Get to know…Downtown Gainesville


"Downtown Gainesville" usually refers to the area roughly surrounding the intersection of Main Street and University Ave. Technically speaking, it extends east from West 13th Street all the way to Waldo Road and from South Depot Avenue to North 8th Avenue.

Apartments in Downtown Gainesville are great for those looking for a more "urban" feel. There's a lot going on during the day, but even more going on at night. In addition to modern apartments and condos, you can find some pretty unique old houses to rent in this area, too.


Downtown Gville has really experienced a Renaissance in the past 10 years. It's distinct because it houses tons of local businesses within walking distance, many of which are restaurants, bars and clubs. In other words, when most people think of "going out," they head in this direction.

Downtown is home to a handful of cool boutiques, plus art festivals, a weekly farmers' market, as well as the downtown RTS bus station (more on that later). You'll get to mingle with both students and locals of all ages in this part of town.

Picture of downtown Gainesville during the day

(Clockwise from top left) Bo Diddley Plaza, Harry's Restaurant, bus station behind Bo Diddley Plaza, The Wooly Theater, Gainesville City Hall sign, Pop-A-Top Store.

Things to Consider

Public parking, especially if it's free, can be hard to find at times. So it's important that you ask about parking when you're looking for an apartment. And while it's not terribly rowdy or crowded, there can be lots of people and activities at many hours. Finally, you will likely need a car to get to the grocery store or for other major shopping trips.

How to Get to School

Downtown Gainesville is a straight shot down University Avenue from the UF campus, and it's surprisingly close! You can easily ride your bike, or maybe walk, depending where you live. And riding the bus is a breeze – the Rosa Parks Downtown Station means that you can usually find a direct bus route to most places you'd need to go. Routes 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 17, 24, 43 all stop downtown.


The Hippodrome Theatre stands out as a Gainesville cultural institution Downtown, but residents of this area also enjoy direct access to the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza (which hosts free live performances and farmers' markets) and the historic Thomas Center and Matheson Museum. The Acrosstown Repertory Theater and the Gainesville-Hawthorne rail trail are also in this area.


If you're a looking for an old fashioned barber shop, then the Downtown Barber Shop is a must-see. Some popular downtown restaurants include Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company (which consistently has patrons waiting out the door), Emiliano's Café (a Latin restaurant that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary), Liquid Ginger (an Asian fusion favorite) and Sharab Lounge (a two-story lounge, club and hookah bar). Domino's delivers from their NE 16th Ave. location. If you are looking for a fun and affordable workout, check out Alter Ego Fitness. They offer group classes, such as Zumba, Pilates, and Abs n Glutes, and best of all they are free with membership!

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of or any of our advertising partners.