As we drove into Gainesville for the first time since graduating over 4 years ago, we were comforted by the fact that not much had changed. Turlington was still filled with students trying to pass out fliers, Lake Alice was still filled with live Gators, Balls was still Balls and The Swamp was still AWESOME. The only thing that really changed was the fact that we didn’t happen to know everyone everywhere we went, but regardless, we were determined to live it up in the ‘ville.
Visit your Freshman dorms, the apartment building you lived in with your 5 best friends (above), see if any of your teachers are still around and relish in the fact that you DON’T have to go to class, and not only because you don’t feel like it… but because you are an adult now… sad face.
Throwback to 2010, living with my roomies. 5 girls, 1 shower, 3 years, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat:
2.) Take your bike for a spin along one of the many awesome trails:
There’s the Hawthorne Trail, The Rock, Santos in Ocala and the shady, moss-covered loop around Lake Alice. Our favorite day in Gainesville was spent riding in and out of the sidewalks and buildings on campus, stopping to take silly pictures and epic videos, like the one below:
3.) Sink your teeth into a Gainesville gem, Satchel’s Pizza:
4.) Admire the always changing art/graffiti and colors that cover the 13th Street Tunnel:
Also home to our first kiss, this tunnel holds some special memories for Mr. Adventure and I. I remember it like it was yesterday, he was walking me home after watching a movie in the Reitz Union. I stopped to point out a heart painted on the tunnel’s ceiling and bam, that was it. Both of our last, first kisses. I love this tunnel.
5.) Get down in The Swamp:
Remember the days of screaming “ORANGE!” at the top of your lungs, while the less cool, alumni side of the stadium followed with, “Bloooooo.” There’s something surreal about being in that stadium when it’s next to empty. It’s all yours. We loved running up and down the bleachers to the very seats where we stood/squished ourselves into when we were Baby Gators… or where Drew jumped the wall after a game and rushed the field… Aaa, the memories.
If you’re looking to get an unforgettable workout in, wake up early and do some stadium stompers! We had a blast weaving in and out of the stands, racing each other to the very top! And you can’t beat this view:
And it goes without saying, but if it’s football season and there’s a game, put on your orange and blue, get your tailgating goods ready and Go Gators!
6.) Satisfy your craving for some good ole’ Southern cookin’ at David’s Real Pit BBQ:
One of Drew’s favorite places, he opted for the Combo Plate, that way he could get a little taste of all of his favorite things: Ribs, brisket and sliced pork, along with corn bread and creamy macaroni and cheese, he was one happy dude.
They also have all white-meat chicken, delicious thick-cut fries, sandwiches on garlic toast (!!!), amazing BBQ sauces (the mustard BBQ was our fave) and their famous David’s Sweet Tea. You really can’t go wrong here (menu):
7.) And an all time favorite of mine, Krishna Lunch. If you’ve never tried it before, do yourself a favor, open your mind and mouth, LIVE A LITTLE and TRY IT:
$5 for basically as much deliciousness as you want, plus it was Friday and that means my all time fave… Krishna Chili! Weekly menu here. Served from 11-1:30pm in the Plaza of the Americas, our bellies and hearts couldn’t have been any more satisfied:
“More almond dressing on my salad please… and while you’re at it, more halava too… oooo and maybe some more chili… and actually, more EVERYTHING please!”
8.) Something we never did as college students because we were too busy watching free student movies in the Reitz Union with all the international students- Go watch a $2 movie at Gator Cinemas!:
Yep, that’s right! Or go on a Tuesday and make your $1 go further than it has since penny wine night and enjoy a $1 movie!
Sure their movies are a bit outdated (lineup here) but it doesn’t make them any less entertaining! It’s the perfect thing especially if you’re visiting on a cold, rainy and grey day, plus Drew was feeling a bit under the weather. I couldn’t tell you the last time we watched a movie in the middle of the afternoon… in a theatre all to ourselves too!
9.) Do your research and check out all the possible events going on in the area, maybe you’ll even score free tickets to a concert like we did!
Calendars to you gotta check out: The Reitz Union, The Gainesville Sun, The O’Connell Center, TRiP, The Hippodrome, UF’s School of Performing Arts, Visit Gainesville and The Florida Museum of Natural History. Pretty sure that covers all the bases. In a college town as rich with school spirit and culture as Gainesville, there is always something awesome to be a part of!
10. Get your chomp on!
One thing that will never change is the fact that you will never be too old, too small, too successful or too cool to chomp… as if there were such a thing. Once the Gator Nation gets a hold of you and you start bleeding orange and blue, chomping becomes a natural response on a variety of occasions, and while you’re on Gator territory, you might as well chomp to your heart’s desire all over the place!
For these little reasons, and so many more, it truly IS GREAT to be a Florida Gator.