Whether you're in Gainesville for a quick trip or a long stay, Gainesville can be tricky to figure out. You'll find while driving around that Gainesville is laid out in a grid-system, but a lot of its hidden gems can be hard to find. This list is jam-packed with the top things to do in Gainesville and will definitely keep you busy.
No matter how long of a flight into Gainesville, you're probably going to be hungry once you land, and there's no better place to start your tour through Gainesville than at Satchel’s Pizza.
Founded in 2003, Satchel’s Pizza is a Gainesville staple and only a four-minute drive from Gainesville Regional Airport. Driving around Gainesville, you'll often see Satchel's bumper stickers, and creator of Satchel's Pizza, Satchel Raye, says, "We've ben giving them away to customers for free for 15 years. Easily [we've] given away over 50,000." Their pizza is some of the best around, so be prepared for a long wait on a Friday or Saturday night, but their brick oven-baked pizza is worth it.
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Depot Park was recently completed in Gainesville and is now adored by many locals. Sitting on old train tracks, the park has a very old-timey Western feel. Walking around or just sitting on the grass, the view of the pond with a refreshing beverage from Pop-A-Top General Store is a great place to go after Satchel’s Pizza.
After a two-minute drive from Depot Park, you'll come across another Gainesville hang out that has made quite a name for itself. First Magnitude Brewery in Downtown Gainesville is a tap room that sells unique craft beers while also shining a light on the conservation efforts for Florida springs.
If you want to keep drinking after First Magnitude and the sun is setting, head over to the Arcade Bar with three stories of classic arcade games and fun. The drinks may be cheap, but you can't put a price on the childhood nostalgia these games conjure up. Make sure to bring cash for the token machine!
Apart from Mondays, The Top’s nightly happy hour is unbeatable. If you're looking for an amazing dinner place, The Top is a must, and their late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to close also includes half-priced appetizers.
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Before you fly out in the morning, you can't leave without seeing what Gainesville is known for above all else... gators!
If you want a sure-fire way of seeing an alligator while in Gainesville, take a relaxing stroll down La Chua Trail. The boardwalk that stretches out into the trail hovers over gator-filled waters, and you can spot many other creatures on your trek as well. The Payne’s Prairie Preserve and State Park is the real heart of Gainesville and why the city is often referred to as “the Swamp.”
Whether you want to walk around the inside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium or along Lake Alice, the University of Florida campus has much to offer newcomers. The bat houses located across the street from Lake Alice release a bat show nightly just as the sunsets. The brick buildings within the heart of campus hold a beloved history in this town. If you're lucky, you might even get to kneel down in the center of the field and do the “Tebow!”
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This large college town may seem overwhelming, but you're guaranteed a good time following our list of the top things to do in Gainesville.
Cover photo courtesy of Adobe Stock Images