City Profile: Gainesville

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

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Gainesville is more than just a college town; it's home to lush natural landscapes and hundreds of historic buildings.

The university town of Gainesville offers many faces to visitors. The city's Northeast Historic District is a 80-square-block area of historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their architecture reflects styles common to Florida from 1880 through the 1950s.

The University Galleries in the College of Fine Arts include three venues: University Gallery presents contemporary exhibitions featuring interdisciplinary collaborations; Focus Gallery is a student space for experimental work; and Grinter Gallery features multicultural and international exhibitions. All three offer temporary exhibitions. University Gallery is closed in the summer.

Century Tower in the center of the university's grounds houses one of Florida's four carillons. While you're there, stroll through the lush, primitive foliage of the Lake Alice Wildlife Preserve that edges the campus. Gainesville is an outdoor enthusiast's dream destination offering world-class venues for snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking, incredible hiking and biking and even bird-watching.

Elsewhere in Gainesville, you can experience the lifestyle of a Florida family farmer of 100 years ago at Morningside Nature Center. Farm animals in pasture settings, an 1840 cabin and turn-of-the-century kitchen and barn are the attractions at this 278-acre living-history farm.

Two miles north of downtown at Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site you will see a 10,000-to-15,000-year-old sinkhole. And nearby Paynes Prairie State Preserve is the site of a wildlife sanctuary where a rare herd of bison roams, and descendants of the first horses brought here by the Spanish are maintained as well.

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