What's It Like?
Downtown Gainesville is trendy, urban, and full of life. There is always something going on, with all the happening nightclubs, fashionable boutiques, charming restaurants, and chic bars. It all goes down in Downtown. Fliers plastered all over Downtown’s street lamps are a great way of finding out where the best upcoming events are going to be. Live band performances, movie screenings, and arts festivals are all common occurrences in Downtown.
Downtown Gainesville is a lot like Midtown in its vibrant nightlife, but it’s a bit more refined and sophisticated. The place offers more of a “hipster” mood, and in addition to students, there are also a lot of young people starting their careers at the innovational businesses all over Downtown. The Innovation District is located right where Downtown begins, so the area is buzzing with advanced, high-tech companies. The Hippodrome Theatre and Gainesville Playhouse are located here too, meaning there are always cool performances taking place.
Downtown is pretty open and diverse, but it also manages to have a distinctly personal and cozy feel. One-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants are spread across Downtown’s colorful palette. Artistic neon signs cast shadows over the mossy trees and groups of people roam the streets for a night of dreamy dancing. From the weekly farmers market to the live music at Bo Diddley Plaza, Downtown completely immerses you in the spirited culture and lifestyle of the area.
If you’re looking to dance the night away and grab a few cocktails, just head on over to any of Downtown’s hottest nightclubs or bars. It’s a 15-minute walk to campus or a 5-minute ride on any of the bus routes. It’s pretty easy to get around Downtown, just be wary of the limited parking.
Downtown Gainesville, like any city’s downtown, can be a bit “sketchy” at times. Robberies and burglaries are the most common crimes and the homeless population is relatively high in this area. Though Bo Diddley Plaza is a wonderful place to explore during the day and during events, at night it is a common place for homeless individuals to camp out.
Downtown Gainesville has a bustling atmosphere and isn’t particularly dangerous, but it is important to stay safe, at all times, anywhere you go. Downtown does have a few dark alleyways but traveling down the main streets offers the regular city feel.
As mentioned previously, parking in Downtown is a tough situation. The streets are pretty cramped and parking on the side is very limited. Luckily, some rentals offer parking spaces on-site, so you’ll already be in the hub of all the action.
Downtown is a bit different from other areas around campus, just because it offers so much diversity. You’ll find all kinds of people living here, from students to young adults to whole families. Even the food is diverse. From sushi at Dragonfly to Cuban pastries at Flaco’s, you’ll never run out of lunch options. In addition to popular nightclubs, Downtown also features lots of relaxed lounges and hookah bars. When Friday rolls around, you’ll have trouble picking where to go out that night. If you’re looking for more of a “chill” day, consider going to one of the museums or nature parks nearby.
Rentals in Downtown
If you’re feeling Downtown’s high-vibe energy, looking for a rental in the area may be a good idea. The following are a few suggestions to help you get started.
The Continuum is an exclusive rental opportunity for UF graduate students and professionals located right between UF campus and the heart of Downtown. It’s steps away from University Ave, which has a handful of excellent restaurants and cute boutiques nearby. It’s right beside Innovation District, so the general area exudes a very professional and business-oriented atmosphere.
- Studio-4 bedroom apartments starting from $699/room
- Free garage parking with designated guest spaces
- Pet-friendly property with dog park
- Lots of amenities, including a modern recreation room
2nd Avenue Centre
2nd Ave Centre is located 4 blocks away from UF campus and just a couple away from Downtown. It’s prime location and modern interiors make it a great choice for someone who wants best of both worlds.
- 1, 2, and 4 bedroom apartments starting from $714/room
- Onsite amenities like a computer room, parking garage, game room, and fitness center
- Courtyard-style swimming pool and hot tub
- Fully furnished
You can say that Arlington Square Apartments are positioned right at the core of Downtown. All of the best spots like Artisans’ Guild Gallery, The Hippodrome State Theatre, Dragonfly Sushi, and The Top are within walking distance from Arlington Square. This is the perfect place to truly engage in Downtown’s diverse dynamic.
- Studio-3 bedroom apartments starting from $844/month
- Off-street parking available
- Varying, spacious layouts including townhouses
- Units are unfurnished
Top 3 Attractions
- The Top: The Top is a trendy and cozy spot to have a few drinks and eat some delicious food. Located on N Main Street, it’s in the heart of it all, and you can walk to any nightclub of your choosing. The place serves burgers, beer, and other modern American dishes in addition to vegan and vegetarian options.
- The Hippodrome State Theatre: The Hippodrome is a professional theatre with some great history. Founded by local actors in the early 1970s, the Hippodrome Theatre is a focal point for creativity and collaboration. “The Hipp” features live theatre, films, gallery exhibits, classes, and special events year-round. For a genuinely artistic experience, this is definitely the destination.
- Bo Diddley Plaza: Bo Diddley is another historic location in Downtown Gainesville that strengthens the sense of community and hosts tons of events. As mentioned previously, the Union Street Farmers Market that takes place every Wednesday is always a hit. There are also various concerts, festivals, and church gatherings that are held there; the plaza has a covered stage and a picnic and park area, making it the perfect place to hang out with friends and family.