If you’re a working professional looking for a neighborhood to call home in Gainesville, FL, you might be wondering where to start your search.
Renowned for its classic college town experience, these days Gainesville offers so much more. Lots of early and mid-career professionals are choosing to remain in Gainesville upon graduation or moving here for the jobs, affordability, and high quality of life.
For professionals who want to be close to the action but don’t want to feel like they’re surrounded by students, the region has several great neighborhoods and adjacent towns to choose from. Read on for a few of our top picks!
Downtown Gainesville is one of the most popular neighborhoods for professionals. With a bustling food and drink scene, coworking spaces, outdoor recreation, and a host of cultural amenities, this neighborhood has everything you need.
Downtown Gainesville is easily the most walkable neighborhood in the city. Folks enjoy strolling the restaurant and bar district concentrated along 1st Ave on either side of Main Street. Bo Diddley Plaza (pictured above) hosts festivals, outdoor concerts, pop-up sales and much more throughout the year.
Gainesville’s historic urban core is actually made up of a couple distinct neighborhoods. Let’s take a closer look at the microneighborhoods that make up the downtown.
Need to be close to the universities without feeling like you’re living in an extended dorm room? The Duckpond may be the neighborhood for you.
This charming and historic neighborhood offers a range of well-maintained rental homes. HOAs ensure that upgrades to the homes are done carefully to preserve the original character of the neighborhood, while saving you the stresses of home ownership. With an average rental price in the mid-$1000 range, it’s an affordable and lovely place to live for those who want to enjoy peace and quiet while still being close to downtown.
The Duckpond is a friendly, safe neighborhood, where people bike to the nearby Grove Street area for drinks, shopping, and the weekly farmer’s market. While many residents are renters due to the large student population, they tend to be grad students and other professionals.
The Thomas Center, a beautifully restored Renaissance-revival hotel, is the crown jewel of the neighborhood and a popular spot for events and picnics. The neighborhood also offers easy access to the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, which passes through downtown and Payne’s Prairie, the state’s first nature preserve.
Pleasant Street is a diverse and historic neighborhood located just north of Downtown Gainesville. With a median age of 24, it attracts a mix of students and young professionals. A historically African American neighborhood, several buildings are considered landmarks for the important role they played as centers of organizing during the civil rights era.
The neighborhood is known for its neighborly vibe, tree-lined streets, funky vernacular architecture – and rocking chairs. Recent years have seen renewed investment, and young families and students are appreciating Pleasant Street’s laid back charms. The neighborhood offers a promising future, with a steady uptick of unique businesses like Bragging Rights Amusements – a vintage arcade lover’s dream – and Underground Kitchen – a popular soul food restaurant.
Rental options in Pleasant Street include recently constructed houses with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, hardwood floors and storage galore.
Depot Park Area
With its open air lawns, trails, epic playground, food trucks and shops, Depot Park is one of the busiest and best-kept public spaces in Gainesville. The park is an anchor to the surrounding neighborhoods, including Porters Community, Spring Hill, University Heights, Suburban Heights, and the Innovation District.
The area is home to the Cade Museum for Creativity & Innovation, First Magnitude Brewing Company – one of Gainesville’s best brewpubs – and the 4th Ave Food Park. Apartment options range from single family homes to condo communities with top notch amenities.
If you’re looking for a small town vibe with all the amenities of an upscale development, Haile Village might be the perfect fit for you. This charming community boasts a walkable town center ringed by elegant single family homes. Balconies overlook leafy streets, evoking New Orleans or Charleston.
The town center was built up the old-fashioned way: shop by shop. Residents enjoy access to coffee shops, boutiques, essential services, and a weekly farmer’s market, all within walking distance. All told, the development spans 1,700 acres and includes over 15 miles of walking and biking trails.
Most of the rentals in Haile are found in Haile Village Center, which features a variety of restaurants and shops, making it a popular place to relax and unwind. A typical condo for rent in Haile might feature parquet flooring in the living room and dining room, carpet in both bedrooms, a wood burning fireplace and a fully fenced backyard with a deck.
The surrounding Haile Plantation offers a range of subdivisions with amenities such as a Gary Player-designed golf course, a country club, pools, and tennis courts.
Turkey Creek is great for golf and nature lovers, and it’s an excellent place to network while enjoying a round of golf in beautiful surroundings. This community loves its golf course and its many parks and nature preserves. The typical home sits on a half-acre lot backing onto the creek or a golf course view. Neatly landscaped streets meander around the development’s namesake creek.
Turkey Creek’s golf course wasn’t always as lush as it is today. After a period of Recession-era neglect, the golf course literally rose from the weeds with a volunteer-led renovation effort that Golf Digest dubbed the “Miracle at Turkey Creek”.
Life in Turkey Creek centers around the golf course, which offers free introductory clinics led by PGA pros for adults of all ages. Lessons for the kids start in early spring. Monthly tournaments are an occasion for the community to come together and engage in some friendly competition.
The area is blessed with an abundance of nature preserves and parks, including Turkey Creek Preserve, San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, and Gainesville’s iconic Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park.
The typical Turkey Creek rental house has 3 large bedrooms and 2 or 3 baths, a fully fenced backyard, and is walking distance from the community clubhouse and pool.
If you want to be part of a brand new community taking shape in Southwest Gainesville, Grand Oaks may be the place for you. Grand Oaks broke ground in 2020 and is expected to be completed by 2024.
The community is nicely situated between Newberry and Archer roads, with its wealth of restaurants, retail options, and nature preserves. Markets West, a brand new mixed-use development, will bring more apartments and retail to this desirable corner of SW Gainesville.
The Grand Oaks master plan spans 135 acres, which includes over 300 homes and 248 multi-family units. Residents enjoy access to walking trails, a covered pavilion with a pool and playground, and proximity to all the new retail offerings. See our sister company Rabell’s Guide to Grand Oaks Gainesville to learn more.
A typical Grand Oaks rental house features vaulted ceilings, quartz countertops, bright airy rooms, and a screened in back patio.
Neighboring High Springs is an affordable option just outside of Gainesville. A popular place to stage a scuba diving excursion at Ginnie Springs or a tube float down the Ichetucknee River, it also a great place to live. High Springs also features a quaint downtown with restaurants, brewpubs, and curio shops.
Anything you can’t get in High Springs you can get in nearby Alachua, which is a 10 minute drive, or Gainesville/Newberry, about a 20 minute drive east.
High Springs is Florida’s first tourist destination. Glass-bottom riverboats continue to usher tourists along High Springs’ crystal-clear waters as they have for over a hundred years.
High Springs Brewing Company is a family-owned craft brewery. Headwaters offers classic American diner fare with modern updates. And let’s not forget the Great Outdoors, an iconic steakhouse that occupies two floors of a restored opera house.
Alachua is another affordable option near Gainesville. Alachua has a growing population of over 10,000 people and an average age of 35. The town is home to a growing biotech hub. Young professionals and folks who like living in a small town setting surrounded by pristine nature get the best of both worlds in Alachua.
Alachua’s cozy historic downtown is one of North Central Florida’s hidden gems. Pear trees and vintage lampposts line its walkable streets. Most of of the buildings along Main Street were built in the early 20th century and hark back to Alachua’s days as a railroad hub. Today Main Street supports a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, and personal services.
Alachua is a destination for outdoor adventurers. Among the region’s many nature preserves, San Felasco State Park stands out. The park connects visitors to 7,000 acres of horseback and bike trails. The town is close to High Springs, when you need to cool off from all that hiking and biking.
Find Available Rentals in the Greater Gainesville Area
If you’re a professional looking for a neighborhood to call home in Gainesville, FL, you have plenty of options. From the bustling Downtown Gainesville to the charming Haile Village, there’s something for everyone. KNR Property Management, voted Best Property Management Company in 2022, can help you find the perfect rental in these top neighborhoods. Visit KNR Property Management to learn more about their available properties and start your search for your new apartment!