Top 13 Best Things to Do in Gainesville for Christmas (2022)

All roads in Gator Nation are leading to some of the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas to put you in the festive spirit.

It’s not just the infamous sunny weather brightening up Florida this time of year.

It’s the lights and magic of all the Christmas activities in Gainesville that are making things merry and bright.  

The Florida Hipster Blog has unwrapped 13 of the best ways to celebrate a Gainesville Christmas. So let us present you with a holiday season to remember!

Holiday Tree in the night sky. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

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1. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 

The sounds of Christmas fill up the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on November 17th

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas orchestra. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas is a tradition that is loved every holiday season throughout America. 

With pricing from $29 to $80, everyone can experience a little fa la la and get themselves into the spirit of Christmas. 

Location: 250 Gale Lemerand Dr. Gainesville Fl. 32611

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2. Christmas Carol at the Hippodrome 

A Gainesville Christmas isn’t complete without one of the city’s favorite holiday traditions, this year marks the 40th anniversary!

City nightscape Hippodrome Theatre Gainesville Florida. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Hippodrome Theatre Gainesville, Florida

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

Running from November 26 to December 23 the Christmas Carol’s timeless classic brings Christmas joy to the hearts of all ages. 

A Christmas Carol in Gainesville Hippodrome Theater. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Image Courtesy of Hippodrome Theater

Lighthearted, spirited music and always with a bit of laughs. You won’t find a single bah humbug in the seats of the Hippodrome Theatre

Location: 25 SE 2nd Place Gainesville, FL. 32601 

3. The 10th Annual Holiday Showcase 

Hurry down the chimney on December 7th and make your way to Sweetwater Branch Inn. 

Holiday Showcase at Sweetwater Branch Inn. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Image Courtesy of Sweetwater Branch Inn

It’s time for the 10th Annual Holiday Showcase for one of the best Christmas activities in Gainesville to get you in that ho- ho- holiday spirit. 

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

You can support Christmas in Gainesville by shopping locally while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and even a chance at plenty of door prizes.

Sweetwater Inn Gainesville, Florida
Photo Courtesy of Sweetwater Inn (via Hotels.com)

If you have non-perishable food items to bring, don’t forget to do so.  Tis the season to share and the Displaced Homemakers Program will be receiving some extra love and care. 

Location: Sweetwater Branch Inn, 625 E University Ave. Gainesville, FL.

4. Winter Outdoor Market (Williston) 

Sparkly bows and mistletoe adorn the winter outdoor market in Williston Horseman’s Park. 

Winter Outdoor Market in Williston, Florida. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo Courtesy of Williston Horseman’s Park

It may be beginning to cost a lot like Christmas but not at the Williston Winter Outdoor Market. It’s free to walk around and enjoy a day out amongst 35 vendors. 

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

Returning for its 4th year the annual outdoor market will be lined with food vendors to fill your bellies like Santa on Christmas Eve.

Bring the family and stop in to see Santa when he makes his jolly ol’appearance.  

Location: Williston Horseman’s Park 803 SW 19th Avenue Williston, FL. 32696

5. Depot Park Christmas Lights

Christmas in Gainesville is beginning to sparkle and shine! All thanks to the holiday light display at Depot Park.

Depot Park Holiday Lights. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo from Depot Park Facebook Page

Come early enough to watch the colors of the Florida sunset then ready set glow.

The holiday twinkle of the promenade will begin to brighten the way around 5:30 p.m. each night (usually running from December 1st through December 31st). 

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

A Boxcar Wine & Beer Garden will have you feeling like it’s the most wine-derful time of the year.

Depot Park Playground Gainesville Florida. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

A DJ and live entertainment are usually on-site on select days to lift everyone’s spirits and of course a feast of desserts and scrumptious food from local businesses.

Location: 874 S.E. 4th Street Gainesville, FL. 

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6. Kirby Family Farms Christmas Train 

It’s full steam ahead for your family and loved ones to Williston Florida home of the Kirby Family Farm.

Florida's Christmas Train at Kirby Family Farm. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo from Kirby Family Farm Facebook Page

The 11th annual Christmas train awaits your “presents” for the 20-minute holiday voyage on the 100-year-old locomotive. The fun begins November 25th

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

It’s one of the most loved Christmas trains in Florida. And it’s also wheelchair and stroller accessible so no one misses out on the holiday fun!

Holiday Train at Kirby Farm. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

But don’t just sleigh your way here for the epic train ride. Antique Ferris wheel rides, manger babies petting area, Christmas magic show, Italian carousel, dance party, and a tractor ride to a lost Christmas town. 

And of course, Santa and all his Christmas buddies will be here!

Location: 19630 NE 30 St, Williston, FL 32696

7. Archer Christmas Celebration: Parade of Lights and Toy Giveaways

Get into feast mode for the Archer Christmas Celebration. With free chili and hot dogs, your bellies will be jolly and full. 

Archer Christmas Celebration. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo Courtesy of Archer Christmas Celebration

December 3rd is shining bright this year with the Parade of Lights and Toy Giveaways.

It is the season to sparkle and 6:30 p.m. marks the start of the parade as they compete in the float contest.

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

Good ol’fashioned caroling and a toy giveaway, there is joy in the air. Then Wilson Robinson Park is the place to be after for all the holiday fun. 

Archer Christmas Celebration. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

Location: Wilson Robinson Park 13975 SW 174th St, Archer, FL 32618

8. Chiefland Christmas Festival & Parade

There is no better way than to feel the magic of Christmas in Florida than the Chiefland Christmas Festival & Parade. Best of all, it’s free!

Operation Santa Delivery in Chiefland Florida. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Don’t forget this event where you can meet Santa Claus (Photo from Chiefland Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page)

Opening festivities unwrap at 10 am focusing on family fun. With pony rides and inflatables for the kids, it will feel like Christmas morning has come early.

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

Pictures with Santa, rock climbing, bungee jumping, a parade, and a night of bonfires and carriage rides, December 10th 2022 is a full lineup yule definitely want to attend. 

Santa reading list at Chiefland Christmas Festival & Parade. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

Location: Train Depot Park 23 SE 2nd Ave Chiefland, FL. 32626

9. High Springs Tree Lighting and Festival 

Have an evening of fun with your jingle ladies and friends on December 3rd on High Springs Main Street. 

High Springs Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo Courtesy of High Springs Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Shops will be open for a night of shopping along with those one-of-a-kind crafts to pick up all those Christmas gifts for your loved ones. 

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

Hot chocolate and cookies to sweeten up all those coming to witness the wonder of the annual tree lighting. And holiday entertainment sets the scene of Christmas Wonderland. 

Location: Main Street High Springs, FL. 

10. Light Up Tioga Town Center

Christmas fun for the whole family returns to Tioga Town Center on November 27. Set aside 4 pm to 8 pm for some free festivities.

Light Up Tioga Holiday Festival. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo from Tioga Town Center Facebook Page

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

It’s not just tree lighting that will brighten your spirit but there will be games, entertainment, vendors, and food trucks. Dances and live performances will have you decorated in cheer.

Light Up Tioga Express Train for the Holidays. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.
Photo from Tioga Town Center Facebook Page

Not only Santa appears but there are some surprise appearances scheduled to be made…

Location: 13085 SW 1 Ln, Newberry, FL 32669

11. Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Spend your night in the Kingdom of Sweets as the Sugar Plum Fairy dazzles and delights you. 

Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

The Dance Alive National Ballet arrives December 17 and 18 at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for a spectacle of holiday beauty with The Nutcracker. 

Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

Showings are at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and is a magical way to honor Christmas with the family. 

Location: 1325 NW 2nd Street Gainesville, FL. 32601

12. The Alachua Christmas Parade 

The Alachua Christmas Parade marches through Main Street on Saturday December 10. 

The Alachua Christmas Parade. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida 

Enjoy the colors and cheer of the floats going by bringing in the sounds and sights of Christmas to the streets of Alachua. 

So, save the date and be a part of its long-standing tradition bringing joy to hearts of all. 

Location: Main Street Alachua, FL. 

13. Holiday Tree Lighting at Thomas Center

Shimmer and shine, the Thomas Center Gardens illuminate in all the colors of Christmas on December 4th

Thomas Center in Gainesville Florida. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

Why We Love This Christmas Event in Gainesville, Florida

From 6 – 8 pm the trees throughout the gardens will transport you into a wonderland of bliss as you stroll through the thousands of lights that gleam.

Historic Thomas Center in Gainesville Florida

Bring an extra $5 so you can go back in time on a horse-drawn carriage ride. The scene is set with hundreds of luminaries all through the neighborhood. 

Location: 302 NE 6th Ave. Gainesville, FL. 32601

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My Final Thoughts on the Best Things to Do in Gainesville for Christmas

With all the things to do in Gainesville for Christmas the spirit of the season is captured for everyone to share. 

Hippodrome Theater during the holidays. Keep reading for the best things to do in Gainesville for Christmas.

From the colors of the twinkling lights to the annual celebrations bringing out the little kid in all of us.

13 Best Things to do in Gainesville for Christmas
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Christmas truly is one of the most magical times of the year to visit the sunshine state of Florida. 

Happy Florida Travels Hipster!

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