Living in Gainesville


Life in Gainesville, FL is a charming combination of small town friendliness coupled with bigger-city cultural amenities. There are plenty of things to do in Gainesville, FL and surrounding areas.


Gainesville, FL Quick Facts:

  • Population: 125,326 (2011)
  • Public Libraries: 4
  • Public Transportation: Gainesville Regional Transit System provides buses, daily Amtrak services from Waldo (12 miles away), and GMG Transport buses for UF students, staff, family members and friends to areas like Miami, FL
  • Access to airports: Gainesville Regional Airport has daily services to Miami, Tampa, Atlanta and Charlotte
  • Climate: Hot summers but pleasant winters, and the inland location helps mitigate the hurricane threat
  • Nearby Attractions: The Gulf Coast and “old Florida”-style fishing towns like Cedar, the Ocala area Thoroughbred horse farms, the Silver Springs Botanical Gardens (an old Florida glass-bottom-boat attraction), and a handful of natural, spring-fed pools are all within an hour’s drive

Graduate On-Campus Housing:

The UF Department of Housing and Residence Education offers attractive housing options specifically reserved for graduate and professional students, as well as students with families of their own. To learn more, click here.


Off-Campus Housing

Off Campus Life is a UF office that provides resources, services, support and education for students living off campus. Off Campus Life provides three excellent resources that will assist you in finding a place to live off campus. To learn more about Off Campus Life, click here.



Gainesville offers a variety of ethnic and casual restaurants, delicious fine dining options and menus that offer deli favorites and pizza to fondue and sushi. A good meal awaits somewhere. Click here to search all dining favorites in Gainesville.



Whether you’re simply window shopping or looking for something special, Gainesville and all of Alachua County has an eclectic mix of antique shops, boutiques, outdoor markets, malls and galleries at the ready for your browsing pleasure. At the Oaks Mall, you’ll find over 140 stores including Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Bath & body Works, The Children’s Place, as well as many other stores. In downtown Gainesville, the Union Street Station Pedestrian Mall is a great place to begin any shopping excursion. On Wednesdays, the Farmer’s Market sets up shop nearby with locally grown produce and handcrafted gifts.


Other great shopping possibilities spread around town. Haile Village offers an old-fashioned sense of community while you shop and Tioga Town Center is rapidly becoming an upscale destination for visitors looking to spend more than a buck or two. And of course, the surrounding smaller towns offer antique shopping in quaint roadside stores and flea markets. Check out Alachua, High Springs, and Micanopy if your interested.


Gainesville’s downtown is the symbolic heart of the city. A tight-knit gathering of shops, restaurants, theatres and parks creates an open and lively environment. By day, walk down tree-lined streets, draped lazily with Spanish moss. Take in the sounds of live music as it bounces off the buildings surrounding the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. You can also find stalls of vendors selling locally grown vegetables and fresh-baked pastries at the Union Street Farmer’s Market at the same plaza every Wednesday.By night, take in a play or movie at the Hippodrome State Theatre.


Get Outdoors:

The Gainesville area offers a vast among of outdoor recreational activities. With world-class fishing, snorkeling, canoeing, diving and kayaking, there’s always plenty to do on the on the water. On land, you can enjoy Birding, Hiking, Biking, Fishing and pretty much anything else under the sun. Check out the City of Gainesville Division of Cultural Affairs for more outdoor recreational activities.


The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo allows for an up close look at the wildlife. Student led tours reveal what working with zoo animals is all about. The Gainesville area includes parks like Paynes Prairie, Hawthorne Trail, the San Felasco Hammock Preserve and Devil’s Millhopper.


These parks offer an incredible sanctuary to wildlife as well as generously provides activities that simply don’t exist anywhere else. With rolling hills, sinkholes, lakes, upland forests, hammock and prairie, the landscape surrounding Gainesville has always been a natural playground.

Local Resources: