Gainesville and the surrounding area is home to a wide-ranging group of residents who enjoy a variety of lifestyles and interests. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to local events and entertaining options to make sure everyone is having fun. Whether your interest lies in musical performances, local arts exhibitions, or simply catching a movie with friends, here are some excellent ideas to help you plan your next outing.
Gainesville Events & Entertainment
The Hippodrome Theatre
25 SE 2nd Place, Gainesville FL 32601
The Hipp, while not a traditional movie theater, serves as Gainesville’s only art-house cinema, bringing the latest independent films, hard-hitting documentaries, critically-acclaimed world cinema, throwback classics, and additional signature programming throughout the year. Located in the heart of Downtown Gainesville near a multitude of dining options.
Regal Celebration Pointe & RPX
4901 SW 31st Pl, Gainesville, FL 32608
Offering a film experience the way filmmakers intended, RPX provides guests with powerful, uncompressed surround sound and bright eye-popping images in 2D and RealD 3D. The theater also offers a traditional experience for those who do not wish to be completely immersed in cinematic action.
Star Center Theatre
11 NE 23rd Avenue,Gainesville, FL 32609
The Star Center Children’s Theatre, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to providing arts education and performing arts opportunities to youth. In addition to 6 Main Stage productions, the Star Center participates and collaborates with various organizations within the community.
The Hippodrome Theatre
25 SE 2nd Place, Gainesville FL 32601
The Hippodrome provides a first-class regional theatre experience with productions of live shows, education opportunities, and art-house cinema in the heart of Downtown Gainesville.
University of Florida Performing Arts
3201 Hull Road,Gainesville, FL 32611
The University of Florida is home to several performing arts venues each providing a different experience. The Phillips Center ( a 1700+ seat theatre), Squitieri Studio Theatre (a black box-style theatre), UpStage at the Phillips Center (an intimate theatre where the audience is virtually onstage with the performers), and the University Auditorium ( with an immaculate hammerbeam ceiling and towering pipe organ that make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time).
210 SW 2nd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
High Dive is a live music and event venue unlike any other in Gainesville, providing a professional concert experience in a gritty rock n’ roll environment. The kind of venue artists and music fans typically expect only in a bigger city, High Dive has the largest and highest quality sound system of any venue in Gainesville and has recently updated their lighting and video system.
Lightnin' Salvage Enterprises
1800 NE 23rd Ave, Gainesville, FL 32609
Enjoy fantastic live music while surrounded by vibrant art! Lightnin’ Salvage Enterprises is part of Satchel’s Pizza, which might be the most colorful restaurant in Gainesville (and that’s saying something!). Providing free music on Friday and Saturday nights from 6-9p.m., the restaurant offers plenty of outdoor seating, great drinks, and delicious pizza.
The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino
232 1/2 SE 1st St, Gainesville, FL 32601
Located between Boca Fiesta and Palomino this entertainment venue offers a great place to get drinks under the sky and enjoy music shows, trivia, and a diverse array of interesting events. Revel in the full bar with a variety of cocktails and local beers, The Backyard offers an extremely fun evening in the heart of Downtown Gainesville, near the Hippodrome.
619 S Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601
Heartwood Soundstage is a studio, soundstage, venue and production company providing local artists with an entertainment venue to share their craft. It is possible to hear every type of music here while enjoying food and drinks provided by local vendors.
Gainesville Artisans' Guild Gallery
224 NW 2 Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
An artist-run gallery offering the work of local artists, this gallery offers artwork in almost every medium imaginable. The gallery hosts additional events that are very popular with the community.
The Black C Art Gallery
201 SE 2nd Pl #111, Gainesville, FL 32601
Black C Art is a gallery and performance space featuring the work of dancer, photographer, and visual artist, Ani Collier, along with select guest artists. The gallery debuts a new exhibition each month in conjunction with Art Walk, a monthly event that combines exciting visual art, live performance, and events in downtown Gainesville.
University Art Gallery
400 SW 13th St # B, Gainesville, FL 32611
The University Galleries are three art galleries that play an integral role in the teaching mission of the School of Art + Art History, College of the Arts at the University of Florida, as well as serving the entire UF and Gainesville community. Discover the stunning displays of MFA student thesis artwork as well as many other amazing exhibits.
For additional gallery info:
Florida Museum of Natural History
3215 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611
The Florida Museum of Natural History offers a breathtaking collection of exhibits including a fully articulated fossilized skeleton of a mammoth which is part of their paleontology exhibit, exhibits showcasing archaeology and ethnography, and Biodiversity exhibits featuring botany and zoology. A fairly recent addition, The Butterfly Rainforest, offers guests an opportunity to experience being surrounded by hundreds of free-flying butterflies and moths.
For more about the Butterfly Exhibit:
The Santa Fe College Kika Silva Pla Planetarium
3000 NW 83 St Building X-129, Gainesville, FL 32606
Enjoy live and interactive planetarium performances produced by the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium as well as presentations from other world-class planetariums. Content ranges from astronomy to ancient civilizations, meteorology, geology, and more.
Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
811 S Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601
Housed in a building with the spiral shape of a nautilus shell reflecting math concepts like the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio, Cade Museum sparks the imagination at first glance. The museum offers exhibits that provoke the mind and ignite creativity. The museum is especially geared towards children but adults will enjoy the exhibits just as thoroughly.
Harn Museum of Art
3259 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608
The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida is an 112,800-square-foot-facility, which includes 40,400 square feet of exhibition space, 5 garden spaces, a 250-seat auditorium, study center, museum store, café and classroom spaces. Offering a diverse collection of artwork from virtually every time and continent, The Harn also features traveling exhibits that will inform the mind and delight the eyes.
Parade of Homes
Every Spring and Fall the Builders Association of North Central Florida hosts the Parade of Homes featuring over 2000 brand new homes in over 300 neighborhoods throughout Alachua County. The Parade showcases the latest in home design and décor with the most state of the art energy saving construction techniques and cutting-edge land development.
Hoggtowne Medieval Faire
Here Ye, Here Ye, for three magical weekends in January the Hoggtowne Medieval Faire comes to Gainesville. The Faire showcases more than 160 talented artisans and craftspeople from all over the country featuring one-of-a-kind blacksmithing, jewelry, stone and wood carvings, weaving, hand-blown glassware, leather crafts, and period fashions. Master crafters will also show how they create their works of art. Lords and ladies will love the food court which is fit for a king.
A celebration of our beautiful pollinator friends, Butterfly Fest is an annual festival held at the Florida Museum of Natural History. From native butterfly releases, live animals, workshops and plant sales to merchandise vendors, entertainment and food, all activities are family-friendly and fun-for-all-ages!
Lubee Bat Conservancy’s Florida Bat Festival
A fantastic opportunity to learn more about our chiropteran friends, Lubee Bat Conservancy’s Annual Florida Bat Festival is fun for the entire family! Each year this free event features activities for the entire family, including live music, bouncy huts, bat?themed crafts and games for kids, bat expert presentations, encouraging a sense of goodwill about these often misunderstood beneficial creatures.
Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show
A brand-new annual event, the Alachua County Youth Fair & Livestock Show is where Alachua County youth demonstrate their skills and knowledge about agriculture while exhibiting their livestock, poultry, crafts, projects, and farm products. The fair is an educational platform for the youth in Alachua County who are interested in agriculture. Alachua County 4-H and FFA youth ranging in age from 8-18 can participate in showing. Attendance is free for all spectators.
Downtown Festival and Art Show
Transforming Downtown Gainesville into a celebration of art and creativity complete with live music, performing arts, and a spectacular array of food vendors. The Downtown Festival and Art Show gives art lovers an opportunity to fill the streets to enjoy and purchase one-of-a-kind artwork.