By Misty Wells
Downtown Ocala is known for its fine dining, fine wines and fine entertainment, but you can also experience rich culture and get lost in history here—that’s what makes downtown Ocala a Florida favorite. Picture yourself sitting on the Old Town Square attending one of the many annual events or enjoying an enchanted evening at Ocala Wine Experience. Go back in time and visit the Marion Theatre, which has been an Ocala cultural icon for over 70 years, or walk to one of the many exquisite downtown restaurants.
The Ocala Farm Market, held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. across from the historic downtown square, has over 60 vendors supplying everything from fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables to seafood. Unique handcrafted gifts and homemade baked goods, preserves and puppy treats are a few of the treasures you will find there. The First Friday Art Walk is held on the first Friday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m., September to May. The Art Walk spans over 15 blocks and is located in Ocala’s historic downtown core. Dine al fresco or indoors, enjoy performing street artists and live music, and discover vendors and boutique shops with an eclectic flair during the free Art Walk.
Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Gille, located in the heart of downtown Ocala, is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. Complement authentic Louisiana favorites such as Crawfish Etouffee, Jambalaya and Blacked Red Fish with a cold beverage at their legendary happy hour. Visit The Lunch Box and you will become a regular every time you are in Ocala. A few of the most unique items on the menu include the Bacon Cheeseburger served between a grilled Tas-T-O’s Donut, the Bull Rider burger and The Elvis listed under Breakfast for Lunch.
Live music is a staple in downtown Ocala where you can enjoy a live music concert series at the family-friendly outdoor venue Citizen’s Circle. Citizen’s Circle is located one block off the historic downtown square, so grab your comfy blanket and beach chairs and kick off your shoes to enjoy the live music, rich history and bright future of downtown Ocala.