What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, December 22, 2022 – January 4, 2023

Print the PDF

Ring in 2023 with What’s Good! New Year’s Eve celebrations take place at the Cade Museum featuring refreshments and an elevated view of the Sparks In The Park fireworks at Depot Park. Enjoy a fun and festive atmosphere at Bo Diddley Plaza with live music at the Downtown Countdown. Heartwood Soundstage invites you to dance the night away with Miami’s DJ A-Train and The Wooly hosts a New Year’s Eve Ball with music by The Savants of Soul.

Get outdoors, exercise and connect with others on a First Day Hike. Map your own course at one of Alachua County’s eight state parks or join hikes like the two-mile Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park ranger-led tour starting at the Bolen Bluff Trail and the Big Day Alachua Audubon Field Trip through Sweetwater Wetlands Park and Beyond. You just may catch a glimpse of the free-roaming prairie Bison or spot up to 100 species of birds who enjoy making Alachua County home for the winter. Sweetwater Wetlands Park is also now offering accessible tram tours. 

Wishing you a New Year filled with opportunities for renewal and adventure. Read on for more of What’s Good.

Your partners at Visit Gainesville, Alachua County

Treat your out-of-town guests to special winter releases at the area’s 7 craft breweries and sign up for the free Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail digital pass to access exclusive discounts and earn rewards which can be redeemed for “Billy the Bison and the Brew Birds” merchandise, including pint glasses, t-shirts, and custom embroidered caps.  

Be Informed.
The below information was accurate at the time of publishing. Please contact organizers directly to double-check details.

happy new year

Ring in the New Year with Fireworks, Dance Parties, Champagne Toasts and More

Fireworks Display and Family-Friendly Dance Party at “Sparks in the Park” at Depot Park
Saturday, December 31, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Spark Wonder 2023 at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
Saturday, December 31, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Downtown Countdown Features the 24-7 Band and Professional Recording Artist Jacquelyn Graham at Bo Diddley Plaza
Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.

NYE Ball at The Wooly

New Year’s Eve Ball with The Savants of Soul, The Organelles and Hogtown Soul Club at The Wooly
Saturday, December 31, 8:30 p.m. – 1:45 a.m.

New Year’s Eve Masquerade at The Backyard at Boca Fiesta and Palomino
Saturday, December 31, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

A Gainesville Homecoming: NYE Dance Party with DJ A-Train at South Main Station
Saturday, December 31, 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.

5-Course New Year’s Eve Celebration Dinner at Embers Wood Grill
Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

NYE Cocktail Bash at Spark at Embers
Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Ring Ring Ring in the New Year with Video Games, Appetizer Buffet and more at Dave and Buster’s
Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.

send 2022 out in style

Celebration Pointe Hosts Live Music on the Promenade, Dinner and Music at Prime and Pearl, Buffet at Spurriers Gridiron Grille, NYE Party at Visor’s Rooftop and Dinner and Music at The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
Saturday, December 31, 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.

first day hike

Kick Off the New Year with a First Day Hike at a Florida State Park
Sunday, January 1, 10 a.m. | Bolen Bluff Trail Entrance at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

South of the Hwy. 441 Eco-Passage

Get outside and take a hike on the first day of the new year. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle to a local trail. On New Year’s Day, State Parks across the country will once again be celebrating with First Day Hikes. These hikes provide a means for individuals and families to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature. For many it has become a tradition.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park hosts a 2-mile ranger tour starting at 10 a.m. at the Bolen Bluff Trail entrance. Look across the prairie from Visitor Center and observation tower. Stroll over Alachua Sink and see alligators from the raised boardwalk at La Chua Trail.

Additional Florida State Parks offer a variety of outdoor experiences. Step back in time to a working 1800s farm at Dudley Farm Historic State Park. Visit the 1930s homestead of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. See where the Santa Fe River disappears underground at O’Leno State Park. Step down into the 120-foot sinkhole at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park. Explore the scenic hiking trails at San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park.

palm warbler at sweetwater wetlands park

Go Birding on The Big Day Alachua Audubon Field Trip to Sweetwater Wetlands and Beyond
Sunday, January 1, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Sweetwater Wetlands Park
325 SW Williston Rd., Gainesville, FL 32641

Gainesville is one of the Country’s top inland birding destinations, and Sweetwater Wetland Park is an ideal spot to view up to 100 species of our feathered friends. Join chapter vice president Tim Hardin for the first birding trip of the year. Meet at Sweetwater Wetlands Park to start your 2023 birding list with a bang. Participants have the option to progress to other sites and may be able to spot over 100 species.

birds and brews

Pair Craft Beer with a Guided Bird Walk at Birds and Brews
Sunday, January 1, 4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. | First Magnitude Brewing Company

1220 SE Veitch St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Join volunteers from Alachua Audubon Society at First Magnitude Brewing Company for a New Year’s Day nature walk to Depot Park. The hour-long walks return to the brewery to grab a nightcap. Admission is free.
Get your free Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail digital pass and earn rewards for visiting First Magnitude Brewing Company.

shen yun

Experience an Exquisite Display of Chinese Dance at Shen Yun
Tuesday, January 3 – Wednesday, January 4, 7:30 p.m. | UF Phillips Center

3201 Hull Rd., Gainesville, FL 32611 

Journey through 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture of dynasties past with classical dance, live orchestral music, authentic costumes and interactive backdrops.

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.

Events and Festivals

cotton club museum

Poetry Reading and Book Signing with Mr. CBJ at the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
Saturday, December 31, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Music & Performance

Acoustic Blues with Middle Ground at Lightnin’ Salvage
Thursday, December 29, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

cassie and chris fun music

Classic Covers with Cassie and Chris at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, December 30, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Country with Austin Hunter at High Dive
Friday, December 30, 8 p.m.

Southern Rock with Brandford Hwy at Mother’s Pub and Grill North
Friday, December 30, 9 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.

Classic Rock with Wild Blue Yonder at One Love Café
Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.

The Good Voodoo at Mother’s Pub and Grill North
Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.

New Year’s Eve Pop Punk Emo Night with Reckless Giants at High Dive
Saturday, December 31, 8 p.m.

jazz wednesdays

Jazz Wednesdays with The Oak Trio at Covey Kitchen and Cocktails
Wednesday, January 4, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Craft Breweries

sippin seven

Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail Digital Pass
While you are visiting with family and friends, explore Alachua County’s unique craft breweries and sign up for free to the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail digital pass. Visit breweries, earn rewards and redeem your pass for “Billy the Bison and the Brew Birds” merchandise while supplies last.
Cheers to you and to Sippin’ All Seven!  

Southern Rock with Southern Burn at High Springs Brewing Company
Friday, December 30, 7 p.m. 

Friday Night Jam with Moondog at Daft Cow Brewery
Friday, December 30, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Lights and Holiday-Themed Beers at Wonderland at the Wetlands at Swamp Head Brewery
Now through December 31

Holiday Movies and Beer Releases at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Now through December 31

U-Picks & Farmers Markets

Grove Street Farmers Market with Live Music
Mondays, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Archer Farmers Market at Archer Historical Society Railroad Museum
Tuesdays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

GNV Holiday Market at South Main Station featuring Live Music
Thursdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

High Springs Farmers Market
Fridays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Alachua County Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

newberry farmers market

Newberry Farmers Market
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Haile Village Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Waldo Farmers Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


race cars

Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School at Gainesville Raceway
Thursday, December 29 – Friday, December 30

florida gators women's basketball

Gators Women’s Basketball vs. Tennessee at Exactech Arena
Thursday, December 29, 6 p.m.

Florida Get Down Holiday Basketball Showcase at Legacy Park
Friday, December 29 – Saturday, December 30

New Year’s Day Race at High Springs BMX
Sunday, January 1, 2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

gators mens basektball

Gators Men’s Basketball vs. Texas A&M at Exactech Arena
Wednesday, January 4, 7 p.m.

jimmy carnes indoor track and field meet

Save the Date:
Jimmy Carnes Indoor Track and Field Invitational at the Alachua County Sports and Event Center
Friday, January 13 – Sunday, January 15

The Alachua County Sports and Event Center is a 130,000-square-foot facility with open space for 13 basketball courts, 18 volleyball courts and 21 pickleball courts under one roof. The state-of-the-art sports complex located at Celebration Pointe features an indoor banked track and sprint tracks developed by Mondo Sport Flooring. Dedication of the track takes place Saturday, January 7.

Parks & Trails

Free Timed 5K with parkrun at Depot Park
Saturday, December 31, 7:30 a.m.

Rim Ramble Ranger-Led Adventure at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Saturday, December 31, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

tram car at sweetwater wetlands park

Accessible Tram Tours at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Thursday, December 29, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Tuesday, January 3, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday, January 5, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Advanced registration required

limpkin with snail

Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Wednesday, January 4, 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

River & Springs

paddling on the santa fe river

Paddle 8 Springs in 8 Miles or Slowly Float Down the Santa Fe River at Poe Springs Park with Anderson’s Outdoor Adventures
Friday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Float or Splash Into Freshwater Springs
North Florida is home to the largest collection of first-magnitude springs in the United States.

Museums & Galleries

Photography and Illustrations at the Adventures in Old Florida Exhibit Reception at Good News Arts
Now through January 21
Open Wednesdays – Saturdays, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Now on View at the Harn Museum of Art, AWE-some: time :: materiality :: meaning
Museum Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, January 1 – Monday, January 2
AWE-some celebrates new photographs recently bought for, or donated to, the Harn’s permanent collection. Its theme: recognition of several brilliant, dedicated photographers, their time, their actual prints (not on a screen) and why they made them.

Annual Faculty Exhibit Opening at Santa Fe College Gallery
Open daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

return to forever

View Memories of Legendary Bands at a Legendary Music Venue at the Matheson History Museum’s Newest Exhibit “Return to Forever: Gainesville’s Great Southern Music Hall”
Museum Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Reopening Wednesday, January 4
The Matheson History Museum looks back at the state-of-the-art concert venue in Gainesville between 1974 and 1978. The Great Southern Music Hall hosted performers including Jimmy Buffett, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Bob Seger and Steve Martin to name a few. The exhibit features a collection of live performance photos from the house photographer John Moran, Bo Diddley’s signature square guitar and other artifacts. Admission is free.

Into the Woods and Out of the Woods Exhibits at The Historic Thomas Center
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Explore the Solar System with the Cade Museum’s Scavenger Hunt
Now through January 2023
Museum Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Engage with the Gainesville-wide “Wandering the Milky Way Planetary Partnership Scavenger Hunt” and visualize the scale of the galaxy. Get a map at the Cade Museum and make stops at locations throughout Gainesville including The Historic Thomas Center, Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and more. The scavenger hunt is an extension of the museum’s current theme, “Wandering the Milky Way.”

Discover a Unique African American Culture at Gullah Geechee – African Connections and Cultural Traditions in America at the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center
Open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Explore the Cosmos at the Cade Museum’s Exhibit: Voyages – A Trip Through Space and Time
Museum Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This featured exhibit is part of the museum-wide theme “Wandering the Milky Way – A Tour of the Solar System.” Discover how spacecraft from the 1970s still teach us about the galaxy and learn how scientists are designing a mission that spans generations.

fossil exhibit and museum attendees

Dig Into the Past at the Florida Museum’s Science Up Close: Fantastic Fossils
Now through Monday, January 2, 2023
Museum Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Take a unique look behind the scenes, interact with scientists while they work and explore some of the museum’s coolest specimens. Get face-to-face with giant dinosaur skeletons, beautiful botanical fossils and ancient microscopic life. Plan your visit online. Photo by Florida Museum/Jeff Gage

Save The Date

Remembering Rosewood Centennial, January 8-14

Farm Dining Experience at Swallowtail Farm, January 14

The 36th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, January 14-29

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!