Gainesville : Florida


What It Is Like to Retire in Gainesville

Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida, one of the 10 largest universities in the U.S. (enrollment 52,000). The town has many attractions for active adults; in fact it was named as one of the “Top Ten Value Towns” of 2007 for active adults 55+. It has a reputation for being medium sized (population 104,000) inexpensive, a lively college town, and still possessing southern charm. Gainesville is located in the center of northern Florida with easy access to the cities and Atlantic beaches of St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

Since 1906 the university has brought the town a youthful population, cultural opportunities, and world class medical facilities. Gatorade was invented in Gainesville for the benefit of the UF football team. Historic preservation, or more precisely its lack, has been the focus of much controversy here. However, there has been a "New Urbanization" plan and redevelopment over the last several years to revitalize run-down portions of the area between the historic Downtown and the University of Florida. Active adults 55+ who love the excitement of a college town (Go Gators!) will enjoy an interesting community here.

Check out our Florida Retirement Guide


Where to Retire in Gainesville and Home Prices

The town offers a glimpse of the old south in its historic neighborhoods and buildings. There are many examples of restored Victorian and Queen Anne style residences from the 1880s and 1890s, which can be found in the following districts: Northeast Gainesville Residential District, Southeast Gainesville Residential District, and the Pleasant Street Historic District. There are active adult communities in the area.
According to National Association of Realtors, the median selling price of homes in Gainesville was $306,300 in the last quarter of 2021.


What Is Special about Gainesville

• University of Florida • Bailey Plantation House (1854) • Matheson Center Home (1867) • Thomas Hotel (1928) • The Old Post Office (now the Hippodrome State Theatre) • Florida Museum of Natural History • Harn Museum of Art • Kanapaha Botanical Gardens • Haile Plantation • The Devil's Millhopper • Payne's Prairie • Civic Media Center • Lake Alice • Historic neighborhoods

What Is Not Special about Gainesville

Hot, humid summers. Traffic on game days. Part of the downtown, east of the campus, is very run down. There is an ongoing struggle with homelessness.


Who Will Like Retirement in Gainesville

Gainesville attracts a community of people who either want to live in a fun-loving, laid back old city with a vital and large university.

Local Economy Is Driven by

The University of Florida, the Shands Healthcare system (a private-public-university partnership), and the city government are the city’s major employers. The median income in Gainesville is slightly below the U.S. average. Gainesville Chamber of Commerce

Climate and Physical Environment

Gainesville is one of the southernmost cities in the United States where deciduous trees predominate. This area in north central Florida is known to natives as the "end of the South." Gainesville's climate is humid subtropical.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, the Hippodrome State Theatre, Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and The Civic Media Center. Smaller theaters include the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART) and the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP). The University sponsors a full range of cultural offerings. Kanapaha Botanical Garden. Payne's Prairie Reserve.


Crime in Gainesville is about two thirds higher than the national average.

Medical Facilities

North Florida Regional Medical Center and Shands Hospital At The University Of Florida service the area.



The Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) is the fourth largest mass transit system in the state.  In fact, it is extremely well-used. The Gainesville Regional Airport in the northeast part of the city with daily service to Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte. Amtrak has 2 daily shuttle buses to connect with the passenger railway. MTV provides door-to-door service for elderly and disabled.

Valuable Links

City of Gainesville

Gainesville on Wikipedia


What people are saying about Gainesville

So high crime and tens of thousands of drunk, noisy college kids. No thanks!
Posted by ghess07 on June 21, 2017

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