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Facts About Gainesville, FL

Updated on April 4, 2017
University Avenue in Downtown Gainesville, where you will find plenty of bars and restaurants.  The city is also home to colleges, theaters, sports stadia, and a planetarium.
University Avenue in Downtown Gainesville, where you will find plenty of bars and restaurants. The city is also home to colleges, theaters, sports stadia, and a planetarium. | Source

Located in north central Florida, Gainesville is probably most famous for being home to the University of Florida and the Gator sports teams. I hope that you enjoy reading my top 20 facts about Gainesville, FL, and find them interesting.

1. Gainesville is the largest city in Alachua County. It is also the county seat .

2. The Gainesville population, according to the preliminary 2010 Census, is 124,354.

A view of the UF campus in 1916, looking southwest.  The university has operated on the Gainesville campus since 1906.  Among the  twelve universities of the State University System of Florida, UF i classified as one of two "preeminent universities".
A view of the UF campus in 1916, looking southwest. The university has operated on the Gainesville campus since 1906. Among the twelve universities of the State University System of Florida, UF i classified as one of two "preeminent universities". | Source

3. University of Florida, which is located in the city, is the 6th largest university campus by enrollment in the USA.

4. The University of Florida is also the largest and oldest university in the state.

The University Century Tower.  It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of university.  It also serves as a tribute to the alumni who died in the two world wars.
The University Century Tower. It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of university. It also serves as a tribute to the alumni who died in the two world wars. | Source

5. The Gainesville climate is humid subtropical. It has mild winters and warm and humid summers. The average June high temperature is 89 F and the average January high temperature is 65 F. From June through to September, afternoon thunderstorms are a common occurrence.

6. The 2007 edition of Cities Ranked and Rated placed the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area the number 1 place to live in the USA. National Geographic Adventure also ranked the city was as one of the "best places to live and play" in 2007.

7. The Santa Fe College has more than 17,000 students and was ranked the 11th best community college by the New York Times. In 2015 it received the Aspen Award against national competition, for Community College Excellence.

The seal of Santa Fe College, not to be confused with the logo.  The community college opened in 1966 under the name: Santa Fe Community College, but changed it to Santa Fe College in 2008 to emphasize the bachelor's degree programs that it offered.
The seal of Santa Fe College, not to be confused with the logo. The community college opened in 1966 under the name: Santa Fe Community College, but changed it to Santa Fe College in 2008 to emphasize the bachelor's degree programs that it offered. | Source

8. There are three major cities within a 2 hour drive of Gainesville: Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

9. The sports drink, Gatorade was developed in 1965 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Its inventor was university professor, Robert Cade.

The popular sports drink Gatorade was invented in Gainesville, by Professor, Robert Cade of the University of Florida.  The beverage was first developed in 1965 and designed to replenish the water, carbohydrates, electrolytes lost by athletes.
The popular sports drink Gatorade was invented in Gainesville, by Professor, Robert Cade of the University of Florida. The beverage was first developed in 1965 and designed to replenish the water, carbohydrates, electrolytes lost by athletes.

10. Gainesville is famous for its music scene and has produced numerous successful acts over the years, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stephen Stills, and Bernie Leadon and Don Felder from The Eagles.

Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty, famous for his work as lead vocalist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, was born and raised in Gainesville and he attended Gainesville High School.
Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty, famous for his work as lead vocalist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, was born and raised in Gainesville and he attended Gainesville High School. | Source

11. The Phoenix family, famous for their movie acting and musical offspring, River, Rain, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer, have had a presence in Gainesville for many years.

River Phoenix.  The acting and musical Phoenix family have had strong associations with the city over many years.
River Phoenix. The acting and musical Phoenix family have had strong associations with the city over many years. | Source

12. The National Coalition for the Homeless has ranked Gainesville the 5th meanest city in the USA on two occasions. The first time was in 2004 for criminalizing homelessness and second time was in 2009 for imposing restrictions on soup kitchens.

Gainesville has received criticism for its treatment of homeless people over the years, particularly its restriction on soup kitchens.  Many of Gainesville's homeless live at Dignity Village, also known as tent city, not far from the airport.
Gainesville has received criticism for its treatment of homeless people over the years, particularly its restriction on soup kitchens. Many of Gainesville's homeless live at Dignity Village, also known as tent city, not far from the airport. | Source

13. The Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park in Gainesville is home to a limestone sinkhole. The place gets its name from having a similar appearance to the hopper of a mill, as well as having animal bones in its basin, which legend has it were from creatures who had entered the sinkhole to meet the devil.

Boardwalk at the Devil's Millhopper, Gainesville.  The city has numerous attractive state parks for public use.  The Devil's Millhopper is a giant ancient sinkhole that can be descended via a boardwalk.
Boardwalk at the Devil's Millhopper, Gainesville. The city has numerous attractive state parks for public use. The Devil's Millhopper is a giant ancient sinkhole that can be descended via a boardwalk. | Source

14. The Florida Museum of Natural History is the state’s official natural history museum. It was founded in 1891 and relocated to the University of Florida campus in 1906.

The Florida Museum of Natural History was founded in 1891, making it one of the oldest natural history museums in the country.  It hosts a particularly impressive collection of six million butterfly and moth specimens, one of the largest in the world
The Florida Museum of Natural History was founded in 1891, making it one of the oldest natural history museums in the country. It hosts a particularly impressive collection of six million butterfly and moth specimens, one of the largest in the world | Source

Famous People From Gainesville

Singer/musician, Bo Diddley lived in nearby Archer.

Tom Petty - singer/musician.

Stephen Stills - singer musician.

Movie actor, River Phoenix.

Joaquin Phoenix - actor.

Faye Dunaway - actress.

NFL player, Tim Tebow.

Southern Gothic writer, Harry Crews.

Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade.

15. The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art is also in the University of Florida Cultural Plaza area. It is one of the largest university art museums in the Southeast.

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art can be found in the southwest section of the University of Florida campus.  It was established in 1990 and houses more than 7,000 works, focusing on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art, plus photography.
The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art can be found in the southwest section of the University of Florida campus. It was established in 1990 and houses more than 7,000 works, focusing on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art, plus photography. | Source

16. Amongst marijuana smokers, the Gainesville area is famous for producing a particularly potent strain of the plant, known as "Gainesville Green."

The city has a strain of marijuana named after it, known as "Gainesville Green."  It is renowned amongst smokers for being particularly potent.  At its most popular during the 1970's, it was considered superior to rival Mexican and Jamaican strains.
The city has a strain of marijuana named after it, known as "Gainesville Green." It is renowned amongst smokers for being particularly potent. At its most popular during the 1970's, it was considered superior to rival Mexican and Jamaican strains. | Source

17. Alligators, birds, and other wildlife can be seen in Gainesville at the Lake Alice wildlife area, which is on the University of Florida campus. There are also two bat houses nearby.

Bats emerging from the UF bat houses at sunset.  There was originally only one bat house, but due in part to overpopulation, it collapsed.  The original bat house was restored and another was built beside it.
Bats emerging from the UF bat houses at sunset. There was originally only one bat house, but due in part to overpopulation, it collapsed. The original bat house was restored and another was built beside it. | Source

18. The city attracted unwelcome attention in 2010 and 2011 when the Dove World Outreach Center, a local church organized and advertised a Koran-burning event.

Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, who first attained national and international attention in 2010 for his scheme to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.  He and his group left Gainesville in 2013.
Terry Jones, pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, who first attained national and international attention in 2010 for his scheme to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. He and his group left Gainesville in 2013. | Source

19. The city was a center for college activism in the 1960s and was described as being the "The Berkeley of the South".

Young alligator shows his teeth at Lake Alice, Gainesville, Florida.  The Lake is located on the university campus, you can park nearby for free.  It is common to see alligators, turtles and birds there.  There are bat houses not far from the lake.
Young alligator shows his teeth at Lake Alice, Gainesville, Florida. The Lake is located on the university campus, you can park nearby for free. It is common to see alligators, turtles and birds there. There are bat houses not far from the lake. | Source

20. As well as having large numbers of young people, Gainesville has also become a popular place for older people to retire to in recent years, due in part to the quality of healthcare provided by the local Shands Hospital.

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    • PaulGoodman67 profile image

      Paul Goodman 4 years ago from Florida USA

      I love Gainesville. Okay, it's not a huge city, but there is still plenty going on.

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