• $450   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $717   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1195   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

57% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
sinkholes, swamps, limestone caverns, alligators, traffic congestion around gametime
live music, nature preserves, air quality 6
downtown hipsters, malaria, food stuff, good parties are here, Santa Fe students, zoo animals, here be gators, crane city are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Gainesville roommate rundown:

Gainesville is a lot what you probably already knew, plus a bit of what never-residents still mostly don't.

Gainesville easily lives up to its reputation as a hard partying college town with hard driving varsity athletics, with a massive athletic stadium and a massively large number of college students partying hard around it.

It is impossible to attend the University of Florida at Gainesville without knowing exactly where to go for drink specials and cheap food in a large crowd. And that will be within walking distance.

Gainesville's also known for classic humid subtropical weather. That means all the heat plus almost all the humidity plus the affectionate nickname, "Rainsville." While hurricanes and sudden extreme heat are always possible, winter mostly isn't happening either.

So if you can deal with very hot and humid, you'd call the weather nice most of the time.

And if you can deal, you'd also find Gainesville: both younger and more likely to be happily retired (there are two sizable population demographic bumps), more likely to be single, more likely to rent and have roommates, less likely to be unemployed, and more likely to have a college degree than the vast majority of similar cities.

Because those other cities don't host the University of Florida?

But did you know about the bison, the bats, and the butterflies?

What about the sinkholes, the swamps, and the limestone caverns?

There's also a 120-foot-deep bowl with bones at the bottom! Locals love it!

Because what's not to love about a miniature rain forest complete with ancient fossils conveniently located near the University of Florida?

There are also actual gators. Not enclosed securely, if you didn't already know. Just swimming and sunbathing all over the place including local lakes and . . . campus! It's generally agreed you should keep your distance, but as for how far? That advice varies.

But we'd advise newbies GO WIDE!

The rest of the Gainesville roommate lowdown:

  • Gainesville eagerly embraces its status as college town for the University of Florida.
  • Many inexpensive bars are right around campus, with craft beer spots almost everywhere else.
  • While parking is plentiful, so shall be the traffic during classes and gametime. So you should definitely walk if you're anywhere nearby and it's gametime or classes are in session . . . because nearby roads will be congested.
  • That congestion will definitely include traffic to see the varsity team of the University of Florida, the Florida Gators - with an extremely enthusiastic fandom since 1933.
  • Most citizens of Gainesville have some connection to the University of Florida. It's a huge school and the area's largest employer. The local football economy (Go Gators!) is similarly gator-sized.
  • only about 150,000, but closer to 325,000 in the greater metro area
  • climate is humid and subtropical, meaning long, hot, sticky rainy summers, almost nonexistent winters. Sudden heat and high winds are also possible.
  • sunny almost 300 days a year
  • Gainesville is the least tourist-y metro area in Florida
  • geologically frequent sinkholes, swamps, and limestone caverns
  • home to Santa Fe College and the University of Florida
  • excellent air quality
  • low cost of living - with no state income tax and cheaper rent, Gainesville is one of the most affordable cities in Florida
  • over 30 bus routes operated by the Gainesville Regional Transit System, some with service to outerlying areas, some even late at night (the Later Gator). However, with limited service during weekends, school holidays and most of the summer, you'll need a decent car with air conditioning unless you plan to stay near campus pretty much always and enjoy heat.
  • All city streets are within a grid with four quadrants. Avenues, lanes, places and roads run east to west, while drives, streets, terraces and ways run north to south. This system is less confusing than most for new drivers and anyone new to Gainesville.

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Gainesville's:

  • Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park: There are many sinkholes in Gainesville. Quite a few are reasonably deep, but one is bowl-shaped and about 120 feet! This is such an unusual geological feature it was able to grow its own miniature rain forest right in the bowl. It's a massive limestone natural pit fed by 12 streams . . . it's a literal bowl of rainforest, right in the middle of sandy North Florida. Winding stairs lead downward to the pond full of bones at the very bottom. If you and your roommates visit via one car, as long as you're 8 or fewer, you can all get in for $4. But do not swim with any manatees or fly any drones while you're there, as that is not permitted.
  • The Fest: 3 days, 100s of bands, up to 10 venues, mostly punk.
  • "The Swamp:" Known for being one of the largest and loudest stadiums in the country, in large part due to extremely enthusiastic fans, who also love to tailgate. It's a wide trawl of tailgate all around town, especially on Saturdays during the fall. Circling "The Swamp" before games is a tradition engaged in by a lot of folks dressed in orange and blue.
  • Lake Alice: Do you like bats? Would you like to watch a cloud of bats eating an even larger cloud of insects around dusk? Have I got a lake for you!
  • Florida Museum of Natural History: Quite a bit on South Florida, including much on native plant life along its waterways. But they're known for their Butterfly Rainforest.
  • Ginnie Springs: You and your roommates can float down the natural spring river with a cooler of beer.
  • Paynes Prairie: You and your roommates can watch wild bison and horses while hiking one of the park's eight trails. Possibly during a sunset! What more could you want?
  • University of Florida College of the Arts: Contains smaller colleges like the School of Art and Art History, School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, and Digital Worlds, and all offer art/lecture/performance/galleries for your enjoyment at little or no cost. Cultural evenings for free for you and all your roommates.

Here's the city of Gainesville's official .gov for local community Programs & Events.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.

7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.