Gainesville Things to Do
Known for the architectural and historical buildings, beautiful state parks, and well-regarded museums, Gainesville is a top Florida tourist destination. Here are the best attractions and things to do visiting Gainesville, Florida.
Museums in Gainesville
The Micanopy Historical Society Museum paints a vivid picture of what life was like in the second-oldest European settlement in Florida. The Florida Museum of Natural History, meanwhile, houses an interesting collection of prehistoric fossils; and there’s a butterfly rainforest right next door. The museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the United States.
The Matheson Museum is a combination of the Tison Tool museum and the historic Matheson House and Sweetwater Park. It’s housed in the old American Legion building, which was completed in 1932 and reveals the history of the area.
Gainesville’s Harn Art Museum is free and located outdoors.
State Parks in or Near Gainesville
There are many great state parks in and near Gainesville. The Devils Millhopper is a geological State Park that is a giant sinkhole with rainforest-like conditions. Hiking trails and great photo opportunities abound.
Just South of Gainesville is the Nature Trails at Paynes Prairie, designated as a National Natural Landmark. You might see buffalo, hawks, bison, deer, and other wildlife.
University of Florida
The University of Florida dominates the economic and cultural life of Gainesville. Tourists can learn how the college was created and see the beautiful campus and its interesting neo-Gothic architecture. The Ben Hill Griffin stadium, also known as the “swamp,” is located in Gainesville and is home to the Florida Gators football team. The University of Florida’s football program is a multiple-time NCAA champion.
Kika Silva Pla Planetarium
The Kiki Silva Pla Planetarium on the campus of Santa Fe College is the only planetarium in North Central Florida. It has two state-of-the-art planetarium projectors and offers a wide variety of shows and live concerts.
Natural Springs and Swim Caves
Tourists can canoe, tube, and snorkel at Gennie Springs, where there are also playgrounds for children and grills and picnic tables for the whole family. Similarly, you can tube, swim, snorkel, or hike at Ichetucknee Springs. The Devils Den, an underground cave with a natural swimming pool, is known for its clear water and rich fossil beds.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Gainesville things to do.