Things to do in Gainesville

The Gainesville

Gainesville is the perfect destination for any adventure traveler. The city offers a lot of outdoor adventures from hiking to kayaking. The terrain is abundant with wildlife, various cacti, and rivers to immerse yourself in.

In Gainesville, you will find various breweries that will serve you that perfect beverage after a long day. The eateries are exceptional too offering cuisines from all parts of the world. With their own city-style spread that will make you come back for more.

The City is full of rich history and museums. The various museums will offer you a brief glimpse of what makes the city great today.

You can even catch the bats flying overhead at the bat houses.

Gainesville is a stop that every tourist will love. We have compiled a compelling guide to show you how awesome this place is.

What kind of travel do you do

  1. Family
  2. Couples
  3. Solo

What are you looking for

  1. Adventure
  2. Nature
  3. Culture
  4. History
  5. Local experience
  6. Food


  1. Free
  2. Cheap
  3. Medium
  4. Expensive

Show only Nicks's favorite tools:

  1. Yes
  2. No

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park

The Geological State Park has been around since the early the 1880s and will leave tourist flabbergasted at the beauty in an unlikely place. In the park, you will find a 120 feet deep oval-shaped cavity that houses a little rainforest. The miniature rainforest has developed over the decades and is an integral part of the Geological Park with lush greenery even in the dry hot summers.

The site is one of a kind as there are various fossils of extinct land animals, marine shells and fossil shark teeth. In the park, you can find interactive displays that will teach you more about the sinkhole and how it was formed.

At Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park you can also have picnics at the many picnic sites surrounded with lots of trees. Apart from the fossils and picnic area you can also explore the hiking trails that will give you an in-depth understanding of the natural environment in Gainesville.

  • Go on the hiking trail and explore the environment.
  • Get to see the fossils and shark teeth found in the layers of the sinkhole.
  • Have a picnic with the family at the park.

Family Adventure Nature History Free

Curia on the Drag

Situated on a 2.5-acre property the Curia on the Drag has made a name for itself over the years. The delectable establishment has everything you need to satisfy your stomach after a hard day at work. The Curia sets an intimate and relaxed vibe so that you can enjoy their baked goods and lovely deserts.

There will also be time for a bit of shopping on the property. At the AMK market, you will get to buy vintage home goods, clothing, and handmade jewelry.

  • Take a stroll around the 2.5-acre property.
  • Enjoy the intimate setting while indulging in some edibles.
  • Explore the AMK market situated on the property.

Couples Local experience Food Medium

Swamp Head Brewery

If you fancy a cold beer then you have to head down to the Swap Head Brewery. This facility has a lot to offer besides beer. On arrival, you can take a tour of the Brewery and learn how these awesome tasting brews are made. On Tuesdays, you can experience Taco Tuesday with the breweries take on Swamp Head Tacos. There is also a food truck at the facility that will keep your stomach lining healthy as you take in the beers.

  • Explore the brewery and learn more about creating craft beer.
  • Enjoy Taco Tuesdays at the Swamp Head Brewery.
  • Get your Swamp Head Apparel at their shop with beer branding.

Solo Local experience Food Cheap

Matheson History Museum

Traveling throughout Gainesville is a memorable activity that you should experience once in your lifetime. In the city, you will experience a lot of cultural and historic sites. One of the well-known places to visit in Gainesville is the Matheson History Museum that is situated in the heart of historic downtown Gainesville.

The house was built in 1867 and it houses permanent and temporary exhibits on Alachua County and details of the history of Florida.

If you are curious and want to learn more about the culture earlier years of the city you can spend hours in the library and look through the archives or just grab a book related to the Gainesville earlier years.

  • Attend some of the programs held at the Matheson Museum related to local and Florida history.
  • View all the exhibits on the Alachua County and explore the history of Florida.
  • The library is worth a visit as it has many documents and books about the Gainesville area.

Solo History Local experience Cheap

Lubee Bat Conservancy

Bats are commonly misunderstood and people fear them. At the Lubee Bat Conservancy, they want to change people’s views about the bat population. On your holiday visit, we encourage you to visit the conservation center so that you can see how their habitats are being saved through research, conservation, and education.

The conservancy is located on a 110 acre land in the Old Florida district. Lubee has about 200 bats that represent 10 different species. All bats are frugivorous and you will have the opportunity to see the bats feeding patterns.

  • Learn about the research and conservation efforts done by the Lubee Bat Conservancy.
  • Get to view an age-appropriate PPT while you visit the facility.
  • Enjoy the scenes as bats feed on fruit and interact with enrichment devices.

Family Nature Local experience Free

Paynes Prairie

The Paynes Prairie is Florida’s first state reserve and is both biologically and historically beautiful. In the Prairie, you will have the choice of amazing trails like the Gainesville Hawthorne Trail, La Chua Trail. Bolen Buff Trail and Cones Dike Trail.

If you want a longer adventure you can also spend a few nights at the tent camping ground.

In the Prairie wild horses and bison roam free. There are 300 species to view as well as alligator’s deer and many other animals.

  • Choose one of the many hiking trails at the Paynes Prairie.
  • Take on the adventure and camp in tents at the prairie.
  • Get to see wild bison and horses among other animals.

Solo Adventure Nature Cheap

The Thomas Center

The Thomas center was once a private residence before it was converted to a cultural events center for the local and Florida area. The building itself is Mediterranean Revival Style and houses many contemporary art exhibitions as well as historical exhibits.

Concerts at The Thomas Centre are held throughout the year and feature national and international touring artist performing classical, jazz and folk music. There are also special holiday shows and surprise guests from time to time.

  • Marvel at the brilliant Mediterranean Revival Style architecture of the center.
  • View all of the contemporary & historical exhibits.
  • Enjoy some of the live performances by local and international artist.
  • Get to take part in the festive tree lighting ceremony held annually.

Family Culture History Local experience Medium

Bluefield Estate Winery

This winery started in a kitchen by a couple who liked experimenting. Jennifer and Bradley Ferguson use to make their wine from excess blueberries that were left after the harvest on their farm. They, later on, started their winery after encouragement from their friends.

Bluefield specializes in blueberry and muscadine grape wines. They have a wide selection of wines including, blackberry bliss, green apple affair, peachy perfection, and pomegranate passion just to mention a few.

  • Explore the grounds of the winery and relax under a tree.
  • Do some wine tasting and try all their varieties.
  • Learn more about the winemaking process on a tour of the winery.

Couples Local experience Medium

Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

The Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation center stands as an inspiration to the communities of Gainesville. It is a non-profit dedicated to the conservation of wild and endangered animals. It is also an education center to teach people about conservation and to contribute to the bettering of the animal kingdom. Some of the animals you can view are the African Lion, tiger, grey fox, and puma just to mention a few.

  • View the various endangered and rare animals.
  • Learn more about conservation and the environment.
  • Be part of a non-profit organization that gives back to the community of Gainesville.

Family Adventure Nature Local experience Medium

Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate

Since 2008 Volta has been serving an assortment of specialty coffees, tea, and chocolates. They also serve delicious treats for those of you with a sweet tooth. The Volta also has deserts and pasties on their menu.

  • Taste the different varieties of specialty coffee.
  • The chocolate that they serve are made right in the kitchen, not the powder stuff.
  • They have some of the delicious pastries in Gainesville.

Couples Local experience Food Cheap

Florida Museum of Natural History

The museum is located on the grounds of Florida University. At the museum, you can view various exhibitions that are interactive and fun.

You can take your kids to the new ‘Beverly and Jon Thompson discovery zone’. At the zone, the children can engage in educational materials, like scientific interactive programs with their parents or guardians. There is also life-size touchable objects and various activity stations.

Explore the insect and plant life at the facility in the terrarium and the aquarium. Kids can also hone their drawing skills and create masterpieces at the digital drawing station.

  • Explore the fun and interactive exhibits at the Florida Museum.
  • Entertain your kids at the ‘Beverly and Jon Thompson discovery zone.’
  • Visit the terrarium and the aquarium.
  • Let the kids create their masterpieces at the digital drawing station.

Family Culture History Medium

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art is a traditional institution in Gainesville inspired to enrich and educate peoples’ lives through art. On show at the museum are works that enlighten intrigue and that creates a self-belief that anything is possible. The museum has art collections, exhibitions, and learning opportunities on offer from people all over the globe.

At the Museum of Art, you can explore the various gardens like the Bob and Nancy Magoon Garden that contains water features and multiple sculptures in-between the lily pads. The Asian Rock Garden is also a tourist favorite because it was designed by renowned garden designer Hoichi Kurisu. The weekly Japanese raking done is worth admiring in the garden.

  • View the various exhibition and art collections at the Museum of Art.
  • Explore the gardens as they give you a sense of peace and tranquillity.
  • Take a guided tour and learn about the art scene and upcoming artist in Gainesville.

Family Culture History Local experience Cheap

Blackadder Brewing Company

Chris and Sissy Hart owners of the Blackadder Brewing Company have been serving cold beverages for well over a decade now. They have created award-winning beers and have almost 30 medals collected in homebrew competitions. Earlier this year they won their first professional golden medal at the Best Florida Beer Competition.

Going on a tour of the facility is paramount if you are a beer lover or just want to taste their different varieties of craft beer. On Wednesday around 7 pm you can catch their trivia night that will give you the chance to interact with the locals while honing your memory skills.

There is also a food truck that prepares different theme styled dishes throughout the week.

  • Try some of their award-winning beers like the Cloves but no Cigar, The Jerk Maker, The Pink Rider, and My Blondest Friends.
  • Go on a tour of the facility and see how they brew the craft beer Gainesville style.
  • Be part of the trivia and bingo nights as you meet the lovely people of Gainesville.
  • Taste and overindulge in the prepared dishes served out of the food truck every week.

Solo Local experience Food Cheap

Morningside Nature Center

The Morningside Nature Centre is based on an 1840’s cabin. It is based on the Irish family the McCarrolls who built the cabin (Hogan Cabin). In the cabin, you can find a board and batten kitchen. There is also a barn and a schoolhouse on the property. The heirloom garden and heritage bred farm animals are also something worth looking at.

On the 278 acres, there are about 7 miles of trails you can explore that takes you through various wildflower displays and wildlife like deer, box turtles, wild turkey, skunks, and various bird species all located in the nature center.

The Centre also has a Barnyard Buddies program where you can feed the animals hay or vegetables. The activity is free but donations like carrots, apples, sweet potato, and melons are accepted.

  • Go back in time and see how the McCarroll's family lived in the 1840s.
  • Try out the 7 miles of hiking trails in the Morningside Nature Centre.
  • Be part of the feeding program with Barnyard Buddies.

Family Adventure Nature Medium

University of Florida Bat Houses

The bat houses and bat barns are the largest occupied bat houses in the world. The bat houses are located on the Northside of Museum Road across from Lake Alice on the University of Florida campus. There are viewing points where you can see the bats emerge from their houses.

The display can be viewed daily just after the sunset, however, the temperature must be 65 F or above otherwise the bats won’t make an appearance. Be careful of the falling urine and guano when the bats are flying over you.

  • Explore the bat houses at the University of Florida.
  • View how they emerge from their houses just after dark.
  • The bats can also be viewed during the day while the bats are sleeping.

Family Nature Local experience Free

General info Gainesville

Country The United States of America
Capital Washington DC
Language English
Timezone  (GMT-4)
Currency Dollar (USD)
International dialing code +1 352
Electricity Power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
City population of Copenhagen  132,249