Unlike other college towns, the University of Florida was there before Gainesville, so school first, then the town followed. This means that there is not much to do that is not offered in other towns. This is where Gainesvegas (yes, people actually call it that) party reputation comes to play. When there is nothing else to do, people go out.
The first step of your evening should always be Balls, at the strip of bars at Midtown. They offer an incredible deal, called 6 to 8, which offers all you can drink wells for less than $10 dollars. Although it is crowded, and you have to deal with screaming frat guys wearing socks with boat shoes/18 year old girls using fake IDs, it is worth it to get your buzz on. After that, you can go take a power nap, eat at surrounding places like Relish Burgers or Chipotle, or continue your night out.
There are approximately 10 bars to attend right across from campus. They are very convenient because of the proximity and ride services and low prices. My advice would be to choose midtown if you know you want to black out, but also want to avoid a DUI or a long walk home. The bars are usually extremely crowded, and you have to wait outside to get in, but if your friends are going out it is usually worth it to get an adult slushy at Fat Daddies or catch glimpse of Ryan Lochte at Cantina.
Although Friday is considered a “Midtown Night,” more than enough people venture downtown. The crowd is usually pretty hipster, but with places such as Boca Fiesta and Atlantic, anyone can have a good time. There is always fun music playing, like Missy Elliott or throwbacks. For me, anything that does not consist of “Shots” playing ten times over is good in my book, and places downtown always surpass this expectation. Downtown has a lot less judgmental vibe, which is understandable since it houses bars such as University Club (which has amazing drag shows Thursday and Saturday, by the way). So, if you’re not trying to be “facey” with the student population or find a new slam, downtown is the place to be to have a dance party with your friends.
4.) Gator Nights
I cannot say I have never been to this event, but it seems like it is wholesome and probably fun. Every Friday, the University puts on various events like Smash Bros competitions, comedy shows, or pancakes at midnight, for free, for any student in the Reitz Student Union. I figure there are mainly engineering students or internationals who don’t know anyone else, but it seems like it could be worthwhile. Free food is always justifiable on a college budget.
5.) Club West
Going out can be overrated in Gainesville. Fighting crowds and dealing with belligerent people is not always the definition of a solid night, so going to Library West is the best option. Sure, there are casual things like movies and bowling, but Club West is preferable because you get some studying done, and you get to be as social as you want, depending on which floor of the library you sit on. There is always bound to be as many people as you want to see; and, the Starbucks on the main floor is open late. Going to the library is an ideal way to be productive and feel good about yourself for not sitting on your couch binging on Friends all night.
Sami Dean graduated from University of Florida in 2014 and is now a freelance writer for various publications.