University of Florida: Gainesville, FL

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University of Florida

Tailgating in The Swamp at the University of Florida.

University of Florida: Tailgatin’ in Jorts and Tank-Tops!

Lodging:

I you have friends in Gainesville, stay with them, if not…don’t worry, It’s a big enough town you’ll find something whether it be near the stadium or something cheaper downtown. The Holiday Inn on W. University Ave is a great location, but you’ll be paying close to $300-$400 if you’re lucky enough to book in advance. The Hampton Inn downtown isn’t a terrible option, you can always catch a taxi from downtown on gameday. For the el-cheapo’s, you can find plenty of sketchy hotels on 13th St. south of Archer Rd, remember, you get what you pay for.

Crap to do:

There are a couple places nearby to kill sometime. Ocala Jai Alai offers poker tournaments and live games and is only a 30 minute ride away. You can bet the ponies too. The river tubing over at Ginnie Springs is fun if you can put a group together. You can also scuba dive and do other water activities.

Grub time:

Gainesville, like most college towns has some great eats. Hogan’s Great Sandwiches is a simple spot, but done right. The meat to bread ratio, which is key for those of us who like a good “samich”, the meatball sub is good too. Burrito Bros. Taco Co is guarantee gut-rock, but it’s the best gut-rock you’ll ever have. Italian Gator Pizza offers the best slice in town and keeps slinging them until 2:30 a.m.  Dragonfly is one of the fancier restaurants in town with sushi and cocktails, but that’s not the best part. Ryan Lochte, so the restaurant gets plenty of attention. The Ballyhoo Grill is decent, they put your burger in between two grilled cheese sandwiches.  The best breakfast in town comes at Ivey’s Grill, but you might have to wait an hour or so to eat. Potato pancakes are the thing, but you can’t go wrong with the Eggs Benedict of the French Toast either. For local barbecue you can get decent food at Adam’s Rib Co.

Boozing joints:

Everyone loves “Beat the Clock” Fridays at Grog House down the street. Pitchers start for a quarter at 9 p.m. and go up every fifteen minutes. As you’d expect, the place fills up early and gets ugly quickly. The Salty Dog is a more laid back experience, but there’s still fun to be had. If you can drink all 50 beers from 50 different countries, you get a free t-shirt. There’s a good downtown scene too that trends a little older. Tall Paul’s Brewhouse is a great place to grab a beer, duh…the name. They’ve got local and harder to find non-local as well.  Continuing with the beer theme, Stubbies and Steins is a sweet spot with 400 different bottled beers, but sometimes the service is lacking. You’ll get all the country music you can handle.

University of Florida

Mr. Two Bits at the University of Florida

Parking/Tailgatin’

It’s pretty spread out along the lines of what you see at UGA, not Ole Miss or Alabama. The lawn north of the stadium is ideal so that you can be close to the “Gator Walk,” but those spots lock down early. Otherwise, you can just park yourself in one of the open spots along University Ave on the campus side. Those wanting to avoid the sun can head to the Plaza of the Americas near the library. It’s a standard tailgating atmosphere with your games, food, and hot chicks in sundresses.

I want to point out that the open container situation in Gainesville is not so good. You can only have an open container on the campus side of University Ave. If you stumble/stagger across to the other side of the street with an open container, they’ll lock you down with a ticket, quickly. Oh Yeah, and out-of-staters pay a higher fine than Floridians.

Traditions:

The Gator football crowd is a serious bunch, who can talk game with the best of them. (Just don’t tell them Tim Tebow can’t play quarterback.) Finally, you can wear jorts and it’s totally acceptable.

Mr. Two Bits started in 1949 at Florida Field when George Edmondson looked at the crowd around him as the Gators were playing The Citadel. Fans were booing the team and George would not stand for it, he jumped up and got the fans cheering, and so began the legend of Mr. Two Bits. For 60 years, Gator fans from all across the world became eternally grateful for the man who started every Gator home football game with the phrase “Two-bits, Four-bits, Six-bits, a dollar. All for the Gators, Stand up and holler!” The Gators now use celebrity “Two Bits.”

We are the Boys happens between the third and fourth quarter, fans stand, lock arms, and sway to “We Are The Boys.”

Finally, The Gator Walk, like every other SEC school it takes place approximately 2 hours prior to kickoff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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