While the population of Gainesville may be small compared to other parts of the state of Florida, it has huge attractions that bring in travelers from all over the world. This small Florida town is located in North Central Florida and boasts a population of 127,000 residents. Visiting Gainesville, Florida is a unique experience that you won’t forget. There are so many exciting things to do in Gainesville. Below, we have a list of some of our most favorite things to do while visiting the great state of Florida.
Visit the Butterfly Rainforest
The Butterfly Rainforest is a full blown living butterfly exhibit that you won’t want to miss. You can see literally hundreds of butterflies and birds from all over the world gathered together for your viewing pleasure. You will have the chance to walk through the rain forest, complete with a beautiful waterfall, and see the habitat that the butterflies and birds of Gainesville, Florida call home. The tour is hands on and the experience is unforgettable. Inside the Butterfly Rainforest Museum is The Wall of Wings exhibit. This unique museum has taken care to preserve all kinds of butterflies to showcase the beautiful winged species. You will also have the chance to see the work scientists are doing to help continue to preserve the butterflies for future generations to enjoy.
Take a Tour of the University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida is especially proud of their Florida Gators…the nickname for their University of Florida sports teams. If you have a chance to visit during the sporting season, be sure to get your tickets early for the big game. We also recommend that you wear the school colors orange and blue or you might have some upset Gator fans. We have heard that Gator fans are extremely passionate about their team. At the University of Florida, you will be able to experience that small-town college feel coupled with huge team pride.
The University of Florida has an impressive alumnus that include: Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Ryan Lochte, Chris Collingsworth and more.
The University of Florida has something for everybody. If sports aren’t your thing, there are plenty of interesting museums housed on the University of Florida Campus including the Harn Museum of Art and the Matheson History Museum.
Gainesville Historic District
Gainesville, Florida has a thriving historic district that is home to many successful small business owners. It is also the center for many charming and historic homes built in the early 1900’s. These include the Yon-Murphree house, Kelly-Swords house, the W.B. Phifer house and many others with historic architecture features that are unique.
Visit the Matheson History Museum
As mentioned previously, the Matheson History Museum is located on the University of Florida campus. It is the home of many fascinating exhibits details the historical roots of the Gainesville area. It starts with the Timucuan tribes who first settled the area and continues to the period when the Spanish occupied the area. The University of Florida houses this unique Gainesville history in a charming house built in 1867. Behind the museum is a place to relax and enjoy the scenery in Sweetwater Park. Take a stroll and enjoy the local vegetation as well as the usually pleasant Florida weather.
Take Advantage of the Union Street Marketplace
If you are craving the local produce, then you may want to consider a stop at the Union Street Marketplace, located in the heart of Downtown Community Plaza. Many local Gainesville farmers come together to share their produce with the community. The farmers market takes place every Wednesday afternoon. The farmers are there in both good and bad weather, so you don’t need to worry about missing them. You will also have a chance to visit and meet with the local residents and really get a feel of the flavor of the Gainesville community.
The Hippodrome Theatre houses some of the best plays in the Gainesville area. Titles vary from independent plays to some of the most famous Broadway plays. Currently playing are great theatre pieces such as “Becky’s New Car”, “Hamlet”, and “Forever Plaid”. If live plays aren’t your cup of tea, then check out the film and gallery exhibits that are also available in the Hippodrome Theatre.
Gainesville Food Tour
Perhaps some of the most memorable adventures of travel is sampling the local cuisine. If you are a foodie or just love to try new things, then you may want to consider joining the Gainesville Food Tour. When you sign up for the Gainesville Food tour, you will be exposed to delicious foods from a variety of local restaurants. You will also have a chance to take in a little bit of history as the food tour travels through the heart of downtown Gainesville!
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