Gainesville is a unique place, centered on the presence of the University of Florida! Outside of campus, there are many different places to explore, eat, watch performances, and so much more! Some of these places aren’t just a bus ride away but still offer a great look into the Gainesville community, which has so many different people. Make sure to check our section on Transportation for ways to head out to these places if you don’t have transportation of your own! All of these places are verified and tested by one our authors, who is Gainesville Native himself!
Tioga Town Center: Tioga Town Center is a shopping mall that has several dining options and shopping options. It also has events on The Square. Leasing is available for those who want to live in the flats at Tioga.
- GatorAider, provided by RTS, leaves from Tioga Town Center and will drive you and your friends to the stadium for football games.
- 105 SW 128th St # 200, Newberry FL 32669
Haile Plantation Village Center: Haile Plantation Village Center is a small center in the form of a small town. It has little boutiques and cafes (like Patticakes, for instance). It’s definitely a very cute place and at night, they turn on lights that give the place a warm atmosphere.
- Haile Plantation, Gainesville FL 32608
La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie: At the La Chua Trail, there is an elevated boardwalk as well as a dike out to the observation tower. It’s nice to hike that trail but also nice to watch wildlife. The trail leads to the Alachua Sink and to the center of the prairie marsh and wetlands.
- 100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy FL 32667
- Hours: Everyday from 8 am – 6 pm
Depot Park: Not only is there a museum (the Cade museum), but there is also a play area, promenade, splash lake, pavilion, conservation area, and Pop a Top General Store. Depot Park is a very family friendly place, and it also holds many events.
- 200 SE Depot Ave, Gainesville FL 32601
- Hours: Sun-Thur: 6:30am – 9pm and Fri-Sat: 6:30am – 11pm
Devil’s Den: Devil’s Den is a beautiful spring with crystal clear water. It’s perfect for swimming, scuba diving, or snorkeling with friends and family. There is an admission fee that changes depending on the activity you’re doing as well as certain fees for certain rental equipment.
- 5390 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696
- Hours: Mon-Thur: 9am – 5pm and Fri-Sun: 8am – 5pm
Santa Fe College Zoo: Gainesville’s own zoo run through Santa Fe College! It has animals that reside here from all around the world, as new ways to preserve and rebuild habitats are researched in conjunction with the college and the University of Florida. A local legend is the ocelot Zeus who lives here!
3000 Northwest 83rd Street, Building Z, Gainesville, FL 32606
Hours: Everyday 9am-2pm
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: Named for nearby Lake Kanapaha, the botanical gardens is run by a local botanical society in North Florida. They routinely hold festivals and fairs that celebrate local and international biodiversity. It offers a wonderful break from the University and the city. It also serves as a wonderful reminder of the importance of protecting our Earth.
4700 SW 58th Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608
Hours: Everyday 9am-5pm, Closed Tuesday
CYM Coffee Shop: An absolute necessity for anyone in Gainesville longer than a day! This local coffee shop is part of a larger shopping center run by the famous band Sister Hazel. A location unique to Gainesville, in addition to a coffee shop there is a local store that sells small town foods, drinks, and ice cream! There is also a full-service restaurant that uses local ingredients to craft delicious and healthy meals!
5404 NW 8th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32605
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-7pm
Sat, Sun 8am-7pm
Get Air, Gainesville!: The best, and only place in town to bounce your stress away! Gainesville’s newest sky zone that provides a wonderful opportunity to get off campus and Get Air! The business provides fun for all ages, and can even serve as a meeting place for your organization/club!
6250 NW 23rd St, Gainesville, FL 32653
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm