Gainesville, Florida

The Swamp

I went to school in Gainesville because it was a huge punk and folk town. So I went to class twice a week, and then I went to shows and wrote. I did a lot of music writing before I actually started playing music.
-Author: Benjamin Booker

The Best Thing About Gainesville?

Everything In Moderation

Gainesville has a reputation as a college town with moderate prices relative to most college cities. You can carve out a comfortable lifestyle here on a middle-class salary (like they pay at the University of Florida) and that’s a great thing for a city with the energy and services of a college town. Unlike some super-charged college cities like Cambridge, or Berkeley or even Ann Arbor or Chapel Hill, Gainesville remains a relatively quiet city in terms of cost of living for housing and expenses in general.

For that money you get some great perks even if you don’t attend the university. World-class speakers, musicians and a thriving arts scene surround the school, are available to locals, and give you incredible cultural value for your buck.

Here's a review from a local about living in Gainesville:
Even if you do not attend the University, there are all sorts of perks that come with that. You do not need to be a student to enjoy some great speakers for free. I have seen Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman debate. I have seen Mikhail Gorbachev. I have seen Bill Clinton. I have seen Dr. Jack Kevorkian. That is a short list of some world-class speakers that come to UF and are open to everyone. There are free concerts. World-class musicians sometimes play there while the university foots the bill and they are free for anyone. There are great libraries. There is a thriving arts community. There are good theater productions. There are some cool little towns around Gainesville. Micanopy (where they filmed Doc Hollywood with Micheal J. Fox) has some interesting stores to browse and casual restaurants. Pearl’s and Blue Highway are both on 441 and should be on anyone’s list of foodie-class food at reasonable prices. High Springs also has good stores to browse. The Great Outdoors restaurant is a must-do after visiting the rivers and springs around High Springs. We also love El Patio which has good Tex-Mex.

The Worst Thing About Gainesville?

It’s Not On The Ocean Or The Gulf

If you’re coming from the North or West it’s easy to not know that Gainesville ain’t on one of the Florida coasts. So if you’re dreaming of a day at the beach and then a night watching the Gators play ball you’ll be disappointed about that first part. Not being on the coast means you’re going to get hammered with mosquitos and humidity. If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the Gainesville kitchen.

One local finds the distance un-daunting:
It's relatively close to everything- 1.5 hours to the beach, two hours to any theme park, 2 hours to a big city like Jacksonville. It's busy in the school year and lazy in the summer. Very nature-y. Lots of fun nightlife. You may have to get used to the temperatures and humidity. I love traveling, but Gainesville is my home.

Lifestyle of Gainesville

As was noted above the lifestyle of Gainesville is culturally interesting as a result of all that goes on around the university. Theater, music, speakers and some serious sporting events throughout the school year are all available to anyone who lives in the area. While Gainesville has historically had most of its active nightlife near the school, downtown has developed quite a bit in recent years and there is now a pretty active restaurant and bar scene for those who want to steer clear of the university. All that said, if you aren’t a student then much of Gainesville is about families. The school system is strong and even though the city isn’t on the ocean it has amazing fresh-water springs nearby as well as a strong park system for the kiddos to run around when it isn’t too toasty.

Workstyle of Gainesville

Gainesville tends to be a one-trick pony on jobs. The University of Florida is the largest employer and a lot of the service economy exists to support students. The VA has a big facility there and there are regional administration offices for the state and county here as well so government jobs are big. Outside of that there are mostly healthcare jobs. Education, government and health drive most of the job opportunities here so unless you’re working remote you’re going to need to get work in these industries.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

University Town Vibes

If you’re looking to save dough and live off of the services, social offerings and energy of a major university then it’s a good place to put on your shortlist.