Local Atmosphere

Gainesville, FL
Tuition (in-state)
$28,420 ($6,143)
Admission Difficulty
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3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The locals love UF. But Gainesville is a "love it or hate it" kind of town. UF is like it's own little town with Gainesville which is really cool, but a lot of the surrounding area can be described as "hick town." But there are certain places nearby that are gorgeous.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Most students seem thoroughly happy in Gainesville while attending UF. There is enough to keep life interesting, but not enough job opportunities to continue residing in Gainesville after graduation.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: There is some stuff to do outside of campus but if you are not all about the bar scene then that really limits your options sometimes

1 person found this useful Report
2 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: Besides the university, there's really nothing in Gainesville.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Definitely a college town. Not sure why you'd want to live in the area if you weren't affiliated with the University. Definitely plenty of places to eat, and downtown/midtown has most of the nightlife.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Chris Kirschner
Bronx, NY
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Gainesville has frequently been voted one of the best college towns in America. Headquarters of "the Gator Nation," Gainesville bleeds orange and blue from every street corner, from local pizza joints to college bars. Gainesville is the University of Florida, and the University of Florida is Gainesville. Take a stroll down University Avenue, a street that is frequently lined with thousands of students after a national championship win, to fully experience UF culture. Don’t ever attempt to return to Gainesville on a Saturday during a home football game—the exit ramps are backed up for miles. Gainesville is a small town with a big heart. Everyone has pride in the school, and you’ll notice that as soon as you step foot in the heart of the Gator Nation.

Of course, this town resembles neither New York City nor the backwoods of Alaska, so if you’re looking for the extremes in population, setting, or events that go with those kinds of places, Gainesville may not be the ideal location for you. However, if you’re willing to settle in just a bit, you can have the wondrous pleasure of hearing the Boston Pops Orchestra play your school fight song in the O’Connell Center on campus and go buffalo- and alligator-watching at Paynes Prairie the next day.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Gainesville has been named Florida's most livable city and is generally ranked among the nation's top places to live.
  2. Gainesville is where the band Sister Hazel got started. The members named their group after a nun who worked at St. Francis House, a homeless shelter in downtown Gainesville.
  3. Gatorade was invented in Gainesville in 1965, when a team of scientists was searching for a beverage that would help prevent dehydration. The researchers tested it out on the Gator football team, which suffered fewer heat-related problems than it had in the past (when you find out what it feels like at the bottom of the stadium in September, you'll understand why that was so impressive).
  4. Several movies have been filmed here, including "Parenthood" (1989) with Steve Martin, which was filmed partly on UF's campus, and "Doc Hollywood" (1991), starring Michael J. Fox.
Notable Natives
  • Less Than Jake - band
  • Tom Petty - rock musician
  • Joaquin Phoenix - actor
  • River Phoenix - actor
  • Sister Hazel - band
  • Maya Rudolph - comedienne from "Saturday Night Live"
Points of Interest
  • Devil’s Millhopper
  • Florida Museum of Natural History
  • Gainesville-Hawthorne State Rail-Trail
  • Ginnie and Ichetucknee Springs
  • Harn Museum of Art
  • Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
  • Lake Wauburg
  • Paynes Prairie State Preserve
Shopping Centers
  • Butler Plaza
  • Oaks Mall
Movie Theaters
Regal Gainesville 14
3101 SW 35th Blvd.
(352) 336-0408
Movie Theaters
Regal Royal Park 16
3702 W. University Ave.
(352) 373-4277
Major Sports Teams
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: NFL
  • Orlando Magic: NBA
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: NFL
  • Tampa Bay Lightning: NHL
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Jacksonville, Fla.: : 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Miami: : 5 hours
  • Orlando, Fla.: : 2 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 316 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 309 responses

  • 2% Painfully remote.
  • 3% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 10% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 79% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 6% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 308 responses

  • 25% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 29% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 46% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 308 responses

  • 43% No way.
  • 46% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 11% Totally.



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