Tools of our town
Some must-have accessories to help you enjoy the best of the city
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 11:38 a.m.
Gainesville may be small, but it's buzzing with activity and oozing with its own unique character. Each facet of life here — from the abundant nature trails to the burgeoning food culture — offers a new reason to fall in love with the city. We're here to help you enjoy them all: Along with our list of some of Gainesville's most engaging charms, we offer suggestions on accessories perfect for making the most of all the city has to offer.
Where to find it
Book Gallery West,
4121 NW 16th Blvd., 371-1234
Gator Cycle, 3321 SW Archer Road, 373-3962
Ilene's For Fashion, 2441 NW 43rd St., Thornebrook Village, 378-1611
Lloyd Clarke Sports, 1504 NW 13th St., 372-7836
Paddiwhack, 4122 NW 16th Blvd., 336-3175
Wild Birds Unlimited, 4212 NW 16th Blvd., 381-1997
1. Open Your Eyes.
Wildlife roams free on Paynes Prairie, where you can find alligators, bison, wild horses and more than 270 species of birds. With the E0 Energy Star 8x21 Binoculars, you'll have views so clear you'll think you're close enough to touch. Collapsible and weighing only 6 ounces, they are extremely portable, keeping your load light as you hike the trails. The multi-coated lenses create sharp views, so you can identify native species from nearly 400 feet away. $49.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited, 4212 NW 16th Blvd., or online at Shop.wbu.com.
2. Make it Last.
You will find wild animals, antique shops, concerts, museums, theaters, water adventures and scenic views all in one city. To recount your Gainesville expeditions — and prove they actually happened — keep a camera by your side. During the day you might see a real gator or, better yet, stumble upon a classic photo-op with Albert and Alberta. Strike the Tebow pose in front of Tim Tebow's statue at the entrance of the stadium for a hilarious must-have moment. Compact and easily accessible, the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Compact Digital Camera is a sleek, reliable go-to brand. $229 at Ritz Camera, 6205 W. Newberry Road, or online at Ritzcamera.com.
3. Pop a Wheelie.
Part of Gainesville's charm is its abundance of bicycles. Voted by Bicycle Magazine as the 37th of 50 most bike-friendly cities, Gainesville also has trails that beg to be explored. The Trek 7300 “hybrid” bicycle would make a great mode of transportation; the sporty Alpha Gold Series aluminum frame is light for easy pedaling, hill-climbing and first-rate handling. The puncture-resistant tires add an extra touch of confidence when zipping down the 15-mile Gainesville-Hawthorne Nature Trail. $689.99 at Gator Cycle, 3321 SW Archer Road, or online at Gatorcycle.com.
4. Show your Fandom.
In Gainesville, you'll never look out of place if you're sporting something orange and blue. Gator caps are plentiful here, doing double duty protecting faces from the harsh sun and exuding spirit. Stand out from the crowd in this exclusive Victory Gator Cap Sleeve orange and blue Swarovski crystal shirt. It will work so well for game days and walking around the city that you'll find yourself buying each color combination. $55 at Ilene's For Fashion, 2441 NW 43 St., or online at ilenesgatorstore.com.
5. Bag it.
The scent of fresh vegetables and savory herbs alone will make farmers market runs a part of your routine. With a farmers market nearly every day of the week, you'll have many opportunities to meet the local farmers and leave with shockingly great deals. Cruise the stands in style with a printed Omnisax reusable tote bag roomy enough to store massive bushels of kale and baseball bat-sized zucchini. $9.95 at Book Gallery West, 4121 NW 16th Blvd.
6. Settle Down.
In music-loving, local-supporting Gainesville, fun nights don't always come at a price. Free Concert Fridays draw large crowds to Bo Diddley Plaza in Downtown Gainesville, where people dance, dine and recline on the grass in front of the stage. A luxurious blanket around your shoulders will help you enjoy the rock, jazz or blues tunes from neighboring musicians. $198.50 at Paddiwhack, 4122 NW 16th Blvd.
7. Make a Splash.
When the weather gets too hot to bear or you're just looking for some adventure, take a dip in one of the nearby scenic springs and beaches. With seemingly endless menus of outdoor activities, including kayaking, scuba diving, river tubing and fantastic picnicking areas, a bathing suit is a must. Try this fuchsia Speedo Floral Explosion Swimsuit for a playful, flattering look that will keep up with all the activity. Keep an eye out for the gators! $74.99 at Lloyd Clarke Sports, 1504 NW 13th St. or online at www.Lloydclarkesports.com.
8. Lace 'em up.
Start stretching now and prepare your legs for the miles of walking to be done around Gainesville. After hiking through nature trails, strolling around the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Florida Museum of Natural History and antique-shop hopping in Waldo, High Springs or Micanopy, your feet will be well worked. Support them with a great pair of sneakers. Look for vibrant styles like this Nike Free 4.0 V2. If sneakers aren't in your fashion vocabulary, you'll also find a wide array of comfortable shoes and sandals at Lloyd Clarke Sports. $89.99 at Lloyd Clarke Sports, 1504 NW 13th St. or online at www.Lloydclarkesports.com.
9. No Rain
on this Parade.
One minute the sky is clear and the sun is shining. Before you take another step, you could be drenched. Gainesville's late summer weather is as beautiful as it is unpredictable. Don't take a chance; keep an umbrella with you at all times. The Laurel Burch umbrella collection features attention-grabbing illustrations and patterns sure to keep your day bright despite the rain. Along with a generous, 42-inch diameter, the umbrella features an automatic open and close button and collapses to fit almost anywhere once the rain has subsided. $23.95 at Book Gallery West, 4121 NW 16th Blvd.