About Gainesville, FL
With roughly 126,000 people calling it home, Gainesville is the most populated city in Alachua County and North Central Florida as a whole. Gainesville is the county seat of Alachua County, which has a population of 251,400. So, what makes this city such a popular destination?
Let's start the answer to that question from the very beginning…
Gainesville's roots stem from the railroad industry. Back in 1854, the city was founded so that Alachua County could be part of the Florida Railroad Company's proposed route that stretched from Cedar Key to Fernandina Beach.
By the time the 1920's rolled around, Gainesville was in the midst of an economic boom. There was plenty of industrial growth, as people here -- and all over the rest of the country -- took full advantage of a very healthy post-World War I economy. However, Gainesville didn't hit its full stride until after World War II. That's when things around here REALLY took off!
Today, Gainesville is home to people of all ages, but it's most famous for being the home of the University of Florida the eighth largest university campus of enrollment in the United States. It's estimated that 46% of Gainesville's 126,000 residents are either students at the University of Florida or at Santa Fe College, which is rated in the top ten nationally for the number of associate degrees in liberal arts. As a result, the median resident age here is just 24.9 years old, and the vast majority of the city's population is between the ages of 20 and 34.
There are a number of families living here, though. Gainesville is home to a number of elementary, middle, and high schools -- both public and private. There are around 29,500 students in the public school districts serving Alachua County and the Gainesville area.
Young or old, the people who live here love the weather! Like the rest of the state, Gainesville has a humid, subtropical climate. You'll see the seasons change here, but the average yearly temperature is 70.1 degrees. It gets below freezing occasionally, but by afternoon you can be out enjoying the mild winter days that average around 57.7 degrees in January. That's just about ideal for anyone's weather preferences! The only downside is it does tend to rain a lot here.
Perhaps the great weather is partially-responsible for all of the medical professionals who choose to live here! Even though it's not a giant city, three prestigious hospitals call Gainesville home. UF Health Shands is located on the UF campus, and roughly 1,500 UF faculty members and community physicians specialize in a variety of areas -- from heart care, to cancer treatment, to neuromedicine, to women and children's services, to transplant services.
While Shands may get the bulk of the attention, the North Florida Regional Medical Center is home to more than 425 doctors with varying specialties, while the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center is a 480-bed hospital for veterans of the United States Military Services.
So, what is there to do for fun in Gainesville?
People here love the arts, and as a result, Gainesville is home to a variety of theaters, museums, and libraries -- with the most popular being the Hippodrome State Theater, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, and the Florida Museum of Natural History. There are plenty of other venues to check out, so if you love the arts, you'll never be bored here!
Gainesville's residents also love getting out and exploring the great outdoors -- and for good reason! This city is known for its conservation efforts and its natural beauty. While you won't find any beaches around town, there are plenty of freshwater bodies of water. Some of the most popular places to enjoy the water are Ginnie Springs, Lake Wauberg, and Lake Alice, which is located in the heart of the UF campus.
If you're more of a landlubber, you'll be happy to hear that you can enjoy plenty of natural beauty on dry land, too! For an unforgettable afternoon, head to Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Bivens Arm Nature Park, and the Loblolly Woods Nature Park.
But what about the nightlife? In a city with so many young residents, you probably expect Gainesville to have plenty of places to hang out after the sun goes down.
Luckily, the nightlife here will meet those expectations -- and then some!
If you're a college student (or just one of the many younger residents), you'll be interested in two areas -- Midtown and Downtown.
Midtown is located right next to the University of Florida campus, so there are a lot of affordable and fun places to eat here. There are also plenty of bars and other nighttime hangouts.
Downtown Gainesville is a little more diverse. Yes, there are some great bars and clubs here, but there are also trendy places to go shopping, upscale restaurants, and performing arts centers. So, whether you want to go out for a candlelight dinner or play laser tag, you can do it right here!
OK, so if you're not already a University of Florida student, should you consider becoming one?
Let's face it -- most people think of UF when they hear the word "Gainesville". Luckily, though, Gainesville has a whole lot more to offer than just classrooms! If you're looking for the ultimate college experience, you'll get it here. Whether you like to spend your free time watching live sporting events, taking on some athletics on your own, getting up close and personal with the local wildlife, or indulging your tastes for fine art and fine dining, Gainesville's got something for you!