Day or night, Gainesville’s Downtown is the symbolic heart of the city. Here, you can listento live music at Bo Diddley Community Plaza, find locally grown vegetables and freshbaked pastries at the Union Street Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays, or peruse the shops and boutiques that pop up every night around the Union Street Station Pedestrian Mall.
Conclude your downtown exploration, with a show at the historic Hippodrome Theatre, which has presented musicals, comedies, dramas and holiday productions for 40 years.
You don’t have to be enrolled in classes to enjoy the University of Florida campus. Listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, the University of Florida is the home of The Florida Gators. This University is seriously invested in sports — in fact, Gatorade was even invented here to combat dehydration! Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field welcomes 84,000 enthusiastic fans, making it the largest stadium in the state. See the Final Four-veteran men’s basketball team at The Stephen C. O’Connell Center, or the “O-Dome,” which is regularly used to host other events on campus.
DO SOME SHOPPING
Many Floridians consider Alachua County to be a top destination for antique shopping in the state — especially Micanopy, which is the oldest inland city in Florida. Make a day of it with stops in High Springs and Alachua, and Thornebrook Village with its garden-like open-air breezeways. Get a massage, pop into a perfumery, sample some hand-dipped chocolates and purchase one-of-a-kind jewelry — it’s all here.
HIT THE MUSEUMS
The Florida Museum of Natural History explores Florida’s unique habitats and cultural history. Housing more than 34 million specimens and cultural artifacts, including one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths, the whole family will have a blast exploring these fascinating exhibits. In particular, the Butterfly Rainforest is a popular exhibit that features between 60-80 exotic species at any given time, as well as birds from around the world, turtles and fish.
Also be sure to explore the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, one of the largest universityaffiliated art museums in the United States. More than 8,300 works are displayed in the museum’s collections, which include photography and Asian, African, modern and contemporary art.
STEP THROUGH TIME
At Dudley Farm Historic State Park, you’ll see the evolution of North Florida farming brought to life. Dressed in period attire, the park staff perform chores, raise crops and tend to livestock in this authentic working “Cracker” farm. At Devil’s Millhopper State Park, you’ll traverse 120 feet down into a bowl-shaped cavity that’s home to a miniature rain forest. Devil’s Millhopper is a National Natural Landmark that has helped researchers learn a great deal about Florida’s natural history, through the study of shark teeth fossils, marine shells and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals found in the sink.
For more info please visit www.visitgainesville.com