Gainesville, Florida is recognized as one of the nation’s most livable, ecologically beautiful and technologically advanced cities. Smithsonian named Gainesville "Where to Live Next" in 2008 and National Geographic Adventure magazine named the town on of the "50 Best Places to Live and Play" in 2007. About an hour-and-a-half drive from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico beaches, the area enjoys sunshine and moderate temperatures year-round. As the county seat of Alachua County, Gainesville serves as the commercial hub for North Central Florida and is especially noted for the excellence of its medical and educational offerings.
Gainesville is best known as the home of the University of Florida, the largest public land-grant institution in the state and a key player in education, medicine, cultural arts, and sports for the area. Residents also enjoy a busy schedule of outstanding community events and festivals that draw participants from around the world.
The College of Fine Arts alone offers more than 100 theatrical, musical and fine arts events every academic year to the city’s 124,491 residents. Many thriving community theatres, music venues and galleries in the city complemented the university’s exciting arts programs. Gainesville also is home to hundreds of restaurants that offer a rich variety of the world’s cuisines. Virtually every religion and spiritual practice in the world today is also represented in this ethnically diverse city.
The area is surrounded by natural wonders, including rivers, lakes and the crystal springs for which it is famous, one of the many reasons why outdoor enthusiasts regularly head for any of the 40 nature parks within 50 miles of Gainesville to picnic, boat, swim, dive, hike, camp, bike, hunt or fish.