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Gainesville

Trip Planner USA  /  Florida  /  Gainesville
(4.6/5 based on 4,000+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: wildlife areas, museums, nature
Gainesville is the county seat and largest city in Alachua County, Florida, and the principal city of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The population of Gainesville in the 2013 US Census was 127,488, a 2.4% growth from 2010. Gainesville is the largest city in the region of North Central Florida.Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, the nation's eighth largest university campus by enrollment, as well as to Santa Fe College. The Gainesville MSA was ranked as the #1 place to live in North America in the 2007 edition of Cities Ranked and Rated. Also in 2007, Gainesville was ranked as one of the "best places to live and play" in the United States by National Geographic Adventure. Gainesville was ranked as the "5th meanest city" in the United States by the National Coalition for the Homeless twice, first in 2004 for its criminalization of homelessness and then in 2009 for its ordinance restricting soup kitchens to 130 meals a day.HistoryNative American, Pre-EuropeanCirca 12,000 years ago Paleo-Indians lived in Florida, but fewer than 100 sites have been found. Although it is not known for certain whether any permanent settlements from that period were in the present city limits of Gainesville, archaeological evidence of human presence exists. With the end of the ice age to the north, sea levels rose so that coastal Florida became inundated and Florida's land mass shrank while the southeastern United States became wetter than it had been, so the Paleo-Indians required fewer moves between water spots and more populous camps inhabited for longer periods of time emerged; among the spots where camps from this later period have been found is around Paynes Prairie very close to Gainesville.
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