Gainesville is the county seat of Alachua County, Florida. Nicknamed ‘Hogtown’ for its proximity to an earlier settlement of that name, Gainesville was established in 1853 on land purchased from cotton plantation owner Major James B. Bailey. The railroad from Fernandina reached Gainesville in 1859, at which time the town was just a court house a general store and three hotels. Development was slowed by the Civil War, when the town became a Confederate storehouse, but during the Reconstruction period, Gainesville became one of the largest cotton shipping stations in the state. In the twentieth century, Gainesville became a center for education, with the University of Florida established there in 1905. The university's emergence as a significant factor in the city’s economy helped the community to survive the collapse of the local cotton and phosphate industries during World War I. Today, the university remains the area’s top employer and attracts students and academic professionals from all over the world.
Get trustworthy advice and local insights from fellow members in our USA expat forums.
Whether drawn to Gainesville by the academic opportunities, by business or for personal reasons, the city has a lot to offer expats living in Gainesville. As in many cities with a sizeable university campus, Gainesville has a wealth of cultural facilities for all to enjoy. The Florida Museum of Natural History, the Harn Museum of Art and the Hippodrome State Theatre representing the traditional face of cultural expression and, during the Downtown Festival and Arts Show, Gainesville welcomes artists and musicians from the local area and invites them to share their craft on the city streets. Al fresco performances are popular in Gainesville and on Friday evenings between May and September, the Plaza hosts performances from theatre companies, dance crews, and live bands. Gaineville’s music scene is a vibrant one (it has been voted one of the best places in America to start a band) and the city is proud to be the location for “Fest”, one of America’s première independent music festivals.
However, it’s not just expat ‘culture vultures’ who will enjoy living in Gainesville. Outdoorsy types may just find that the fishing, snorkeling, canoeing, diving, kayaking, bird-watching, hiking and biking available in the local area makes Gainesville a dream destination. Wildlife enthusiasts will particularly appreciate the Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, where an old sink hole has become a sanctuary for a profusion of flora and fauna. With the abundance of activities available, expatriates in Gainesville won’t have a problem finding things to do, but rather choosing which to participate in. InterNations expat community is the ideal forum for discussing the wealth of options and connecting with other people who share your enthusiasms. The InterNations online community can also help its member navigate the more pressing issues of expatriate life such as visas, accommodation and employment. Whatever you need to know about expatriation, work or leisure in Gainesville, a member of InterNations probably knows the answer, or can at least point you in the direction of someone who can help.