Discover the Top 15 Places to Visit When You Are in Gainesville, Georgia

There is a lot to do in Gainesville, Georgia. Whether you’re looking for things to do with your family and friends or things to do solo, we have something here for everyone!

From restaurants and bars to museums and parks – it’s all right here!

Here are 15 things to do in Gainesville, Georgia!

Don Carter State Park

Don Carter State Park
Photo: Crystal C.

The Don Carter State Park is a beautiful park with things to do for everyone. You can camp, hike and fish, or just enjoy the scenery. The park is home to the biggest and best disc golf course in Georgia! Gainesville has things to do for everybody.

Don Carter State Park, nestled on the shores of Lake Lanier in northern Georgia, is a natural haven offering a diverse range of outdoor experiences. Covering over 1,300 acres, it’s a paradise for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and families alike.

One of the standout features of the park is its stunning lakefront setting. The clear blue waters of Lake Lanier invite visitors to enjoy a multitude of water activities. Boating, fishing, and swimming are popular pastimes, while the park’s sandy beach provides a perfect spot for relaxation and sunbathing. Don Carter State Park is also a fantastic destination for birdwatchers and hikers. The park boasts a network of well-maintained trails, with the Woodland Loop and Overlook Loop being favorites for their scenic beauty and wildlife sightings.

For those looking to stay overnight, the park offers a variety of camping options, from tent sites to RV hookups, and even cottages for a more comfortable experience. The amenities are clean and well-kept, and the friendly staff adds to the overall positive experience.

Don Carter State Park is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s a place where you can connect with nature, create lasting memories, and enjoy the serene beauty of Georgia’s natural landscapes. Whether you’re a water enthusiast, a hiker, or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, this park has something for everyone.

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Elachee Nature Science Center

Elachee Nature Science Center, situated in the heart of Gainesville, Georgia, is an environmental gem that offers an enriching and immersive experience for nature lovers of all ages. With a mission to promote environmental education and conservation, Elachee provides a diverse array of engaging programs and exhibits.

The center’s highlight is its pristine 1,500-acre nature preserve, featuring a variety of ecosystems such as wetlands, woodlands, and meadows. Visitors can explore well-maintained trails, providing a chance to witness the native flora and fauna up close. The interactive exhibits inside the visitor center offer valuable insights into the region’s biodiversity, making it an excellent learning opportunity for students and families.

Elachee’s educational programs are particularly commendable. From guided nature hikes and wildlife encounters to school field trips, the center fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for the environment. Their commitment to environmental stewardship and research is evident throughout the facility.

The staff at Elachee is passionate, knowledgeable, and always ready to answer questions and share their expertise. The gift shop features eco-friendly and locally sourced products, adding to the overall experience.

Elachee Nature Science Center stands as a shining example of environmental education centers, providing an inspiring blend of education and natural beauty that’s worth exploring for a day or more. Whether you’re a student, a family, or simply someone seeking a deeper connection to nature, Elachee offers an excellent opportunity to connect with the natural world.

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Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Photo: Julie C.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to spend the day!

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a horticultural paradise nestled in the heart of Georgia’s capital. This lush and vibrant oasis spans over 30 acres and offers visitors an enchanting journey through meticulously curated gardens, showcasing an astonishing array of plant life from around the world.

One of the most striking features of the garden is the Fuqua Conservatory, a magnificent glasshouse that houses an incredible collection of tropical and desert plants. Here, you can explore diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests to arid deserts, all under one roof. The canopy walk, a suspension bridge that takes you through the treetops, is a thrilling and educational experience that offers panoramic views of the garden.

The outdoor gardens are equally captivating, with themed sections like the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and the enchanting Children’s Garden, designed to engage and educate the youngest visitors. The garden is also known for its stunning seasonal displays, including the breathtaking Orchid Daze and Garden Lights, Holiday Nights during the winter.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden isn’t just a place for plant enthusiasts; it’s a cultural and educational hub. It hosts art exhibitions, plant sales, and various classes and workshops. The garden’s cafe offers a delightful culinary experience with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Overall, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is a botanical wonderland where nature, art, and education converge, making it a must-visit destination for anyone in search of beauty, inspiration, and a deeper connection with the natural world.

Lake Sidney Lanier

Lake Sidney Lanier

Lake Lanier is beautiful to visit year-round! On the water, sailing is a popular thing to do.

It’s got stunning views and an escape from the city and into nature. Many visitors enjoy fishing at Lake Lanier as well as water sports like jet skiing or rowing.

If you’d rather stay on land, there are things to do on the shore as well! Bring your family and friends for a picnic at one of Lake Lanier’s many parks, including beautiful islands.

You can also enjoy activities like hiking or geocaching around the lake with over six miles of trails available. There are also 621 miles of shoreline so you can enjoy the beach to the max!

Frances Meadows Aquatic Center’s Splash Zone

Frances Meadows Aquatic Center's Splash Zone
Photo: Frances Meadows Aquatic Center FB

Frances Meadows Aquatic Center is an amazing place to go with the family.

The Frances Meadows Aquatic Center in Gainesville, Georgia, is a top-notch facility that caters to swimmers and water enthusiasts of all ages. This state-of-the-art aquatic center boasts a variety of amenities that make it a fantastic destination for both fitness and leisure.

The center offers multiple pools, including a competition pool for serious swimmers, a leisure pool with water features for family fun, and a therapy pool for those seeking aquatic rehabilitation. The splash pad and water slides are perfect for children, and the lazy river provides a relaxing experience for all.

The cleanliness and maintenance of the facility are commendable, ensuring a pleasant visit for all guests. The center also offers swim lessons, water aerobics classes, and special events, making it a versatile and community-oriented space.

With its friendly staff, diverse aquatic offerings, and modern facilities, Frances Meadows Aquatic Center is an excellent choice for people looking to enjoy aquatic activities, improve their swimming skills, or simply have a fun and relaxing day by the pool.

Kinsey Family Farm

Photo: Kinsey Family Farm FB

The Kinsey Family Farm is a huge fall destination for its nursery and garden center.

The Kinsey Family Farm, located in Gainesville, Georgia, is a delightful destination for those seeking a quintessential farm experience. This family-owned farm offers a charming and interactive environment for visitors of all ages.

One of the highlights of the Kinsey Family Farm is its picturesque pumpkin patch during the fall season, where families can pick their own pumpkins and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Additionally, the farm hosts a Christmas tree farm in winter, offering an enchanting backdrop for selecting the perfect tree for the holiday season.

The farm’s friendly staff and warm, welcoming atmosphere create a memorable experience. Beyond pumpkins and Christmas trees, the Kinsey Family Farm features a petting zoo, farm animals, hayrides, and a charming country store stocked with seasonal decorations, homemade goods, and unique gifts.

The farm’s commitment to tradition and community engagement is evident in its calendar of events and educational programs. Whether you’re in search of seasonal fun or a taste of rural life, the Kinsey Family Farm offers a heartwarming and authentic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids
Photo: Nicki K.

The Interactive Neighborhood for Kids is an excellent children’s museum that’s about learning while playing.

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids (INK), located in Gainesville, Georgia, is a gem of a children’s museum that provides an engaging and educational experience for kids and families. INK offers a dynamic, hands-on environment where children can explore, learn, and play.

The museum features various interactive exhibits that cater to different age groups and interests. From a mini grocery store and a bank to a science lab and a pretend farm, kids can immerse themselves in various real-world scenarios. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and always ready to assist and educate the little explorers.

INK hosts special events and programs throughout the year, making it an ever-evolving space for learning and entertainment. It’s an excellent venue for birthday parties, school field trips, and family outings. The museum’s emphasis on creativity and discovery fosters a love of learning while having fun.

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids is a place where children’s imaginations can run wild, making it a must-visit for those seeking a stimulating, interactive, and fun-filled educational experience.

Northeast Georgia History Center

Northeast Georgia History Center
Photo: Northeast Georgia History Center

The Northeast Georgia History Center is the place to go to learn about the community.

The Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville, Georgia, is a treasure trove of regional history and a captivating journey into the past. Nestled within the charming campus of Brenau University, this museum offers visitors a rich and immersive experience that showcases the history and culture of Northeast Georgia.

The center boasts a well-curated collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that trace the region’s history from its Native American roots to the Civil War era and beyond. It provides a comprehensive look at the people, events, and industries that have shaped the area.

What sets the Northeast Georgia History Center apart is its commitment to education and community engagement. They offer a wide range of programs and events, including lectures, workshops, and family-oriented activities. The staff is knowledgeable and passionate about the local history, always eager to share stories and answer questions.

The museum’s attention to detail, the authenticity of its exhibits, and its dedication to preserving and sharing the past make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts, students, and anyone interested in understanding the deep and diverse history of Northeast Georgia.

The beautiful setting of Brenau University’s campus only adds to the overall charm of the experience. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, the Northeast Georgia History Center provides an enriching journey through time that leaves you with a deeper appreciation for the region’s heritage.

Quinlan Visual Arts Center

Quinlan Visual Arts Center
Photo: Quinlan Visual Arts Center

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, Georgia, is a cultural gem that enriches the community through the celebration of art in all its forms. This institution is a vital hub for visual arts, fostering creativity and serving as a platform for artists, students, and art enthusiasts alike.

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center’s galleries are the heart of the facility, featuring an impressive array of rotating exhibitions showcasing a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums. Whether you’re interested in painting, sculpture, photography, or other forms of visual expression, the Quinlan Center consistently offers thought-provoking and visually stimulating displays.

The center is not only a space to appreciate art but also to create it. They offer a variety of art classes and workshops for all skill levels, making it a perfect place to explore your creative potential. The passionate and knowledgeable instructors provide valuable guidance and encouragement.

In addition to its visual art programs, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center hosts community events, fundraisers, and art-related activities that engage the public and strengthen the local art scene. The annual “Art in the Square” is a highlight, transforming the historic square into a vibrant open-air art market.

With its commitment to fostering art appreciation and creativity, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center is a cornerstone of cultural enrichment in Gainesville. Whether you’re an aspiring artist, an art lover, or simply seeking inspiration, this center is an inviting and essential destination for all things art in North Georgia.

Smithgall Arts Center

concert from the art council, smithgall arts center
Photo: The Arts Council FB

The Smithgall Arts Center, located in Gainesville, Georgia, is a true cultural gem that provides a stunning backdrop for a wide array of artistic performances and events. Nestled in the midst of the North Georgia mountains, this venue is a testament to the power of art and nature coming together.

One of the standout features of the Smithgall Arts Center is its breathtaking outdoor amphitheater. Surrounded by lush greenery and nestled beside a serene lake, it offers a unique and picturesque setting for live performances. Concerts, theater productions, and other artistic events are elevated by the natural beauty of the surroundings. It’s an idyllic place to enjoy a summer evening of music or a theatrical production under the stars.

The center hosts an impressive lineup of cultural events, including concerts, dance performances, and theatrical productions, catering to a wide range of artistic tastes. The quality of performances, along with the acoustics and seating arrangements, ensures a memorable experience for attendees.

In addition to the performance space, the Smithgall Arts Center also features a visual arts gallery, where local and regional artists can showcase their work, adding an extra dimension to the cultural experience.

This venue stands as a testament to the power of art and nature coming together to create a space where creativity thrives, and patrons are treated to unforgettable cultural experiences. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to Gainesville, the Smithgall Arts Center is a must-visit destination for a dose of art and natural beauty.

Gainesville Theater Alliance

Gainesville Theater Alliance
Photo: Gainesville Theater Alliance FB

Gainesville Theater Alliance (GTA) is a cultural powerhouse that brings the magic of the stage to life in Gainesville, Georgia. It’s a collaboration between Brenau University and the University of North Georgia, resulting in a dynamic and enriching theater program.

The heart of GTA’s success lies in its commitment to quality and diversity. They offer a wide range of theatrical productions, from classic dramas to contemporary musicals, showcasing the talent of both students and professional actors. The performances are not only entertaining but also thought-provoking, reflecting the dedication to storytelling and artistic excellence.

GTA provides an excellent platform for aspiring actors, directors, and technicians to gain real-world experience. The staff, instructors, and artists involved in the productions are passionate and skilled, creating a nurturing environment for growth and creativity.

The various venues used by GTA offer a range of viewing experiences, from intimate black box theaters to grand, traditional stages. Whether you’re a theater enthusiast or simply looking for a memorable night out, Gainesville Theater Alliance consistently delivers captivating and well-executed productions that enrich the cultural landscape of North Georgia.

Downtown Drafts

Downtown Drafts
Mimosa Flight! Photo: Kayla K.

Downtown Drafts in Gainesville, Georgia, is a craft beer lover’s paradise.

With an extensive selection of craft beers on tap and an inviting, cozy atmosphere, it’s the ideal spot for beer enthusiasts and those looking for a relaxing hangout. The staff is knowledgeable and always eager to help you find the perfect brew to suit your tastes.

The rotating selection of beers ensures there’s something new to try on each visit, and the tasting events and local brewery features add an extra layer of excitement. Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or just dipping your toes into the craft beer scene, Downtown Drafts is a welcoming, community-oriented place to enjoy quality brews.

Beulah Rucker Museum

The Beulah Rucker Museum in Gainesville, Georgia, stands as a remarkable testament to the life and legacy of an extraordinary woman, Beulah Rucker Oliver. This museum is a hidden gem that shares her story and sheds light on the African American experience in North Georgia.

The museum offers a poignant and comprehensive journey through history, featuring exhibits on the life of Beulah Rucker, the Civil Rights Movement, and the contributions of African Americans to the local community. The artifacts, photographs, and documents provide valuable insights into the struggles and triumphs of a resilient community.

The museum’s commitment to education and cultural enrichment is evident through its various programs, lectures, and community events. It serves as a vital hub for preserving African American heritage and fostering dialogue on important social issues.

The staff and volunteers are passionate and dedicated, making a visit to the Beulah Rucker Museum not only informative but also deeply moving. It’s a place that honors the past while inspiring hope for a more inclusive future, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in history, culture, and social justice.

Piedmont Hotel

the Piedmont Hotel Gainesville Georgia
The Piedmont Hotel in 2016 Photo: Longstreet Society FB Page

Piedmont Hotel is a historic hotel that has been around since 1876 and is one of the oldest hotels in the area.

It served as the base of Lt. general James Longstreet and has welcomed many historical icons in its rooms like former President Woodrow Wilson.

The Piedmont Hotel in downtown Gainesville, Georgia, nestled in the heart of the city, exudes old-world charm with modern comforts. The hotel’s classic architecture and elegant decor offer a nostalgic atmosphere, creating a unique and cozy ambiance. The rooms are comfortable, with attention to detail and cleanliness, making for a pleasant stay. The hotel’s location is convenient, allowing easy access to local shops, restaurants, and attractions.

The friendly and accommodating staff enhances the overall experience, providing excellent service. Whether you’re a history buff, a traveler seeking a unique stay, or simply looking for a comfortable and charming accommodation in Gainesville, the Piedmont Hotel delivers a memorable and enjoyable visit.