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Make it a Friendsgiving
Although UF is officially closed from November 27th – December 1st, 2019, not all students will be going home for the holiday. Flights can be incredibly expensive around this time. Some students may have to work and others may go home with a local friend for a little turkey dinner. Perhaps, instead, you’ve decided to switch things around a bit and this year go to Gainesville for Thanksgiving. Whichever way it works out; there is plenty to do if you are going to be at UF for Thanksgiving this year.
Let Someone Else Do the Thanksgiving Cooking!
Many restaurants put together a great traditional meal for Thanksgiving. Some are less traditional but sound delicious. Check out some of these:
Best Western Gateway Grand – Reservation Only. 4200 NW 97th Blvd, Gainesville, FL 32606(352) 331-3336
Francesca’s Trattoria – Reservation Only. 4410 NW 25 Pl, Gainesville, FL (352) 378-7152
The Great Outdoors Restaurant – Reservations Only. 65 N Main St, High Springs, FL 32643 (386) 454-1288. Thanksgiving Buffet from 11a-4p $28.99 per person
Haile Village Bistro – Reservations Only. 5323 SW 91st Ter, Gainesville, FL 32608(352) 378-0721
Boston Market, 6483 Newberry Road, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., sliced roasted turkey breast or chicken, two sides, cornbread, apple or pumpkin pie, $10.99.
The Clock Restaurant, 2010 N. Main St. The 24/7/365 American diner is serving a traditional dinner with sliced turkey breast for $11.79.
Cracker Barrel, 4001 SW 43rd St., open from 6 am to 10 pm, traditional Thanksgiving dinner available after 11 am, $9.99 for adults, $4.99 for children.
Francesca’s Trattoria, 4410 NW 25th Place, is serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., for $29.95. Reservations are suggested by calling 352-378-7152.
IHOP Restaurant, 3613 SW 13th St., has turkey and ham dinners for $9.99.
Leonardo’s 706 – 706 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 378-2001
Metro Diner 2130 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32608 (352) 353-2889 Open until 3:30pm
Mildred’s Big City Foods, 3445 W.University Ave., is serving a three-course meal with an entree choice of turkey, steak, lamb or seafood ranging from $32-$38. Call 352-371-1711 to see if reservations are still available.
Backstreet Blues Chop House and Oyster Bar – 6500 SW Archer Road. Will be serving a Thanksgiving buffet priced around $34. Kids pricing available. All the fixings, carving station, dessert tower. Will be open from 11 am to 8 pm. Reservations only. Call 352-363-6792
Shula’s Steakhouse- located in the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, 1714 SW 34th Street. Seatings from 11 am- 5 pm. They will be serving a pre-fixe menu for $44.95/children 11 and under $29.95. Choose a starter of salad or butternut squash soup, entree choice of turkey, mustard crusted pork loin or 16 oz prime rib ($10 upcharge), family-style sides of mashed potatoes, sweet potato puree, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie cheesecake for dessert. Make reservations as they will be filled. 352-384-3460
Mi Apa Latin Café- 114 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32607 (352) 376-7020 Open 7am-3pm
Mother’s Pub – 1017 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 378-8135 Special Thanksgiving Menu
For Students Who Are Staying
Maybe your student will plan a Friendsgiving with some of their friends who decided to stay at UF. Cooking a turkey meal is ambitious so don’t be surprised if they call home to have mom help them out (or they can call 1-800-Butterball). Have each person make a dish or order your turkey and sides from The Fresh Market, Lucky’s Market or Publix and decorate the table (Pinterest has some great suggestions for decorating on a budget). They can grab some great disposable tableware at Party City, making clean up a breeze!
There is always Football…
A Thanksgiving tradition is the annual UF- FSU game. Doesn’t seem to matter about records when it comes to this rivalry; it’s all about bragging rights. This year the game is in Gainesville so you may want to head up for the game. You can try to get tickets on StubHub or watch it locally at almost anywhere in midtown. Read our blog on Where to Watch the Gators.
If you are staying in Gainesville, check out these holiday events:
AEC (Agricultural Education and Communication UF) Friendsgiving– Friday, November 22nd, 2 pm – 5 pm. Lake Wauburg. 133 Regatta Drive, Micanopy. There will be dinner, games, and opportunity to talk and network with others.
TurkeyTrot 5k & 10K – benefitting Tacachale and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The 10K is a friendly, off-road course through the turkey-filled forest surrounding Tacachale as well as the running trail encircling the perimeter of campus. The 5K course will stay on paved surfaces throughout the campus. These are both beautiful trails and safely free from traffic. Registration is open online and in-store until race day. They will also have on-site registration!
Rockey’sDueling Piano Show– Thursday, November 22nd 7 pm – 10 pm. Work off your holiday meal by heading with your friends and family for some musical fun. $5 per ticket. Reservations recommended.
Ocala Balloon Glow – Friday, November 23rd 5 pm to Sunday, November 25th 10 pm. The event features hot air balloons glowing at dusk and also the opportunity to take tethered balloon rides on-site, food trucks, and retail vendors. Santa will even be there. $20 per vehicle.
Perhaps you prefer to spend your Thanksgiving giving back to the community. There are many organizations, churches and synagogues, and homeless shelters that would be happy to have your help. If you are affiliated with a religious organization in Gainesville, you may want to start by asking if they have any plans; if not, perhaps you would like to read our blog about local places of worship. It is a wonderful feeling being able to feed those who have nowhere else to go.
St. Francis House – 413 S. Main Street. One of the longest-running homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the country. Volunteers are needed 24/7 to help cook, serve and clean up the holiday meals.
Bread of the Mighty Food Bank – Provides holiday food boxes to needy families in the community. Takes donations for traditional holiday meal items including stuffing, rice, corn, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. Needs volunteers to help keep food organized in the stockroom. Donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 325 NW 10th Ave.
Trinity United Methodist Church – Runs a Thanksgiving Basket Drive where they donate about 2000 Thanksgiving baskets to people in the community. Accepts food items, cash donations, Publix gift cards (increments of $10 and $15) These distributed Nov. 21-23. The first day of distribution, Nov. 21, there will be a community “Fun Day,” featuring a bounce house, games, and information from local agencies.
The Salvation Army in Gainesville – Volunteers are needed to serve on Thanksgiving Day for various shifts between 3 pm and 5 pm.
Housing is Open…
School is officially closed, but the housing communities will not be closing for Thanksgiving. If your student will be staying on campus and has a meal plan, dining centers are closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
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