Ah, Valentine’s Day… A day dedicated to special plans, romantic dinners or unforgettable adventures with your loved one. A sweet time of the year for romance and love, but planning a fun-filled day can be a little nerve wrecking, especially if you’re running low on time. The good news is that Gainesville can quickly transform into a lover’s paradise, you just have to know where to go, and figure out what you want to do.
For the nature lover couple:
You can discover Florida’s natural landscape without ever leaving the city limits, the diversity and beauty of our flora and fauna is easily accessible through one of the many natural parks in the area. Take a stroll holding hands down the LaChua Trail, or walk around Devil’s Millhopper or San Felasco Park. Have a picnic at Paynes Prairie on the dock or check out the butterfly exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Discover Kanapaha Park or explore one of the many trails that run through Haile Plantation. Grab a quick lunch from the Haile Village Bistro or Limerock Road, or grab a cupcake and coffee at Patticakes and enjoy it by the Haile Village Center pond. Have a nature-filled day!
For the all-in-one-place couple:
If you have never made it out to the Tioga Town Center, you’re missing out! Tioga Village has a small shopping/restaurant/office center that has everything you need to make a full day. Grab lunch at Blue Highway Pizza, Dave’s New York Deli or The Flour Pot Bakery. Ready for dessert? Grab a coffee and a pastry from Starbucks or treat yourself to ice cream at TCBY. Top it all off with a craft cocktail and a fine cigar from Fluid Lounge or explore numerous craft beers at World of Beer. Don’t forget a gift! Shop at Down to Earth boutique, The Colorful Gator or Lang Jewelers.
For the History Buff:
Did you know that the Hippodrome Theatre downtown used to be Gainesville’s post office/court house? Although the building has been updated, the walls, doors and beams are all from 1911 when it was constructed. History buffs will love the Florida Museum of Natural History, the official natural history museum of the state. A beautiful landmark, the Thomas Center used to see guests like Helen Keller and Robert Frost, and its gardens and exquisite architecture are lovely to visit. Have you seen the old Boulware Spring Water Works? The water plant used to be the source of the city’s water. Interested in Gainesville’s agriculture? Check out Dudley Farm. Explore the Haile House or take a stroll down the bed & breakfast district. Don’t forget about UF, many of the halls and dormitories have a rich history.
For the Foodie:
Gainesville is surely not short on places to eat, with a diverse range of restaurants bound to satisfy any palate. Looking to keep it local? Have breakfast at The Jones B-Side and enjoy delicious food made with local ingredients. Ready for lunch? Try Crane Ramen, Southern Charm Kitchen or Northwest Grille. Enjoy the delicious things in life with dinner at The Top, Dragonfly Sushi & Sake, Manuel’s Vintage Room, Emiliano’s Café or Satchel’s Pizza.
Whatever your Valentine’s Day style, you can have a great day together in town. Here are some additional places to explore:
- Harn Museum of Art
- Midnight Cookies
- 34th Street Wall
- Baughman Center
- Santa Fe Zoo
- UF Bat House
- Matheson Museum
Get creative and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!