Most college students will spend their birthday in their college town, surrounded by their friends, nightlife, and loads of homework. Although the contrast to family-hosted parties is quite stark, making the best of your birthday is a form of self-care and the ultimate manner of celebrating you

I decided to create the ultimate foodies' guide to a Gainesville birthday day trip, which involves free meals, small snacks, and a whole lot of self-love. Besides taking your ID (don't forget this— many places will ask for proof that it is in fact your birthday!), bring along your best friends to share these special deals with. 

In addition, many places will ask you to sign up for their rewards program in order to redeem birthday coupons. If you are not a fan of span emails, or are not planning on eating out at the listed locations often, I would recommend creating a separate email account so that newsletters are not sent to your primary email address. 

Most obviously and most importantly — bring a car! These locations are not in each others' immediate vicinity, so getting around with a car is the most efficient method of transport.

Stay Hydrated

Olivia Maule

Starting off strong with boba at TeaStori, I was able to order a free medium drink with proof of ID. The aesthetic and immaculate vibes were also free — and enjoyable. I wished we had stopped here last to unwind due to the spacious seating and decorative walls, which perfectly complemented the ambiance provided by Lavender Black Tea Boba I attained. 

Olivia Maule

If one boba is not sufficient, stop by Poke Bowl Station for your free Birthday Drink. I ordered a Pudding Boba Tea, which contained a pudding within the boba tea itself. Unique, but delectable. My sweet tooth was certainly satiated, as well as the FOMO I would feel every time I would walk past Poke Bowl Station and read their "Free Birthday Drink" sign. Your birthday is finally the day, and only day, when you can get your free boba!

Lunch Worthy Treats

Olivia Maule

Archer Road is the place to be on your birthday. To maximize time, it could be a good idea to order ahead on available and respective apps. Firehouse Subs offers a free medium sub of your choice, so I went for a steak and cheese Philly, which I donated to my friend (and designated driver). The crispy bread served as the perfect complement to stringy cheese and sliced meat.

Olivia Maule

Jersey Mikes was next — the birthday lunch deals are truly sublime! Rewards members receive 80 "Shore" Points, which is enough to redeem a regular sub. I selected a Portabella Chicken Cheese Steak which was surprisingly tasty. Usually, it is difficult to distinguish the taste of mushrooms, but with chopped chicken alongside caramelized onions and peppers, I was in for a savory surprise. 

Olivia Maule

If you are looking to stock up for lunch and dinner, your birthday week is the perfect week to do so. Moe's rewards members win a free burrito, which comes with complimentary chips and salsa. With just one bite, seasoned rice, tender steak and savory vegetables satisfied my every craving. Green tomatillo salsa (yes, I prefer tomatillo over tomato salsa!) was the perfect addition to the salty crispiness of the tortilla chips and to a birthday lunch.

Olivia Maule

Our next stop was Zaxby's, which not only provided a free dessert but also a Free Big Zax Snack Meal upon registering as a rewards member. Although I am not the biggest fan of fried chicken, I could not help but steal a fry and dip it into a creamy, signature Zaxby's sauce. If this isn't comfort food, I don't know what is! 

Sweet Treats and Mighty Delights

Olivia Maule

After a savory afternoon, Panera Bread was kind enough to offer one free bakery item. My mouth watered at the thought of their pecan braids, which contain layers of nutty dough surrounded by a cinnamon filling that is enveloped in a glazed pecan concoction. If you aren't nutty for nuts, their scones and muffins are a great alternative.

Olivia Maule

The birthday dozen from Krispy Kreme is a must, especially if you are hosting a birthday gathering. It is the perfect (and cheapest) way to supply your guests with a sweet treat. Just make sure you have been on their rewards program for at least a week —otherwise, the coupon will not show up on their system!

Olivia Maule

If you are looking for a cake, look no further than your free BJs Pizookie. Not enough? Stop by Nothing Bundt Cakes to attain your free bundtlet on your birthday. However, if your birthday is on a Sunday, ensure that you stop by the day after, since they are closed on Sundays (I, unfortunately, made this mistake).

Don't Miss These Deals!

In addition to these locations, there were various other birthday treats that were not acquired. Make sure to check out the following:

• Starbucks for one free menu item

• Hyppo for one free pop

•Dunkin for one free drink

• Buffalo Wild Wings for free 5-piece wings

• Einstein's Bagels for one free egg bagel sandwich

Also, check out this article for additional rewards programs that treat you on your birthday!

Besides having every flavor craving satiated on your Gainesville birthday, taking a trip around the sun as an opportunity for a trip around Gainesville is a great way to familiarize oneself with this college town. Being with friends and sharing food, memories, and valuable time together creates one of the most rewarding birthdays yet— with the help of a few rewards.