‘Tis the season to be holly, jolly, happy and bright, and we’re going to tell you how to do Gainesville holidays right. Here’s the low-down on all the local holiday happenings from the most scenic places to see the lights to the best bars to ring in the new year.
The elves don’t have to be the only ones making something beautiful. Painting with a Twist, located at 618 NW 60th St, Ste B, will be giving holiday-themed painting classes including “Crazy Reindeer” on December 21st, which allows you to paint, sip wine and enjoy a relaxing night of getting in the spirit.
Give your paintings as gifts or use them to deck your own halls— either way you’ll want to put this activity on your Christmas list.
One of the best parts of this time of year is the yuletide glow of lights strung from houses, shops, streetlights and more. Some of the best places to view the spectacle of lights in Gainesville include the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park and the Duck Pond at the North Florida Regional Medical Center.
The Culture Center hosts the Classic Festival of Lights December 16th through the 24th. Either view the lights from the comfort of your own car or go all-out and enjoy free hot cocoa, popcorn, roasted marshmallows, a warm bonfire, snow flurries, a train display, music throughout the park and a visit from Santa.
The North Florida Regional Medical Center will be aglow until January 1st and available to the public free of charge. Located at 6500 Newberry Rd, light up reindeer, snowmen, Santa and other holiday scenes illuminate the duck pond and will be sure to put you in the spirit.
Showtime at the Hippodrome
The Hippodrome Theater will be showing “A Christmas Carol” on their Maintstage until December 22nd , because it isn’t Christmastime without a rendition of this classic story.
December 17th, The Hippodrome Cinema will be showing Holiday Inn, featuring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds, for their next Cocktails and Classics night. Admission is $20 and includes appetizers and a cocktail or soda prior to the screening.
For more information regarding showtimes and reservations, visit their site here.
On December 18th, visit the Swamp Restaurant for their annual Breakfast with Santa Charity Fundraiser. Seating will be available starting at 10 a.m. and the event will go until 3 p.m.
Boca Fiesta’s Backyard will be hosting their CRAFTWERK IV Holiday Bazaar to give you all the one-stop shop for all the holiday shopping you’ve been putting off. Gifts include everything from jewelry, clothes, books, soaps, jams and much more.
Raffles will also be going on from local businesses including Dragonfly Sushi, Satchel’s Pizza, Arrow’s Aim Records, and many more! Proceeds from raffle ticket sales will be given to a local charity. The restaurant as well as all three bars will also be open for lunch at 12 p.m.
Visit Boca Fiesta’s Facebook page for a total vendor list and other information.
Get Lit– in a different way…
We haven’t forgotten that another highlight of the holiday season is celebrating the upcoming New Year with the people you get to spend it with. Grab your friends and visit these Gainesville hot spots for a good time.
R.I.P 2016 Block Party at the Atlantic Arcade Bar on December 31st will be a NYE party honoring the lost artists of this past year. There will be champagne and dancing and all are encouraged to dress as their favorite artist who was lost to 2016 to commemorate their work.
The Atlantic, Arcade Bar and Alley will have live music sets dedicated to these artists and all bars will include new themed drinks.
The Backyard at Boca Fiesta invites you to their Masquerade New Years Eve party to paint the town in paper faces. Enjoy no cover, a snow machine, and a photo booth from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The jams will be provided by the Viking Prince and Malibu Darby.
Midtown Social’s Back to School Party will take place January 5th. Miami’s DJ Irie will be setting the tone for the night with his famous beats getting everyone pumped for the upcoming semester. Cover is only $5 and the event will start at 9 p.m.
Whether you’re in the mood for a low-key evening, some family fun, or a night out on the town, Gainesville’s holiday season will be one with something for everyone. Check something of your list and come get the most out of the gifts Gainesville is giving us this time of year.