7 Best Neighborhoods in Gainesville, FL

June 12th, 2021

7 Best Neighborhoods in Gainesville, FL

Best Places to Live in Gainesville, Florida

Where should you move to in Gainesville, FL? Check out these 7 neighborhoods!

Gainesville, Florida is renowned for its lively community, college atmosphere, and top-notch amenities. Home to the University of Florida, young adults, retirees, and families are moving to the area in order to take advantage of its warm weather and unique lifestyle. Offering residents a mixture of suburban and urban living, Gainesville is known for its outdoor recreation, vibrant culture, top-of-the-line healthcare facilities, delicious restaurants, and nationally recognized educational systems. No matter where you may be moving from, Gainesville is a diverse community that has safe and affordable neighborhoods to meet all of your wants and needs. With so many great places to live in Florida, is Gainesville the right city for you?

Best Neighborhoods in Gainesville, Florida - Here are the best neighborhoods to live in Gainesville, Florida

So what is the best area to live in Gainesville, Florida? Considered a great place to live, there are many housing options available. Since moving can be stressful, our team has compiled this list of the best neighborhoods in Gainesville to help make your moving decision that much easier. Before finding a neighborhood that is best for you, it is important to figure out what you are looking for in a home. Read on to learn more about the 7 Best Neighborhoods in Gainesville, Florida!


If you want to be transported back in time to see what Gainesville might have been like before it became a popular and modern area, then move to the quiet neighborhood of Duckpond. Deemed the first neighborhood of Gainesville, Duckpond is a vibrant community that is recognized for its distinct character and charm. Thought to be one of the most “Defining Neighborhoods of Gainesville,” the residential area of Duckpond can be found on the National Register of Historic Places.

Featuring Colonial-style homes mixed with Old Florida architecture, find beautiful renovated single-family homes that were originally built in the early 1900s. An artsy area located close to Downtown Gainesville, visit art galleries, gardens, theatres, and historical landmarks. Plus only a short drive from the University of Florida, be able to access the lively nightlife and dining scene within minutes.

Local Favorites:

  • The Thomas Center Gardens: This historic garden is a gorgeous oasis surrounded by magnolia and oak trees. Admire the blooms of early spring and take a walk through the lush greenery all year round.
  • Vegan Gator Food Truck: You do not even have to be vegan to enjoy the offerings of this food truck. Try the truffle fries and the mushroom burger!
  • Prum’s Kitchen: A Cambodian restaurant prized for its amazing chicken skewers and a great selection of local craft beer.
  • The Leaning Pig: Get your fix of sandwiches and charcuterie boards in a light and friendly atmosphere.
  • Underground Kitchen: This southern kitchen is serving up classic favorites such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, and cornbread.

Downtown Gainesville, Florida with shops at night time for dining, shopping, playing and more

Haile Plantation

With construction starting in the 1970s, this urban planned community is a new development located in the southwest corner of the city. Featuring 2,600 homes, many residents are flocking to this neighborhood for its family-friendly residential living. Featuring walking and biking trails, an equestrian center, and multiple parks, those that live in Halie Plantation like to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Named after Thomas Evans Haile who once owned the land, the area was once a cotton plantation back in 1854. Now a booming business center, have your choice of renovated single-family homes, condos, apartments, or townhomes. There is even a tiny downtown village in the center of the neighborhood that is host to the local farmers market every Saturday morning from 8:30 am to noon that features live music. For those with school-aged children, the neighborhood of Halie Plantation feeds into Wiles Elementary School, Kanapaha Middle School, and Buchholz High School.

Local Favorites: 

  • Historic Haile Homestead: This historic site and museum were once home to the Haile family of the Kanapaha Plantation back in the 1800s. Visit the home today to learn more about the history of the land. 
  • Haile Village: The heart of Haile Plantation. Find an array of boutiques, shops, supermarkets, spas, gift shops, and dining options.
  • Haile Village Bistro: Located in the quaint Haile Village, dine on sandwiches, wraps, and enjoy freshly brewed coffee.
  • That Bar and Table: A great place to enjoy live music, craft beer, and a wide selection of amazing food.
  • Volcanic Sushi and Sake: Get your fix of sushi rolls, ramen, homemade soups, and sake.

Suburban Heights

With a small population of 1,500 people, enjoy peaceful living in this suburban neighborhood that was built in the late 1960s. With an average age of 59 years, residents like to flock to this community for retirement. Located close to Interstate 75, have easy access to the top healthcare facilities such as The UF Health Shands Hospital and the North Florida Regional Medical Center. Only steps away from popular shops and restaurants indulge in all that Gainesville has to offer in a more relaxed environment. For those living in the neighborhood with school-aged children, Suburban Heights feeds into Little Elementary School, Fort Clarke Middle School, and Buchholz High School. Brentwood School is also a popular private school option. In our opinion - Suburban Heights is one of the best neighborhoods in Gainesville, Florida.

Local Favorites: 

  • Oaks Mall: Shop till you drop at this Gainesville favorite shopping mall. Featuring Belk, Dillard’s, American Eagle Outfitters, and other popular stores. 
  • Cofrin Nature Park: Featuring a half-mile walking trail great for walking the dog, a playground, and a wetlands area to admire the wildlife and plants.
  • Forest Park: Bring the family out to play basketball, football, and soccer. Have a picnic at one of the picnic shelters or bring your dog to the pet area.
  • Leonardo’s Pizza of Millhopper: Feast on Chicago-style pizza, pasta, and sub sandwiches.
  • Formaggio’s Bistro and Wine Bar: A great atmosphere with reasonable prices. Enjoy pasta, soups, and sandwiches paired with your favorite wine.

Downtown townhall Gainesville, Florida building at the end of a main street

University Park

The ultimate college living experience. With an average age of 46 years old, find a good mixture of young college students, professionals, and families. This contemporary and newly renovated neighborhood is the perfect place for college students due to its location right near the University of Florida. Described as safe, walkable, quiet, and dog friendly, be near all of the action of Downtown Gainesville but within walking distance to class. Plus, easily find affordable single-family homes, apartments, and townhomes. Walk to hip eateries, quaint cafes, prime shopping, and eccentric nightlife.

Local Favorites:

  • Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: This 68-acre botanical garden is a great place to walk around. Walk through the water garden or butterfly garden and admire the waterfall.
  • Paynes Prarie Reserve State Park: This United States National Natural Landmark is right next to Interstate 75 and U.S. 441 and features over 21,000 acres of savanna. Home to herds of wild horses and bison, this state park is a beautiful place to explore.
  • The Swamp Restaurant: This sports bar has been in operation for over 25 years and is a University of Florida staple. Specializing in casual American eats and lots of alcohol, this is a great local hangout.
  • Potato Hub: A fast-food restaurant specializing in french fries and nuggets. Try the truffle fries or the sour cheese waffle fries!
  • Mildred’s Big City Food: Mildred’s has been serving American favorites in an excellent atmosphere since 1999.

Pleasant Street Historic District

Are you a history buff? Look no further than the beautiful neighborhood of Pleasent Street. Not only is Pleasent Steet named a United States Historic District, but it is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Spanning for 770 acres, this neighborhood contains a total of 259 historic homes and buildings. Founded directly after the Civil War, buildings reflect nineteenth and twentieth-century architecture and romantic styles. Now a popular suburban area, spend the day admiring historic buildings and landmarks, hanging out at one of the many green spaces, or hit up a local boutique.

Local Favorites:

  • The Historic Thomas Center: This Mediterranian revival-style cultural events center was once a private residence that has since been turned into a contemporary art museum and historical exhibition center. This is a great building to rent for weddings or social gatherings.
  • Mount Pleasent United Methodist Church Gainesville: A historical site and beloved church.
  • The Top Gainesville: Serving burgers, craft beer, and a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options in this American favorite eatery.
  • Flaco’s Cuban Bakery: This counter service restaurant has Cuban sandwiches, pastries, fresh baked goods, and arepas. Make sure to try the extremely popular Cuban Gator Sandwich!
  • Reggae Shack Cafe: Dishing up only the best Jamaican and vegetarian cuisine in this colorful eatery.

Highland Court Manor

This smaller residential area is made up of a few city blocks and is home to almost 6,000 residents. With an average age of 50 years old, Highland Court Manor is both quiet and laid back. Located on the eastern side of Gainesville, this neighborhood is one of the most affordable in town when it comes to real estate and everyday conveniences. Most homes in the community were built between 1960 and 1980 which can be reflected through the home styles and architecture. About 60% of the single-family homes are currently occupied by residents. With peaceful streets and easy parking, Highland Court Manor is a great place to retire or raise a family.

Local Favorites:

  • Northside Shopping Center Gainesville: This shopping center is where the residents of Highland Court Manor like to shop.
  • Newnans Lake: Located off of State Road 20, this lake is a mile wide and is the perfect place to spend the day. Explore the outdoors, go fishing, learn to kayak, hike, or ride your bike at this favorite conservation area.
  • Home Sweet Kitchen Cafe: Only the best Cuban coffee and sandwiches in Gainesville. Stop by for breakfast or lunch.
  • La Cocina De Abuela: A Columbian restaurant with large portions and amazing staff. Columbian comfort food at its finest.
  • Gainesville Soulfood Kitchen: Friendly environment serving authentic soul food. Try the wings and yellow rice!

Gainesville Florida College Campus with blue sky and palm trees

Hazel Heights

A safe place to raise a family and walk your dog, living in Hazel Heights is one of the best neighborhoods in Gainesville. Centrally located, not only is the neighborhood convenient to nearby amenities, but the housing market is also one of the most affordable in the area. With a population of close to 1,600 people, easily befriend your neighbors. Though you most likely need a car living here, certain areas are walkable and there are plenty of parks and green spaces that are pet friendly. Roads are well lit and families with school-aged children will have access to some of the best public schools in Alachua County including C.W. Norton Elementary School, Westwood Middle School, Gainesville High School.

Local Favorites: 

  • Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park: A great place to bring the family and spend the day outdoors. Featuring playgrounds, nature trails, and pavilions, this 70-acre park mixes pinelands, forests, and wetlands. 
  • La Pasadita Mexican Restaurant: Quesadillas, tacos, nachos, and every other classic authentic Mexican dish is being served at this festive eatery. 
  • Eat the 80 Gainesville: Healthy and nutritious food without sacrificing flavor. Enjoy favorites including coconut curry chicken, beef stew, or pot roast. 
  • Country Foodly: Dishing up some of the best American and Korean fare for breakfast and lunch. Dine on biscuits and gravy, french toast, and steak and eggs with a Korean flair. 
  • Coffee Culture Gainesville: This cozy cafe makes amazing coffee, lattes, tea, and baked goods.

The Best Neighborhoods in Gainesville, FL - The Bottom Line 

If you are moving to Florida, make sure to check out Gainesville. No matter your budget or way of life, each neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida has its own character and unique qualities that will appeal to everyone. Not only are the neighborhoods that made our list safe and affordable, but they are centrally located near the University of Florida and popular amenities.

Only an hour and a half away from the nearest beach, Gainesville, Florida is a booming college town that is surrounded by some of the best natural scenery in the sunshine state. While looking for your dream home, make sure to get in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Realty Specialists to guide and assist you through the home buying process. Contact us today!


Find your new home Search real estate and homes for sale
Share this post
Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.