Gainesville Travel Guide

Get Your Bearings in Gainesville

Where to Stay

Gainesville offers a number of lodging choices to visitors, including numerous Holiday Inns, Hampton Inn Gainesville, and the Red Roof Inn, with amenities like an outdoor pool. The Residence Inn Gainesville on 20th Boulevard is a more high-end hotel close to the University of Florida. The Residence Inn provides internet, flat screen TVs, a fitness center and suites with full kitchens.

Caution: College events tend to fill hotels in the area, so reserve rooms in advance.


What to Eat

Gainesville has a number of international restaurant options including Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Company, serving up Japanese European fusion, as well as Ti Amo! Restaurant and Bar and Amelia's on Main Street, which both serve Italian. The Jones Eastside focuses on vegetarian and breakfast dishes, while The Swamp serves a college clientele and often hosts musical groups.

Be Sure to Sample: The Swamp has a special brunch menu on weekends.


Things to See

The University of Florida is a huge draw to the city and it contains numerous attractions like Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the Curtis M. Phillops Center for the Performing Arts, the Harn Museum of Art, and Lake Alice, where visitors can see bats feeding on insects at night. The town also contains a number of other museums, like the Matheson Museum and The Florida Museum of Natural History, housing a number of exhibits on wildlife and history.

Caution: The Florida Museum of Natural History is closed on Sundays.


Places to Party

Mid-town, located across from the university, has a number of bars and restaurants, including the Salty Dog, Grog House, and the Swamp, all of which have weekly and sometimes daily specials on drinks and food. Downtown Gainesville also contains a number of bars like Stubby's, specializing in imported beers, and dance clubs like Sky.

Caution: Many bars popular with the college crowd may be crowded on game days.


Where to Shop

The Oaks Mall on Newberry Road contains a number of dining, entertainment, and shopping options including major chain department stores like Macy's and Dillard's to clothing, specialty, jewelry and shoe stores. Waldo Farmers and Flea Market is the region's largest flea market spread across 50 acres. Downtown Gainesville contains a number of clothing stores for men and women and a Wednesday Farmers market.

Caution: The Flea Market is only open on weekends.


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About Gainesville

Among Florida's top travel destinations, Gainesville is one of the cultural hubs of the state, thriving from all of the academic vigor and excitement that the college students at the University of Florida provide. This well-regarded public school, lair of the Fighting Gators, not only imparts a youthful vitality to the city of approximately 115,000, but it's also the county's largest employer. Because the city is so beautiful, set amid pine forests, wetlands and farms, many people offering Gainesville travel advice will suggest driving through the winding roads of the town and enjoying the breathtaking, panoramic views. It will undoubtedly leave you breathless. Other amazing Florida attractions include the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Hippodrome State Theatre. Each of these popular Gainesville travel destinations provide an intriguing counterpoint to beautiful natural locales like Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and Paynes Prairie State Preserve. If shopping is on your Gainesville travel agenda, expansive Butler Plaza promises practically anything you could need, while downtown Gainesville is rife with animated college bars and...  Read more »