Get to know…Downtown Gainesville


Gainesville's vibrant downtown community perfectly captures the city's authentic college town vibe; a relaxed atmosphere filled with southern charm. Neighboring the University of Florida, this part of the Gator Nation extends across University Avenue east from 6th Street to 15th Street and south from 8th Ave. to 5th Ave. This location is ideal for University of Florida students and professors looking to live in Gainesville, FL apartment in an exciting area but still be near campus.


Downtown Gainesville is perfect for those in search of a friendly and culturally thriving neighborhood to call home. Residents are able to enjoy modern living and amenities in an area surrounded by beautiful, historic architecture and lush trees. This area is home to some of the city's best local eats and brews, boutique shops, art, theater and live music. Here, locals are also able to take full advantage of a wide-array of social activities, events, and nightlife fun for all ages.

Downtown Gainesville is an active and social community where there's always something going on. You can enjoy fresh fruit and veggies at the weekly farmers' market, visit Thomas Center's flourishing gardens, take in a show at the Hippodrome, or jam out to a concert at Bo Diddley Plaza. This area is unique in that there are a plethora of local businesses and events within walking distance.

The district's population is very diverse, which adds to the unique flavor of the community. The area has also grown dramatically over the past decade, which has led to more job opportunities and economic development.

One of the most notable recent developments and biggest perks of living Downtown is the rise of the Innovation District. This "neighborhood" in Downtown has emerged as a hub to connect enterprise level institutions with fast growing start-ups to collaborate, foster entrepreneurial creativity, and produce innovative products and services all with the unique support the Gainesville community can provide. This district has become a desirable "live, work, play" area with incredible spaces for business, recreation, and cutting edge apartment homes for all. Students, professionals, and the Gainesville community love to grow with and explore this area.

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

Navigating the Downtown area on foot is a breeze, however, public parking is limited. You'll want to allow a bit of extra time to find a spot, especially during events and in the evening. Make sure to pay attention to signage to avoid getting towed and take advantage of the parking lot.  If you have a car, worry not; most apartment communities in the area offer their residents free parking.

Major chain stores like Wal-Mart and Publix are close by but are more easily reached via car or bus. Downtown is equipped with buses that service most areas of Gainesville.  Plus, if you're a student of UF or Santa Fe, you'll ride for free with your id.

Student Apartments in Downtown

Downtown is a smaller neighborhood filled with commercial space, so there aren't a ton of UF apartment options in the area. If you're wanting to live downtown, we recommend beginning your apartment hunting early before everything sells out. We also recommend checking out historic rental homes in the area for a unique living experience!

How to Get to School

It's a quick and easy journey from the Downtown district to the UF campus. University Avenue cuts right through the middle of Downtown creating a path that leads directly into UF. You can easily ride your bike or walk, depending on where you live. There are also several direct bus routes from the Rosa Parks Downtown Station into campus and other parts of the city. The Station's 14 routes make getting around Gainesville stress-free and convenient.

Attractions & Businesses

Calling all art and music enthusiasts! The Hippodrome is well known for its lively social calendar and top-notch, local entertainment. With a steady stream of plays and cinema, you'll find it easy to escape reality and join in on the fun. This Gainesville staple also houses a gallery for aspiring artists and visionaries. For an upbeat and exciting night on the town, check out Bo Diddley Plaza's free Friday night concert series, available all summer long. Dive in and explore Gainesville's history at the Thomas Center, where you'll find majestic gardens, an art gallery, historical exhibits, concerts and even holiday-themed festivals.

One of Downtown Gainesville's best features is all the delicious food at your fingertips, ranging from Dragonfly Sushi (authentic Asian cuisine) to Amelia's (mouth-watering Italian) to The Top (casual and modern American fare). For drinks and ambience check out the Arcade Bar complete with classic arcade games like PAC-MAN or The Dime with funky music and craft beers. 

Downtown is also coffee lovers heaven - try Wyatt's Coffee for a delicious latte while you study or Volta Coffee, Tea & Hot Chocolate for unique drinks and awesome quick bites to eat. Maude's Classic Cafe is Gainesville's classic indie coffee shop - stop by for a yummy coffee, tea, dessert, or sandwich.

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