Gainesville has a vibrant downtown, full of fun things to do. While you’re downtown, you can visit some of our local restaurants and cafés for a meal or a cup of coffee. If you’re looking for something to do at night, there are a variety of entertainment venues that suit a wide range of tastes. You can take in a play or a movie at the Hippodrome State Theatre or watch bands play at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza.
Downtown Gainesville is the symbolic heart of the city, with plenty of things to do. Enjoy dining at a number of local restaurants, peruse an art studio in the Tench Building, kick up your heels in senior dance classes at the Thelma Boltin Recreation Center, watch a new movie, take in a play or a show, or simply relax and enjoy downtown with a drink from one of many cafes or coffee shops. Ample garage and on street parking is available, or better yet, ride your bicycle or travel using RTS, Gainesville’s own public bus transportation system.
Downtown Gainesville is also home to some great entertainment venues in north central Florida. The Bo Diddley Community Plaza hosts outdoor concerts year round featuring nationally and locally known talent. The Union Street Farmers’ Market is also held every Wednesday on the Plaza. The Hippodrome State Theatre is housed in the historic Federal Building, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Hipp has live theatre on its mainstage and screens first-run foreign, limited-release and avant-garde films. After a Gator game, visit one of the nightclubs or bars downtown. To avoid that post-game traffic, use one of Gainesville’s taxi stands.
Downtown Gainesville is also home to the annual Downtown Festival and Art Show, held every November, as well as the annual Santa Fe Spring Arts Festival. Both award-winning art festivals take over the streets of downtown, allowing visitors to enjoy quality artwork of varying media in a unique setting. Visit the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau to learn about more exciting things to do while downtown or in other parts of our city.
Downtown Gainesville is home to our relaxing Bed and Breakfast district. In July 2009, the Hampton Inn became downtown’s newest resident, giving visitors another place to comfortably stay overnight. Also available is Digital Downtown, a community-based initiative to provide free wireless Internet access in downtown Gainesville.
If you’re interested in Gainesville’s historic side, visit the Matheson Museum downtown. The museum is dedicated to preserving Alachua County’s history. Behind the museum is Sweetwater Branch Park. When complete, the park will be an outdoor museum, complete with a history exhibition and a history lesson taught through native plant clusters. A new, innovative way to enjoy fascinating details and recollections of the homes and buildings in the downtown area is by touring historic Gainesville with your cell phone.
Downtown Gainesville has something for everyone!
Thanks to VisitGainesville for use of the images on this page.