In the city of Gainesville, Gator game days consist of flooded streets, roaring fans, tailgates, food trucks and merchandise stands. Whether or not you are attending the Florida Gators game on their big day, there are plenty of other entertaining things to do that will get you hyped up and feeling the school spirit. Continue reading to discover a few ways you can occupy you and your friends on these iconic Gainesville game days.
Many of the popular restaurants and bars in Gainesville are flooded with fans on game days, looking to find a nice seat somewhere to watch the game on TV. A few of these bars have special drink and food deals, and play the game throughout the restaurant. A few of these bars in Gainesville are Gators Dockside, Spurriers Gridiron Grille, The Swamp Restaurant and The Top. While there are many other options, these hot spot locations seem to always sell out on game days due to their good food, service and ability to broadcast the game in a fun atmosphere. Spurriers Gridiron Grille is one of the most popular, due to the restaurant being named after Steve Spurrier, a former American football player and coach for the Gators and other college football teams. Because of this, Steve Spurrier made sure to make the upscale eatery appear as school spirited with an inviting atmosphere.
If you are walking the streets of Gainesville on game day, you will find yourself walking past tons of gator fans underneath their own personalized tents, lining the streets sidewalks. This is a classic activity that occurs on game days, especially for a Florida Gators game. Taking part in this game day activity is the perfect way to find some time to pre-game, listen to music on a portable speaker, drink and party with your friends or family. Along with these tailgates, the streets are also lined with concession stands, food trucks and vendor tents that offer homemade goodies such as gator themed jewelry, t-shirts and more. A few of these food trucks only make this guest appearance on game day, so next time you’re traveling to Gainesville be sure to stop by and grab a bite to eat!
Once you experience a 12-hour long day of drinking, cheering and supporting the Florida Gators with friends and family, you might find that traveling hours back home feels next to impossible. If you are not staying with a friend, a great option is to book a stay at one of the many inviting places that the city has to offer. A top favorite of many visitings fans is the Sweetwater Branch Inn. This cozy and elegant 2-story cottage sits at East University Avenue and provides a homemade breakfast, along with a unique hospitality experience. Other nearby hotels include AC Hotel Gainesville and the Hilton University of Florida. AC Gainesville is known for providing their guests with excellent amenities, and you are very close to the stadium – so close that you can hear the crowd cheering during the game! The Hilton University of Florida is also conveniently close to the Ben Hill Griffin stadium with only a 2 mile distance. Along with this, the Hilton includes restaurants, a bar and a pool!
If you have already eaten or just want to get a few drinks to celebrate the iconic day, going to the bars located in the Midtown plaza is an entertaining option. This historic strip includes the bars Grog House, the Social at Midtown, Balls, JJ’s Tavern, Fat Daddy’s and Salty Dog Saloon. The admirable thing about the Midtown plaza for game day goers is that you can easily walk from bar to bar, furthering your bar and game day experience. The Social at Midtown is a more popular one within this plaza due to its roof top bar with numerous TVs and delicious food, unlike the other bars. They also have two pool tables and an outside bar, making it that much more unique and filled with entertaining activities. Along with this long list of bars, this plaza also features places to eat, such as Crispy Baguette, Insomnia Cookies, Pita Pit, Relish and the Italian Gator. The Italian Gator is one of the most efficient and popular eateries, due to their walk up window where you can order a cheap slice of pizza on the spot. On Gator game days, Midtown is the place to be!
If you want to kill some time during the big day and see some real gators, take a quick trip with some friends or family down to Lake Alice. Located across from the Florida Bat Houses, this 1,438 acre lake is home to many large gators. Most often sun bathing on nearby logs and branches, you can easily capture a quick pic of these fascinating gators that proudly represent the universities mascot. The lake has other helpful features, such as a large shady tree, nearby picnic tables, a wooden board walk and bridge.
About an hour before the famous Gators game begins, the University of Florida sends a mini parade to the stadium. This parade features the University of Florida marching band, flag throwers and more. This memorable event acts as a traditional and exciting activity for game day goers, students and travelers who wants to see what UF’s marching band is all about. This parade most often travels down 3rd avenue, past The Hub and into the stadiums front entrance.
While attending the Gator game is a roaring and exhilarating time for guests, doing other nearby activities such as watching the game at restaurants and bars, tailgating, going to lake Alice and watching the parade can make it just as fun. Next time you travel to the Gainesville area, be sure to stop by and try out these exciting activities with your friends and family!