Gainesville Facts

Current and previous awards:

1. Frommer’s Cities Ranked & Rated 2nd Edition by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander – Number 1 City for High Quality of Life.
2. Money Magazine – Number 1 Place to Live in U.S.
3. Money Magazine – Florida’s Most Livable City.
4. Carnegie Mellon – Number 2 City in Creativity in U.S.
5. Sperling’s Best Places – One of the Top 10 Cities for Outdoor Activities in U.S.
6. Popular Science – Most Techologically Advanced City in Florida.
7. Forbes Magazine – One of the Most Affordable Cities in U.S.
8. Forbes Magazine – One of the Best Places to Do Business and Have a Career.
9. Warren Bland – Retire In Style, 4th Best College Town for Retirement.
10. AARP – One of the Best Places to Re-invent Your Life.
11. National Arbor Day Foundation – Tree City U.S.A.
12. – Number 3 Small College Town for Real Estate Investment.
13. Wellness Councils of America – Gold – Well City, U.S.A.
14. National Geographic Adventure Magazine – Number 5 Best Place to Live and Play in U.S.
15. – In the Top 50 Cities that are the Best Places to Live and Launch a new business.
16. Smithsonian Magazine – Dream Place for the Arts and in the Top 15 Places that are Culturally Attuned.
17. – One of the Best Retirement Spots in the U.S.
18. – In the Top Ten Value Towns.
19. Smart Money Magazine – Top City in the Country to Retire.
20. – One of the Best Places to Retire.

Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida, making it a major center for education, medicine, cultural events, and athletics. There are a wide range of activities and events all year long.

The University of Florida is one of the best academically ranked public universities in the U.S. and it is the largest and oldest in Florida with an enrollment of about 50,000 students. UF and its medical center, Shands Hospital at UF, is the largest employer in the metropolitan area and the famous sports drink Gatorade┬« was developed at Shands. UF was ranked by Kiplinger’s Magazine as being the Number 2 Best Value in Public Colleges in the U.S.

Santa Fe Community College (about 12,000 students in several locations) was ranked by the New York Times as the 11th best in the U.S. The SFCC Teaching Zoo has the American Zoo Association’s only accredited technology program. Both Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida offer all adult age groups numerous continuing education and just-for-fun classes and programs.

The Alachua County School District was recognized by Newsweek Magazine as being in the top 2-1/2 percent of public schools in the U.S. and Eastside High School has been repeatedly ranked by Newsweek in the top 16 high schools in the U.S. Buchholz High School was recognized for being the top high school for math and science in Florida. The district has the highest percentage of students taking advanced placement testing in Florida.

The city and surrounding counties are a growing retirement area for seniors who enjoy the cultural and educational stimulation of a university community and top-notch medical facilities: Shands at UF, North Florida Regional Medical Center, Shands at Alachua General, and Randall Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.

Known for the beauty of its natural surroundings, “urban forest”, extensive landscaping, and the preservation of historic buildings, Gainesville is one of the most attractive cities in Florida. It serves as the cultural, educational, and commercial center for the 10 county North Central Florida Region. Its numerous parks and preserves, 72-par championship municipal golf course, several open-to-the-public (private) golf courses, museums, and hundreds of nearby lakes provide activities for residents and visitors alike. Paynes Prairie State Preserve is recognized by Reserve America as being one of the Top Amazing Locations in the U.S. The University of Florida Campus is certified by the National Audubon Society as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary.

Gainesville is the county seat and largest city in Alachua County and provides a full range of municipal services that include programs for recycling, recreation, cultural events, and nature studies. The city owns and operates a regional bus transit system, an airport, and Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) which provides electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater, and internet service to a large part of the metropolitan area.

Gainesville is located in the north central part of Florida 70 miles (112 km) southwest of Jacksonville, 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Orlando, and 135 miles (216 km) north of Tampa. It is halfway between Miami and Atlanta on Interstate 75. Both the Gulf of Mexico 55 miles (88 km) west and the Atlantic Ocean 70 miles (112 km) east are easily reached. Gainesville’s climate consists of mild winters and warm summers with a 255-day growing season.

Population in the city limits: approximately 123,000 (2007). Median Age: 27.
Population in the metropolitan area (Alachua County): approximately 248,000 (2007).
Area in city limits: 45.52 sq.mi. (117.89 sq. km.).
Households: 87,509. Median Household Income: $31,426.
Industry: education, academic research, health care and medical, agriculture, light manufacturing, and many small service enterprises.

Taxes: 6.25% retail sales tax (food and medicine exempt), intangible tax, and real property tax with a Homestead Exemption up to $50,000 and a portable “Save Our Homes” property tax exemption. No state personal income tax. No state inheritance tax. No franchise tax. No inventory tax.