Eclectic, electric, and filled with personality, Gainesville’s downtown is the place to be for outdoor concerts on the Bo Diddley plaza stage, the weekly farmer’s market, monthly art walks, top-notch local restaurants, bars, and entertainment year-round.
The jewel of the downtown area is Depot Park. With the original train depot as it’s anchor, the park winds around several man-made ponds and paved trails. The old train depot serves as an event space, beer and wine garden, and general store, and offers dining options, such as a wood fired pizza food truck that’s always there, to salad, sandwich, and small plate options. Plus, seating is abundant, so you can bring your own munchies if you prefer.
The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention, which sits on the west side of the park, was created in honor of Dr. Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade at the University of Florida. The museum has standing and traveling exhibits, a hands-on creativity lab, and guest speakers who share their inventions and how they discovered them.
Lastly, the park boasts the largest and newest children’s play space in town, complete with a splash park and dozens of swings, slides, and climbing structures, all celebrating Rails to Trails, a movement that changed our old railroad tracks into biking and walking trails.
Housing in the heart of downtown isn’t yet abundant and when a gem does pop up it tends to move quickly. You will find a lot of student housing and rentals in the area, though. The good news is that there are plans for non-student condos in the works!