5 Delicious Hot Spots Where Gainesville Students Can Party It Up!

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Gainesville is a vibrant college town with a seemingly infinite number of places to eat, drink, and be merry! Of course, sometimes there is such a thing as too many choices. So where can you go when you’re not in lass or hitting the books? We’re glad you asked…

101 Cantina

101 Cantina in Gainesville

The 101 Cantina is a zesty Mexican lounge standing right in the heart of the bustling Midtown neighborhood. Forget about the stresses of school as you perch on a stool at the tiki bar and down a refreshing margarita beneath the hot Florida sun. If you’re not a big fan of margaritas, don’t fret! There are plenty of other tequila-based options on their ample drink menu and a hearty beer selection. If you’re hoping to devour some delicious Tex-Mex food made from scratch, then you’ve come to the right place! You can even get a your photo featured in the El Cinco Loco hall of fame by downing a fat 5-pound burrito. Believe us – it’s not nearly as easy as it might sound! 101 Cantina’s chill tropical atmosphere, outstanding drink specials, and fab location make it a favorite for UF and Santa Fe students alike!

Menu Favorites: Any Tapas-Style Taco, Classic 101 Margarita


Flying Biscuit Cafe

Flying Biscuit Cafe in Gainesville

The Flying Biscuit Cafe is Gainesville’s primer destination for filling Southern-style breakfast food. What’s even better is that it’s served all day long! Though this chain is not local to Gainesville, students and locals alike have developed a unique affection for this spot. The long waits regularly come with the package when dining here, serving as solid testimony for the food’s outstanding quality. In addition, this colorful restaurant boasts bold floral table clothes and cheerful sunflower murals that are sure to make an impression! With a easy hour wait time and 5,000 biscuit sales a day, it’s clear that the Flying Biscuit’s down-home cooking style is beloved in Gainesville!

Menu Favorites: Creamy Dreamy Grits, Biscuits and Gravy

Flying Biscuit Cafe Breakfast


Leonardo’s Pizza 

Leonardo's Pizza in Gainesville

With its convenient location right across from campus and affordable Italian-style fare, its no wonder that Leonardo’s Pizza has become an institution in Gainesville! This classic student hot spot has been trucking’ since 1979, where it was once an edgy take-out place with graffiti-covered walls. Though the place has taken on a friendlier atmosphere with some red paint and hip wall art, it still retains its down-to-earth feel. They offer a variety of choices ranging from pizza to calzones to salads, but the pizza is an obvious favorite. Leonardo’s is the perfect place for grabbing a quick slice or sitting around to chat with a few buds.

Menu Favorites: Any deep dish slice of pizza

Leonardo's Pizza Slices


Salty Dog Saloon 

Salty Dog Saloon Gainesville Dive Bar

Though Gainesville has its fair share of bars to choose from, Salty Dog Saloon is one of the oldest dives in Midtown. Open since 1962, this dimly-lit, lived-in bar has been serving cheap pitchers of beer, strong liquors, sweet wines, and greasy bar food to students and professors alike! The outstanding Happy Hour with half-price food and Wednesday Beer Fest often attracts both undergrads and grad students in droves. While you’re kicking back your brew, request a song on the jukebox or shoot a game of pool with your friends. One Yelp review even called it “the ultimate college bar in a town full of college bars.”

Menu Favorites: Free chips and salsa

Salty Dog Saloon Drinks


The Swamp

The Swamp Restaurant and Bar

Built in the former home of a UF professor, The Swamp Restaurant & Bar seamlessly mixes the feel of a casual restaurant and a college bar. Considering that this establishment is named after the UF campus stadium, which is located nearby, it’s no surprise that The Swamp becomes a prime destination for students on game day. Its quality Happy Hour specials and delicious pub fare also earn it major points with students. People can often be found dining out on the airy balcony and wooden decks, which enjoy the pleasurable shade of a nearby oak tree. UF’s active Greek student body can frequently be found haunting this local Gainesville favorite.

Menu Favorites: Sweet Potato Fries, Gator Tacos

The Swamp Restaurant Cuisine

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Credits: RoadtrippersGamedayrVisit Gainesville, Scherer Construction, Mrs HintonBeth K, Watch Me Eat, Gainesville Scene, The Culture TripThe Swamp Restaurant