What’s Good in Gainesville and Alachua County, November 26 – December 2, 2020

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This Thanksgiving we are most grateful for you! We wanted you to be the first to know that thanks to your support and appreciation of all things Gainesville and Alachua County, the What’s Good weekly event guide was honored with a Visit Florida Henry Award, the top tourism industry award in Florida in the category of consumer resource communication. Our followers and subscribers helped us achieve this distinction and we are heartened with the knowledge that YOU are What’s Good.

Staying busy outdoors might just be the best way to spend time with loved ones this Thanksgiving Weekend and What’s Good has you covered with a full plate of things to do. Make plans to watch Gators Football in an SEC matchup against the Kentucky Wildcats, or take a walk in the wild side with an exotic animal safari at Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation. Enjoy uplifting, leisurely strolls through some of the area’s gift markets and tree lightings. Explore holiday-inspired craft beer like Hot Chocolate Stout and Gingerbread Pastry Sour at First Magnitude, or venture out with a full moon paddle tour at the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost, plus find out why you should add the historic town of Micanopy to a holiday road trip itinerary.

And if you’re still making plans for Thanksgiving Dinner, don’t stress, check out our list of restaurants open on Thanksgiving.

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.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays,
– 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).

gators football vs kentucky

Cheer on the Gators as Football Returns to The Swamp
Saturday, November 28, 12 p.m. | Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
157 Gale Lemerand Dr., Gainesville, FL 32611

Quarterback Kyle Trask continues his Heisman Trophy campaign as Gators Football hosts Kentucky. Learn about updates to attending games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 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.

make a holiday visit to historic Micanopy

Enjoy a Holiday Visit in Micanopy, Florida’s Oldest Inland Town, Named one of Florida’s Top 10 Small Towns.

Stroll the historic town of Micanopy on sidewalks lined with Live Oaks and Spanish Moss. Visit unique shops and boutiques for Small Business Saturday and shop for holiday gifts or one of a kind antiques. Grab a road trip snack at a number of cafes or restaurants. Add to your visit with an overnight stay at an elegant bed and breakfast and explore nearby historic sites and hiking trails.

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.

celebration pointe and albert the alligator

Watch the Big Game and Create Your Own Game Day Experience at Celebration Pointe
Saturday, November 28, 1 p.m. | Celebration Pointe
4949 Celebration Pointe Ave., Gainesville, FL 32608

Watch the game on the 15-foot BIG Screen in the Promenade and enjoy game day food and drink specials from Celebration Pointe restaurants and shopping discounts from retailers. Live music keeps the celebration going. All CDC guidelines are being observed and enforced.

thanksgiving safari tours

Explore Your Wildside with a Walking, Riding or Drive-Thru Thanksgiving Safari Tour – More than 30 Exotic and Endangered Species
Friday, November 27 – Saturday, November 28, 10 a.m – 3:30 p.m. | Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation
8528 E County Rd., 225, Gainesville, FL 32609

Go on a safari and see big cats, lemurs and more. Meet Henry, the oldest Indian Rhino in captivity, and his friends on 275 acres of lush Florida woods and farmland. Tours are available Friday and Saturday. Walking or riding tours take place at 10 a.m. Drive-thru tours can be booked between 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Online reservations are required, book in advance at

Band members of The Shambles

Dance to a Playlist of Classic Rock with The Shambles
Friday, November 27, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Celebration Pointe
4949 Celebration Pointe Ave., Gainesville, FL 32608

The Shambles is a rock ‘n’ roll dance band that plays an eclectic mix of classic rock, contemporary blues, cosmic country and dance party music. Pull up a chair or throw down a blanket and enjoy the music as the sun sets. Food and beverages are available from Celebration Pointe restaurants.

mini market holiday series

Find Handmade and Vintage Holiday Gifts at the Mini Market Holiday Series
Saturday, November 28, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | The AUK Market
2031 NW 6th St., Gainesville, FL 32609

Each Saturday at The AUK Market features 4-5 local artists, makers and vendors for an open-air shopping experience. The Mini Market Series is an indie retail experience showcasing local handmade vintage goods, art, apothecary and plants. Stop in to find specialty gift items for the holiday season! Masks are required.

Miracle at Madrina's

Celebrate the Season at Madrina’s with the Miracle Pop-Up Christmas Cocktail Bar
Friday, November 27 – December 31 | Madrina’s
9 W University Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

The cocktail bar lights up with festive lights, decorations and a Christmas-themed drink menu. Miracle transforms Madrina’s every day through New Year’s Eve. Treat yourself to this great and authentic cocktail bar providing excellent ingredients and expert preparation.

light up tioga

Lights Up the Holidays with a Celebration at Town of Tioga Featuring Music, Food, Games and More
Sunday, November 29, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. | Tioga Town Center
133 SW 130th Way, Newberry, FL 32669

Tioga Town Center hosts holiday fun at the annual tree lighting. Activities include train rides, teddy bear mobile, carnival games, selfie stations and more. Elio Piedra emcees the magical production with live music and surprise appearances. Masks are required and CDC protocols are being observed.

tis the season at the source

Cozy Up with a Hot Chocolate Stout and Other Holiday Inspired Craft Beer Releases with Tis The Season at The Source
Tuesday, December 1 – December 31 | First Magnitude Brewing Company
1220 SE Veitch St., Gainesville, FL 32601

Twinkling lights, cozy fires and holiday decorations transform First Magnitude Brewing Company for the month of December. Sip on a festive brew from the holiday menu featuring Hot Chocolate Stout, Gingerbread Pastry Sour, Pineapple Upside Down Cake Milkshake IPA and Christmas Ale.

full moon over the river

Let the Full Moon Light the Way and Take a Guided Paddle Tour on the Santa Fe River
Saturday, November 28, 7:15 p.m. | Santa Fe Canoe Outpost
21410 NW US Hwy 441, High Springs, FL 32643

November’s full moon is known as the Beaver Moon or Frost Moon. The tour includes a two-person canoe or double kayak, safety equipment and transportation. Reservations are required. 

high springs tree lighting

Join Holiday Festivities at the Annual High Springs Christmas Tree Lighting
Friday, November 27, 6 p.m. | High Springs
23517 NW 185 Rd., High Springs, FL 32643

The High Springs Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Browse vendors with free treats for kids. Visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves. Enjoy Christmas music. The High Springs Farmer’s Market stays open late with prepared foods and local produce.

friday night lights at butler town center

Get Festive with Butler Town Center’s Annual Tree Lightings
Friday, November 27, 6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Butler Town Center
2851 SW 35th Dr., Gainesville, FL 32608

Join Butler Town Center on Friday nights 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 may also be viewed online from the Shop at Butler Facebook page.

If you’re adding shopping to your post-Thanksgiving plans, find Black Friday Hours here.

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, a 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.

jazz night at the keys

Make it a Relaxing Monday with the Soothing Saxophone from Paul Johnson at Jazz Night
Monday, November 30, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. | The Keys Grill and Piano Bar
4860 Celebration Pointe Ave. #30, Gainesville, FL 32608 

Throughout the year, Paul Johnson performs solo and as the lead saxophone in the Paul Johnson Quartet. On Mondays, The Keys Grill and Piano Bar sets the stage for an ensemble of Gainesville’s best talent and a fresh playlist 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.

wooden targets at the hatchetbury

Save on a Post-Thanksgiving Axe-Throwing Session
Friday, November 27, 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. | The Hatchetbury Axe Throwing Bar
213 NW 8th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601

Choose from 1 or 2-hour axe throwing sessions, including drinks, with The Hatchetbury’s Black Friday savings.

Axes have been around since prehistoric times, but only in the past several years has axe throwing in popularity as a fun recreational activity. Book your session and let “Ax-perts” review safety and throwing basics before you take aim to hit wooden targets. View safety information here. With a commitment to following CDC guidelines, The Hatchetbury aims to be a safe place to let off some steam. Book online at

songs from the heart

Songs From The Heart with Kaleigh Baker and Taylor Raynor
Friday, November 27, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Online Event with Heartwood Soundstage

Kaleigh Baker delivers powerful vocals and music blending rock, jazz and soul. Taylor Raynor has a unique style all his own borrowing from folk, indie and pop.

“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.

Arts & Theatre

The Roommate, Streaming Theatre Performance Presented by Actors’ Warehouse
November 27-29
A dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off. Upon ticket purchase, the online video is available anytime during a 48-hour period.

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

musician jerry chapman

Country Folk with Jerry Chapman at Lightnin’ Salvage
Friday, November 27, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Live Stand Up Comedy Night at Flaco’s
Thursday, November 26, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Classic Rock Crooked Counsel at One Love Cafe
Friday, November 27, 6 p.m.

Acoustic Guitarist Extraordinaire Richy Stano at One Love Cafe
Sunday, November 29, 11 a.m.

Country at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Friday, November 20, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Rock, Pop Covers with Treble Hook at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Friday, November 27, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

little mike and the tornadoes at the great outdoors

Rock and Blues with Little Mike and the Tornados at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Saturday, November 28, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Soulful Blues with Cassie Evans at Lightnin’ Salvage
Saturday, November 28, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Keg of Laughs Stand Up Comedy Hour at World of Beer
Tuesday, December 1, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Country Music at The Great Outdoors Restaurant
Wednesday, December 2, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Craft Breweries

Hops & Shop at High Springs Brewing Company
Friday, November 27, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Classic Rock with The Medicine Show at High Springs Brewing Company
Friday, November 27, 7 p.m.

A Blackadder Black Friday at Blackadder Brewing Company
Friday, November 27, 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Beer Bingo Tuesday at Big Top Brewing Company Gainesville
Tuesday, December 1, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Cornhole Tourney at High Springs Brewing Company
Wednesday, December 2, 6 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

Post-Thanksgiving Brunch at Headwaters
Friday, November 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Brunch and Bottomless Mimosas at Joel’s Coffeehouse
Sunday, November 29, 9 a.m. – 1 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.


virtual kickoff lunch with dan mullen

Virtual Kickoff Lunch with Dan Mullen
Friday, November 27, 12 p.m.

10th Annual Customer Appreciation Sale at Gary’s Tackle Box
Now through Thursday, December 24

Greater Orlando Baseball at Champions Park
November 28 – 29

Mountain Bike Rides with Goodbike
Tuesday, December 1, 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

Music Themed Sunday at the Cade Museum
Sunday, November 29, 12 p.m.

Winter Showcase at GFAA Gallery
Now Through January 2

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.
Closed Thanksgiving Day

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

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.
Closed Thanksgiving Day

Save The Date

Gainesville Community Playhouse Reopens with A Cedar Key Christmas, December 4

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

Table for Two Beer Dinner at The Wooly, December 4

Christkindlmarkt at Blackadder Brewing Company, December 4-5

GLAM 2020 at First Magnitude Brewing Company, December 6

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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