The Cvent Gainesville meeting planning guide is a comprehensive city guide for meeting planning professionals seeking information about Gainesville. Home to the University of Florida, Gainesville prides itself on being more than a great college town. From the quaint downtown where live oak trees draped in Spanish moss line the streets to nearby natural attractions like waterways, waterfalls and pine forests, Gainesville and Gainesville event venues share an engaging personality that transcends university life, providing small to medium-sized groups a diverse Central Florida destination.
Approximately a two-hour drive north of Orlando and an hour west of Jacksonville, Gainesville is located four miles from Gainesville Regional Airport and 70 miles from Jacksonville International Airport.
Hotels in Gainesville include several national chain brands, highlighted by the 248-room Hilton University of Florida Conference Center Gainesville, with 25,000 square feet of meeting space. Other meetings-friendly properties include the 197-room Paramount Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, with 14,000 square feet of meeting space and the 90-room Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Gainesville, with 2,000 square feet of meeting space.
With no convention centers in Gainesville, planners look to other options, like the 12,000-seat Stephen C. O'Connell Center, a multi-purpose arena on the University of Florida campus; and the Hippodrome, including both a 266-seat live-performance theater and 80-seat cinema theater.
For smaller, unique off-site facilities, the menu includes the Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club, which has an 18-hole Gary Player–designed championship golf course and a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse with private dining and banquet rooms and Emerson Alumni Hall, University of Florida, a facility offering the 4,878-square-foot Presidents Room, which can handle 300 theater-style and 300 for a reception.
Popular group entertainment activities include attending a college football game during the fall at 90,000-seat Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; taking an antiques shopping excursion to nearby small towns like Micanopy, Newberry and High Springs; and visiting museums such as the Thomas Center and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, one of the largest university-owned art museums in the U.S.
Gainesville's restaurant lineup goes well beyond college town sports pubs. Among the top choices are Mark's Prime Steakhouse, Embers Wood Grill and Dragonfly Modern Izakaya & Sushi.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user: DouglasGreen