Options abound, from shopping national chains to buying local.
Gainesville is the place to shop in North Central Florida, the commercial center for 14 counties with a combined population of over 1.2 million people. Love malls and places with lots of shops? We have those. Love smaller, local shopping experiences? We have those. Want to shop on line? We have websites for that, too. It’s your choice!
You can browse large, established shopping centers such as the Oaks Mall and Butler Plaza. You’ll find big box stores such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Target. You can explore unique boutiques that are tucked into Gainesville’s smaller specialty shopping areas. You can go on line to purchase one-of-a-kind items from the creative folks listed in Florida’s Eden Source.
At the Oaks Mall, just east of I-75 on Newberry Road just east of I-75, you’ll find over 140 stores anchored by Belk, Dillard’s, J. C. Penney, Macy’s, and Sears. The Oaks Mall is just a short bus ride from downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida and Santa Fe College campuses. The mall has over 140 stores with everything from accessories to women’s apparel, ranging from Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale through The Body Shop, Coldwater Creek, and Sephora to Victoria’s Secret, White House Black Market, and Yankee Candle. In addition to the mall, this area of town has many other shopping plazas, including Bed, Bath and Beyond; Home Depot; many local and national stores; and Skate Station–a large indoor/outdoor recreation center.
Covering a one-mile stretch of Archer Road with over 100 tenants, Butler Plaza is the largest retail center in the Southeast. Here you’ll find supermarkets, clothing stores, restaurants, shoe stores, a movie theater, specialty stores, pet care stores, and discount department stores. Tenants include Target, Walmart, Lowe’s, OfficeMax, Best Buy and CVS Drug Stores.
Looking for something unique? Visit our two specialty arts districts, Downtown and the Thornebrook/Millhopper area.
The Downtown area is centered at the intersection of University Avenue and Main Street and includes eateries, nightclubs, and a growing number of art spaces. Union Street Station and the Sun Center feature specialty shops and eateries. The Hippodrome offers professional theatre, art films and original fine art. The Bo Diddley Community Plaza hosts the Wednesday farmers’ market and is the site of free concerts, festivals and films year round. ArtWalk fills the streets of downtown with even more excitement on the last Friday evening of every month.
Thornebrook Village and the Millhopper shopping area straddle the intersection of NW 43rd Street and NW 16th Boulevard. Shops feature work by local artists and artisans, fair trade products from around the world, jewelers, clothing boutiques, a spa, wine, seafood, French bakery, restaurants and more.
Another locus of locally owned businesses can be found on Newberry Road bounded by W. 34th and W. 37th Streets. Lipham’s Music is located here and has served generations of the famous and not so famous musicians who have emerged from Gainesville. You’ll find homemade ice cream, sports equipment, flowers, farm-to-table restaurants, and Latin cuisine. Plaza Royale is home to Regal Royal Park Stadium 16 movie theater, retailers and restaurants.
The Florida’s Eden Source website features a searchable directory of products and services offered by the creative members of the Artists’ Alliance of North Florida. Here, you can find everything from writers and editors to website designers and calligraphers, painters, and art and music teachers.
For weekend adventurers, our small towns offer a totally different shopping experience. Head to Micanopy for antiques and collectibles; stroll Alachua’s Main Street for small town shops specializing in books, antiques and sundries; or enjoy an afternoon exploring Main Streets in Newberry or High Springs.
From the traditional mall experience to the adventure of discovering unique locally crafted items, you’ll find that Gainesville has what you’re shopping for.