The university town of Gainesville offers many faces to visitors.
The city’s Northeast Historic District is a 63-square-block area of 290 historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their architecture reflects styles common to Florida from 1880 through the 1920s. The University Art Gallery and Teaching Gallery on the grounds of the University of Florida comprise the center of a thriving art community. Each offers alternating exhibits year-round, all open to the public. Century Tower in the center of the university’s grounds houses one of Florida’s four carillons. While you’re there, stroll through the lush, primitive foliage of the Lake Alice Wildlife Preserve that edges the campus.
Elsewhere in Gainesville, you can experience the lifestyle of a Florida family farmer of 100 years ago at Morningside Nature Center. Farm animals in pasture settings, an 1840 cabin, and a turn-of-the-century kitchen and barn are the attractions at this 278-acre living history farm. Two miles north of downtown at Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site, you will see a 20-million- year-old sinkhole. And nearby, Paynes Prairie State Preserve is the site of a wildlife sanctuary where a rare herd of buffalo roams, and descendants of the first horses brought here by the Spanish are maintained as well.