10 Things International Students Should Do in Gainesville
If you’re an international student at the University of Florida or just looking for a way to spend your time at the Swamp, we invite you to try out some of our favorite activities to do in Gainesville.
Paynes Prairie is an amazing local state park with wild horses, bison, cracker cattle and more. Of course, you’ll also have the chance to see plenty of alligators and birds in the park. Check out one of the many trails or stay overnight at a campground and stargaze to get the most out of your Paynes Prairie State Park experience!
Everyone knows that going to a Gators game is a must if you live in Gainesville. Even if the the team doesn’t always win, it’s still fun to put on orange and blue clothes, tailgate with hot dogs and beer and then join thousands of other fans at the stadium to celebrate the team. You’ll never experience anything else like it.
3. Go to a nearby Springs
There are so many perfect springs around Gainesville that will take your breath away. Try out Ginnie Springs, Blue Springs, Poe Springs and more. You can have a picnic and relax in the crystal clear water. At Ichetucknee Springs, you can take a tube ride where you’ll see wild turkey and deer.
4. Visit Lake Wauberg or the Santa Fe River
If you’re a University of Florida student, you can get into Lake Wauberg and bring your friends. Try out the UF rock climbing wall or canoe, kayak or swim in the water. If you don’t want to do any physical sports, you can relax in one of the lounge chairs or bring your hammock. For a change of scenery, you can take a few friends and paddle down the Santa Fe River for an enjoyable afternoon.
5. Go to the Harn Museum of Art
Want to check out some interesting art? Visit the Harn Museum of Art. Explore the many exhibits. You can view collections of art from all over the world including Asia and Africa. The art also comes from many time periods even thousands of years before you were born. Stop in for a fun museum night, take a class or listen to a lecture.
6. Go to the Florida Museum of Natural History
After visiting the Harn museum, you can walk next door to UF’s Natural History museum. Learn all about the wildlife and people who inhabited Florida years ago. The highlight of the museum is the butterfly room where you can see hundreds of butterflies and hope they land on you. Come for an event or visit the latest exhibits.
7. See a band at a local music venue
Gainesville’s music scene brings in a lot of bands. Whether you like punk rock, acoustic music or classical sounds, you can find it all in Gainesville. Gainesville is a melting pot of different sounds that are guaranteed to rock your world. You can find shows on Facebook or check out posters around town. Better yet, just show up in Downtown Gainesville at night time and follow the noise!
8. Watch a show on campus or at the Hippodrome
UF’s College of Arts puts on a few amazing shows each year. Artists are also always coming to perform in the theater. You can see ballet, other dances, Broadway shows and more. Students even create their own plays they’ll showcase on campus. Head downtown and visit the Hippodrome for a professional show or a classic movie.
9. Visit the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens has a variety of plant and flower types you can view. They have 24 major collections, the state’s largest bamboo collection and the southeast’s largest herb garden. The gardens charge a fee, but for their Spring and Fall festivals you can enter for free and shop for plants, pots and more. They also host weddings and moonlight walks.
10. Go to a RUB or Student Government event
University of Florida’s RUB (Reitz Union Board) and Student Government host many events at the University of Florida that are usually free and open to the public. They’ve hosted speakers including professional athletes, comedians like Trevor Noah, musical artists like the All American Rejects, actors like George Takei and more.
Need help getting to any of these events? If you’re an international newcomer, you can get free transportation with the Local Living Free Ride Program.