Gainesville, and really all of Alachua County, might just be an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. With world-class fishing, snorkeling, canoeing, diving and kayaking, there’s always plenty to do on the water. On land, those so inclined may enjoy birding, hiking, biking, fishing and pretty much everything else under the sun. It’s all made possible by Mother Nature herself. Experience the adventure of climbing trees! Gainesville’s Canopy Climbers provides fun, safe, sustainable, year-round tree-climbing adventure events. The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo allows for an up close look at the wildlife. Student led tours reveal what working with zoo animals is all about. Our area is blessed with parks like Paynes Prairie, the San Felasco Hammock Preserve and Devil’s Millhopper; three of many such places that not only offer incredible sanctuary to wildlife, but also generously provide people activities that simply don’t exist anywhere else. With rolling hills, sinkholes, lakes, upland forests, hammock and prairie, the landscape surrounding Gainesville has always been a natural playground. Come explore our outdoors.
We urge you to stop and look both ways. Because when you get done paddling your canoe on the Santa Fe River in nearby High Springs, or picking fruit in Alachua, you’ll still be just minutes away from some of the best art, museums and theatres in North Florida. You can find Gainesville’s spirit not only in its people, but in every one its cultural landmarks. Whether you’re searching for education at Gainesville’s Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History,or for entertainment at the Hippodrome State Theatre, we have things to do for everybody. What we really recommend is adding an extra day or two to your trip, because you surely won’t have time to see everything while you’re here.
Gainesville’s Downtown is the symbolic heart of the city. A quintessentially quaint tight-knit gathering of shops, resturants, theatres and parks it somehow pulls off always feeling lively, yet open and personal at the same time. By day, walk down tree-lined streets, draped lazily with Spanish moss. Take in the sounds of live music as it bounces off the buildings surrounding the Bo Diddley Plaza. Or meander through the stalls of vendors selling locally grown vegetables and fresh-baked pastries at the Union Street Farmer’s Market at the same plaza every Wednesday. By night, take in a play or movie at the Hippodrome State Theatre or browse the one-of-a-kind shops and fun boutiques around the Union Street Station Pedestrian Mall before sitting down to dinner at a mouth-watering restaurant featuring cuisines ranging from Cuban pastries to sushi. Enjoy a pint of local craft beer. Just like downtown itself, there’s something for everyone.