What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, November 19-25, 2020

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The final weekend before Thanksgiving brings cooler weather, holiday lights and seasonal events. Make your plans with What’s Good. Be inspired by a thrilling tribute to Beethoven’s music from The Gainesville Orchestra. Or get outside with Newberry’s annual Main Street Festival, or with the outdoor 15-piece jazz band tribute to Duke Ellington at the Cade Museum – featuring free tours. Enjoy the sparkle of the tree lighting events at Butler Town Center and The Shoppes at Thornebrook, and take in the festive scene and live music while exploring unique boutiques, tasty treats, one of a kind artwork and more.

If you’re planning ahead for next weekend, be sure to visit our What’s Open for Thanksgiving Blog and find which area restaurants are serving up your holiday favorites.

We are proud to live in this mindful, resourceful and resilient community, and to share with you all that we have to offer – What’s Good.

Wear your mask and stay at safe physical distances while you enjoy the most of each day. Please adhere to public safety guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Be safe and be well,– Your partners at Visit Gainesville, Alachua County 

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

Safety First. Be Informed About COVID19

In Alachua County, certain types of businesses require masks. Masks or face coverings are also required when social distancing is not possible. For additional details on the requirement as well as any exemption information please read the latest Alachua County Emergency Order.

For additional Coronavirus (COVID-19) information, visit the Alachua County COVID19 Community Resource Portal, the Alachua County Facebook page, call the Coronavirus Information Line at 866-779-6121, visit the Florida Department of Health website, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

illustration of beethoven. power

Celebrate Beethoven’s 250th Birthday with “POWER,” a Socially-Distanced Concert from The Gainesville Orchestra
Friday, November 20, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. | UF Phillips Center
3201 Hull Rd., Gainesville, FL 32611

Celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday! The titan of music receives his due in a performance that includes his powerful Egmont Overture and mighty Violin Concerto, delivered by concertmaster and soloist Liviu Onofrei. Also enjoy Aaron Copland’s variations on Simple Gifts, and a special treat from the percussion section, “Before John 5” by Aurel Hollo.

Tickets are limited to 400 people in an 1800 seat hall and your party will be seated together, but apart from the next party. Masks are required. See reopening guidelines from UF Performing Arts here.

Thanksgiving food on a table. What's Good Thanksgiving

What is Open for Thanksgiving?

Don’t stress this Thanksgiving, visit a local restaurant for your holiday meal. Find our list of what’s open for Thanksgiving in Gainesville and Alachua County, FL

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.

holiday meal with masks

Pack Your Stretchy Pants and Start Planning Now for a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, we’re celebrating the importance of spending time with friends and family – safely.

Plan ahead to enjoy Gainesville and Alachua County’s traditionally great fall weather with loved ones and find ways to re-connect and celebrate that work for everyone. Booking a place to stay is a great option for visiting relatives and friends and with an abundance of outdoor activities, dining options and safety conscious attractions, your tribe can make the best of the holidays.
Spend a few days and visit one of our 8 state parks, walk our family and pet friendly trails, go shopping at Butler Town Center
, Celebration Pointe and The Shoppes at Thornebrook, tour the University of Florida campus and Cultural Plaza or maybe do a little axe-throwing, plus enjoy one of our hundreds of excellent eateries.

Bringing your dog along? Book a room at one of our 34 dog-friendly lodging properties and explore pet-friendly things to do in Gainesville and Alachua County.

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.

duke ellington sacred concert

Find a Spot on the Green and Take In a Big Band Performance That is Both Reverent and Hip – Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert at the Cade 
Sunday, November 22, 4 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. | Cade Museum
811 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601

In 1965, Duke Ellington performed at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco when it opened. He called the Sacred Concert “the most important thing I have ever done.” 1000 Voices of Florida, Inc. presents the world-famous concert with singers, dancers and a 15-piece band. Bring your own chair or blanket to view the concert. Masks are required. Admission is free.

Free tours at the Cade Museum take place 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

tree lighting at butler town center

Get Festive with Butler Town Center’s Annual Tree Lighting
Friday, November 20, 6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Butler Town Center
2851 SW 35th Dr., Gainesville, FL 32608

Join Butler Town Center on Friday nights through December 16 as the annual tree lighting gets “socially distanced” to five separate showings. The celebration takes place next to The Cheesecake Factory with street entertainment and the lighting of the tree. The tree lighting also may also be viewed online from the Shop at Butler Facebook page.

newberry main street festival

Find Family-Friendly Festival Fun at the Annual Newberry Fall Festival
Saturday, November 21, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Newberry, FL
Newberry Rd. and Seaboard Dr., Newberry, FL 32669

Newberry Main Street Organization hosts the yearly fall celebration with fun vendors, arts and crafts, kids activities, music and outdoor fun. Admission is free. (Photo taken prior to CDC safety precautions)

musicians gosia and ali

Unwind with World Music Under the Stars with Gosia and Ali
Saturday, November 21, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Celebration Pointe
4949 Celebration Pointe Ave., Gainesville, FL 32608

Musicians Gosia and Ali Che’Ree weave their international musical backgrounds into a diverse sound featuring the flute and guitar. Their musical catalog includes rock and folk hits, jazz, Latin and world music.

tree lighting at thornebrook

Stroll Through the Shoppes at Thornebrook with Holiday Music at the Annual Tree Lighting
Saturday, November 21, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Shoppes at Thornebrook
2441 NW 43rd St., Gainesville, FL 32606

Visit the unique boutiques and browse local handmade chocolates, one of a kind artwork, eco-friendly gifts, stained glass, fine jewelry and much more. Musicians play holiday music throughout Thornebrook Village. The annual tree lighting highlights the holiday shopping experience.

bubba sparxxx

Raise Your Hands in the Air and Stomp Your Boots as Rap Meets Country with Bubba Sparxxx
Thursday, November 19, 7 p.m. | Knockin’ Boots Saloon
201 W University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

Gold Record recording artist Bubba Sparxxx performs live in concert with special guest Kendall Tucker. Masks and temperature checks are required for entry.

the grass is dead band members

Discover an Uplifting and Undeniable Juggernaut of Melody and Lyrics with a Bluegrass Tribute to the Grateful Dead – The Grass Is Dead
Friday, November 20, 10 p.m. | High Dive
210 SW 2nd Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

The Grass is Dead is a popular festival band that combines the traditional style of bluegrass music and modern psychedelic soundscapes with unique and thoughtful interpretations of Grateful Dead hits. Attend in-person, or livestream the concert here.

High Dive was named #74 of “100 Greatest American Music Venues” by Consequence of Sound.

musician craig campbell

Sing Along with Country Music Recording Artist Craig Campbell
Friday, November 20, 7 p.m. | Knockin’ Boots Saloon
201 W University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

Craig Campbell brings his brand of crowd-pleasing country ballads to Gainesville. Masks and temperature checks are required for entry.

Browse Vintage Clothing and One-of-a-kind Gifts at the Two-Day Pop-Up Bazar A La Carte
Saturday, November 21, 3 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday, November 22, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | The Historic Seagle Building
408 W University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

The How Bazar Co. presents a night market on Saturday and day market on Sunday for a unique two-day indoor and outdoor shopping experience featuring a variety of vendors. Food trucks include Prum’s Kitchen and Chef JJ’s Creations. Masks are required.

welcome to grow hub

Shop for Landscape Plants and Artwork at the Pop-Up Plant Sale with Grow Hub and Plantstay
Saturday, November 21, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Grow Hub
2900 NE 8th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32641

Tour the open-air Grow Hub nursery and pick up plants, planters, crafts and artwork. Grow Hub is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating, empowering and assisting disabled adults for sustainable living through education, training and job opportunities. PlantStay features a locally curated selection of plants.

depot park holiday lights

Enjoy Scenery Speckled with Decorative Holiday Lights with an Evening at Depot Park
Now Through December 31, 6 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. | Depot Park 200 SE Depot Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

The magic of the holidays radiates from Depot Park as 200,000 lights create a festive glow at “Light up ‘D Holidays.” Depot Park is a hub for the community with plenty of room to spread out, playground for the kids, waterside walking paths and connections to several biking trails. Enjoy food and drinks from Parkside Convenience and Boxcar Wine and Beer Garden.

Century Tower and the Univeristy Auditorium at the University of Florida

Listen to the Truly Unique Sound of a 61-Bell Carillon Studio Concert Ringing Out from of UF’s Century Tower
Friday, November 20, 6 p.m. | Century Tower
375 Newell Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611

Century Tower is a 157-foot carillon tower in the center of the University of Florida campus featuring 61 bells. For an optimal listening experience, find a location at least 100 feet from the tower. See safety guidelines for visitors of the University of Florida here.

shop dine stroll

Shop Dine and Stroll on Main Street Alachua
Friday, November 20, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. | Alachua
Main St., Alachua, FL 32615

Enjoy shopping, dining, and a relaxing evening stroll in Alachua’s beautiful downtown district. Take in the cool fall air on a harvest hayride up and down Main Street provided by the Alachua Optimist Club.

jazz night at the keys

Slide into an Evening of Jazz, Blues and Great Food with Brian Stevens at Jazz Night
Monday, November 23, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
4860 Celebration Pointe Ave. #30, Gainesville, FL 32608 

Brian Stevens performs symphonic, jazz & blues, world, theater, and commercial music throughout Florida and the southeast U.S. He has performed alongside a talented and diverse array of musicians and artists including Terry Plumeri, Spyder Turner, Rafael Ponde, Little Jake Mitchell, Alfie Zappacosta, Sebastian Notini, Charlie Blade, and Taylor Roberts.

On Mondays, The Keys Grill and Piano Bar sets the stage for an ensemble of Gainesville’s best talent and a fresh play list to start your week off right with an evening of jazzy grooves, delicious bites, and tasty cocktails, with half price wine and Florida craft draughts for $4.

songs from the heart

Enjoy and Evening of Songwriting with Songs From The Heart featuring Jordan Burchell and Ben White
Friday, November 20, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Online Event with Heartwood Soundstage

Jordan Burchel’s songs weave intricate stories from threads of keen everyday observation, casting new light on small details. Ben White is a folk singer and songwriter who has been creating music for over a decade. His sound influenced by Appalachian music and old country storytelling.

“Songs from the Heart” is dedicated to celebrating the songs and songwriters that connect every person to others. Beginning at 8 p.m. most Fridays, the artists will talk about the process of writing a great song, share an intimate experience and offer new tunes. Airing online at, the venue will pair two diverse songwriters as they tell the stories that inspired their music. Heartwood Soundstage is a state-of-the-art recording studio, video production facility, and intimate performance venue – built by musicians for music lovers and music makers.

gnv tribute night

Watch a Showcase of Local Musicians at GNV Music Tribute Night
Monday, November 23, 7 p.m. | Online Event with MusicGNV

A variety of local musicians pay tribute to excellent songs from other local musicians. Hear music from old bands, musician friends covering each other, nods to Gainesville’s punk rock legacy and a string arrangement of a classic hit. The night will be video-jockeyed live by Chelsea Carnes and Jacob Adams of Palimony. Access the livestream on MusicGNV’s Facebook page.

paddleboards on the santa fe river

Rent a Canoe, Kayak or Paddleboard for an Adventure on the Santa Fe River. Cruise by Freshwater Springs, Wildlife and Natural Scenery.
Open Daily | Santa Fe Canoe Outpost
21410 NW US Hwy. 441, High Springs, FL 32643

Cruise down the Santa Fe River in your stress-free time capsule… err, we mean in your canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard. All three are available for rent from the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost. Go up river for a leisurely ride back or explore several freshwater springs located downriver. Reservations are required. See trip times and safety measures here.

Explore Additional Parks and Trails Get Outside and Discover Gainesville and Alachua County’s Bountiful Outdoor Open Spaces with over one hundred miles of hiking and biking trails. 

Find the park that suits you best! Most of the parks and trails in Alachua County have reopened including – Alachua County Parks, Playgrounds and Preserves, City of Gainesville Parks and Playgrounds, Alachua Conservation Trust preserves and all Florida State Parks.

Find the list of Alachua County Parks and Preserves here.
Find our What’s Good Now list of additional open spaces to explore here.

When enjoying the outdoors, please strictly adhere to public health safety guidelines, keep 6 feet away from others, avoid large groups of people and follow all State and local ordinances. Note that due to the changing environment and regulations, open hours are subject to change and some facilities may not be available.

Arts & Theatre

The Hippodrome Theatre Presents a Livestreamed Staged Reading of The Thanksgiving Play
Monday, November 23, 7 p.m.

Private Performances of The Stronger, Loosely Based on August Strindberg’s Play of the Same Name at Black C Art Gallery
Now Through December 16

Music & Performance

the great outdoors

Country with Singer-Songwriter Cliff Dorsey at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Friday, November 20, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Acoustic Soft Rock Duo Richy & Chelsea at One Love Cafe
Thursday, November 19, 6 p.m.

Live Stand Up Comedy Night at Flaco’s
Thursday, November 19, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Comedy Night New Talent Night + Open Mic
Thursday, November 19, 9 p.m.

Favorite Alternative Rock Songs by The Remedy at One Love Cafe
Friday, November 20, 6 p.m.

Americana with Mr. Aullie at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, November 20, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

EDM with Marvel Years at Signal and The Loft 
Friday, November 20, 9 p.m.

Hard Rock with HeadrusH at Mother’s Pub & Grill North Gainesville
Friday, November 20, 9 p.m.

Singer, Songwriter with George Gomez at One Love Cafe
Saturday, November 21, 12 p.m.

Jazz and Swing Favorites with Swing Theory at One Love Cafe
Saturday, November 21, 6 p.m.

Classic Rock and Country Covers with Doc Adams at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Saturday, November 21, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

singer songwriter paul eliot

Americana Singer Songwriter Paul Eliot at Lightnin’ Salvage
Saturday, November 21, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Elvis Holiday Show at Woodyard Grill
Saturday, November 21, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Salsa in the Streets at The Bull
Saturday, November 21, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Nirvana Tribute Band Heart Shaped Box, Heavy Pedal In-Person Show + Live Stream at High Dive
Saturday, November 21, 9 p.m.

Rock and Blues with Soulful Singer Songwriter Cassie at Creek’s 19th Restaurant
November 22, 11 a.m.

Sounds Unlimited with Lupe Frausto at Woodyard Grill
Tuesday, November 24, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Keg of Laughs Stand Up Comedy Hour at World of Beer
Tuesday, November 24, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Country Music with Justin Lee Pardon Country at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Wednesday, November 25, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Craft Breweries

food from oh my cod

Vegan Seafood Popup with Oh My Cod Vegan Seafood Co. at Cypress & Grove Brewing Company
Saturday, November 21, 3 p.m.

Clean Slate at High Springs Brewing Company
Saturday, November 21, 6 p.m.

Holiday Project Pop-up with Hammer & Stain Gainesville at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Thursday, November 19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Brainaholics Trivia at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Tuesday, November 24, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Beer Bingo Tuesday at Big Top Brewing Company Gainesville
Tuesday, November 24, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

$6 Burger Wednesday at Big Top Brewing Company Gainesville
Wednesday, November 25, 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Cornhole Tourney at High Springs Brewing Company
Wednesday, November 25, 6 p.m.

Trivia Night at Blackadder Brewing Company Gainesville
Wednesday, November 25, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

U-Picks & Farmer’s Markets

produce at farmers market

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

Union Street Farmer’s Market at Celebration Pointe
Wednesdays, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

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

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

Alachua County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Haile 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.

Bites & Brunch

Ravioli Pasta Making Cooking Class at The Fat Tuscan
Thursday, November 18, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Dine at Local Restaurants and Enjoy New Outside Seating Options
Some restaurants are welcoming diners back into their dining rooms. You may also notice additional outdoor seating expanded onto sidewalks, into parking lots or into the street.
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 Volleyball vs. Georgia
Friday, November 20, 7 p.m.

Drag Racing at the 352 Shootout at Gainesville Raceway
Saturday, November 21, 8 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.

CountryWay Town Square Pro Rodeo
Friday, November 20 – Saturday, November 21, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Cupcake Race on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail
Sunday, November 22, 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Tom Walker Memorial 15K on the Archer Braid Trail
Sunday, November 22, 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Grass Volleyball Tournament at Easton Newberry Archery Center
Saturday, November 21 – Sunday, November 22, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

49th Annual Thor Mini O’s at Gatorback Cycle Park
Sunday, November 22 – Saturday, November 28

archer aiming at targets

Aim for the Bullseye at Funtastic Fridays
Friday, November 21, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. | Easton Newberry Archery Center24880 NW 16th Ave., Newberry, FL 32669

Join the most fun you can have with a bow for open shooting and archery games including tic-tac-toe, battle ship, bowling with bows and more. A free orientation is required and is offered at 5 p.m.
If you worked up an appetite after all that fun, you may wish to visit nearby restaurants like Arepas Milko, Villaggio Pizzeria, Woodyard Grill or neaby Tioga Town Center.

Mountain Bike Rides with Goodbike
Thursday, November 19, 7 p.m., Medium Pace for the Intermediate/Advanced Rider
Tuesday, November 24, 7 p.m., Brisk Pace for the Advanced Rider

Parks & Trails

trail at san felasco state park

Trek Through Cool Trails: Top 5 Family-Friendly and Dog-Friendly Shaded 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.

River & Springs

people swimming in blue springs

Swim Into the Freshwater Springs and Experience Nature Near Gainesville
The springs are a perfect way to get outside and explore the untouched natural side of Florida. Did you know North Florida is home to over 1,000 freshwater springs? The water flows crystal clear at 72 degrees all year round so make a splash on your Gainesville and Alachua County itinerary.

Museums & Galleries

Virtual Artwalk Reception for the Winter Showcase with Gainesville Fine Arts Association
Friday, November 20, 7 p.m.
Tune into the reception on the GFAA Facebook page. Experience a walkthrough of the exhibit and see the announcement of artist awards. GFAA Gallery is open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and by appointment. Winter Showcase is on display through January 2, 2021.

in of from experiements in sound

In, Of, From: Experiments in Sound at University Gallery
Now Through Friday, December 4

Explore Florida’s History and Walk With Flying Butterflies at the Florida Museum
Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Browse Galleries Featuring Over 600 Works at the Harn Museum of Art
Open Thursday- Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Spark Dialog with the “Lights of Conversation” Outdoor Illuminated Poetry Verse Exhibit at the Matheson History Museum
On Display Daily

Spark Wonder at the Cade Museum and Discover Science of Music with the New Theme “Wires and Waves”
Fridays – Saturdays, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Save The Date

Thanksgiving Safari Tours at Carson Springs Wildlife Foundation, November 27-28

A Tuna Christmas on Stage at High Springs Playhouse, December 4

Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker, December 17-20

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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