Since the 1990s, Gainesville urban planners have made efforts to create more affordable housing in the center of the city to mitigate suburban sprawl. However, there are still plenty of charming houses in the suburbs or in towns just outside the city limits for those not looking to live in Gainesville proper. The west side of Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, the eighth largest campus in the United States. That means there are plenty of young people around, as well as the majority of the nightlife and things to do in the evening. Since the 1960s, considerable efforts have also been made to preserve the city's historic buildings, including the Victorian-style government buildings of the downtown area and the Queen Anne style residences that remain from Gainesville's heyday as a major agricultural center. These buildings, most of which are left over from the late 19th century, can be found throughout the northeast and southeast residential districts, and are gathered especially in the Pleasant Street Historic District.

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130 miles southeast of Tallahassee, the bustling university town of Gainesville, FL is a great place for recent grads and young families looking to move into their first home, as well as more established households looking to set up house somewhere warm and friendly. In 2007, Gainesville was ranked the best place to live in the United States by two separate publications. It is the hub of entertainment and culture in central Florida, and also provides plenty of access to outdoor areas and wetlands, including the nearby Paynes Prairie State Reserve National Park.

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