What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, December 16-29, 2021

Print the PDF

Find entertaining and unique holiday events with What’s Good, featuring festive fun for the entire family. Celebrate the season at the final performances of “A Miracle on 34th Street” and “A Christmas Carol” on stage through December 23 at the beautifully decorated Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Gainesville. Raise a cup of cheer at Heartwood Soundstage with “Christmas with the Currys,” find adventure on a holiday safari tour at Carson Springs Wildlife, or stroll through the festively adorned walking paths at Depot Park.

Don’t miss a minute of the fun! The Visit Gainesville, Alachua County team has you covered with holiday ideas and upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations. Click here for the holiday-specific event guide and read on for more of What’s Good!

Sending best wishes for a happy holiday season! Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

Be Informed.
The below information was accurate at the time of publishing. Due to the current fluctuating environment, please contact organizers directly to double-check details.

Individual businesses in Alachua County may have masking and distancing requirements at their private establishments. We encourage you to become familiar with businesses, venues and attractions you intend to visit and to reach out directly to these establishments should you have questions regarding their current public health and safety procedures. 

the currys

Sing Along to Holiday Songs at Christmas with the Currys Wednesday, December 22, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Heartwood Soundstage
619 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Enjoy an outdoor concert on the lawn at Heartwood Soundstage. The Currys take the stage with their entertaining and high-energy renditions of seasonal songs. 

Heartwood Soundstage is a state-of-the-art recording studio, video production facility, intimate performance venue with an outdoor music stage – built by musicians for music lovers and music makers. 

carson springs christmas tours

Make New Holiday Memories with a Christmas Wildlife Tour
Friday, December 24, 10 a.m., Sunday, December 26, 1 p.m. | Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation
8528 E CR 225, Gainesville, FL 32609  

See wildlife in a nature setting at Carson Springs, located on 275 acres of lush Florida woods and farmland providing a home environment to approximately 30 rare and endangered species. In 2021, TripAdvisor awarded Carson Springs the Traveler’s Choice Award recognizing the attraction at the top 10% of things to do worldwide based on visitor reviews. Book your tour online.

uppercrust holiday menu cake

Dining Guide: What’s Open for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

You have so many details to take care of during the holidays. Why not treat your family and guests to a great meal at a local restaurant or order a meal to-go to enjoy together at home? We’ve done the search for you. Here’s our list of what’s open for Christmas Eve and Christmas in Gainesville and Alachua County, FL.

Pictured above: Cinnamon Tres Leches Cake from the Holiday Menu at Uppercrust. Photo by Megan/Uppercrust

safestay logo

Find the county’s most comprehensive and searchable list of area hotels and restaurants at

Learn about our lodging partner’s commitment to a safe stay for all who visit, work and live in Alachua County at Safe Stay Pledge.

miracle on 34th street

Be Part of the Studio Audience at Miracle on 34th Street a Live Musical Radio Play
Now through Thursday, December 23 | Hippodrome Theatre
25 SE 2nd Pl., Gainesville, FL 32601  

Based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour broadcast, the story takes flight when a last-minute replacement for Santa at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade claims to be the real Kris Kringle. The belief of a little girl brings love, happiness, and the heart of the holiday spirit to all.

a christmas carol

Enjoy a Spirit-Filled Holiday Treat for the Whole Family at A Christmas Carol
Now through Thursday, December 23 | Hippodrome Theatre
25 SE 2nd Pl., Gainesville, FL 32601

The Hippodrome’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol returns to the mainstage, delighting audiences with Charles Dickens’ beloved story of transformation and redemption. A cast of professional actors performs the cherished holiday tale as the selfish Ebenezer Scrooge gets taught a lesson by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

kwanzaa celebration

Celebrate “Umoja” (Unity) with the Family on the First Day of Kwanzaa
Sunday, December 26, 5 p.m. | Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
837 SE 7th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Families are invited to learn more about the holiday and participate in games, create crafts and enjoy entertainment and sing-alongs. Kwanzaa is the annual seven-day African American and Pan-African holiday. During the holiday, families and communities organize activities around the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles): Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and lmani (Faith). Admission is free. 

For more of the timely entertainment information you love, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates and re-shares of your inspiring photos. Tag us at #whatsgoodalachuacounty.

Arts & Theatre

Discover the Historic Haile Homestead with “Let it Snow” History & Holidays Tours
Now through January 2  
Closed Saturday, December 25

macrame workshop

Macramé Tree Ornament Workshop at High Springs Creates
Thursday, December 23, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Events & Festivals

Kwanzaa Celebration at Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
Sunday, December 26, 5 p.m.

The History of Kwanzaa with Historian Kali Blount at A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center
Monday, December 27, 7 p.m.

blacksmithing workshop marshmallow skewer

Blacksmithing Workshops – Marshmallow Skewers or BBQ Fork – at [Fe]ver Metal Art Center
Sunday, December 26, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Music & Performance

Alt-Country with Uncle Mosie at Lightnin’ Salvage
Thursday, December 23, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Classic Rock and Blues with One Eyed Cat at One Love Café
Thursday, December 23, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Throwback Thursday with DJ Cameron Gregory at The Wooly
Thursday, December 23, 10 p.m. 

Museum of Oddities at One Love Café
Sunday, December 26, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Joe Breidenstine Jazz Trio at Lightnin’ Salvage
Tuesday, December 28, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Craft Breweries

houston keen

Houston Keen at High Springs Brewing Company
Thursday, December 23, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

U-Picks & Farmer’s Markets

Cypress & Grove Farmer’s Market with Live Music
Mondays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

One Love Cafe Local Market
Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

High Springs Farmer’s Market
Thursday, December 23, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

GNV Market at Heartwood Soundstage Featuring Live Music
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Alachua County Farmer’s Market
Friday, December 24, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Bites & Brunch

drinks at fairfield

Specialty Drinks at Fairfield Inn & Suites
Now through January 1
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Fairfield Inn & Suites. Enjoy specialty holiday drinks featuring Holiday Sangria, Santa’s Shake and Cranberry Martini. The Fairfield bar will be open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Enjoy a festive treat and celebrate the holidays.

Did you know that our dining scene regularly makes national headlines? Find out why We Chomp with the best of them!

Find a searchable list of Alachua County restaurants here.


Gators Men’s Basketball vs. Stony Brook at Exactech Arena
Wednesday, December 22, 2 p.m.

drag racing school

Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School at Gainesville Raceway
Tuesday, December 28 – Wednesday, December 29

Parks & Trails

Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands with Alachua Audubon Society at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Wednesday, December 22, 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

December 25th Timed 5K with parkrun at Depot Park
Saturday, December 25, 7:30 a.m. 

ferns at devils millhopper

Sinkhole Guided Walk at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
Saturday, December 25, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Rim Ramble Hike at Paynes Praire Preserve State Park
Saturday, December 25, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 

Trek Through Trails: Top 5 Family-Friendly and Dog-Friendly Hikes
Spending time in nature has been proven to benefit the mind, body and spirit, so round up the kids, find the dog, or go solo and reacquaint yourself with the outdoors on Alachua County’s nature trails.

Museums & Galleries

winter showcase

Winter Showcase at GFAA Gallery
Now through January 2 

tiny titans exhibit

Look at the Lives of Dinosaurs through their Nests at Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Friday, December 24 – Saturday, December 25
View authentic specimens from around the world, touch real bones and see lifelike models of eggs, embryos and hatchlings at the egg-citing new exhibit. The Tiny Titans exhibit is bilingual. Photo courtesy Silver Plume Exhibitions.

View More Than 50 Paintings Composing a Visual History of the State at Florida Impressions: Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers at the Harn Museum of Art
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Friday, December 24 – Monday, December 27

Explore the World of Toys and Games, and Learn About the Language of Measurement at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
Thursday – Friday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Closed Friday, December 24 – Sunday, December 26

Between Heaven & Earth – The Paintings of Alyne Harris at Thomas Center Galleries
Now through March 19, 2022 
Closed Thursday, December 23 – Friday, December 24

Trailblazers: 150 Years of Alachua County Women at the Matheson History Museum
Wednesday – Saturday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Closed Friday, December 24 – January 1

Save The Date

Spark Wonder at the Cade Museum, December 31

Sparks in the Park at Depot Park, December 31

New Year’s Eve Concert at Bo Diddley Plaza, December 31

First Day Hikes at Florida State Parks, January 1

Gators Gymnastics vs. Texas Woman’s University, Northern Illinois and Rutgers, January 7

Puddles Pity Party at UF Phillips Center, January 11

The Gainesville Orchestra “Fire” Concert, January 14

Swallowtail Farm Farm to Table Dinner, January 15

35th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, January 15 – 30

John Paul White at Heartwood Soundstage, January 28

For a complete list of events please visit

Thank you for your continued partnership! Please keep in communication with us by sharing your events, updates and news with our team by emailing

Your participation, communication, and sharing of events and programs is a key way for us to market our community to visitors and to enhance the engagement of residents in all of the incredible programs you create.

Put simply, the more you share with us, the more we have to promote. Please read the attached PDF document for additional ways in which your organization can participate.

Visit Gainesville, Alachua County | (352) 374-5260 | 33 North Main Street, Gainesville 32601 Never miss an event: Follow Visit Gainesville, Alachua County on social media.

This publication contains information about events, venues and activities in Alachua County, Florida. Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors or omissions in the information provided. For complete details, contact the host directly. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, we do not represent, warrant, undertake or guarantee that the information is correct, accurate, complete or non-misleading. We will not be liable to you in respect of any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.  

  • Share this story!