Familiarize yourself with campus services
Hopefully, you’ll find time before your first class to explore campus and find your classrooms. The dining hall, athletic center, bookstore, and lecture halls should be well marked on campus maps. Take an afternoon to stroll around campus and become familiar with the buildings you need. With all the fresh faces on campus, you’re likely to pick up new germs or even a virus. If you start to feel under the weather, the student health center is available to help. From sexual health to nutrition counseling, don’t be afraid to make an appointment if you aren’t feeling 100 percent. If you’re unsure how to access UF health resources, check out the FAQ for New Students on the student health center’s website. At the University of Florida, you’ve got an entire police department dedicated to your safety. Download the new UF Gatorsafe App to stay connected while you’re out and about on campus. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation or witness a crime, Mobile BlueLight can send your location and call UFPD. You can also anonymously report crime and view reports on recent campus crimes. Because UF is dedicated to keeping its students safe, the Gatorsafe App also features a personal safety toolbox that contains a flashlight, loud alarm, and the ability to send your location to police.
Getting around Gainesville
When you’re ready to get off campus and explore the city, having a car is your best bet. With an accessible network of roadways and little traffic congestion, a personal vehicle makes exploring Gainesville and beyond a breeze. If having a car while you’re at school isn’t an option, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with RTS, the Gainesville Regional Transit System. This extensive bus system will get you out to explore your new city as soon as you’re ready.
Dining on and off-campus
At the University of Florida, there are multiple meal plans to keep you well-nourished. With two all-you-choose-to-eat dining halls and over fifty additional dining options, your meals, coffees and snacks are covered. At Local Restaurant Row, you’ll find a rotating selection of Gainesville restaurants coming on-campus to diversify your dining options. If you decide to venture off-campus for a meal, there are a lot of great restaurants in Gainesville. Everyone knows college is an expensive investment. If a $2,000 meal plan isn’t an option for you and your family, please be aware that the UF Field & Fork Pantry is available to anyone with a physical UFID card. At the Field & Fork Pantry, you’ll find free groceries to help you through any periods of food insecurity.
What to do in Gainesville
The University of Florida provides a variety of recreational opportunities for students. You’ll find two recreation & fitness centers and four pools on campus. The Reitz Union Game Room offers bowling, billiards, foosball, snooker, and table tennis. Lake Wauburg offers admission and activities at no cost to students, including swimming, biking, volleyball, and a climbing wall. If you’re looking to make new friends, try joining a UF sports club or the outdoor adventure TRIP program. If you’re looking to explore parks and trails off-campus, you’re in luck. Gainesville is home to a wide variety of community and state parks, hiking trails, natural springs, horse trails, and botanical gardens. While you’re off-campus, explore local shops or catch some live music. Tackle an escape room with friends at America’s Escape Game. If it’s time to celebrate that big 21st birthday, you can’t miss a night at First Magnitude Brewing Company or Arcade Bar.
Day Trips from Gainesville
Gainesville is just 45 minutes away from Ocala, the Horse Capital of the World. Here you’ll find the World Equestrian Center, beautiful horse farms and equestrian neighborhoods, and numerous horseback riding trails. For those over 21 years old, Ocala is also home to three local breweries that you’ll want to stop and sample.
If a magical day trip is just what you need to take your mind off of studying, you’ll be happy to know that Walt Disney World is less than two hours away from Gainesville. You can grab a hotel and make a weekend out of it, celebrate Spring Break at the park, or meet up with your family for a visit.
Jobs in the area
Whether you’re looking for a part-time job during college or would like to stay in Gainesville after graduation, the local job market in the Gainesville area is booming. While many of the jobs in Gainesville fall into the education and healthcare sectors, other popular places that are hiring include:
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- University of Florida
- Retail Stores
Get to know your neighborhood
As Gainesville begins to feel like home, you may decide you want to move off-campus or plan to buy a home in the area after graduation. Luckily for you, Gainesville is much more than a college town. Beautiful neighborhoods dot the city and surrounding areas so you’ll be sure to find somewhere that feels right. Some of the well-known neighborhoods in and around Gainesville include:
- Westmoreland – Close to the city with a suburban vibe
- Hazel Heights – Affordable living on the north side of the city
- Sugarfoot – Family-friendly suburbia located away from the bustle of downtown
- Duckpond – Downtown neighborhood with robust history and diversity
Real estate listings in this area are plentiful and there’s something for everyone. Even if you’re not ready to buy just yet, you can explore current listings of homes for sale in Gainesville to get an idea of the type of home you might like to own in the future. Here are a few examples of current Gainesville listings under $300,000.
Enjoy your move to Gainesville
Welcome to the area! We’re so glad you’ve chosen one of the best places to live in Alachua County. As you get settled in at UF, you may find this post-move-in checklist helpful to ensure that you have everything set up for your new home. If you still have questions about Gainesville, check out the available resources from the Alachua County visitors bureau. You can also find more information on local attractions and events on the Showcase Properties blog. We hope this move is just the start of a long relationship with beautiful Central Florida. When you’re ready to start browsing homes for sale in Alachua County and putting down roots, the Gainesville real estate agents at Showcase Properties will be here to help.