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20 Facts About Gainesville, FL

Paul first visited Gainesville in 2007. Three years later he relocated to the city and has been living there ever since.

For 20 Gainesville facts, please read on...

For 20 Gainesville facts, please read on...

Located in north central Florida, Gainesville is probably most famous for being home to the University of Florida and the Gator sports teams. However, there are many other interesting things about this small but vibrant city. Below are 20 facts about Gainesville, Florida.

1. Gainesville is the Largest City in Alachua County

This is true regardless of whether you measure it by size of population, or area covered. It is also the county seat. The city occupies an area of 62.4 square miles (161.6 km2).

2. The City's Population was Estimated to be 133,857 in 2018

This is a 7.6% increase from 2010, according to the US Census estimate. It is the only city with a population above 10,000 in the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (Alachua and Gilchrist counties).

3. The University of Florida is the 6th Largest US University Campus by Enrollment

The university is located in the city and is also the largest and oldest university in Florida.

4. The UF Sports Teams are Commonly Known as "Florida Gators"

The college has many teams in many sports, including football, basketball, gymnastics, and baseball.

The University Century Tower, 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, 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.

5. The City has a Subtropical Climate

The winters are mild and the summers are hot and humid. 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. Gainesville was Ranked #1 Place to Live in the USA in the 2007 Edition of Cities Ranked and Rated

National Geographic Adventure also ranked the city was as one of the "best places to live and play" in 2007.

7. Santa Fe College was Ranked the 11th Best Community College by the New York Times

The college has more than 17,000 students. In 2015 it received the Aspen Award against national competition, for Community College Excellence.

8. Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando are Nearby

Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando are all within a two hour drive of Gainesville: The cities of Atlanta and Miami are around five hours drive away.

9. Gatorade was Developed at the University of Florida

The sports drink was invented by university professor, Robert Cade in 1965. The drink was developed to help the college's athletes by replenishing lost carbohydrates and using water and electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat during sport activities.

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10. Gainesville is Famous for its Music Scene

The city has produced numerous successful acts over the years, including Tom Petty and Stephen Stills. Bernie Leadon and Don Felder from The Eagles also have connections with the city.

11. The Phoenix Family Have Strong Connections With the City

The Phoenixes are famous for their movie acting and musical offspring: River, Rain, Joaquin, Liberty and Summer. The family has 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.

12. Gainesville has Twice Been Ranked the 5th Meanest City in the USA

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.

13. The City has a Giant Sinkhole Called The Devil’s Millhopper

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.

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.

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.

14. Gainesville's Home to the Oldest Natural History Museum in the State

The Florida Museum of Natural History was founded in 1891 and relocated to the University of Florida campus in 1906.

15. The City has One of the Largest University Art Museums in the Southeast

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art was established in 1990 and houses more than 7,000 works, focusing on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art, plus photography.

16. The City has a Strain of Marijuana Named After It

The strain is known as "Gainesville Green" and 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.

17. The University Campus has a Wildlife Area

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

Young alligator shows his teeth at Lake Alice, Gainesville, Florida.  The Lake is located on the university campus.  It is common to see alligators, Florida softshell turtles and many bird types there.  There are also 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. It is common to see alligators, Florida softshell turtles and many bird types there. There are also bat houses not far from the lake

18. The City was Home to a Controversial Religious Group Known as the Dove World Outreach Center

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

19. Gainesville was a Center for Student Radicalism in the 1960's

The city was a center for college activism in the 1960s and was once described as being the "The Berkeley of the South" by a former UF political science professor.

20. The City is Popular for Retirees

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.

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.

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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Paul Goodman

Comments

Paul Goodman from Florida USA on June 19, 2012:

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

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