Is Gainesville, Home to the University Of Florida, Still One of the best places to live in Florida Today?
Here’s What I Wrote About Gainesville a Few Years Ago, Followed by More Recent Comments:
Want to move to a place in Florida where the average age of the residents is less than 100 years old? Well one of the true best places to live in Florida, Gainesville, with its “small town feel” may be the perfect for you. Picture a fairly small town in beautiful north central Florida where they have beautiful rolling hills. Now picture this town dominated by a large university with around 50,000 college students.
As the university has grown, so has the town with all kinds of great restaurants, shops and entertainment. You can’t think of a type of food, drink, product or service that you can’t find in Gainesville today. Chances are high the person who will be serving you will be a student because they are working everywhere. When I visit Gainesville, it’s like culture shock. Many counties in Florida have a higher than average median age, but Gainesville has the youngest population in the state, students dominate most of this town. Although the town is laid back and relaxed like most of Florida, is also has a definite sense of youthfulness and energy.
Many retirees are moving there also, and not they’re not just the alumni of the University of Florida, of which there are many. Recent surveys show today’s retirees desire to live somewhere where there a lot of things to do. Most college towns have just that, lots of things to do and Gainesville is no exception. Having a college in town means means that Gainesville offers something that towns without colleges usually can’t: learning. The University of Florida offers credit and non-credit courses to people of all ages to learn pretty much anything you desire.
Gainesville has many parks and recreation areas and it’s very bike and pedestrian friendly. It has to be because most of the students don’t have cars. Although the school has plenty of ground, they have chosen not to use it for massive parking lots. The public bus system in Gainesville is rated as excellent, safe and you can get anywhere you want. It’s perfect for students, seniors and everyone in between.
Located in the center of the state, it’s possible to do day trips to the theme parks in Orlando and destinations on both coasts of Florida. It is far enough inland that by the time a hurricane would affect the area, it would be downgraded to just a bad storm. In fact, Gainesville is one of the places I traveled to when hurricanes threatened my coastal area home. It was always like a vacation in a great area with lots of youthful energy and things to do, rather than just shelter from the storm.
I would recommend adding Gainesville to your list of possible places to live in FL regardless of your age. One warning, The Florida Gator football team is usually ranked near the top of all college football teams nationally and is usually in bowl games. The town explodes on home game weekends with festivities, events, crowded shops and pubs but a great time is had by all. If you love to party and take part in festivities, you’ll probably love Gainesville.
If you don’t feel like parting, you can always just plan a weekend at home in the hammock and a quiet cook out in your backyard during big University of Florida events. The Gainesville area has grown large enough that you can enjoy living here and still avoid the whole town parties if you want to in a quiet suburb, even though you’re not far from “town” or the university. When I stay in Gainesville, no matter what my mood I was in before I got there, the town and its spirit put me in a partying mood! Check out the Ballyhoo Grill on University Ave for good food, drinks and fun.
Haven’t seen Gainesville Florida on many of those “best places” lists out there? Don’t worry because those lists are now usually picked by computers and the authors of the articles have never even visited the places they’re writing about. If you are thinking about college in Florida, retiring in Florida or just looking for a great place to open a business, Gainesville is worth consideration.
Actually, you check out this video of Gainesville Florida right now to see if it’s worth looking into further.
Please Note: Gainesville Florida is no longer recommended as a best place to live in Florida by this site.
This post was originally written in 2011. Since we tightened the crime requirements needed to make our ‘Best Places in Florida Lists” (all best places now must have property and violent crime rates lower than the national average) starting in 2015, Gainesville Florida is no longer qualifies to be recommended. Gainesville’s property crime rate is far higher than the national average, and the violent crime rate is roughly twice as high as the national average.
Since Gainesville Florida is No Longer on Any of Our Best Places to Live in Florida Lists, Here’s What You May Want to Consider Before Moving Here:
- Colleges towns can make excellent places to live or retire. If it wasn’t for our low crime rate requirement, Gainesville would qualify for our new lists. If the place you are moving from has more crime than Gainesville, your move may increase your overall safety.
- The economy of college towns often remains good even when the rest of the country is is recession. Therefore Gainesville may be an good choice for opening a business if it’s something the students or residents need or want.
- If you are thinking of Moving to Gainesville but need a job to support yourself, it may be wise to find a job here first before you actually move. So many UF students fall in love with the area that they try to secure employment here so they stay after they graduate. Competition for jobs can be brutal in Gainesville.
- If you are thinking of sending your child to college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, how does the it’s crime rate compare with the towns of the other colleges you are considering?
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”
- Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.