Everything We Miss About Gainesville
Well known as a bustling college town (Go Gators!), Gainesville is also home to friendly locals, sweeping scenic views, and some of the most special small businesses in the state.
As we navigate this concept of social distancing, we’re more reflective than ever on the people and places that make up the heartbeat of our community. We might be apart for a while, but if we’ve learned anything after living and working here, it’s that nothing can break the Gainesville bond.
We can’t wait to reunite with everyone soon, but in the meantime, our staff is reflecting on a few of our favorite local spots we can’t wait to embrace with open arms.
Free Fridays Concert Series
There are four words every Gainesville resident knows and adores: Free Fridays Concert Series.
From May to October, the Bo Diddley Community Plaza comes alive with the longest-running and largest free outdoor concert series in the region. Showcasing both regional and local talent under the stars, the family-friendly concerts feature a diverse range of acts that span from classic rock to reggae.
Though the series has been temporarily shuttered, we all dream of evenings spent dancing and singing with friends. Until we’re reunited, we can access the new Gainesville internet radio station launched in 2019 by locals Ken and Diane Harden!
A longtime area DJ, Ken has worked with local musicians for years and was a mainstay in the local radio scene. Tune in to hear classic soul, contemporary R&B, jazz, gospel, and other genres any time of day.
Pizza With Heart
If you’ve had the deep dish, you know.
A beloved Gainesville institution, Satchel’s Pizza isn’t just a restaurant. It’s an experience that begins as soon as you get out of the car.
Eat indoors, take your pie to the 1965 Ford van out front, or indulge in the on-site greenhouse. The site is home to some of the most unique, handmade artwork in town, including gorgeous stained-glass windows made by Satchel Raye (“Satch”) himself.
While the restaurant is currently only open for takeout, Satch has been sharing videos of his at-home art creations, including a peek into his gorgeous tile projects. Until we can explore in person again, we’re happily taking our pizza to go! As a symbol of local generosity, there’s also a fundraising campaign in place to help Satchel’s non-working employees transition to temporary unemployment.
Satchel’s is one of many locally owned and operated Gainesville restaurants. Check out this list of other places to eat, drink, and play around the city to discover your new favorite!
Live Theatre Performances
Gainesville is rich in culture, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the city’s live local theatre productions. Three of the most illustrious are the Gainesville Community Playhouse, Actor’s Warehouse, and the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART).
These institutions deliver a steady stream of live performances intended to challenge, inspire, and entertain audiences of all types. They’re also home to public events, acting classes, and more. But we have to admit a particular partiality towards the Gainesville Community Playhouse, just because it’s the one we have long supported. We even been a part of numerous productions over the years, though not in their first play, The Pied Piper of Hamlin, produced in 1927.
Residents who wish to support the Actor’s Warehouse while performances are suspended can sign up to become Sustainers and give $25 per month toward the organization. Likewise, ART has put its shows on hold and makes it easy to donate here. And the Community Playhouse accepts your support here.
Weekly Farmer’s Market Visits
Since 1996, a small group of local farmers has set up shop in Gainesville. First, they met for eight years at the Sun Center, then moved to the Bo Diddley Community Plaza.
Every Wednesday afternoon, 52 weeks a year, visitors can attend the Union Street Farmer’s Market to find 65 vendors offering fresh produce, plants, honey, baked goods, meats, and more. There’s also live music on the plaza stage every week!
To help support their vendors during this time, the farmer’s market is sharing the contact information of local farmers on its Facebook page. Here, you can find the numbers to call and arrange produce pickup. Some farmers are even offering online ordering capabilities. There’s also a limited capacity pop-up market operating in the meantime!
Innovative Museum Discoveries
Gainesville is dedicated to empowering even its littlest minds to think big. That’s the concept behind the Cade Museum, the 21,000-square-foot facility opened in Depot Park in 2018.
Here, you’ll find rotating exhibits designed to spark curiosity and encourage exploration, all centered on exciting and cutting-edge STEM concepts appropriate for all ages. Though it’s temporarily closed, the museum is still continuing its vision through its Cade at Home program.
Twice a week, the museum is emailing fun STEM activities for families to try at home, which all tie back to its current Mothers of Invention exhibit. Incorporating everyday items you already have on hand, the activities also include step-by-step video tutorials and simple instructions. You can also download The Cade’s Mothers of Invention audio tour through the GuidiGO app to listen to historical stories of innovation from your living room!
Small Business Shopping Sprees
Home to both major chains and unique small businesses alike, Union Street Station has quickly cemented its place as a must-see attraction in Gainesville. The mixed-use facilities offer dining, shopping, and office spaces, as well as luxury residences.
Our favorite way to enjoy the space is to frequent the small businesses that are quickly claiming their spot there. We could spend hours browsing the vinyl records at Hear Again Records or sighing over the locally made artwork at the Artisans’ Guild Gallery.
To keep everyone safe, Hear Again has posted a link to its inventory on its Facebook page so shoppers can still pick out their favorites and call or message the store to place an order. The Gallery is also doing its part to keep visitors engaged, offering a portion of its inventory for sale online via Facebook.
We love living in Gainesville, FL!
Whether we’re catching a UF football game, dancing under the stars, visiting a local restaurant, or perusing the aisles of our favorite local shops, we love calling 32606 home.
Living in Gainesville, FL, is a privilege we don’t take lightly. We can’t wait to see everyone again and connect in person soon. Until then, we’ll continue to support our small businesses in any way we can. Our city is defined by compassion and generosity, and it’s these values that will carry us through these hard times together.
If you need anything from our office, we’re here for your family. Feel free to contact us at any time.