27 Best & Fun Things to Do in Gainesville (GA)

In search of the best & fun things to do in Gainesville, GA?

Gainesville lies in northern Georgia’s Hall County, roughly 55 miles northeast of Atlanta.

The ‘poultry capital of the world’ was founded by European-American settlers in the early 1800s as a mule camp and has been known as Gainesville since 1821. It is named after a general in the War of 1812 against Great Britain.

Gainesville has been attracting tourists since at least the 1850s and even more so since the creation of Lake Sidney Lanier one hundred years later.

Aside from its natural sights, the city has a wealth of other attractions within easy reach, so let’s check out the best things to do in Gainesville, GA, for a memorable vacation.

Things to Do in Gainesville, GA

1. Lake Sidney Lanier

Lake Sidney Lanier
Credits: haley / Flickr
Lake Sidney Lanier

Lake Sidney Lanier derived its name from a Georgia poet. The park was built by constructing a dam in the Chattahoochee River during the 1950s.

The lake attracts a huge crowd because of its picturesque attractions. It has a beautiful beachside and is one of the finest things to see here.

The lake helps the region in many ways in flood control, water supply, wide life management, hydroelectricity, navigation, and others.

If you intend to have a vacation, a visit here is worth it. The beautiful lake attracts a large crowd of over seven million visitors annually. It features various recreational activities such as rowing, kayaking, boating, waterboarding, fishing, open water swimming, etc.

It is a famous fishing site and draws many professional anglers from different parts of the world. To find here are 16 freshwater game fish ranging from striped bass, Lake trout to largemouth bass. Here’s a great site for fishing spotted bass.

Gaining access to the lake is never an issue as there are various linkage points using boat ramps and park complexes that can host a huge crowd. The lake has also hosted the 1996 Olympic games and also a good training site for athletes

Address: Lake Lanier Rowing Club, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville, GA 30506,

2. Northeast Georgia History Center

The Northeast Georgia History Center is a museum focused on preserving and sharing with people the history of this part of Georgia.

The historic buildings and artifacts to find here have a long line of history that stretches back to 11000 years, such as the construction of a wooden cabin in the eighteenth century, which was a place of abode for an iconic leader of the Cherokee nation.

The next building to it is a historic shop of a blacksmith, and other exhibition areas include the land of promise, which narrates the activities of the inhabitants of this region from their early to this recent day.

The museum is also kid-friendly, and you can bring the kids along to learn about the history of this region.

If you’re a fan of history and want to know about the history of this region, you should consider adding this place to your checklist of things to do.

Address: 322 Academy St NE, Gainesville, GA 30501,

3. Smithgall Arts Center

Smithgall Arts Center
Credits: carlos castilla / Shutterstock

The Smithgall Arts Center is an indigenous non-profit organization recognized as The Arts Council. You’ll find this place in the central zone of the Gainesville arts and culture region.

Currently, the art center is known to have outstanding leadership of art movements in Georgia. It supports 30 plus arts associates and provides a vast array of performing literary arts, film play, and visuals.

Their art programs include Summer MusicFest, intimate Jazz series, Movies on the screen, Arts Council Pearce series and independent filmmakers series, and many others

Guests can have their meetings, corporate meetings, weddings, parties, receptions held at Smithgall art center.

Address: 331 Spring St SW, Gainesville, GA 30501,

4. Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
Credits: U.S. Forest Service – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests / Facebook
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest offers the best natural resources and outdoor recreational activities in Georgia. It is a great place to be and should top your list of fun things to do.

The forest is seated on 867,000 acres of land cutting across 26 counties. It has 850 miles of walking trails, many picnic areas, campgrounds, beautiful streams and rivers, and many other recreational opportunities.

The forest houses various endearing native species of flora and fauna, including black bears and bobcats, the forest attracts a huge crowd of nature enthusiasts and hikers from different places.

The national forest also features Brasstown Bald, the tumbling waters of Anna Ruby Falls, and Georgia’s highest point.

The terrain is filled with beautiful nature views. For an easy and enjoyable visit, there’s an interactive map available to know your way around.

Address: 1755 Cleveland Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30501,

5. Chattahoochee Golf Club

Chattahoochee Golf Club
Credits: Yellowj / Shutterstock

The Chattahoochee Golf Club was designed by a man named Robert Trend Jones Sr on the shores of Lake Lanier, and it has been one of the best open golf courses in North Georgia.

The Golf course Is situated on 183 acres of farm area, part of the design was to allow easy passage, and it’s a great place to play golf for both scratch and amateur golfers.

The facilities to find here include a 1,000 square feel complete service pro shop, a Chattahoochee grill, a driving range, and a practice area with a chipping green and sand bunker.

Here is a superb place to play golf. It is believed that the best time to play golf in Georgia is during springtime. The Cherry trees, pear trees, and dogwoods are really beautiful to behold during this period.

There is a restaurant close by if you’re famished after hours of playing golf.

Address: 301 Tommy Aaron Dr, Gainesville, GA 30506

6. Elachee Nature Science Center

Elachee Nature Science Center
Credits: Elachee Nature Science Center / Facebook
Elachee Nature Science Center

Elachee is a word in Cherokee meaning New Green Earth. Everything in the Park will reveal itself as to why the Elachee name was chosen for it.

This nature center makes one of the fun things to do in Gainesville and should be on your bucket list of places to visit.

The Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is where the nature center is situated right in the Upper Walnut Watershed.

It is one of the very several nature regions excluded from destruction by cotton plantations. This area of land is preserved for untold generations to come.

The nature center provides environmental and conservation classes for people of all ages and sizes from preschool to adult level.

Visitors can enjoy the walking and hiking trails, which are most enjoyable with families and friends. Children are not excluded from the funt as they can take part in camping events.

Address: Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Dr, Gainesville, GA 30504,

7 . Scott’s Downtown

Scott’s Downtown
Credits: Scott’s Downtown fka Scott’s on the Square / Facebook
Scott’s Downtown

Scott’s Downtown is supposedly one of the most visited restaurants in Gainesville. The restaurant is dedicated to treating its customers to the finest dishes.

They have a good customer relationship, providing visitors with the best dining experience, where good meals are combined with unique service and a splendid wine menu, liquors, and beers.

The restaurant is locally owned by a man named Scott. The ingredients used for preparing these delightful dishes are sourced locally, and he oversees food preparation in person.

Their food menu features dishes like seafood, including Chilean sea Bass and Butter poached lobster, prime Angus Beef, and others.

Address:Scott’s Downtown, 131 Bradford Street NW, Gainesville, GA 30501

8. Kinsey Family Farm

Kinsey Family
Credits: kasittuw.b / Shutterstock

The Kinsey Family Farm is a place of great fun and entertainment. It is a place to visit with the whole family and should be on your lots of fun things to do in Gainesville, GA.

The farm is a garden and nursery center perfect for visiting in the fall months with children. During this season, the farm engages the kids with playful activities such as fish feeding and animal feeding.

Winter activities to engage in while touring the area includes choosing the perfect Christmas tree, and you’re allowed to cut down a Christmas tree.

After that you can warm up your body with hot chocolate available at the shed. The farm is available for visitors from Monday to Saturday.

Address: Kinsey Family Farm, 7170 Jot Em Down Road, Gainesville, GA 30506

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9. Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Credits: เฮลีนา่ / Flickr
Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Atlantic Botanical Garden first started its operation in Gainesville in 2015. It is a great place to be if you’re a fan of horticulture and should top your list of fun things to do in Gainesville.

The place provides gardeners and nature enthusiasts with a splendid outdoor garden facility. The terrain to find here is lovely, with lovely garden displays that provide a tranquil atmosphere.

The kids are not left out of this beautiful garden as there is a Fairyland Trolley that links two fairy villages in the kids’ garden. Adults can have a walk on the lovely trails surrounded by natural woodlands.

The trails cut across the Overlook Garden, stream garden, glade gardens, and the woodland promenade. A walk through Atlantic Botanical Garden is among the best fun things to do in Gainesville, GA.

Address: Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1911 Sweetbay Dr, Gainesville

10. Alta Vista Cemetery

The Alta Vista Cemetery has a history stretching back to 1872 when Gainesville’s city purchased 9.25 acres from Allen D. Candler. The cemetery is a place of rest for the iconic sons of Gainesville.

Here is a burial ground of two ex-Governors of Georgia, a NASA Astronaut, three revolutionary war soldiers, and two famous songwriters.

Also included is the gravestone of Jesse Jewell, who assisted in making Gainesville the poultry capital of the world, two men named after counties in Georgia. We also have a bridge-builder, 158 Civil war veterans, a circus performer, and others.

The gravestone that attracts many people is that of Lt General James Longstreet, a well-known Confederate General. He resided in Gainesville after his appointment in several civil jobs.

If you’re a historian and would like to dig deep into the lives of these men and the impact they had on their society, you should consider this a must-see during your visit.

Address: 521 Jones St, Gainesville, GA 30501

11. Downtown Drafts

Downtown Drafts
Credits: Viiviien / Shutterstock

The Downtown Drafts is a unique beer shop that provides homemade beers. If you’re a lover of good liquor, you should stop by while touring through the City.

The beer shop is family-owned and operated, and it is also family-friendly to visitors. It has a cozy ambiance that is welcoming and a large space for beer sampling of liquors made by breweries from the region and even others from afar.

There is a beer menu that rotates at intervals where you’re sure to find everything you want, ranging from milk stouts to IPAs.

And if you’re not beer personified, there is a location downtown where you can choose from a variety of snacks, gourmet sauce, and glassware.

Address: 115 Bradford St NE, Gainesville, GA 30501

12. Quinlan Visual Arts Center

Quinlan Visual Arts Center
Credits: Mike Finn / Flickr
Quinlan Visual Arts Center

For over 60 years and even now, the Quinlan Visual Art Center has offered a vast number of arts opportunities to make Gainesville a culturally rich region.

The art center is situated downtown Gainesville on the historic Green street and is one of the oldest arts organizations you’ll find in the area.

Here is a home for art appreciators/admirers, artists, students, and collectors. The facility initially began in 1964 and later moved into a bigger space in 2004.

It now boasts five different gallery arenas that can host as little as seven exhibitions yearly, including two and three- dimensional artworks relating to folk art, abstracts, portraits, landscapes, photography, realism, and still life.

If you’re a lover of art, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center should top your bucket list of things to do in Gainesville

Address: 514 Green St NE, Gainesville, GA 30501

13. Frances Meadows Aquatic Center

Frances Meadows Aquatic Center
Credits: Andrei Bortnikau / Shutterstock

The Frances Meadows Aquatic Center is an exquisite facility with a four-lane indoor warm water pool, a 10 lane indoor competition pool, water, and land fitness classes, a viewing lounge, family changing rooms, and a fitness center.

The center is ideal for holding business retreats, staff meetings, seminars, mini-conferences, workshops, training classes, and many more.

The outdoor splash zone features a twisting body slide which is three-story high, drop buckets, interactive water elements for all ages, a swirl pool, ample deck space with chairs and umbrellas, happy loops, water troughs, current channel a and zero-depth entry.

There are smaller slides and shallow pools available for kids to use, and also many seats out areas with umbrella shades.

Address: 1545 Community Way, Gainesville, GA 30501

14. Beulah Rucker Museum

Beulah Rucker Museum
Credits: Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Beulah Rucker Museum
The Beulah Rucker Museum has a history stretching back to the late 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rooms in the building are well decorated with recent furnishings, pictures, and artifacts.

The museum was named after Beulah Tucker Oliver. She was a child of Caroline Wiley and Willis Rucker. She was a teacher and had the zeal to empower African American kids in her community via education.

Part of its goal focuses on showcasing the history of Beulah Rucker and her impact on the society she lived in, and this is the first museum dedicated to the history of African Americans in the region.

If you’re a fan of history, you should consider having the Beulah Rucker Museum added to your bucket list of things to do in Gainesville.

Address: 2101 Athens Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30507

15. Piedmont Hotel

Piedmont Hotel
Credits: Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Piedmont Hotel
The Piedmont hotel is another attraction in North Georgia you’ll love to explore. The museum was opened in 1876, and the historic edifice has hosted outstanding names in the history of the Post Civil War.

The hotel was owned and managed by Lt General James Longstreet, and he used the hotel as a spot to carry out his political assignments throughout his time as a Republican.

The hotel had big shots like Generals Joseph Johnston and Daniel Sickles, author, and editor Henry Grady and the US President Woodrow Wilson always checking into the hotel.

It might interest you to know that the daughter of President Wilson Jessie was giving birth in the ground floor Piedmont hotel.

The hotel houses archive photographs and artifacts that tell the history of the hotel. The environment here is lovely and is worth it when you visit.

Address: 827 Maple St, Gainesville, GA 30501

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16. Solar System Walking Tour

The Gainesville solar escapade of the solar system kicks off with the sun situated in downtown Square of Gainesville.

The scale model of the solar system showcases sculptures of planets besides a 1.8-mile walk that goes through the downtown square to Lake Lanier shore.

Here is a great place to be and have some fun time with family. You could also use it as a medium to stretch your foot on the concrete pathway that cuts across through different parks in Gainesville.

There is a lot to learn here, and if you’re a fan of Outer space, here should be a must-see visit during your stay.

Address: Spring St SW, Gainesville, GA 30501

17. Don Carter Park

Don Carter State Park
Credits: Don Carter State Park / Facebook
Don Carter State Park

Don Carter Park is a recent state park you’ll find in Georgia, and it is, however, the first state park built on 38,000 acres.

The park is located on the north side of the reservoir, it provides an ideal recreational environment that will be intriguing to water lovers.

They have a multi-use trail that allows hikers, bikers, skaters, joggers, and even nonmotorized people to enjoy themselves and explore the lush forest.

You might also choose to spend some time here before leaving. The park is close to the lakeside, with two-bedroom cabins nestled on wooden hillsides.

The estate was named after a man named Don Carter, a real estate executive. He also worked at the Georgia Department of natural resources for 29 years before building the first state park in this region.

This answers what to do in Gainesville for an exploration time, add to your list of Gainesville attractions to explore.

Address: 5000 N Browning Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506

18. Poultry Capital of the World Monument

Poultry Capital of the World Monument
Credits: Lee Coursey / Flickr
Poultry Capital of the World Monument

The Poultry Capital Of the World Monument is an attraction you should see during your stay here.

The Monument was built to change the way people slaughtered chickens. It was able to achieve this by constructing a monument very high, and on top of it is a sizable life chicken.

The park has limited parking spaces, and there are benches and gardens centered around the different monuments making it so attractive.

The park environment is lovely. You might bring along a camera to use and take awesome photos to post on your Instagram account.

Address: 444 Jesse Jewell Pkwy, Gainesville, GA 30501

19. Cool Springs Blueberry Farm

Cool Springs Blueberry Farm
Credits: Serhii Ivashchuk / Shutterstock

The Cool Springs blueberry farm is a family attraction located in five acres of Gainesville, Georgia.

The farm carries out a series of activities throughout the year like their summer You-Pick blueberry season, parties, festivals, and family events.

The staff here are customer friendly and will give you the best welcome you ever wished for. The prices for the blueberry are nice and affordable.

The farm also offers several outdoor activities aside from the blueberry season like summer camping, trick and treat, movie nights, and many more.

Address: 5975 Smith Mill Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506

20. Laurel Park

Laurel Park
Credits: Rossario / Shutterstock

The Laurel Park is an abode to the region’s mega boat ramp. The mega boat ramp has a length of 350 feet and a height of 1,048 feet, it was designed this way to give guests, and residents access during drought weather conditions.

Also included in the park was the construction of a staging area, fishing tournament, additional parking areas, and restrooms.

The park is furry friendly, you can bring along your pet, but they are to be on a leash at all times, pets are exempted from the ball fields. It has a splash pad, playground, grills, picnic areas, complete restrooms, a pavilion, and many more.

Here will make a fun-filled vacation with lots of memories with families and loved ones. You might consider laurel park on your checklist of things to do in Gainesville.

A visit to Laurel Park is one of the best things to do in Gainesville, GA.

Address: 3100 Old Cleveland Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30506

21. Longwood Park

Longwood Park
Credits: Olaf Gradin / Flickr
Longwood Park

The Longwood park is usually called “What’s the name of that park across from Gainesville High School?”

The park is situated on Pearl Nix Parkway opposite Gainesville High School. The park is a great destination to be and take your mind off mundane activities and stress from the workplace.

The park features walking trails that meander through the lake Lanier shore, a fishing pier with bench swings and a boat dock, and eight tennis courts.

It also has a lighted tennis court, two pavilions, grills, full-service restrooms, gazebos, and many more.

Address: 20 Pearl Nix Pkwy, Gainesville, GA 30501

22. City Park

The City Park is a delightful spot to have fun with friends, colleagues, and family. The park is furry friendly with lots of amazing amenities.

The park features four tennis courts, a concession building with restrooms, two baseball fields, softball fields, three pavilions with picnic tables, and many more

The environment is filled with lots of excitement, and the kids will love this place. There’s a children’s area where they can have their fun time

The park has limited parking spaces, but and two additional parking spaces were added to accommodate more vehicles

Address: 830 Green Street Cir, Gainesville, GA 30501

23. Paradise Rental Boats

Paradise Rental Boats
Credits: Amilao / Shutterstock

If you enjoy boat riding, the Paradise rental boats should be a top priority when you begin your tour escape in Gainesville.

There are over 70 new boats available for rent. The rides here are accessible and affordable prices that suit your budget for you and the whole family.

There are various kinds of boats to choose from, such as pontoons, wakeboard, houseboats, party boats, wave runners, runabouts.

Here is a perfect spot for skiing, swimming, tubing, fishing, or relaxing under the sun. You can hold your birthday parties, company picnics, reunions, and family outings here at Paradise.

In search of what to do in Gainesville for a fun time? add a boat ride to your bucket list of things to do in Gainesville, GA.

Address: 8800 Port Royale Dr, Gainesville, GA 30506

24. Gainesville Farmers’ Market

Gainesville Farmers' Market
Credits: Lucky Business / Shutterstock


If you’re in need of a place where you can purchase locally produced items, Gainesville Farmers’ Market is the best place in Gainesville.

Gainesville Farmers’ Market operates from May to October, with several businesses and farmers offering local items.

You can choose from a large option of local vegetables, fruits, grass-fed meats, honey, and eggs.

If you want delicious treats, purchase some cakes, bread, pastries, jellies, jams, and more. Visit Hall County crafts offer lotions, soaps, woodwork, and more.

Gainesville Farmers’ Market offers live music performances by talented local musicians at The Bench.

25. Linwood Nature Preserve

Linwood Nature Preserve
Credits: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

If you are in the mood to get out and have terrific outdoor fun, visiting Linwood Nature Preserve is the top thing to do in Gainesville.

Linwood Nature Preserve offers views of an easy trail of two miles passing through prairies, hickory forests, and oaks.

You will sight more than forty species of birds plying the region, roaming within creeks, meadows, lakes, and forests.

Visitors get to learn about rain gardens and scale plots utilized to reduce soil erosion and stormwater.

The preserve features the Native Plant Specimen Garden with lots of trees, shrubs, and other plants.

Linwood Nature Preserve offers educational programs for visitors to register and learn lots of important things.

26. Rock Creek Greenway

Rock Creek Greenway
Credits: Antstang / Shutterstock

A two-mile trail, Rock Creek Greenway links to Gainesville Downtown Square and the charming Lake Lanier.

Rock Creek Greenway features a collection trail linking to four parks: Wilshire Trails, Rock veterans, Lakeside, and Ivey Terrace.

You can take a pleasant stroll through thorough the shades lining the trail. The Rock Creek Veterans Park offers you a chance to see War Memorials with the Solar System trail and Amphitheatre.

The Ivey Terrace Park comprises the ancient Civilian Conservation Corps Structure, while at Wilshire Trails Park, there are public art, a fully equipped playground, and a bilingual storybook.

The lakeside park consists of tennis courts, a fishing pier, a boat dock, and a playground for little children.

Each park features pavilions, picnic tables, ample benches, and gazebos so visitors can take a break.

27. Gainesville Theater Alliance

Gainesville Theater Alliance
Credits: Aleksandr Andrushkiv / Shutterstock

As long as you are in Gainesville, you can miss the collection of production usually performed by the Gainesville Theater Alliance.

Gainesville Theater Alliance began as a cooperation of community members, professionals, and students.

The theater’s goal is to inspire the growth and awareness of the performing arts. It is recognized in the country and popularly known for hosting musicals, and stage plays performances.

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Plan a trip to Gainesville

If you’re planning on a vacation with family and friends, the aforementioned places are few fun places to be when you’re in Gainesville, GA.

Some of the places listed will need careful planning before traveling, while others are free things you can engage in on a boring day.

The destinations in Gainesville are ideal places you’ll love to visit and will make your weekend a memorable one.