The Archer Road section of town (south and southwest of the University of Florida campus) is a large expanse that is filled with a variety of apartments and just as much food and retail. Locals love this area because it provides easy access to I-75, The University of Florida, and restaurants and retail at Butler Plaza and Celebration Pointe. Live anywhere in this neighborhood, and you'll never be far from the grocery store, new restaurants to try, or your favorite stores.
The center of activity is Gainesville's busiest intersection, SW Archer Road and SW 34th Street. This bustling section of town extends from about UF Health (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 in Archer Road apartments 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. There's something for every budget as well. From cheap apartments to more luxurious offerings, you'll find a place to call home.
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. Celebration Pointe is a newer development in town and is already extremely popular with Gainesville locals and UF Alumni. This breezy, open-air plaza offers retail shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and green space.
(Clockwise from top left) Well-landscaped grounds at the intersection of Archer Rd. and SW 28th Terrace, The Cheesecake Factory, Butler Sign at Whole Foods Plaza, PF Chang's, Tesla Car Charging Station, Shopping Options.
Things to Consider
Due to the heavy traffic, you'd probably want to drive (rather than walk) when you go out and about. 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 5-15 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 RTS 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.
Attractions & Businesses
The retail and restaurant options are Archer Road's attractions. Restaurant chains along Archer Road and in Butler Town Center include everything from Taco Bell to Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden, while to-go food chains include Chick-fil-A, Bento, Relish, and much more. Celebration Pointe features many exciting restaurants, including Spurriers Gridiron Grill for delicious American food and mouth-watering cocktails inspired by Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier. Try MidiCi's for wood-fired pizza or Hana Sushi for Asian-Fusion cuisine.
As for shopping, Butler Town Center features many big-box stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Lowes, Publix, Best Buy, Old Navy... you get the idea. Drop by the Alumni Hall for any and all Gator gear! If you're looking for more up-scale shopping, check out Celebration Pointe for stores like Tommy Hilfiger or Nike.
Archer Road 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.These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.