Quality of life-ranking website Livability.com has named Gainesville as one of its Top 10 College Towns.
“There’s a lot to celebrate about living in Gainesville,” the website said. “Residents and students enjoy a near tropical climate, thriving business climate, vast entertainment options, highly competitive sports teams and pristine natural areas.”
According to the website, the University of Florida is the focal point of Gainesville, with more than 50,000 students, a 2,000-acre campus and innovative research efforts, such as the new HiPerGator supercomputer, which help lure businesses and create job opportunities.
Livability pointed to the 700 students who participate in one-day service projects each year, 400 who mentor at-risk children in the Alachua County school system and those who participate in “alternative breaks,” where students do charity work across the state in lieu of a typical Spring Break beach trip, as a thriving example of student civic involvement.
Gainesville’s quaint downtown is the city’s entertainment epicenter, Livability said, with Spanish moss-draped trees that line streets leading to shops, restaurants, theaters and clubs.
“University Avenue’s bars, dance clubs and music venues appeal to students,” Livability said. “Musicians often play at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. The historic Hippodrome State Theatre hosts film screenings, live performances and art shows. The city’s culinary scene includes a hefty helping of BBQ restaurants, seafood joints and plenty of organic, locally sourced menus.”
Livability touted Gainesville’s outdoor opportunities, like its 37 active parks encompassing more than 450 acres, and its opportunities to fish, snorkel, hike, camp and bicycle along more than 60 miles of on-street bike lanes.