8 Great Date Nights In & Around Gainesville Florida

Whether you’re a college student trying to make a good first impression, a couple looking for some fun, or anything in between, creative Gainesville date night ideas can be hard to come by. No worries. I have you covered. Here are some ideas that will provide you with lasting memories with your significant other and the perfect Gainesville date night.

1. Learn how to dance the night away

Do you have two left feet and stiff hips? Gainesville has a few spots for those looking to become better dancers. The University of Florida has a salsa dance club at the Reitz Union that hosts lessons on Tuesday and Thursday nights. If salsa is not your style, try the Parris Dance Studio where you can learn ballroom, country western, or Latin style. If belly dancing is more in line with your interests, Ethnic Dance Expressions is the place for you. Pack up your dancing shoes and get your groove on for a Gainesville date night you won’t forget.

2. The zoo for two

Show your date your wild side at the Santa Fe Learning Zoo. The observational facility is maintained by the Zoo Animal Technology Program and has over 75 species on display. Located on the NW 83rd Street, admission is free for all Santa Fe students and staff. But, if you’re not a student, don’t worry. University of Florida students pay a discounted rate and all other patrons get in for just $6. The Santa Fe Learning Zoo offers the perfect Gainesville date night solution filled with wild fun for you and your mate.

3. Spend the day with your spirit animal

Gainesville is home to a couple of the best kept animal secrets in Florida; Mill Creek Farm and Two Trails Ranch. Mill Creek Farm is an equine retirement home located in Alachua. These horses can be visited on Saturdays for a bargain price of only two carrots.  Contrastingly, Two Trails Ranch seeks to spread awareness about performing elephants’ living conditions and provide care to retired elephants at the ranch. Over 250 elephants have passed through the gates of the ranch since it was founded in 1984. Located in Williston, Two Trails allows visitors to feed elephants, take pictures with them and more. With admission of both sites under $20, you have got to check out these unique Gainesville experiences.

4. Long walks on the prairie

Paynes Prairie Preserve is one of Gainesville’s crowned attractions and should be at the top of your Gainesville date night ideas list. As a National Natural Landmark, Paynes Prairie is a biological melting pot with trails through diverse wildlife habitat. On any given day, you and your date will witness countless species of birds, alligators, horses and even bison. The wildlife provides excellent photo opportunities, but be mindful of the animals’ space. Paynes Prairie also has six observation areas, including a 50-foot tower that provides an intimate setting to see wildlife or take in the sunset.

5. Depot Park and chill

Depot Park is a newly renovated park near Downtown Gainesville. This recreation area has quite a few amenities that will help you steer clear of any dull moments throughout your Gainesville date night. Depot Park features an ideal waterfront setting for a picnic on the lawn or under a cozy pavilion. If you forget anything, do not worry. The recently added Pop-A-Top, located next to the new beer and wine garden, the Box Car are both fully stocked and right around the corner from Depot Park. A new amenity that is currently being constructed is the Cade Museum, dedicated to showcasing creations and inventions of the past. Make plans to visit Gainesville’s favorite local leisure spot.

6. Downtown dating

Downtown Gainesville provides so many options for the perfect date night that it could have a list all of its own. Get tickets to a show at the famous Hippodrome Theater, meet for a drink or barhop around the variety of watering holes, or engage in conversation over food at renowned restaurants such as the Dragonfly or Boca Fiesta. Wanting to add a twist to your barhopping experience? Try Downtown Gainesville’s Arcade Bar to show off your gaming skills and play one-on-one games with your date. If you want to turn your date into a daytime affair, Bo Diddley Plaza hosts the Union Street Farmers Market every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. The Downtown Gainesville area if filled with so many options that it makes planning your next Gainesville date night easy.

7. Paint and drink

Creating art while sipping on your favorite wine is a combination that can make for a relaxing, romantic date night for any creative soul. Gainesville features three studios; Painting with a Twist, Do Art and Corks and Colors. Call ahead to find out if you need to bring your own refreshments or if the studio offers this service. Enjoy some relaxing time with your date and leave with a one-of-a-kind keepsake from your date night creating a masterpiece.

8. Breweries with your boo

Swamphead Brewery, First Magnitude and Blackadder offer local microbrew experiences sure to make your date night a lasting memory.  Swamphead Brewery makes craft beers from local ingredients and food trucks make frequent stops there too, so visit their website to view their schedule. The business created by four friends, First Magnitude is passionate about raising awareness about preserving our nature environment. Blackadder, a Belgian-inspired brewery is located in downtown with over 40 taps to choose from. To make your Gainesville date night even better, you and your special someone can even tour these breweries while sampling all the beers that they have to offer.