Gainesville is the heart and brains of the Sunshine State. Blessed with natural beauty and filled with cultural activities, it is a hub for educational, economic and recreational life in North Central Florida. Home to the oldest and largest university in the state, it has the "ivy-league town" aura and is considered one of America's ten most livable cities.
There are five historic districts encompassing 1500 landmark buildings. The Northeast District, one of the best preserved areas, has about 290 historic buildings, circa 1880-1930. The Southeast district is one of the oldest sections of town and the Pleasant Street Historic District represents the century-old influence of the African-American community. Downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida each have historic areas as well.
This town has much to offer. It is the home of the only professional theater in Florida, a professional orchestra, and a nationally known dance company. Museums, theaters, and galleries fill its heart with history, art, science, music, and dance. Among Gainesville's many museums, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly Rainforest are among the most interesting.
There are a multitude of parks and preserves. Beauty is everywhere - in the wildlife at Morningside Nature Center, in the Southeast's largest herb garden at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and in the rolling hills that hug the Sante Fe River. Most parks have nature trails for bikers, hikers and skaters, the most interesting of which is the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. The 16-miles path along Seminole country is a scenic delight used for hikers, bikers, equestrians and skaters. There is also a wide selection of golf courses, boating facilities and campsites.
Gainesville is off I-75 about 130 miles north of Tampa.