The University of Florida is located in Gainesville, a college town in the heart of North Central Florida. While Gainesville may appear like a small town it has a bustling population of approximately 128,000 people. The surrounding areas are host to several recreational activities including freshwater springs, bike trails, and state parks. Gainesville is best known for the University of Florida and some of the state’s top degree programs for both undergraduates and higher education.
The university athletic program is represented by the Florida Gators on 21 varsity teams who compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Florida Gators football team play on select Saturdays in the fall, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium- aptly nicknamed “the swamp.” Game days are some of the busiest days of the year in Gainesville and offer a great way for students to come together to cheer on one of the state’s premier college football programs.
Students looking for a good meal can find a variety of delicious restaurants throughout the city. Gainesville has several local pizzerias, numerous barbecue restaurants, and even late-night cookies that can be delivered straight to your door. Gainesville’s favorites include 43rd Street Deli and Breakfast House, Boca Fiesta, and Leonardo’s. Midtown is home to some of the mainstay bars and eateries for many university students, conveniently located on either side of University Avenue. Pediatric psychology students will frequently celebrate the end of a semester at Mother’s Pub & Grill. If you are into local breweries, Gainesville’s two most popular are Swamp Head Brewery and First Magnitude Brewing Company – both offering a variety of local and regional brews on tap.
For those looking for cultural events, Gainesville offers several venues such as The Florida Museum of Natural History houses hundreds of thousands of precious artifacts from every continent on earth, and admission for UF students is free. The Curtis M. Phillips Center for Performing Arts routinely hosts local and national recitals, musicians, and popular guest speakers. If you are interested in the arts in Gainesville you can visit the Harn Museum of Art which showcases student artworks and professional exhibitions from around the world. The Hippodrome, located in downtown Gainesville, is the city’s local theater where you can catch Broadway and off-Broadway productions and independent film showings.
Gainesville has several local parks and bike trails where you can experience some of the most scenic views the state has to offer. Hawthorne Bike trail stretches 16 miles through Boulware Springs Park to Paynes Prairie. Paynes Prairie State Park has opportunities to see alligators, bison, horses, and over 270 species of birds as well as the opportunity to go hiking or horseback riding. Several springs can be reached within a one hour drive from Gainesville; including Ichetucknee Springs and Devil’s Den. UF students also have exclusive access to Lake Wauburg, a private park donated to the university in 1938. Students can enjoy kayaking, rock climbing, paddle boarding, and more- all at no cost.