Areas of Gainesville
Say the word "Gainesville" to most people, and the first thing they'll think of is the University of Florida campus. While UF students, faculty, and staff are a huge part of this city, there is a whole lot more to see, do, and experience here!
In order to help you keep everything about Gainesville straight, we've organized the sights and sounds into groups, organized by area. So, when you arrive in Gainesville, here's what you'll be treated to…
The Santa Fe College Area:
Most people don't even know that there's another college in Gainesville besides UF! Gainesville is also the home of Santa Fe College. The Santa Fe campus is located in the Northwest side of Gainesville next to Interstate 75. Around the Santa Fe campus, you'll find a number of places to call home, and some are even close enough to walk to school!
In addition to classrooms, you'll find a zoo on Santa Fe's campus. The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is home to 250 animals in 70 different species -- making this a great place to spend an afternoon.
If your kids aren't ready for college just yet, there are plenty of other schools for them to attend. Meadowbrook Elementary, Hidden Oak Elementary, and Fort Clarke Middle School are all in the neighborhoods that surround Santa Fe College.
And, if you're looking for fun shopping and tasty treats, you'll find plenty of them in this area! Both the Springhill Commons Shopping Area and Newberry Square are here. There is also a near-endless array of restaurant choices, so no matter what kind of cuisine you're craving, you'll likely find it here!
As an added benefit, the Santa Fe area is close to I-75, so it won't be hard to hit the road for a long weekend after classes end. This area is also convenient to Gainesville Regional Airport as it is a direct route east on NW 39th Avenue.
The Millhopper/Hunter's Crossing area:
This is a very popular area to live in because it sits on the northwestern side of Gainesville -- which is where you'll find the most tree-lined streets in town! As a result, a number of families choose to live in this area.
With all of those families comes a variety of schools! Travel throughout the Millhopper/Hunter's Crossing area, and you'll see Norton Elementary, Littlewood Elementary, Glen Springs Elementary, Westwood Middle, Mebane Middle, Buchholz High School and Millhopper Montessori School.
If you're planning on becoming one of the newest families in this area, you'll be happy to hear that there are plenty of places to run your "every day" errands -- including grocery stores and pharmacies.
If you don't feel like cooking for the family one night, you'll have plenty of restaurants to choose from. In fact, there are a number of local favorites here -- like Flying Biscuit, Leonardo's, and Las Margaritas.
And, yes, this section of town gets its name from Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park. If you're looking for a nearby adventure, head into the park and check out the 120-foot sinkhole!
While the Milhopper/Hunter's Crossing area sits near the northwestern side of Gainesville, this is actually the "formal" northwestern section! Like we discussed, this is the most picturesque part of town, so there are plenty of houses and apartments here to choose from. (Helpful hint -- if you want to be close to a main bus route, live in an apartment along 13th!)
Because so many people live in this part of town, there are plenty of stores to give your credit card a workout. Whether you're looking for clothes, home goods, books, or "every day" items, you can buy them here.
If you thought there were a lot of stores to choose from in Northwest Gainesville, just wait until you see how many restaurants there are here! You'll be able to find cuisine from just about every corner of the world -- including one of the most popular restaurants, Fuji Hana, which specializes in hibachi dishes made right at the table.
But, remember, this is the greenest section of Gainesville, so if you truly want to experience everything that this area has to offer, you've got to get outside! Go play tennis at Westside Park, or go jogging or biking at Loblolly Park.
The Tioga/Jonesville area
This section of Gainesville is only about five minutes from I-75, and it's known for combining the treasures of yesterday with the trendy conveniences of today. In this area, you'll find everything from gyms, to frozen yogurt shops, to Dudley Farm Historic State Park -- a working farm that shows how the farming industry evolved between the mid-1800's and the mid-1900's.
If you plan on raising your kids here, you'll be happy to hear that both Newberry Elementary and Newberry High serve the kids in this area.
The Oaks Mall/20th Avenue area
Lots of UF students choose to live in this area because the apartments here are close to the mall -- but even closer to campus! While it's not as diverse as the Oaks Mall, the shopping scene on 20th Avenue is great in its own right. You'll be able to do plenty of clothes shopping here!
You'll also be able to do plenty of eating here! Whether you're looking for a great beer selection to go along with your dinner, a Latin meal, or handmade ice cream, you'll be able to treat your taste buds in this section of town.
If you plan on raising a family in this part of Gainesville, you'll have a number of schools to choose from. That's because kids in these neighborhoods go to Hidden Oaks Elementary, Myra Terwilliger Elementary, Chiles Elementary, Wiles Elementary, Idylwild Elementary, Finley Elementary, Lincoln Middle, Bishop Middle and Eastside High.
The Campus/Downtown area
As you can probably expect, this area is geared mostly for college students. While many of them live on campus, there are also plenty of off-campus apartments and houses in this area. Many are only a short walk from the UF campus, but if you wind up living in an apartment that's a little too far to walk, you won't have any trouble finding a bus.
If you have a dream of living in an area with a lot of dining choices, living in this area will make it come true! And, whether you're into chain restaurants or locally-owned places, you'll have plenty of options.
You'll also have plenty of nightlife options, too! The Downtown area is home to a number of bars and clubs, including The Swamp -- which is, arguably, the most popular bar in Gainesville. Or, if you're looking for a more subdued night out, head to The Hippodrome Theater. You can also check out the live music at Bo Diddely Plaza.
There are plenty of fun things to do in this area of Gainesville during daylight hours, too! Head to the Butterfly Rainforest for a dose of natural beauty, the Matheson Museum for a taste of history, or the Harn Museum for an artistic treat.
Even though you probably don't like to think about getting sick or injured, you'll be happy to know that UF Health Shands is located in this area. So, if you ever need them, more than 900 doctors, 8,000 nurses, and a cancer center will all be just a quick car ride away.
The Archer Road/South Gainesville area
Most of the housing in this area is geared to UF graduate students, but some undergrads choose to live here, too, because there is such an array of houses and apartments.
When it comes time to run errands, you'll find yourself in the middle of a shopper's paradise! That's because Butler Plaza is on Archer Road, just east of I-75. Here, you'll be able to buy everything from clothes, to shoes, to home goods, to gourmet foods.
Speaking of food, the Archer Road/South Gainesville area is as much of a treat for your taste buds as your shopping urge! Whether you want chicken tenders, spaghetti, burgers, upscale sandwiches, waffles, or ice cream, you'll find it all here.
Once you've done all that eating, you'll probably want to walk it off. Luckily, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are in this part of town, so you'll have 62 acres to walk, enjoy the plants, and burn calories!