Game days in Gainesville are some of the most memorable experiences students have at the University of Florida. Being a big SEC school, students take sports very seriously, but they also make for the best excuse to socialize and party.
For home games, students and families alike tend to tailgate before the game, go to the stadium to watch the game, and then celebrate victories at bars in Midtown.
When it comes to away games, UF students still like to emulate the game day experience, even though there’s no game to attend. Knowing this, many restaurants and bars in the area will have game day specials and stream the game on their TVs. With so many options in Gainesville, it’s hard to know which places will provide you with the best way to experience game days.
So, to help you pick where you’ll spend your game days, we’ve compiled this list of the top 6 best places for students to experience game days at UF.
6 Best Places for UF Students to Experience Game Days
The Social at Midtown
Distance from Sweetwater: 10-minute walk
The Social at Midtown is located on University Avenue, and it is a popular restaurant in Gainesville. You do not have to be 21 years old to enter the restaurant, but you will have to show an ID to order any drinks. In the back of the restaurant, there’s a bar and multiple pool tables, making for a fun and entertaining way to watch a football game. On sunny days, the restaurant opens its rooftop bar, which is a very fun space to watch a football game outside.
Sweetwater Rooftop Pool
Sweetwater has a brand new rooftop pool with a jumbotron that streams every away game. This is a fun and convenient way to experience game days, especially if you live at Sweetwater, because you can watch the football game while swimming, tanning or grilling, and you can invite all your friends to experience it with you, all without leaving the comfort of your apartment building.
First Magnitude Brewing Company
Distance from Sweetwater: 6-minute drive
First Magnitude is a popular brewery in Gainesville, and it’s a great outdoor space to meet up with friends and watch away games together. Many students with pets opt into going to First Mag on game days because you can watch the game with your furry friend in a social environment while enjoying a flight of beers and ciders. You do not have to be 21 years old to go to First Mag, but you will have to show an ID to order any drinks. First Mag does not offer food itself, but they typically have food trucks on weekends and game days.
Distance from Sweetwater: 10-minute walk
Fat Daddy’s, also known as Fat’s, is a student favorite in Gainesville. Being one of the most popular bars in the area, Fat’s gets busy quickly, so if you’re planning on experiencing an away game here, you’ll want to check its Instagram account often to know what time the bar will be opening and get there on time (sometimes, for really popular games, you might even want to get there before the bar opens). Fat’s does check IDs at the door, so if you’re looking for somewhere to go with your younger friends, you’ll want to consider a different option.
The Swamp Restaurant
Distance from Sweetwater: 6-minute walk
The Swamp, named after the nickname for the UF football stadium, is a restaurant and bar located just a few blocks from Sweetwater. The Swamp used to be located in Midtown, but it was replaced by a new apartment building, so the owners rebuilt the restaurant in a new location on Second Avenue. Students were very excited to learn that The Swamp would be building a new restaurant, which opened in Summer 2022, and it is certainly going to be a popular place for students to experience away games in Gainesville.
Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille
Distance from Sweetwater: 16-minute drive
Spurrier’s is a local restaurant located in Celebration Pointe owned by the former UF football coach Steve Spurrier. Spurrier’s is decked out in UF memorabilia and features many signed footballs and jerseys as well as photographs of previous popular players and coaches. The restaurant has many TVs and screens set up throughout the space to make watching football games easy and fun. This restaurant is on the nicer side with better drinks and more expensive food, making for the perfect place to take your parents if they come to visit during an away game weekend.
We hope this review helped you learn more about where you can experience game days in Gainesville! So, next away game, we hope we’ve inspired you to try one of our favorite spots. As always, go gators!