Best Places to Live

Gainesville, FL

Population: 127,559
Photo Courtesy of University of Florida/Hannah Pietrick

Why It’s a Great Place to Go to College: University of Florida students have tons of school spirit and pride — and they should. This world-class research institution has outstanding academic programs and competitive Gators sports teams. On top of that, with more than 35,000 undergrads enrolled here, you’re bound to find your group, your niche and your passion.

“I find myself feeling at home at every coffee shop, grocery store and downtown restaurant I go to,” says Abigail Mistretta, one of three drum majors for the Gator Marching Band. “Gainesville also provides so many professional opportunities for college students to gain real world experience.”

Why You Should Put Down Roots Here (Even After Graduation): A bustling downtown scene, lots of outdoor recreation opportunities and jobs in higher education and health care make Gainesville a top choice, even if you didn’t go to school here — in fact, it’s so great that it’s one of Livability's 2019 Top 100 Best Places to Live. Plus, if you love college football, it’s hard to beat the passion and the energy of UF fans.

Coolest Campus Tradition: Singing “We Are The Boys” between the third and fourth quarter of home football games

Best Place to Get Out and About: Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, home to eight trails and 300 species of birds

Best Fourth Meal: Wings or a burger at The Swamp Restaurant, not far from the actual Swamp (the UF football stadium)

Place to Be on a Saturday Night: If you aren’t at The Swamp for a night game, then catching live music in downtown Gainesville

Beloved Brewery: First Magnitude Brewing Company

Best Bookstore (for non-textbooks): Third House Books

Favorite Coffee Shop Study Spot: Pascal’s Coffeehouse or Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate

Local Dream Job: Director of the Gator Marching Band, aka The Pride of the Sunshine. (Did we mention they have a lot of school spirit here?)

What Keeps Alumni Coming Back: Homecoming weekend and Satchel’s Pizza

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