Gainesville is a vibrant and growing city located in North Central Florida with a population of about 135,000. Due to the presence of the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, the city offers a great number of activities combining the best aspects of a metropolitan city with the hospitality of a college town. Whether you are looking forward to having a night out in midtown across from the University or spending the day kayaking at Lake Wauburg you are always guaranteed a great time. If you have just recently moved to Florida you will be pleased to know that the winters are mild with average temperatures in the 50-60s° F and summers warming up to average temperatures in the 70-90s° F with beautiful sunny skies year round.
Gainesville isn’t your typical small city as it accommodates two public and three private golf courses and maintains 27 parks featuring tennis, racquetball, swimming and other organized recreation including volleyball and softball leagues. Spend a morning at our newly created Depot Park where walkers and cyclists enjoy the paths, families entertain kids in the play areas, or check it out for a concert of movie under the stars. The University of Florida is home to collegiate teams in football, basketball, baseball, golf, track, tennis, swimming and gymnastics all part of the Gator family. If college football isn’t your preference professional football is within easy reach in Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville. Don’t be afraid to plan spontaneous trips to cities nearby!
Aside from being a great city to enjoy sports, Gainesville is also the perfect spot for individuals who enjoy the outdoors since it is located within 50 miles of at least 40 nature settings. These settings offer a combination of camping, hiking, swimming, picnicking, boating and fishing that accommodates everyone! Several of these areas include some of the clearest springs in the nation, providing excellent snorkeling, scuba diving and world-class cave diving. Gainesville takes pride in being environmentally conscious, setting aside land just outside the city limits for preservation. In order to keep our springs and hiking trails as beautiful as they are we encourage our community to not only take pride in them but to make it a point to be mindful of their actions. Always remember, even if you don’t consider yourself an outdoors person everyone loves a beautiful scenery.
Gainesville also offers many cultural events. We are home to the critically acclaimed Hippodrome Theater and the Florida Players of the University of Florida. The Gainesville Civic Ballet and the Gainesville Ballet Theater produce performances throughout the year. The Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts presents the finest in world-class entertainment from Broadway, opera and dance, to the superstars of pop, jazz, classical and country music. The nationally renowned Harn Museum of Art is located next to the Florida’s State Museum of Natural History. The recently opened Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention helps inspire the next generation and has fun for the entire family. Gainesville also offers something for every musical taste, from outdoor rock and jazz concerts to the university-sponsored symphony orchestra, jazz band and marching band. Each year, Santa Fe College sponsors the Spring Arts Festival featuring fine arts, ceramic, leather and fabric art from artisans around the nation.
Aside from great entertainment you can also find fantastic food throughout Gainesville providing delights for the palate as well as the eye. Some local favorites include The Top, Boca Fiesta, Dragon Fly, Lucy’s, and Paramount Grill—just to name a few. Many famous Florida attractions are within easy driving distances of Gainesville for day trips or weekend getaways. Historic St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest settlement, is only 90 minutes from Gainesville; Walt Disney World and EPCOT Center are about two hours away. Within a 100-mile radius are Silver Springs, Sea World, the Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Jacksonville Planetarium and the Atlantic and Gulf beaches. Of course, you can always drive a little further to check out other beautiful destinations like Destin in the Florida panhandle or the Florida Keys for island life. Florida really offers year-round fun for everyone!
Fun in Gainesville
Theatrical Performance Venues, Museums, and Outdoor Activities
The Phillips Center for Performing Arts, The University Auditorium, The Baughman Center hosts a variety of musical and theatrical events in three venues.
The Gainesville Community Playhouse is one of the oldest community theaters in the state of Florida.
Florida Players is a student-run theatre company that provides diverse opportunities for artistic and professional growth through hands-on work in live theatre.
The Hippodrome Theatre (often referred to by residents at the Hipp) is a regional professional theatre in downtown Gainesville.
The Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention is named for Dr. James Robert Cade, a professor of renal (kidney) medicine at the University of Florida and the lead inventor of the sports drink Gatorade.
The University of Florida’s Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art collaborates with university and community partners to inspire, educate and enrich people’s lives through art.
The Florida Museum of Natural History is a leading authority in biodiversity and cultural heritage, using its expertise to advance knowledge, solve real world problems, and impact public policy and perception
The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, a unique 10-acre zoo in Gainesville, Florida, is the only zoo on a college campus accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Lake Alice is a signature feature of the University of Florida campus. It is a proven sanctuary to many alligators and birds.
Lake Wauburg offers UF students, faculty, and staff a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors while providing numerous recreational activities to choose from.
Paynes Prairie is unique in many ways. Nowhere else in Florida can visitors experience wild-roaming bison and horses. Nearly 300 species of birds also frequent the park along with alligators, deer and many other animals.The park’s eight trails, including the 16-mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, allows one to explore the park’s interior and observe wildlife, while a 50-foot high observation tower provides for panoramic views.
In the midst of north Florida’s sandy terrain and pine forests, a bowl-shaped cavisy 120 feet deep leads down to a miniature rain forest.