What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, December 30 – January 5

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Celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with What’s Good! Enjoy the sight of shining smiles all around at Depot Park’s Sparks in the Park fireworks display. Add dinner and drinks to the spectacular light show from the rotunda of the Cade Museum at Spark Wonder NYE, then stroll over to downtown Gainesville’s Bo Diddley Plaza for live jazz and reggae and a countdown to 2022. Create a New Year’s Eve experience all your own with exceptional five-course meal dining, sabrage champagne toasts, dueling pianos or a rockin’ rooftop party.

Get active, get outdoors and get your New Year resolutions off to a great start with a nature walk on the County’s extensive trail and park system. Discover top-rated birding sites like Sweetwater Wetlands Park and Paynes Prairie State Park. Explore guided tours of Devil’s Millhopper, or through the acres of winter blooms at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Try something new with a first-of-the-year safari at Tripadvisor favorite Carson Springs Wildlife and be sure to say hello to Henry the Rhino for us!

This and every year we are grateful for all of you who have taken time to be a part of What’s Good in our community. You are a vital part of what makes Alachua County not only an exceptional place to visit, but also a great place to live, work and play.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

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. 

sparks in the park

2021 Lights Up the Sky at Sparks in the Park
Friday, December 31, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Depot Park
874 SE 4th St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Bring chairs and blankets and soak in the last sunset of 2021. The evening starts with a family-friendly dance party, followed by a 20-minute, musically choreographed fireworks show over the main pond at 6:30 p.m. 

spark wonder at the cade

Welcome in the New Year with Dinner, Drinks and a View of the Dazzling Depot Park Fireworks Display with Spark Wonder at the Cade
Friday, December 31 | Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention
811 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601 

Watch the firework show at Depot Park from the Cade Museum’s galleries with dinner and a drink in hand. This family-friendly event features a glow party, games and experiments, a photo booth, raffle prizes, New Year’s resolutions, a countdown to the New Year in another time zone and more. Reserve tickets online.

downtwn countdown

Celebrate with Family and Friends Under the Stars with Live Music at “Downtown Countdown”
Friday, December 31 | Bo Diddley Plaza
Downtown Gainesville 

“Downtown Countdown,” the City of Gainesville’s traditional New Year’s Eve concert features live music and a countdown to the New Year at midnight. The sounds of sensational artists, jazz vocalist Decyo McDuffie with the Larry Newcomb Quartet, and reggae with King Eddie and Pili Pili. Set a fun scene as you bid adieu to 2021.

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.

nye dinner menus

Indulge with New Year’s Dining Experiences from Local Restaurants

Sabrage Toasts, Mountains of Appetizers, and a Guided Walk Downtown at the New Year’s Eve Party at The Dunbar Hotel
Friday, December 31

Dueling Pianos and a Special Dinner Menu at the New Year’s Eve Party at The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
Friday, December 31, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.

New Year’s Eve 5-Course Menu with Wine Pairings at Local Provisions
Friday, December 31, 5 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.

New Year’s Eve Five Course Dinner Celebration at Embers Wood Grill
Friday, December 31, 5 p.m. 

New Year’s Eve Cocktail Bash at Spark at Embers
Friday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Prime Surf and Turf Dinner for Two with Bottle of Sparkling Chandon Brut at Prime & Pearl
Friday, December 31, 4 p.m. 

Rock the Rooftop New Year’s Eve at The Social at Midtown
Friday, December 31, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

spurriers nye dinner

Pair Your Champagne Toast with a Four or Five Course Dinner Menu at Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille
Friday, December 31, 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.

a new year's party like its 1996, image of coach spurrier

All You Can Eat and Drink Rooftop New Year’s Eve Experience at Visors Tailgate and Rooftop Bar
Friday, December 31, 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.

New Year’s Day Brunch at World of Beer
Saturday, January 1, 11 a.m.

nye carson springs

Henry the Rhino and Friends Invite You to Take an Expedition into the New Year with a Wildlife Tour at Carson Springs
Friday, December 31, 10 a.m., Saturday, January 1, 1 p.m. | Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation
8528 E CR 225, Gainesville, FL 32609 

See wildlife in a natural 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.

warbler at sweetwater wetlands park

Spot Wildlife and Explore Sweetwater Wetlands Park on a Ranger-Led Tour
Saturday, January 1, 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Sweetwater Wetlands Park
325 SW Williston Rd., Gainesville, FL 32641

Recent bird sightings include Snowy Egret, Northern Harrier, Palm Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Shoveler and Least Sandpiper. Pre-register for this tour to find these birds and more wildlife at Sweetwater Wetlands Park. Explore on your own, or register for the ½ mile walk ranger-led tour at Masks are required throughout the tour that includes about a 1/2 mile walk and will last about 1 hour. Bring water, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes.

snow lily at kanapaha gardens

See Winter Blooms on a Guided Walk at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Saturday, January 1, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
4700 SW 58th Dr., Gainesville, FL 32608  

Stroll through the collections on a guided walk to see winter highlights. Spanning 68-acres, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens features diverse displays including the largest herb garden in the southeast and the largest public collection of bamboo in Florida. The gardens are pet-friendly and feature a 1.5 mile paved walkway that meanders throughout the property.

paynes prairie

Take a First Day Hike and Explore Areas of Paynes Prairie Not Typically Open to the Public
Saturday, January 1, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
4801 Camp Ranch Rd., Gainesville, FL 32641 

Whether you’re a seasoned park veteran or hiking for the first time, there’s no better way to kick off a new year than with a First Day Hike. Organized in state parks across the country, thousands of people participate in First Day Hikes every January 1. Varying from short strolls to longer treks, these hikes offer a variety of ways for people to get outdoors and start the new year on the right foot!

The Paynes Prairie ranger-led, 1.5-mile hike meanders through dense upland forest and sinkhole rich topography. The hike covers varying terrain from level ground to gently rolling hills. Sign up at the interpretive trailer near the horse barn at La Chua Trail.

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Arts & Theatre

“Who’s In the Box?” at Star Center Theatre (Wednesday) and Daysprings Missionary Baptist Church (Thursday)
Wednesday, January 5 – Thursday, January 6, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Events & Festivals

End of the Year Formal Experience at Gainesville Gala at 5701 Venue
Thursday, December 30, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. 

New Year’s Eve Global Peace Dance at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville
Friday, December 31, 6:45 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

New Year’s Eve Ball Presented by The Top Hub at The Top, The Wooly, Arcade Bar and Dime Bar
Friday, December 31, 10 p.m.

Discover the Historic Haile Homestead with “Let it Snow” History & Holidays Tours
Now through January 2

2022 Rosewood Community Day in Archer
Saturday, January 1, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
This family-friendly event honors the victims and survivors of the 1923 Rosewood massacre and supports the future site of the Rosewood Museum. The event features food trucks, music, crafts, and speakers.

Music & Performance

Rock and Blues with Johnson and Burns at One Love Café
Thursday, December 30, 6 p.m.

Singer-Songwriter Jenny Parrot at Lightnin’ Salvage
Thursday, December 30, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Comedy Show and Karaoke Night at Vecinos
Thursday, December 30, 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. 

Cam Wheaton at Limerock Road
Friday, December 31, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

Caribbean, Rock and Jazz with In the Moment at the Pink Flamingo Diner
Friday, December 31, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Classic Rock with Treetop Flyers at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Friday, December 31, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Relentless Band at Mossman Hall
Friday, December 31, 7 p.m. 

GNVpunk Pop Punk and Emo Night New Year’s Eve at High Dive
Friday, December 31, 8 p.m. 

New Year’s Eve Karaoke at Woodyard Grill
Friday, December 31, 8 p.m. 

Electronic Music with Ghost Lotus b2b Zandro New Year’s Eve Party at The Loft
Friday, December 31, 8 p.m. 

New Year’s Eve Bash with Sooza Brass Band, Karaoke Dance Party and Champagne Toast at Vecinos and Flaco’s
Friday, December 31, 8 p.m. 

NYE Hip Hop with FakksOnly at Swamp City Gallery Lounge
Friday, December 31, 9 p.m.

Malibu Nights New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino
Friday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. 

Cypher House at Swamp City Gallery Lounge
Saturday, January 1, 2 p.m. 

Metal New Year with Shadow the Earth at High Dive
Saturday, January 1, 8 p.m.

Neon Liger Presents Electronic Music with Durante at The Wooly
Saturday, January 1, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. 

Learn About the Stories Behind the Songs from Local Songwriters at The Swampland Troubadours at Lightnin’ Salvage
Tuesday, January 4, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Houston Keen at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Wednesday, January 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Craft Breweries

New Year’s Eve Bash with 29:11 BBQ and Outlaw Country with Cumberland at High Springs Brewing Company
Friday, December 31, 5 p.m. 

Reggae Sunday with The Easy Crew at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company
Sunday, January 2, 4 p.m. 

Trivia Night at Big Top Brewing Company
Tuesday, January 4, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

U-Picks & Farmer’s Markets

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

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

Alachua Farmer’s Market
Friday, December 31, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

High Springs Farmer’s Market
Fridays, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Newberry Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

Haile Village Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Waldo Farmer’s Market
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Farmer’s Market at Gainesville Health and Fitness
Sundays, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Bites & Brunch

Now Open: Bingo Deli & Pub
619 S Main St., #1A, Gainesville, FL 32601
Grab house-made sandwiches and salads in the Historic Baird Center in downtown Gainesville.

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.


New Year “Florida Get Down” Basketball Showcase at St. Francis Catholic Academy
Friday, December 31 – Sunday, January 2

high springs bmx

New Year Kickoff Weekend BMX Race Weekend at High Springs BMX
Saturday, January 1 – Sunday, January 2, 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. 

Gators Women’s Basketball vs. Georgia at Exactech Arena
Sunday, January 2, 3 p.m. 

Gators Men’s Basketball vs. Alabama at Exactech Arena
Wednesday, January 5, 7 p.m.

Parks & Trails

Annual New Year’s Eve Corgi Meetup at Possum Creek Park
Friday, December 31, 9 a.m. 

New Year Timed 5K parkrun at Depot Park
Saturday, January 1, 7:30 a.m.

ferns at devils millhopper

First Day Hike Into the Sinkhole at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
Saturday, January 1, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. 

Bamboo Sale at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Monday, January 3 – Monday, February 7 

Wednesday Bird Walks at the Wetlands with Alachua Audubon Society at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Wednesday, January 5, 8:30 a.m. – 11 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 

Winter Show at Mott May Gallery
Now through January 16

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.
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 31 – Monday, January 3

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. 

Between Heaven & Earth – The Paintings of Alyne Harris at Thomas Center Galleries
Now through March 19, 2022 

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

Save The Date

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.  

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