Gainesville, Florida

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Gainesville, Florida
City of Gainesville
Downtown Gainesville at night
Flag of Gainesville, Florida.png
"Gville", [1] "Hogtown", [2] "GNV" [3]
Every path starts with passion
Alachua County Florida Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Gainesville Highlighted.svg
Location in Alachua County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 29°39′7.19″N82°19′29.97″W / 29.6519972°N 82.3249917°W / 29.6519972; -82.3249917 Coordinates: 29°39′7.19″N82°19′29.97″W / 29.6519972°N 82.3249917°W / 29.6519972; -82.3249917
Country United States
State Florida
County Alachua
IncorporatedApril 14, 1869
  Type Council-manager
   Mayor Lauren Poe (D)
  Commission [4]
  City ManagerAnthony Lyons
   City 63.49 sq mi (164.43 km2)
  Land62.32 sq mi (161.41 km2)
  Water1.17 sq mi (3.02 km2)  1.74%
151 ft (54 m)
   City 124,354
(2017) [8]
  Rank 206th
  Density2,111.50/sq mi (815.25/km2)
187,781 (US: 187th)
284,687 (168th)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
32601–32614, 32627, 32635, 32641, 32653
Area code 352
FIPS code 12-25175
GNIS feature ID0282874 [9]
The Cade Innovation and Invention Museum at Depot Park. The Cade Museum at Depot Park.jpg
The Cade Innovation and Invention Museum at Depot Park.
Gainesville's Depot Park Depot Park 01.jpg
Gainesville's Depot Park

Gainesville is the county seat and largest city in Alachua County, Florida, United States, and the principal city of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The population of Gainesville in the 2017 US Census estimates was 132,249, [10] a 6.4% growth from 2010. [11] [12] Gainesville is the largest city in the region of North Central Florida. It is also a component of the Gainesville-Lake City Combined Statistical Area, which had a 2013 population of 337,925.

A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.

Alachua County, Florida County in the United States

Alachua County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 247,336. The county seat is Gainesville, the home of the University of Florida since 1906, when the campus opened with 106 students.

North Central Florida region of Florida, United States

North Central Florida is a region of the Southern U.S. state of Florida which comprises the north-central part of the state and encompasses the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the North Florida counties of Bradford, Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Marion, Putnam, Suwannee and Union. The region's largest city is Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, while the largest metropolitan area is the Ocala Metropolitan Area. Other principal cities in the region include Lake City, Live Oak, and Palatka. As of 2010, the region had a population of 873,189.


Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, the nation's fifth-largest university campus by enrollment, as well as to Santa Fe College.

University of Florida public research university in Gainesville, Florida, United States

The University of Florida is a public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. The university traces its origins to 1853 and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.

Santa Fe College

Santa Fe College is a state college located in Gainesville, Florida, and is a member institution of the Florida College System. Santa Fe College is accredited by the Florida Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Located in North Central Florida, its main campus is in Gainesville, Florida. As of the 2015-2016 school year, the school reported 22,043 students, two-thirds of which were enrolled part-time.



Gainesville is located at 29°39'55" North, 82°20'10" West (29.665245, −82.336097), [13] which is roughly the same latitude as Houston, Texas. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 62.4 square miles (161.6 km2), of which 61.3 square miles (158.8 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) is water. The total area is 1.74% water. [11]

Houston City in Texas, United States

Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, with a census-estimated population of 2.312 million in 2017. It is the most populous city in the Southern United States and on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, which is the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the United States and the second most populous in Texas after the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA. With a total area of 627 square miles (1,620 km2), Houston is the eighth most expansive city in the United States. It is the largest city in the United States by total area, whose government is similarly not consolidated with that of a county or borough. Though primarily in Harris County, small portions of the city extend into Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

United States Census Bureau bureau of the United States responsible for the census and related statistics

The United States Census Bureau is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and its director is appointed by the President of the United States.

Gainesville's tree canopy is both dense and species rich, including broadleaf evergreens, conifers, and deciduous species; the city has been recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1982 as a "Tree City, USA".

Gainesville is the only city with more than 10,000 residents in the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (Alachua and Gilchrist counties), and it is surrounded by rural area, including the 21,000-acre (8,500 ha) wilderness of Paynes Prairie on its southern edge. The city is characterized by its medium size and central location, about 90 minutes' driving time from either Jacksonville or Orlando, two hours from Tampa, and five hours from either Atlanta or Miami. The area is dominated by the University of Florida, [14] which in 2008 was the third-largest university by enrollment in the US, [15] and as of 2016 was the fifth-largest.

Jacksonville, Florida Largest city in Florida

Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, the most populous city in the southeastern United States and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits. As of 2017 Jacksonville's population was estimated to be 892,062. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,523,615 and is the fourth largest in Florida.

Orlando, Florida City in Central Florida

Orlando is a city in the U.S. state of Florida and the county seat of Orange County. Located in Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,509,831, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released in July 2017. These figures make it the 23rd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States, and the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida. As of 2015, Orlando had an estimated city-proper population of 280,257, making it the 73rd-largest city in the United States, the fourth-largest city in Florida, and the state's largest inland city.

Tampa, Florida City in Central Florida

Tampa is a major city in, and the county seat of, Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is the largest city in the Tampa Bay Area. The bay's port is the largest in the state, near downtown's Channel District. Bayshore Boulevard runs along the bay, and is east of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood.


Gainesville's climate is defined as humid subtropical (Köppen: Cfa). Due to its inland location, Gainesville experiences wide temperature fluctuations for Florida, and it is part of USDA Plant hardiness zone 9a. [16] During the hot season, from roughly May 15 to September 30, the city's climate is similar to the rest of the state, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms and high humidity. Temperatures range from the low 70s (21–23 °C) at night to around 92 °F (33 °C) during the day on average. [17] The all-time record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was reached on June 27, 1952. [18] From November through March, however, the Gainesville area has a climate distinct from much of peninsular Florida with 16 nights [18] of freezing or below temperatures and sustained freezes occurring every few years. The all-time record low of 6 °F (−14 °C) was reached on February 13, 1899, [19] and the city experienced light snow and freezing rain on Christmas Eve, 1989. Traces of snow were also recorded in 1977, [20] 1996, 2010 [21] and 2016. [22] The daily average temperature in January is 54.3 °F (12.4 °C); on average, the window for freezing temperatures is December 4 through February 24, allowing a growing season of 282 days. [18] As with the rest of the state, cold temperatures are almost always accompanied by clear skies and high pressure systems; snow is therefore rare. Temperatures reaching 100 °F (38 °C) or falling below 20 °F (−7 °C) are rare, having respectively occurred on June 16, 2015 and January 11, 2010. [18]

Humid subtropical climate category in the Köppen climate classification system

A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° and are located poleward from adjacent tropical climates. While many subtropical climates tend to be located at or near coastal locations, in some cases they extend inland, most notably in China and the United States, where they exhibit more pronounced seasonal variations and sharper contrasts between summer and winter, as part of a gradient between the more tropical climates of the southern coasts of these countries and the more continental climates of China and the United States’ northern and central regions.

Köppen climate classification widely used climate classification system

The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by the Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.

Hardiness zone Geographical regions defined by climatic conditions for horticultural purposes

A hardiness zone is a geographic area defined to encompass a certain range of climatic conditions relevant to plant growth and survival.

The city's flora and fauna are also distinct from coastal regions of the state, and include many deciduous species, such as dogwood, maple, hickory and sweet gum, alongside palms, live oaks, and other evergreens. Thus the city enjoys brief periods of fall color in late November and December (though hardly comparable to areas further north) and a noticeable, prolonged spring from mid-February through early April. This is a generally pleasant period, as colorful blooms of azalea and redbud complement a cloudless blue sky, for this is also the period of the lowest precipitation and lowest humidity. The city averages 47.33 inches (1,200 mm) of rain per year. June through September accounts for a majority of annual rainfall, while autumn and early winter is the driest period. [17]

Climate data for Gainesville Regional Airport, Florida (1981−2010 normals, [23] extremes 1890−present)
Record high °F (°C)89
Mean maximum °F (°C)80.1
Average high °F (°C)66.2
Daily mean °F (°C)54.3
Average low °F (°C)42.3
Mean minimum °F (°C)23.6
Record low °F (°C)10
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.33
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Source: NOAA [18] [24]


Alachua County Courthouse Family and Civil Justice Center Dsg Alachua County Courthouse Family and Civil Justice Center 20050507.jpg
Alachua County Courthouse Family and Civil Justice Center
University Corners, viewed from the main entrance to the University of Florida, February 2012. This is now the site of the apartment complex "The Standard", which opened in 2017. University Corners.Gainesville Florida.jpeg
University Corners, viewed from the main entrance to the University of Florida, February 2012. This is now the site of the apartment complex "The Standard", which opened in 2017.
Gainesville's Downtown Dsg Gainesville Downtown 20050507.jpg
Gainesville's Downtown
Hippodrome State Theatre Dsg Gainesville Hippodrome State Theater 20050507.jpg
Hippodrome State Theatre

Since the 1990s, suburban sprawl has been a concern for a majority of the city commissioners. The "New Urbanization" plan to gentrify the area between historic Downtown and the University of Florida may slow the growth of suburban sectors and spark a migration toward upper-level apartments in the inner city. The area immediately north of the university is also seeing active redevelopment. Many gentrification plans rely on tax incentives that have sparked controversy [25] and are sometimes unsuccessful. University Corners, which would not have been proposed without a $98 million tax incentive program by the city, [26] was to be "a crowning jewel of the city's redevelopment efforts", [27] 450 condos and hotel units and 98,000 square feet (9,100 m2) of retail space in eight stories covering three city blocks, [28] on 3.4 acres (1.4 ha) purchased for $15.5 million. [29] 19 thriving businesses [25] were demolished in April 2007, [29] but in May 2008 deposit checks were refunded to about 105 people who reserved units, [30] and in July 2008 developers spent "$120,000 to beautify the site, so we won't have this ugly green fence." [29]

Gainesville's east side houses the majority of the city's African-American community, while the west side consists of the mainly student and white resident population. West of the city limits are large-scale planned communities, most notably Haile Plantation, which was built on the site of its eponymous former plantation.

The destruction of the city's landmark Victorian courthouse in the 1960s, which some considered unnecessary, brought the idea of historic preservation to the community's attention. The bland county building that replaced the grand courthouse became known to some locals as the "air conditioner". Additional destruction of other historic buildings in the downtown followed. Only a small handful of older buildings are left, like the Hippodrome State Theatre, at one time a federal building. Revitalization of the city's core has picked up, and many parking lots and underutilized buildings are being replaced with infill development and near-campus housing that blend in with existing historic structures. There is a proposal to rebuild a replica of the old courthouse on a parking lot one block from the original location.

Helping in this effort are the number of areas and buildings added to the National Register of Historic Places. Dozens of examples of restored Victorian and Queen Anne style residences constructed in the city's agricultural heyday of the 1880s and 1890s can be found in the following districts:

Additionally, the University of Florida Campus Historic District, consisting of 11 buildings and 14 contributing properties, lies within the city's boundaries. Most of the buildings in the Campus Historic District are constructed in variations of Collegiate Gothic architecture, which returned to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Historic structures on the Register in and around downtown are:

Developments and expansions


Historical population
1890 2,790
1900 3,63330.2%
1910 6,18370.2%
1920 6,86010.9%
1930 10,46552.6%
1940 13,75731.5%
1950 26,86195.3%
1960 29,70110.6%
1970 64,510117.2%
1980 81,37126.1%
1990 84,7704.2%
2000 95,44712.6%
2010 124,35430.3%
Est. 2016131,591 [8] 5.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [35]
Gainesville Demographics
2010 Census GainesvilleAlachua CountyFlorida
Total population124,354247,33618,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010+30.3%+13.5%+17.6%
Population density2,028.5/sq mi282.7/sq mi350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)64.9%69.6%75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)57.8%63.7%57.9%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 10.0%8.4%22.5%
Black or African-American 23.0%20.3%16.0%
Asian 6.9%5.4%2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.3%0.3%0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.1%0.1%0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 2.9%2.6%2.5%
Some Other Race1.9%1.7%3.6%

The population of Gainesville was estimated to be 125,365 in 2011. The population of Gainesville was 124,354 at the 2010 census, a 30.3% change from 2000. At the 2010 census there were 51,029 households, with 2.2 persons per household. Children under the age of 5 were 4.4% of the population, under 18 13.4%, and people 65 years or over were 8.3% of the population. 64.9% of the population was white, 23.0% black, 6.9% Asian, 0.3% American Indians and Alaska Natives, 0.1% Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, 1.9% some other race, and 2.9% reporting two or more races. 10.0 percent were Hispanic or Latino of any race, and 58.7% were non-Hispanic whites. 51.6% of the population were female. For the period 2007–11, the estimated median household income $30,952, and the per capita income was $19,100. [36]


As of 2000, 87.10% of residents spoke English as their first language, while 6.31% spoke Spanish, 1.28% spoke Chinese, 0.55% spoke French, 0.52% spoke Korean, and 0.50% spoke German as their mother tongue. In total, 12.89% of the total population spoke languages other than English. [37]


Numerous guides such as the 2004 book Cities Ranked and Rated: More than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. and Canada have mentioned Gainesville's low cost of living. The restaurants near the University of Florida also tend to be inexpensive. The property taxes are high to offset the cost of the university, as the university's land is tax-exempt. But the median home cost is slightly below the national average, and Gainesville residents, like all Floridians, do not pay state income taxes.

The city's job market scored only 6 points out of a possible 100 in the Cities Ranked and Rated guide, as the downside to the low cost of living is an extremely weak local job market that is oversupplied with college-educated residents. The median income in Gainesville is slightly below the U.S. average.

Gainesville heavily promoted solar power by creating the first feed-in tariff (FIT) in the United States. The FIT allowed small businesses and homeowners to supply electricity into the municipal power grid and paid a premium for the clean, on-site generated solar electricity. The FIT started with a rate of $0.32 per kilowatt-hour and allowed a person or business to enter into a 20-year contract where Gainesville Regional Utilities would purchase the power for 20 years. [38] The FIT ended in 2013, [39] when the rate was set at $0.18 per kWh, but the city is still seen as a leader in solar power. This increase in solar installations put Gainesville at number 5 in the world in solar installed per capita, beating Japan, France, China and all of the US. [40]

The sports drink Gatorade was invented in Gainesville in the 1960s as a means of refreshing the UF football team. UF still receives a share of the profits from the beverage, but Gatorade's headquarters are now in Chicago.

Spring Hill UF Health building Spring Hill UF Health - panoramio.jpg
Spring Hill UF Health building

Top employers

According to Gainesville's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [41] the top employers in the city are:

No.EmployerNo. of Employees
1 University of Florida 27,567
2 UF Health 12,705
3 Gainesville Veterans Administration Medical Center 6,127
4 Alachua County School Board 3,904
5City of Gainesville2,072
6 North Florida Regional Medical Center 2,000
7Gator Dining Services1,200
8 Nationwide Insurance 960
9 Alachua County 809
10 Publix 780


University of Florida CenturyTower (cropped).jpg
University of Florida

The Gainesville urban area is served by Alachua County Public Schools, which has 75 different institutions in the county, most in the Gainesville area. Gainesville is also home to the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. The University of Florida is a major financial boost to the community, and UF athletic events, including SEC football games, create hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue. In all, UF contributes nearly $9 billion annually to Florida's economy and is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs. [42]


Gainesville began desegregating its schools in the 1960s. It integrated its high schools from 1968 to 1970. Its black schools were either closed or integrated. [43]


Elementary schools

  • Boulware Springs Charter School
  • Chiles Elementary School
  • Duval Elementary School
  • JJ Finley Elementary School
  • Foster Elementary School
  • Glen Springs Elementary School
  • Hidden Oak Elementary School
  • Idylwilde Elementary School
  • Lake Forest Elementary School
  • Littlewood Elementary School
  • Meadowbrook Elementary School
  • WA Metcalfe Elementary School
  • Norton Knights Elementary School
  • Prairie View Elementary School
  • Rawlings Elementary School
  • Talbot Elementary School
  • Terwilliger Elementary School
  • Wiles Elementary School
  • Williams Elementary School

Middle schools

Middle schools in the county run from 6th to 8th grades.

High schools

High schools in Gainesville run from 9th to 12th grades.

Oak Hall School Cofrin Arts Center Gainesville FL Oak Hall School Cofrin AC01.jpg
Oak Hall School Cofrin Arts Center

Private schools

Developmental Research Schools

Sledd Hall at the University of Florida Gville UF Sledd Hall02.jpg
Sledd Hall at the University of Florida

Colleges and universities

City libraries

The Alachua County Library District provides public library service to a county-wide population (in 2013) of 253,451. The Library District has reciprocal borrowing agreements with the surrounding counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, and Union. These agreements are designed to facilitate access to the most conveniently located library facility regardless of an individual's county of residence.

Government and infrastructure

The Florida Department of Citrus's department of economic research is on the UF campus. [44]

City government

Gainesville is administered by a 7-member city commission (four commissioners are elected by district, two are elected at large, and the mayor is elected at large). The commission and mayoral elections are nonpartisan, with a runoff if there is no majority winner. [4]

Gainesville's city hall is at 200 E University Avenue.

Law enforcement is provided by Gainesville Police Department, except for the University of Florida campus which operates the University Police Department.

Fire protection within the city limits is provided by the Gainesville Fire Rescue, while the surrounding county is served by the Alachua County Fire Rescue. Ambulance services are provided for the whole county by the Alachua County Fire Rescue.


The mayor of Gainesville is the city's official head. Gainesville's citizens elect the mayor to a three-year term, with a two-term maximum. [45] Since 2016 the mayor has been Lauren Poe. [46]

List of mayors of Gainesville, Florida
  • William Reuben Thomas, 1901-1907
  • Horatio Davis, 1908-1909 [47]
  • ?
  • Gordon Tison, circa 1918 [48]
  • ?
  • Robert W. Davis, 1924-1925 [47]
  • ?
  • J. Milton Brownlee, 1951 [47]
  • Fred M. Cone, 1952 [47]
  • Roy L. Purvis, 1953 [47]
  • C. B. Bohannon, Jr., 1954 [47]
  • Joseph C. Wise, 1955 [47]
  • Myrl J. Hanes, 1959 [47]
  • Perry McGriff, circa 1960s??
  • ?
  • Joseph W. Little, 1975-1976 [49]
  • ?
  • Jean Chalmers, 1984-1985 [49]
  • Gary Gordon, 1985-1986
  • N. David Flagg, 1987-1988 [49]
  • David Coffey, 1988-1989 [49]
  • Cynthia Moore Chestnut, 1989-1990 [49]
  • Rodney J. Long, 1991-1992 [49]
  • Paula M. DeLaney, 1994-1995, 1998-2001 [49] [50]
  • Bruce L. Delaney, 1997-1998 [49]
  • Thomas D. Bussing, 2001-2004 [49]
  • Pegeen Hanrahan, 2004-2010
  • Craig Lowe, 2010-2013
  • Ed Braddy, 2013-2016 [51]
  • Lauren Poe since 2016

Homelessness issues

The National Coalition for the Homeless cited Gainesville as the 5th meanest city in the United States for its criminalization of homelessness in the Coalition's two most recent reports (in 2004 and 2009), [52] [53] the latter time for its meal limit ordinance. [54] Gainesville has a number of ordinances targeting the homeless, including an anti-panhandling measure and one prohibiting sleeping outdoors on public property. In 2005, the Alachua Board of County Commissioners and the Gainesville City Commission responded by issuing a written "Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness"; [55] [56] which was followed by the 2010 "A Needs Assessment of Unsheltered Homeless Individuals In Gainesville, Florida" presentation to a joint meeting of Gainesville and Alachua County Commissions. [57] An indoor homeless shelter was built on the site of the former Gainesville Correctional Institution grounds, with surrounding area designated for tents. [58]


Heading east on University Avenue, approaching 13th Street (US 441) intersection Dsg Gainesville 13th and University Intersection Approach 20050507.jpg
Heading east on University Avenue, approaching 13th Street (US 441) intersection

In 2009, the Gainesville metropolitan statistical area (MSA) ranked seventh highest in the United States in percentage of commuters who biked to work (3.3 percent). [59]

Major roads

Gainesville has an extensive road system, which is served by Interstate 75, and several Florida State Routes, including State routes 20, 24, and 26. Gainesville is also served by US 441 and nearby US 301, which give a direct route to Jacksonville, Ocala, and Orlando.

The city's streets lie on a grid system, with four quadrants (NW, NE, SW and SE). All streets are numbered, except for a few major thoroughfares, many of which are named for the towns they lead to (such as Waldo Road (SR 24), Hawthorne Road (SR 20), Williston Road (SR 121/SR 331), Archer Road (also SR 24) and Newberry Road (SR 26)). Streets called Avenues, Places, Roads or Lanes (often remembered by use of the acronym "APRiL") generally run east-west, while other streets generally run north-south.

Intercity rail

Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach buses connect with Jacksonville to the north and Lakeland (to/from points south, LKL) to the south. Buses arrive/depart stations to connect with the Silver Service . Amtrak service is available at Palatka, 32 miles (51 km) to the east.

At one time, Gainesville had railroad lines extending in six directions and was served by several depots, the earliest route reaching the town in 1859. As traffic and business patterns changed, the less heavily used railroads were abandoned beginning in 1943, and some routes realigned, with the last trains running in the middle of Main Street in 1948. [60]

Passenger service included different Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) trains: the Havana Special, the West Coast Champion from New York City, and the Dixie Flyer from Chicago. Chicago service was furnished by a transfer at Jacksonville to the West Coast Champion. In 1967, the service continued on through Seaboard Coast Line Railroad which was created as a merger of ACL and Seaboard Air Line. Service into Gainesville ended by the time of Amtrak's 1971 creation.

By the 1980s, the only freight operator into the city was the Seaboard System (formerly the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, now merged into CSX).

Airport, bus, and others

In addition to its extensive road network, Gainesville is served by Gainesville Regional Transit System, or RTS, Florida's fourth-largest mass transit system. The area is also served by Gainesville Regional Airport in the northeast part of the city, with daily service to Atlanta, Miami, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the 2000 census, 5.25 percent of Gainesville residents commuted to work by bike, among the highest figures in the nation for a major population center.


Gainesville is known for its support of the visual arts. Each year, two large art festivals attract artists and visitors from all over the southeastern United States.

Cultural facilities include the Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, the Hippodrome State Theatre, and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Smaller theaters include the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART), Actors' Warehouse, and the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP). GCP is the oldest community theater group in Florida; in 2006, it christened a new theater building. [61]

The presence of a major university enhances the city's opportunities for cultural lifestyles. The University of Florida College of the Arts [62] is the umbrella college for the School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, School of Art and Art History, and a number of other programs and centers including The University Galleries, the Center for World Art, and Digital Worlds. Collectively, the College offers many performance events and artist/lecture opportunities for students and the greater Gainesville community, the majority offered at little or no cost.

Since 1989, Gainesville has been home to Theatre Strike Force, the University of Florida's premier improv troupe. Gainesville also hosts several sketch comedy troupes and stand-up comedians.

In April 2003, Gainesville became known as the "Healthiest Community in America" when it won the only "Gold Well City" award given by the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA). [63] Headed up by Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers, and with the support of Shands HealthCare and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, 21 businesses comprising 60 percent of the city's workforce became involved in the "Gold Well City" effort. As of July 2011, Gainesville remained the only city in the country to win the award.

The counties surrounding Alachua County vote strongly Republican, while Alachua County votes strongly Democratic. [64] In the 2008 election, there was a 22% gap in votes in Alachua County between Barack Obama and John McCain, while the other 11 candidates on the ballot and write-in votes received approximately 1.46% of the vote. [65]

Marijuana culture

Gainesville is renowned in recreational drug culture for "Gainesville Green", a particularly potent strain of marijuana. Orange and Blue magazine published a feature article in 2003 about the history of Gainesville Green and the local marijuana culture in general. [66] In the mid-1990s, several Gainesville Hemp Festivals took place outside the Alachua County courthouse.

Music scene

Gainesville is well known for its music scene and has spawned a number of bands and musicians, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stephen Stills, Don Felder and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles, The Motels, Against Me!, Charles Bradley, Less Than Jake, Hot Water Music, Loyal Revival, John Vanderslice, Sister Hazel, Hundred Waters, and For Squirrels. It is also the location of independent labels No Idea Records and Elestial Sound, and the former home of Plan-It-X Records, which moved to Bloomington, Indiana. For two years, the Gainesville nonprofit Harvest of Hope Foundation hosted the Harvest of Hope Fest in St. Augustine. [67] Gainesville is also the home of, the founders of "Santa Jam", who hold concerts every December throughout North Florida as a toy fundraiser for sick, injured, and homeless children and a showcase for local musicians. Since 2011 they have distributed nearly 700 toys to hospitals, local churches, homeless charities, and needy families across the area.

No Idea Records puts on an annual three-day rock festival known as The Fest, typically during the last weekend in October, coinciding with the annual Florida-Georgia football game, played in Jacksonville to minimize tensions between the largely out of town music festival goers with the University of Florida students and alumni. [68]

Between 1987 and 1998, Gainesville had a very active rock music scene, with Hollywood star River Phoenix having the local club Hardback Cafe as his main base. Phoenix's band Aleka's Attic was a constant feature of the rock scene. [69] The Phoenix family is still a presence in Gainesville, with Rain Phoenix's band Papercranes and Liberty Phoenix's store, Indigo. [70]

Gainesville is still known for its strong music community and was named "Best Place to Start a Band in the United States" by Blender magazine in March 2008. [71] The article cited the large student population, cheap rent, and friendly venues.

Over the past decade, Gainesville has been home to a wide variety of bands, from the Latin/afrobeat sounds of Umoja Orchestra, to the rock of Morningbell, to ska staples The Know How. [72]

Gainesville's reputation as an independent music mecca can be traced back to 1984 when a local music video station was brought on the air. The station was called TV-69, broadcast on UHF 69 and was owned by Cozzin Communications. [73] The channel drew considerable media attention thanks to its promotion by Bill Cosby, who was part owner of the station when it started. TV-69 featured many videos by punk and indie-label bands and had several locally produced videos ("Clone Love" by a local parody band, and a Dinosaur Jr. song).

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.jpg
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium


The Florida Gators is the varsity team of the University of Florida, competing in the Southeastern Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association since 1933. It has been ranked in the top 10 in the NACDA ranking since the 1983–84 season. It has won 40 national team championships, including two men's basketball titles, three football titles, four men's golf titles, and seven women's tennis titles.

Opened in 1969, the Gainesville Raceway is a dragstrip that hosts the Gatornationals, one of the four NHRA major races.

Startup culture

Roughly since the 2006 founding of Grooveshark, a Gainesville-based music streaming service, Gainesville has seen an increase in the number of technology-based startup companies founded and developed in the city, particularly the downtown area. [74] [75] [76] Among them are Digital Brands, SharpSpring, Fracture, Optym, and Feathr. The city celebrates Josh Greenberg Day annually in April, in honor of the late founder of Grooveshark and his contributions to the community's startup culture. [77]

Annual cultural events


Independent Florida Alligator Logo Independent Florida Alligator logo.png
Independent Florida Alligator Logo


Gainesville is served by The Gainesville Sun and The Independent Florida Alligator , the student newspaper for the University of Florida and Santa Fe College.

The New York Times Editing Center also resides in Gainesville. [83]


Arbitron ranks the Gainesville-Ocala market as the nation's 83rd-largest. [84] Thirteen radio stations are licensed to operate in the city of Gainesville—five AM stations, six commercial FM stations, and two low-power non-commercial FM stations. Three of the stations (WRUF, WRUF-FM, and WUFT-FM) are operated by broadcasting students at the University of Florida. WUFT-FM is the city's NPR member station, while the WRUF stations are operated as commercial stations.


Gainesville is the 162nd-largest television market in the nation, as measured by Nielsen Media Research. [85] Broadcast television stations in the Gainesville market include WCJB, an ABC/CW affiliate in Gainesville; WGFL, a CBS affiliate broadcasting from High Springs; WNBW, a NBC affiliate in Gainesville; WOGX, a Fox owned-and-operated station from Ocala; WMYG-LP, an analog MyNetworkTV affiliate broadcasting from Lake City; and WUFT, the PBS station affiliated with the University of Florida in Gainesville.

WOGX bears the distinction of being the smallest network O&O in the United States, as a semi-satellite of another Fox O&O, WOFL in Orlando.

Points of interest

Boardwalk at the Devil's Millhopper Devil's Millhopper - 2.jpg
Boardwalk at the Devil's Millhopper
Newnans Lake Gville Newnans Lake02.jpg
Newnans Lake
Sweetwater Wetlands Park Sweetwater Wetlands Park.jpg
Sweetwater Wetlands Park
The Oaks Mall Main entrance (West face), The Oaks Mall.JPG
The Oaks Mall

Sister cities

Gainesville maintains sister city relationships with eight cities: [87]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Alachua, Florida City in Florida, United States

Alachua is a city in Alachua County, Florida, United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city's population was 9,059. The city is part of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which was home to 264,275 people at the 2010 census.

Hawthorne, Florida City in Florida, United States

Hawthorne is a city in Alachua County, Florida, United States. The city was incorporated in 1881 although indigenous peoples of the Americas had been living in the area since around 100 CE. The city grew around their trading trails which are now the crossroads of US Highway 301 and Florida State Road 20. Throughout its history, Hawthorne has been known for its agriculture, railroad, and rural lifestyle. Hawthorne's population was 1,417 at the 2010 census within an area of 7.06 sq mi (18.3 km2).


WUFT-FM is an NPR member radio station owned by the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, broadcasting news and public media programming from NPR along with other distributors including PRI, APM, PRX and WNYC Studios.

Alachua culture

The Alachua culture is a Late Woodland Southeast period archaeological culture in north-central Florida, dating from around 600 to 1700. It is found in an area roughly corresponding to present-day Alachua County, the northern half of Marion County and the western part of Putnam County. It was preceded by the Cades Pond culture, which inhabited approximately the same area.

Newnansville, Florida human settlement in United States of America

The Newnansville Town Site was where the former town of Newnansville, Florida was located. Originally within Alachua County, in 1832 it became part of the newly formed Columbia County, but in 1839 it was restored as the county seat of Alachua. When it was realized that the Florida Railroad would bypass Newnansville, the county voted in 1854 to move the county seat to Gainesville, a newly founded railroad town. Bypassed again by another railroad in the late 1880s, Newnansville could not survive the competition. It was abandoned in the 20th century.

University of Florida Campus Historic District

The University of Florida Campus Historic District is a historic district on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The district, bounded by West University Avenue, Southwest 13th Street, Stadium Road and Gale Lemerand Drive, encompasses approximately 650 acres (2.6 km2) and contains 11 listed buildings plus contributing properties. On April 20, 1989, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. On June 24, 2008, additional information was approved which resulted in the addition of 6 contributing properties

Anderson Hall (Gainesville, Florida) historic building on the campus of the University of Florida, USA

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Old WRUF Radio Station

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Further reading