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Welcome to Gainesville, home of the University of Florida Gators! If you’re heading to town to catch a game at UF, here’s what you need to know about where to stay, eat, drink, and tailgate. First, a few key facts:

  • SEC Team: University of Florida Gators
  • Coach: Billy Napier
  • Stadium Name: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
  • Fun Fact: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is the 12th largest college football stadium, seating 88,548 people.

SEC All-City Guide


There are a wide variety of options for places to stay in Gainesville, ranging from traditional bed and breakfasts to comfortably appointed modern spaces.

Sweetwater Branch Inn Gainesville Florida
Gainesville’s idyllic Sweetwater Branch Inn offers a selection of cozy guest rooms and cottages. Image: Sweetwater Branch Inn

Sweetwater Branch Inn

625 East University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601 • (352) 373-6760

Complete with cozy cottages and homemade breakfast, Sweetwater Branch Inn is an idyllic spot to stay in Gainesville. Plus, it sits just a few blocks from the University of Florida. (SB Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for the inn’s two on-site cats, Butterscotch and Mama Cat!)

AC Hotel Gainesville

151 NW 14th Street, Gainesville, FL 32603 • (352) 792-1151

Located in Midtown, you’ll be able to hear the roar from the stadium from AC Hotel Gainesville — you’re that close to the scene! Inside your room, plenty of fantastic amenities keep you comfortable, including a smart TV, high-speed Wi-Fi, and more.

Hilton University of Florida

1714 SW 34th Street, Gainesville, FL 32607 • (352) 371-3600

Hilton University of Florida is conveniently situated on the University of Florida campus, just two miles from Ben Griffin Stadium. The hotel also boasts an outdoor pool, two on-site restaurants, and a bar.



If you’re looking for a bite to eat ahead of the game or items to pick up for your tailgate (including adult beverages, of course), here are some of your best bets located near campus.

Flaco’s Cuban Bakery

200 West University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601 • (352) 371-2000

You can’t be in Florida and miss the opportunity for good Cuban food. Flaco’s Cuban Bakery is the place to go in Gainesville for delicious sandwiches or fresh pastries.

Gator Beverage Inc.

1126 West University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601 • (352) 336-6128

Gator Beverage Inc. has been a premier location for wine, beer, liquor, and kegs for over 30 years. Head here for all your alcohol needs on game day.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

1680 W University Ave Ste 20, Gainesville, FL 32603 • (866) 552-2637

Raising Cane’s is raising the bar everywhere, it seems, with new locations popping up all over the South — including one in Gainesville! Stop in for chicken, chicken, and more chicken. Oh, and crinkle-cut fries and Texas toast.

Satchel’s Pizza

1800 NE 23rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32609 • (352) 335-7272

A quirky pizzeria in downtown Gainesville, Satchel’s Pizza is extra fun, thanks to the atmosphere and unique food. They cater, too, if you want to enjoy pizza at your tailgate!



If you’re in the market for a pre- or post-game drink, here are a few hotspots to check out — equally well-suited to celebrating or drowning your sorrows.

Beer and Wine Cheers
From arcades to taprooms, Gainesville nightlife has a little something for everyone.

The Dime

4 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 

Right in the heart of downtown, you can snag signature and classic cocktails and even a few $5 shots at The Dime. Happy hour is until 7 p.m.

Salty Dog Saloon

1712 West University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32603 • (352) 375-6969

Enjoy beer from around the globe at Salty Dog Saloon. The bar also offers daily happy hour specials until 8 p.m.

Arcade Bar

6 East University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601 

Fun and vibrant, the Arcade Bar offers everything from arcade games to beer, cocktails, and three (three!) levels of retro video games like pinball and Skee Ball.

The Bull

18 SW 1st Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601 • (352) 672-6266

The Bull offers the ultimate artsy bar experience with craft beer, wine, and live music. They offer light snacks in case you get hungry, too.



You can play your luck and look for space in a parking lot to set up a tent. You can also reserve a spot so you know you’ll have some ground to set up your tailgate on game day — even if you’re a bit late. Check out REVELxp, too, for your convenient tailgating needs. Purchase a package, and all you have to do is show up!

SB TIP: If you’re a former Gator, you can attend Emerson Alumni Hall for a pregame tailgate with fellow alums. For more information, click HERE!


  • If you can get to the stadium early enough, park in one of the small lots behind Health Shands Cancer Hospital (1515 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, FL 32608).
  • Sundresses are popular attire for women at the games.
  • Corn on the grill is a great tailgate food and is popular at UF games.

Go Gators!

Click HERE for the complete SEC City Guide!


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