Want to know why it's great to be a Florida Gator? If you're visiting, keep these tips in mind.

Albert and Alberta greet fans

Know where you're going

Use a map for reference. Gainesville as a whole isn't difficult to navigate, but the university can be.

Check the schedule, academic and otherwise.

If you're heading for the campus, remember students' schedules will dictate your trip, whether you like it or not. A leisurely walk around campus to view the architecture is best attempted during a school break, when most of the 50,000 students won't be rushing between classes. If you want a cheap, quiet and uncrowded trip, avoid Gainesville during UF home football games. The Swamp is a wonderful place if you've got a ticket, but the traffic snarls from the influx of vehicles and people make game day frustrating. Also, avoid reserving a hotel room around a home game: prices will be much higher than usual.

Plan a little culture for yourself.

Sit near Century Tower during a carillon recital. Enjoy a performance at the University Auditorium. Swing by the Harn Museum of Art or the Florida Museum of Natural History for an educational (and free) tour.

You're never lost in the Gator Nation.

Can't tell north from south? Are all the brick buildings starting to look the same? Most Gators are happy to help you get where you're going, but if you're the shy type, sign up for a group tour to see the sights while keeping you on track.


Honestly, a grin, a thank-you and a "Go Gators!" will get you a long way around here, especially on game days.