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Gainesville (Florida)

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Gainesville is in Alachua County, North Central Florida. It is home to the University of Florida, and Santa Fe College.


Get in

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida

By car

  • Interstate 75 runs north and south to the west of Gainesville.

By plane

By bus

  • Greyhound bus Lines has regular service to Gainesville, running through Jacksonville, Ocala and Tallahassee. The new bus station is on SE 23rd street and SE 1st Ave, 23 blocks from the center of downtown.

Runways Transportation Company, Jacksonville-based Runways Transportation Company suspended its passenger mini-coach service Wednesday that ran between Gainesville and airports in Jacksonville and Orlando for nearly seven years.

  • Megabus, [2]. Twice daily service from Atlanta and Orlando. The bus stop is located on Hull Road, across the street from the University of Florida's Southwest Recreation Center. The stop is under the canopy in front of the parking deck.
  • Redcoach, Redcoach USA offers a bus service from Atlanta and Orlando International airports and the bus stop is located on Hull Road, across the street from the University of Florida's Southwest Recreation Center.

Get around

By bus

  • Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS), Phone: 352-334-2600, [3].

RTS provides fast frequent service throughout the City of Gainesville and to some of the outlying areas.

Bus service is provided on 35+ routes. Some bus lines provide service until 2:00AM on weeknights. Late night service, referred to as the Later Gator, is provided on some lines, Wednesday through Saturday from 8PM to 3:00AM.

Here's a breakdown on service levels:

Weekdays 6AM to 2AM (Most Serviced Lines), Service can run from every 8 minutes on most utilized lines to every 60 minutes on less utilized lines. Make sure to check individual schedules.

Saturdays: 7AM to 7PM on most lines. Service every 30 to 60 minutes. Special Late Night Bus service begins at 8PM and ends at 3AM. These buses run every 10 to 15 minutes.

Sundays: 9AM to 5PM, very limited service. Buses only run every 60 minutes.

During school breaks and the summer holiday, RTS service runs less frequently with most routes ending service by 11PM.

See

Devil's Millhopper - Boardwalks as seen from bottom
  • Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, 4732 Millhopper Road, 352-955-2008, [4]. W-Su 9AM-5PM. A bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep which contains a miniature rain forest. Visitors can enjoy picnicking and learn more about this sinkhole through interpretive displays. $2 per vehicle or $1 per pedestrian/bicyclist.
  • The Fest, [5] - One of America's premier independent music festivals concentrating mainly on punk; hundreds of bands, over three days in eight or more venues. Unmissable.
Statue of Albert A. Murphree, University of Florida campus
  • University of Florida, Phone: 352-846-2000, [6]. These folks are serious about their football and basketball. A full calendar[7] of entertainment in sports and the arts is available.
    • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. University of Florida's stadium known as "The Swamp" seats over 90,000. It's one of the largest (and loudest) anywhere.
    • Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center has a reputation around the country – enthusiastic and friendly if you’re a Gator…noisy, deafening and menacing if you’re the opposition. Florida’s student section, dubbed the "Rowdy Reptiles", has made the O’Connell Center one of the toughest places to play in the nation.
    • Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 315 Hull Rd, Phone: 352-392-1900, [8].
    • Harn Museum of Art, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, Phone: 352-392-9826, [9]. Tu-F 11AM-5PM; Sa 10AM-5PM; Su 1PM-5PM.
    • Lake Alice on the UF campus. Lake Alice is a sanctuary for alligators and birds. At dusk, bats that roost in a nearby bathouse fly out to feed on the insect life that the lake nourishes. A trip out at dusk to watch the cloud of bats is a popular local pastime.
  • Florida Museum of Natural History, SW 34th Street & Hull Road, 352-846-2000, [10]. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Nice Butterfly Rainforest exhibit (extra charge). Suggested donation: Adult $6, seniors, students, children $4, under 3 free.
    • Current Exhibits
      • Temporary Exhibits
        • Everglades Double Feature | Feb. 7 - May 31, 2009
        • Women's Medicine: Traditions of the Florida Creek Indians | Dec. 11, 2008 - April 12, 2009
        • Charles R. Knight: Studies of Lost Worlds | April 21, 2007 - Jan. 31, 2010
        • Butterflies and Moths in Contemporary Zuni Art | Dec. 3, 2007 - Jan. 3, 2010
      • Permanent Exhibits
        • Butterfly Rainforest: Where Science Takes Flight!
        • Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife
        • South Florida People & Environments
        • Florida Wildflower & Butterfly Garden
        • Fossil Plant Garden


  • Hippodrome State Theatre, Phone: 352-375-4477, [11].
  • Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 S.W. 58th Drive, 352-372-4981, [12]. M,Tu,W 9AM-5PM; Sa,Su 9AM-dusk. Adults: $5; Children 6-13: $3; Children under 6: Free.
  • Matheson Museum, 513 E University,Ave. Phone: 352-378-2280, [13]. Alachua County history.
  • The Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo. Tours by appointment.
  • Haile Village Center, [14]. An award-winning planning and development communitiy that is a throwback to the traditional style and beauty of a new england town. Restaurants, Shops, Events, Parks, and Trails.

Festivals

  • Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival
  • Festival of Trees at Gainesville Woman's Club
  • Old Time Christmas in Historic High Springs
  • Hoggetowne Medieval Faire
  • Dudley Farm Historic State Park Cane Grinding Day
  • Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival, Waldo Railroad Days
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Writers Workshop "Writing the Region"
  • Newberry Watermelon Festival
  • The Fest
  • Gainesville Improv Festival

Do

  • Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, 100 Savannah Blvd. Micanopy, Phone: 352-466-3397, [15]. Is Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Alligators, wild horses, bison and over 260 species of birds live in many diverse habitats here. Eight trails provide hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling opportunities. Ranger-led activities during weekends, November through April. Exhibits and an audio-visual program at the visitor center explain the area´s natural and cultural history. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve.
    • Admission Fees - $4/vehicle (up to 8 passengers). Single Car Occupant - $3
    • Motorcycle Fee (one or two persons) - $3
    • Admission Fee $1 per person.
    • Camping Fees - $15 per night
    • Picnic Pavilion - A 65 person picnic pavilion can be reserved for $30 plus tax.
    • Group Camping - Camping fee is $4 for each person with a minimum fee of $20 per night, plus tax. Equestrian fee is $10 for both horse and rider.
  • Ginnie Springs Outdoors 7300 NE Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643. Phone: (352)454-7188. Bring the family or a cooler of beer and friends and float down the natural spring-fed river. Amenities include beach volleyball courts, campsites, picnic tables, shower/bath facility, and dive excursions. Entry $12/person. Camping (including entry) $20/person.
  • Ocala Jai-alai and Poker, 4601 NW County Rd. 318 Reddick, FL 32686 (About 30 minutes south of campus on 441), 352.591.2345, [16]. Su-Th 12-12 F-Sa 1:30-1:30. Watch live Jai-alai or play in the new poker room. Runs tournaments and sit'n'goes daily. 18+
  • Devil's Millhopper, 4732 Millhoppper Road Gainesville, Florida 32653, [17]. 9a-5p, Weds-Sun. In the midst of north Florida's sandy terrain and pine forests, a bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep leads down to a miniature rain forest. Small streams trickle down the steep slopes of the limestone sinkhole, disappearing through crevices in the ground. Lush vegetation thrives in the shade of the walls even in dry summers. A significant geological formation, Devil's Millhopper is a National Natural Landmark that has been visited by the curious since the early 1880s. Researchers have learned a great deal about Florida's natural history by studying fossil shark teeth, marine shells and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals found in the sink. Visitors can enjoy picnicking and learn more about this sinkhole through interpretive displays. $4/vehicle, $2/pedestrian.


Buy

Eat

  • Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Company, 201 Southeast 2nd Avenue (at Union Street Station), (352)371-3359, [18]. 11:30AM - 10PM. A trendy downtown sushi bar, Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company offers an innovative and gourmet selection of sushi, sashimi and Eurasian Fusion fare that's thought by locals and visitors alike to be some of the best in town, in an atmosphere that's hip and vibrant. (29.650246,-82.323098)
  • Ti Amo! Reasurant and Bar,12 SE Second Avenue(Downtown Gainesville)hours:Mon - Thur: 4-10 | Fri - Sat: 4-12, phone number:(352.378.6307)Great Food. Fantastic Wine. Classic Dining Space.


  • Leonardo's 706, 706 West University Avenue, +1 352 378 2001. Sunday- Thursday: 5-10, Friday- Saturday: 5-11.
  • Amelia’s, 235 S. Main Street (located in the downtown Sun Center). +1 352-373-1919. M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. Excellent Italian fare in a cozy restaurant located in the heart of downtown Gainesville. $12-$20.
  • Burrito Brothers Taco Co., 1402 W. University Ave. (behind the Student Center) +1 352-378-5948. M-Su 11AM-9PM. Famous, ever-crowded take-out locale situated right off the UF campus is ideal for tasty (and inexpensive) Mexican food.
  • Leonardo's Pizza by the Slice, 1245 W University Ave. +1 352-375-2007. M-Th 9AM-10PM, F-Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-10PM. Eclectic atmosphere and great pizza highlight this popular eatery near campus.
  • Mr. Han’s, 6944 NW 10TH PL. +1 352 -331-6400. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. [19]. A consistent recipient of the ‘best Chinese restaurant in Gainesville’ award, Mr. Han’s serves up outstanding Peking, Szechuan and Hunan inspired dishes. There’s a nightclub on the premises as well. $12-$40.
  • Liquid Ginger, 101 SE 2nd Place SUN CENTER, 352-371-2323. Open every day for dinner, 6 days for lunch (closed Sa afternoon) M-F 11:30-2:30 M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-10:30PM, Su noon-10PM. A newer establishment in the downtown dining scene, Liquid Ginger offers an eclectic asian fusion cuisine at very reasonable prices. It can get quite crowded on weekends, so a reservation is good to have.
  • Falafel King, 3252 SW 35th Blvd, +1 352-375-6342. If you're in the mood for falafel, gyro, baba ghanoush, tabouleh or some amazing hummus, this is the place to go. Located in Butler Plaza, this small restaurant gives you large amounts of delicious food for a really reasonable price.
  • Bento Cafe, 3832 W Newberry Rd (352-377-8686) and 3841 SW Archer Rd (352-224-5123). In the mood for sushi? Perhaps a bento box with some Asian fusion food? Or maybe just some boba tea or sake? Bento Cafe, with two locations in Gainesville, has a large variety of Asian foods and wonderful sushi! There's even a Gator Roll for those looking for the ultimate Gator experience in Gainesville!
  • The Swamp, 1642 W University Av., (352) 377-9267, [20]. M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-11PM. Great college atmosphere for food and fun!
  • Mi Apa Latin Cafe, 114 SW 34th St. (The NW corner of 34th St and SW 2nd Ave.), (352) 376-7020. Given it's central location, it is walking distance from the west end of UF campus. It has a wonderful family atmosphere, with genuinely nice staff. The food is delicious and one of the finest examples of Cuban cuisine. about $16 with dessert and tip.
  • Kabab House, 1129 West University Ave (One Block East on University Ave From 13 Street), 352.374.2114, [21]. 11 AM-10 PM Seven Days a week. Kabab House serves meat (chicken,beef, & lamb) kababs cooked in the Tandoor (clay oven). Offers wide varity of curries, rice and vegetables dishes. Average $8.99.
  • Indian Cuisine, 3550 Sw 34th St, Ste M, Gainesville, FL 32608 (Near the intersection of SW 34th St and SR-121/SW 35th Pl), 352-271-1190, [22]. Closed Mondays. Great Indian restaurant with eclectic menu. Good atmosphere and helpful staff. $12-20.
  • Fresco, 3117 SW 34th St, (352) 377-3484, [23]. M-Th 11:30-10 F-Sa 11:30-11 Su 12-9. Gainesville's finest Italian food. Always has original and delicious specials. Garlic bread, muscles, and fish dishes are to die for. Try the espresso cake for dessert. $12-15.
  • Miya Sushi, 3222 SW 35th Blvd (next to Publix), (352) 335-3030. Su-Th 11:30-10 F-Sa 11:30-10:30. Korean joint with some Japanese dishes. Great sushi roll choices and Korean BBQ, tempura, and lunch/dinner boxes excellent. Try the dinner for two that comes with soup, salad, spring rolls, sushi and a beef dish for $28. $12-25.
  • The Jones Eastside, 401 NE 23rd Ave Gainesville FL 32609, 352-373-6777, [24]. Freshest breakfast all day, everyday. Some organic ingredients, vegetarian dishes. Friendly staff, and hip music. Must try.

Drink

There are bars all over Gainesville. It's traditionally known as a huge drinking town. UF president Bernie Machen has tried to wage a war against alcohol and binge drinking since he took over several years ago.

The town in general isn't quite as hip and wild as it once was. As admission standards at the university continue to rise, a different crowd has trickled in. But there's still plenty of diversity, and partying, in Gainesville.

The area referred to as mid-town, directly across the street from the school on University Ave., has some of the more traditional Gainesville bars. Grog House, Salty Dog, Balls, XS, and Gator City (formerly the Purple Porpoise in Gainesville's heyday) all share the same building. Almost any night of the week one can find great specials and large crowds. Near by is the restaurant/bar Swamp housed in a former professor's house. It is a can't miss both for the atmosphere and the decent food.

The downtown area is a combination of clubs and more laid back bars. Places like the Loosey's, Lillian's (a former music store) and Stubby's, a bar that features hundreds of imported beers, cater to an older crowd. Clubs such as :08 and Sky having dancing and music but are usually most crowded on "lady's night." Most recently Rockey's Dueling Piano Bar has opened and added to the city's diverse music scene.

Bars close at 2AM due to the "Rave Law", passed in the late 1990s when Gainesville became one of Florida's premier rave scenes. Last call can be as early as 1:30 AM. After the bars close roads can be dangerous due to drunk drivers.

Sleep

  • Best Western Gateway Grand, 4200 NW 97th Boulevard, +1 352 331-3336, Fax: +1 352 331-3337, [25].
  • Comfort Inn West [26], 3440 Southwest 40th Blvd., +1 352 264-1771, Fax: +1 352 264-9996. Offers guests free breakfast, an exercise room and a pool.
  • Courtyard Gainesville [27], 3700 SW 42nd Street, +1 352 335-9100, Fax: +1 352 335-1502. Located just minutes from University of Florida and only 4 miles from the Swamp, the hotel offers a pool, hot tub, free high speed Internet, and rooms are equipped with fridge and microwave.
  • Fairfield Inn Gainesville, 6901 Northwest 4th Boulevard, +1 352 332-8292, Fax: +1 352 332-2884, [28].
  • Hilton Garden Inn Gainesville [29], 4075 SW 33rd Street, +1 352 338-1466, Fax: +1 352 338-1481.
  • Holiday Inn, 1250 W. University Ave., +1 352 376-1661, [30].
  • Holiday Inn, 7417 Newberry Road, +1 352 332-7500, [31].
  • Holiday Inn Express, 3905 Sw 43rd Street, +1 352 376-0004, [32].
  • Homewood Suites Gainesville [33], 3333 SW 42nd St, +1 352 335-3133, Fax: +1 352 335-3570.
  • Motel 6 Gainesville - Univ. of Florida, 4000 SW 40th Boulevard, +1 352 373-1604, Fax: +1 352 335-8314, [34].
  • Residence Inn Gainesville, 4001 SW 13th Street, +1 352 371-2101, Fax: +1 352 377-2247, [35].
  • Paramount Plaza Hotel and Suites, 2900 SW 13 Street, tele: (352) 377-4000‎, [36]
  • Sweetwater Branch Inn,625 E University Ave, tele: (352) 373-6760
  • Hampton Inn: Gainesville,‎4225 SW 40th Blvd, tele: (352) 371-4171‎
  • Red Roof Inn, 3500 SW 42nd St (exit 384 off I 75), 352-336-3311, [37]. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Offers an outdoor pool that is open year round and selected rooms offer microwave/microfridge units. All rooms offer T-Mobile high speed internet access (not included), “On Command Video” with a selection of free TV channels and pay-to-view as well as one well-behaved family pet. from $49.99.
  • Residence Inn Gainesville I-75, 3275 SW 40th Boulevard, 352-264-0000, [38]. checkin: 4pm; checkout: 12pm. All suites hotel located 3 miles from the University of Florida. Suites provide full kitchens with complimentary internet and flat screen TV. Hotel amenities include complimentary hot breakfast, complementary parking, pool, and fitness center. $119.

Get out

  • Orlando is 1½-2 hours South. Take I-75 South to the Florida Turnpike, then East.
  • Jacksonville is 1½ hours North. Take I-75 North to I-10, then West.
  • Miami is 5½ hours South. Take I-75 South to the Florida Turnpike, then East to I-95, then South.
  • Atlanta is 5 hours North along I-75.
  • Tallahassee is 2½ hours West. Take I-75 North to I-10, then West.
  • Tampa is 2 hours South along I-75.
  • Daytona Beach is 2½ hours East. Take US-441 South to Ocala, then State Rd 40 East.


Routes through Gainesville
MaconLake City  N noframe S  OcalaTampa





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