The Archer Road section of town (south and southwest of the University of Florida campus) is a large expanse that is filled with tons of student-living apartments and just as much food and retail. While there certainly are pockets of traditional "non-student" apartments, residents here are primarily students living in the dense clusters of apartment complexes that populate the area.
The center of activity is Gainesville's busiest intersection, SW Archer Road and SW 34th Street. But this bustling section of town extends from about Shands down to Williston Road and follows Archer Road west all the way to the Tower Road area. Most Gainesville residents visit this area of town regularly, and many students find it a good place to call home.
Living around Archer Road can be very convenient; not only are there many large and popular apartment communities that offer student-focused pool parties and events, but it also encompasses shopping mecca Butler Plaza and is just southwest of the UF campus. It is also very convenient to UF Health and the VA Hospital.You could live in this area and never have to travel anywhere else.
Butler Plaza, on the north side of Archer Road, is the largest retail center in North Central Florida. It is home to more than 100 stores and restaurants; most of them are familiar chains, while some are local, well-known stores include Target, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Publix, Best Buy, Old Navy, you get the idea. Restaurant chains include everything from Taco Bell to Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden.(Clockwise from top left) Bonefish Grill, I-75 sign, Total Wine Store, Butler East Plaza, Butler Road Intersection, Bahama Breeze Restaurant.
Things to Consider
Due to the heavy traffic, you'd probably want to drive, rather than walk. Luckily, everything is a quick drive away from the apartment communities, and there's plenty of parking. You could also get away with riding the bus.
This area is the most recently developed section of Gainesville, so you wouldn't describe it as having a ton of local character. However, there are some local hot spots unique to Gainesville, you just have to know where to look.
How to Get to School
The center of UF's campus is a 5 to 15-minute drive away, depending where you live and the time of day. Many students who live just south of campus near Shands ride their bike or simply walk across the street.
Since so many students rent apartments on or near Archer Road, the bus system is pretty well equipped to handle the flow to and from campus. There is also a convenient route from the area to the mall. Routes to possibly use include the 1, 9, 12, 22, 34, 35, 36, 38, 75.
The retail and restaurant options are Archer Road's attractions. It is also home to Regal Cinemas, Gainesville's largest movie theatre. For nature, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is on Archer Road, just west of I-75. The Historic Haile Homestead is just a few miles further.
Be sure to visit Moe's Southwest Grill (huge burritos) and Gainesville Ale House & Bar (famous for zingers). Domino's on SW 13th Street also serves this area.These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.