The Sip & Stroll Areas

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1. Overview

What is a Sip & Stroll Area?

Each Sip & Stroll Area (also known as an arts, culture and entertainment district) is a walkable, compact area with a number of restaurants, bars and local shops and businesses. Adults of legal drinking age may carry alcoholic beverages while in public areas within district boundaries. 

This came after months of conversation between the Gainesville City Commission, law enforcement and business owners about the most effective way to improve public safety, while continuing to support existing establishments. Many bar and restaurant owners, who initially welcomed the more relaxed open container rules to stay afloat during the pandemic, have come to rely on them as a method of attracting patrons and boosting sales.

Adults of drinking age may drink alcoholic beverages outside within The Sip & Stroll Areas between 8 a.m. and midnight daily. Please note, glass containers are always prohibited. Open containers are not allowed in public parking lots or garages, even if they are in the Sip & Stroll Areas.

Sip & Stroll Boundaries

 

2. Learn More (Video)

New Open Container Ordinances Create Sip & Stroll Area

As of January 1, open container restrictions, which were in place before the pandemic, have returned for most of Gainesville. The new rules prohibit people from drinking or having open containers in most parts of the city. The only exceptions are two newly designated Sip & Stroll Areas (also known as the arts, culture and entertainment districts). In these areas, visitors are allowed to have open containers on sidewalks, public parks and other public rights of way between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight.

3. General FAQs

What is a Sip & Stroll Area?

A Sip & Stroll Area (also known as the arts, culture and entertainment district) is a walkable, compact area with a number of restaurants, bars and local shops and businesses. Customers who purchase alcoholic beverages sold by a licensed establishment in the district may carry their beverages while in public areas within its boundaries.

What parts of Gainesville are inside these districts?

Sip & Stroll Downtown encompasses an area roughly bordered by Northeast Second Avenue to the north, Northeast Third Street to the east, Southwest Sixth Street to the west, and south to Depot Avenue. The district includes Bo Diddley Plaza and Depot Park.

Sip & Stroll Grove Street is an area between Northwest Second Street and Northwest Fourth Street, bordered to the north by Northwest 12th Avenue and to the south by Northwest Eighth Avenue. This excludes a mostly residential area north of the Sixth Street Rail-Trail. 

When do the districts go into effect?

The Sip & Stroll Districts went into effect Jan. 1, 2024. 

How will the district boundaries be marked?

Signs will be posted at the boundaries. Participating businesses are required to place maps at exit doors, and may also display window decals. 

Sip & Stroll District Boundaries

What are the days and hours of operation of the districts?

The Sip & Stroll Districts operate seven days a week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 midnight. 

Why does Sip & Stroll end at midnight?

After discussing options with law enforcement and downtown business owners, the Gainesville City Commission decided that ending at midnight is the most effective way to improve public safety while continuing to support existing establishments. 

Are City of Gainesville parks included in the districts?

Downtown visitors are permitted to Sip & Stroll in Bo Diddley Plaza and Depot Park. Lynch Park is not included within the boundaries. No municipal parks are located in the Grove Park district.

What other rules apply to open containers inside the districts?

  • Glass containers are prohibited at all times.
  • Open containers are not allowed in public parking lots or garages, even if they are in the Sip & Stroll Districts.
  • The minimum drinking age still applies.
  • All other applicable state and local laws including prohibitions on open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles and laws concerning public intoxication remain unchanged and in full effect. 

What happens if I leave the district boundaries with an alcoholic beverage?

Individuals who leave a Sip & Stroll District in possession of alcoholic beverages may receive a warning or a civil citation and be required to pay a fine. If there is drunken, unsafe, or disorderly behavior, the police have the option of imposing stiffer, criminal penalties.

How will I know if I’m in a district ?

There will be signs throughout each Sip & Stroll District like the one on this page. The purple signs will be placed both downtown and in the Grove Street area. In addition, businesses serving drinks within the district are required to display maps that show the district boundaries.

 

4. Business FAQs

What are the new changes to the City of Gainesville’s open container ordinances and when do they take effect?

As of Jan. 1, 2024, people are prohibited from drinking or having open containers of alcohol on public property except within newly designated areas known as Sip & Stroll Districts. They are also referred to arts, culture and entertainment districts.

Under the new rules, it will be illegal to consume alcohol in public – on sidewalks, public parks, or other public rights of way – except within the new Sip & Stroll Districts between the hours of 8 a.m. to midnight daily.

Although the downtown parking garage and some public parking lots are located within the districts, open containers are prohibited in those areas.

All other applicable state and local laws including prohibitions on open containers of alcoholic beverages in vehicles and laws concerning public intoxication remain unchanged and in full effect. 

Where are the two ACE districts and which rules apply in the districts regarding alcohol?

The downtown Sip & Stroll District encompasses an area bordered, roughly, by NE Second Avenue to the north, NE Third Street to the east, SW Sixth Street to the west, and south to Depot Avenue. The district includes Bo Diddley Plaza and Depot Park. Both parks will continue to permit open containers during the hours allowed within the Sip & Stroll Districts.

The Grove Street Sip & Stroll District is an area between NW Second Street and NW Fourth Street, bordered to the north by NW 12th Avenue and to the south by NW Eighth Avenue. The district excludes a mostly residential area north of the Sixth Street Rail-Trail.

Between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight daily, patrons can walk around with open containers of alcohol on public property within the Sip & Stroll Districts. Glass containers are prohibited at all times.

How will I know where the districts’ boundaries are?

In addition to public signs posted around the districts, businesses within the districts are required to display maps of the districts in their establishments.

Businesses in the districts will be receiving packets with maps and FAQs. Map and FAQ pdfs are also available for download. 

Sip-Stroll-Map-for-Businesses.pdf(PDF, 132KB)

 

What happens if someone steps outside the district boundaries with an open container of alcohol?

Gainesville Police Department officers may issue either civil citations or criminal infractions to those found in violation of the ordinances, as well as arrest disruptive individuals on criminal charges.

Why did the Gainesville City Commission vote to make these changes?

The Gainesville City Commission approved these changes at meetings in September and October 2023, in the interests of public safety, after city staff met with local business owners to gather input on the new ordinances.

What if I run a business in a Sip & Stroll District and do not want alcohol at my establishment?

You do not have to allow customers to carry alcohol onto your private property or into your place of business. The Sip & Stroll Districts apply only to public spaces inside district borders. 

 

How can I report when I see individuals breaking the regulations of the district?

You can call the Gainesville Police Department’s Non-Emergency number at (352) 393-7500. In case of emergency or when an immediate response is needed, call 911 as usual to report the details of the crime you witness.

What is required of businesses that serve alcoholic beverages within the district?

Alcoholic beverage establishments shall post, at all exit doors leading outside, a map of the boundaries of the arts, culture and entertainment district in which it is located. Alcoholic beverage establishments shall also provide, either in electronic or paper form, a map of the arts, culture and entertainment district upon request.

How do I get additional window clings or maps for my business?

Reach out to us at gainesvillepio@gainesvillefl.gov. Map and FAQ pdfs are also available for download.

Sip-Stroll-Map-for-Businesses.pdf(PDF, 132KB)