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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Gainesville, FL

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Where Gatorade was created, where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers started, and where natural springs surround the city with a cool place to swim and canoe, Gainesville is consistantly voted one of the best places to live in Florida.

If you're considering relocation to this vibrant Florida community, let this guide help you with plenty of useful information and tips about the city and what it has to offer a brand new resident.

Gainesville Climate

For a Florida city, Gainesville actually has significant temperature flux in comparison with the rest of the state, stemming from its inland location. It is categorized as a humid subtropical climate, with temperatures between 80 and 90 during the day in summer months. If you're new to the area, keep in mind that afternoon thunderstorms are common in Gainesville, and can happen year-round.

You'll find winter months with highs around 65 degrees and lows at 45 degrees, and sometimes temperatures drop below freezing; however, cold temperatures in Gainesville are accompanied by clear skies.

The abundance of tree species in the area also allows for more colorful fall than the rest of the state.

Gainesville Neighborhoods

The heart of the city of Gainesville is a college town, with plenty of bars, restaurants and nightclubs intermingled with university buildings.

For a quainter lifestyle, you can escape to Micanopy, just over 10 miles outside of Gainesville, with historic homes and the Herlong House bed and breakfast. You may also consider the Duckpond area, located northeast of downtown Gainesville and largely residential, this was Gainesville's first neighborhood. It is full of sidewalks for pedestrians and Victorian style homes, with close to 300 of them being designated historic.

Registering Your Car

If you're making a permanent move to Florida, you have 10 days to register your car from the date you begin working in the state, or register a child in a Florida school. You must have proof of ownership of your vehicle, verification of your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and proof of Florida insurance requirements.

You have 30 days to transfer your existing out-of-state driver's license to a Florida driver's license. To do so, you will need your primary identification, proof of Social Security Number and two documents verifying your Florida address. The Florida DMV issues over 400,000 new resident licenses per year, and advises you to know your requirements and have your documents ready prior to going to the office.

Gainesville Schools

Alachua County Public Schools operates the school system throughout Gainesville, which includes seven high schools and nine middle schools, most of which are located in Gainesville. The district is one of the highest rated in Florida, currently with an "A" grade from the state, as well as the highest ratio of passed Advanced Placement tests.

Gainesville is also home to Santa Fe College, and its most famous higher education facility, the University of Florida.

Gainesville Employment

In a tough economic climate, Gainesville sits on an unemployment rate of approximately 6.3 percent. The job market is relatively weak, however, due to an abundance of college-educated residents and not enough jobs for them.

The top employers in the city are: University of Florida, with close to 15,000 employees; Shands HealthCare, with close to 13,000 employees; Veterans Health Administration, with over 4,000 employees; School Board of Alachua County, with over 4,000 employees; City of Gainesville, with over 2,000 employees; Publix, with over 2,000 employees; and North Florida Regional Medical Center, with over 1,500 employees.

Living Costs in the City

Gainesville attracts new residents for its low cost of living in comparison to the national average. The land around UF is tax exempt, and Gainesville residents along with other Florida residents do not pay state income taxes. The overall cost of living, utilities and miscellaneous expenses in the city all fall about 5 or 6 percent below the national average. Food costs, however, are slightly higher than the national average, with the exception of restaurants around UF being much cheaper than average restaurants.

Depending on where you're moving from, you'll see a significant reduction of costs when moving to the area. The average listing price of homes in Gainesville is approximately $200,000, while the median sales price is $120,000. Renting a one-bedroom apartment can start as low as $475 and get close to $1,000 depending on the size of the unit, amenities and location. Utility bills vary based on provider, usage and size of the living space. The cost can range from $100-$400 per month.

Gainesville Moving Resources

Don't stress out over packing! There are many moving and storage companies eager to help you with your move to Gainesville, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in Florida. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at Movers.com to get quotes for the following services:

Gainesville Transportation

Residents can easily access the public transit system through the Regional Transit System's Downtown Station. RTS is the fourth largest mass transit system in the state. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach buses also connect Gainesville with Jacksonville and Lakeland. The nearest train, also Amtrak, is available in Palatka, east of Gainesville.

The roadways in Gainesville are intricate, with Interstate 75, state routes 20, 24, 26, US 441 and US 301 being the main larger highways to serve the large amount of commuting that goes on in the city. The smaller streets are in a grid setup, where most streets are numbered and easily accessible.

Most of the local population commutes by personal vehicle, so if you're moving to Gainesville, having your own vehicle may be a better option for you – just leave some extra time for your commute in case of traffic.

Culture & Contemporary Life

There are plenty of cultural facilities in the area, like Florida Museum of Natural History, the Hippodrome State Theater and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, to satisfy to keep your visual sense alive.

Gainesville is known for supporting visual arts with art festivals throughout the year, and even a UF improv troupe called Theatre Strike Force. The music scene in Gainesville is plentiful, too. Some of its well-known artists include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stephen Stills, Less Than Jake, Sister Hazel, and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles.

If you've come to Gainesville for the outdoors, you'll find Paynes Prairie, where you can bike, camp, boat and canoe on all 22,000 acres. Devil's Millhopper will give you a chance to see waterfalls, wild turkeys, raccoons, wild flours and otters at the park.

And you can't be a Gainesville resident without knowing a little something about the U of F's Gators. The University's athletic program is in the Southeastern Conference and holds many national titles in football and basketball. The University of Florida plays a vital part in the area's economy (and the shares from the Gainesville-born Gatorade helps, too).

Gainesville Relocation Tips

  • Much of the city's culture is centralized around the University of Florida's athletic programs, spawning world class Olympians and other notable names in sports like Ryan Lochte, Dara Torres, Emmitt Smith and Tim Tebow – learn a little about The Chomp before heading south.


  • Florida residents are eligible for various in-state scholarships for attending college. If you're thinking about a higher education, you might want to become a resident of Florida before making any decision on what school to attend


  • The Gainesville Sun is the local newspaper in the area, get a subscription and start learning everything about Gainesville life!

Jenna Farmer  Posted by Jenna Farmer on March 3, 2013

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