visit the Florida Museum’s official webpage.
2. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
For those more interested in cultural history, consider a visit to UF’s Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. Measuring over 112,000 square feet, the Harn Museum has a permanent collection of over 11,000 artworks in categories ranging from Ancient American and Oceanic to Modern and Contemporary. The Harn Museum also has five lovely garden areas on its premises highlighting Florida’s beautiful fauna.
Admission to the Harn Museum is free of charge and standard hours are as follows: 11 AM – 5 PM Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 AM – 5 PM on Saturdays, and 1 PM – 5 PM on Sundays. To find out more about Harn’s latest exhibitions, be sure to visit the museum’s official website.
3. Lake Alice & UF Bat Houses
UF’s Lake Alice might as well have been named Lake Alligator. Yes, there are real alligators in this wildlife-protected zone, so use common sense as you walk, hike, or bike around the lake.
As the sun sets, many people congregate at Lake Alice to watch bats from the nearby barns catch a few insects. According to local biologists, bats are most likely to emerge on mild evenings between spring and summer. For optimal viewing, be sure to stand facing west to take advantage of the streetlights.
4. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Home of the Florida Gators, UF’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is one of the largest and loudest in college football. Affectionately known as “The Swamp,” this stadium can now hold roughly 88,000 rowdy fans on game days.
If you’re not in town during a Gators game, then you might be able to catch another sporting event at The Swamp. In addition to football, this stadium host many baseballs, gymnastics, basketball, and volleyball tournaments. Check out the stadium’s official website for a calendar of events.
5. Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
If you’re looking for world-class entertainment while in Gainesville, look no further than the Curtis M. Phillips Center. Although only founded in 1992, this performing arts center has an impressive list of former performers. Just a few legendary artists that have graced this center’s stage include violinist Sarah Chang, vocalist Catherine Russell, and crooner Tony Bennett.
Definitely check out the Curtis M. Phillips Center’s website to find out what’s going on during your Gainesville vacation.