- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- St. Augustine
Gainesville: a city of students, architecture and bats
In the north of Central Florida, Gainesville is known as the city of old mansions, university buildings and protected tourist routes. It is worth coming here for excursions, festivals, and leisurely exploring local attractions.
University City Gainesville has been named the Best City to Live in North America and the National Geographic Adventure’s Best Place to Live and Play in the United States.
Historians claim that people first settled the lands of the future city 12,000 years ago. Then the Timuqua Indians lived here, followed by the Spanish colonialists. But Gainesville officially received city status only in 1869. After that, the territory began to be actively built up, and mansions of the late 19th – early 20th centuries still decorate the city streets with their facades. Among the architectural attractions we recommend to see:
- Major Bailey’s house, built in 1854;
- Mary Pfeiffer McKenzie house (built in 1895);
- Hotel “Thomas”, dating from 1910;
- the building of the former post office and court, dating back to 1911;
- the building of the Masonic lodge, built in 1908.
After a walk through the streets of the city, you can start a closer and no less interesting acquaintance with its sights.
Gainesville Florida-Aerial Video Tour
What to see?
Gainesville is a university town. But in the local “alma mater” there are just as many tourists as students. A glimpse into the campus is worth a visit to the Samuel Harn Museum of Art. The permanent collection of this museum alone has more than 6200 exhibits – objects of art, painting, photography.
The House of Bats is also located on the campus of the university. If you come here at sunset, you can see how hundreds of winged Brazilian mice will go hunting at night.
The Florida Museum of Natural History is famous for its amazing collection of tropical butterflies. The main expositions of the museum are devoted to the wildlife and aquatic ecosystems of Florida. And for those who love excursions into history, an exhibition has been created about the life of the state – from prehistoric times to the present day.
The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are worth visiting at least for a stroll through the largest bamboo garden in Florida. Here you can also see gardens of butterflies, cicadas, camellias, and azaleas, as well as an arboretum, vineyard, and rose garden.
The Santa Fe Zoo is home to 80 animal species from around the world. It is home to tree kangaroos, lemurs, Galapagos turtles, and gibbons. It is also interesting that this zoo is an educational one, and most of its graduates work at Disney’s Wild Kingdom.
Paynes Prairie Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Gainesville. Eight excursion routes have been prepared for tourists. During a short trip through the reserve, you will see all the richness of flora and fauna of Florida. Close-ups include bison and wild horses, alligators, and exotic birds. Travel on foot, horseback, or bike. And so that tourists can see the reserve in all its glory, an observation deck with a panoramic view is equipped for them at a height of 15 meters.
Events in Gainesville
Gainesville is a true cultural capital. Every year, major festivals are held here, dedicated to different areas of art: painting, music, literature.
- In early April, the Spring Arts Festival is famous for its exciting exhibitions.
- In autumn, the famous throughout the country downtown festival and art show gathers guests. About 100,000 people annually attend this event.
- The festival of alternative music is popular among fans of the punk style. Music groups perform at eight venues for three days.
And in Gainesville, you can come to the traditional medieval Hoggetown fair or the fair of old books. The latter is held in April and lasts for 10 whole days. Bibliophiles eagerly await this event to collect rare books donated by public libraries for almost nothing.
Another atmospheric old town of Mikanopi is located 20 kilometers from Gainesville. It may seem like you’ve taken a trip back in time. Life here stood still several centuries ago. Everywhere there are old buildings, antique shops, cozy restaurants, and age-old trees. This city is a great place for romantic walks and dates: here, no one will disturb your privacy.
If you drive approximately 60 km northwest of Gainesville, you will enter Ichetakni Springs State Nature Park, famous for its hot springs. They maintain their temperature throughout the year and help to get rid of many diseases. Camping sites are set up near the springs so that guests of the park can stay here overnight and watch the beauty of the starry sky.
And for those looking for some coolness on a hot day, we recommend driving to Ginnie Springs, one of the cleanest springs in Florida. Here you will be able to scuba dive and explore underwater caves. Or rent an inflatable mattress, so that, while swaying on the waves, you can lazily swim along the emerald-blue waters of the spring. Adjacent to Ginny Springs, there are terraces with sun loungers, picnic areas and barbecues.
Where to dine
There are many restaurants in Gainesville that boast excellent food, a cozy atmosphere and good service. Here are just a few of them.
Fancy a delicious cocktail, glass of wine, or rum? Then be sure to check out Madrina’s. This bar is known for its original cocktails, which can be ordered at affordable prices. And the atmosphere of the place is perfect for a romantic dinner.
Among connoisseurs of Italian dishes, this restaurant is in one of the first places. Guests are served here mouth-watering pizza baked in the oven right in front of their eyes – hot, with a crunchy edge, and stretching cheese. In addition to pizza, the menu includes salads, side dishes, sandwiches, and desserts. And in addition to them – wine, cocktail, or beer.
For everyone who would like to try the dishes from the gluten-free menu, we recommend booking juicy chicken with lemon, shrimp, and pork dishes. Visitors love this place for its cozy atmosphere, the opportunity to sit comfortably on the outdoor terrace and the large selection of dishes on the menu, divided into 5 main positions.
At this restaurant you can taste French cuisine. And also – delicious desserts: delicious pancakes, chocolate mousse, and airy crème brulee. And don’t forget to complement your dinner with a glass of wine. But we warn you that it won’t be easy to choose – the wine list is very diverse here.
Let’s go flying
If you fly to Gainesville from Fort Lauderdale, the flight time on a Fly Dreams aircraft will be about two hours. But you can always suggest your route with departure from other airports in the state. We are also ready to draw up a two-day itinerary with a visit to several cities in Florida. Tell us where you would like to visit, and together we will make the best and most comfortable travel by air!