The cost of living isn’t too horrible in Gainesville, mainly because it’s a college town. Therefore convenience is a major factor in where to live. Most students look to stay as close to campus as possible throughout their four years to avoid any issues of getting to campus for classes. The later you can sleep, the better. Make sure you’re always on your game with housing at the University of Florida; there’s a crazy amount of students, and that means a crazy race to get the best housing.
Where the Freshmen Live
Unlike a large majority of schools, UF is so big that incoming freshmen housing isn’t guaranteed. The key is to sign up for housing as soon as possible to make sure you have an affordable spot in the heart of campus. If you are lucky enough to get a spot, most freshmen try to live in Broward Hall, the most social and newly renovated traditional dorm on campus. We’re talking brand new wood floors and closets, actual water pressure and totally redone lounges. Broward stands out as the most social dorm because each floor has its own lounge, which connects the boys and girls sides, and gives freshmen the chance to make fast friends while doing homework or watching TV.
Those who don’t get Broward usually try for Rawlings, which comes in a close second in terms of convenience and social atmosphere. Rawlings is pretty much connected to Broward, so you’re a two minute walk away from your friends. It’s aging quickly, but it also has it’s own personal P.O.D Market that’s open all night and sells every late night craving you could imagine.
The second most recently rennovated residence hall is Jennings, a quieter and cleaner option that is still in the heart of campus. The only downside to living in Jennings is that everyone will always associate your home with preview, a stressful time before the start of school for all students. Don’t stress too much about your living arrangement, in the end, a dorm is a dorm, and all that matters is having working air conditioning so you don’t melt in the brutal Florida heat.
Where the Greeks Live
Ironically enough, Sorority Row and Fraternity Row are on completely opposite ends of campus. Fraternity Row impresses from afar, with dozens of stately manisions lining a wrap-around hill. These houses might look nice from the outside, but the inside of each and everyone is absolutely disgusting, no matter how much the pledges clean.
Sorority Row spans two whole streets, but not every house is located on row. Each of these houses is more beautiful than the next, intricately decorated and meticulously cleaned. Living in a sorority or fraternity house is an experience unlike any other, but that being said, it’s also an experience that should probably only last for one year. Focusing in a house with all of your friends is virtually impossible.
Where Everyone Else Lives
Unless you have Florida Prepaid, there’s really no reason to live on campus past your first year. Upperclassmen confined to the dorms tend to move toward more apartment-style dorms such as Keys Complex or Springs, which are slightly farther from the center of campus. Those ready to take one more step into the real world typically move into apartments or houses behind midtown or behind sorority row. Apartment hunting is just as crazy as the housing process, so start looking as early as possible.
One of the more popular apartment complexes is Campus View, luxury apartments located just to the right of Sorority Row but just before the famed DNA bridge, providing the perfect balance between on and off campus. A more afforable option in the same general area is Oxford Terrace II, apartments with similar amenties that are just a little bit older. Those who don’t mind a short bus ride opt to live downtown at 2nd Avenue Centre, which boasts fully furnished apartments and parking for a low price. Apartments such as Woodlands, The Enclave and Lexington Crossing are known for hosting huge pool parties complete with live DJs, free food and free drinks.
Those looking for a more homey feel usually choose live in small houses behind Midtown or Sorority Row. These houses are definitely cheaper and making parking easier, but they’re also much older and dirtier.
Moving in/Moving out
Just when it seems there’s no more room left to build in Gainesville, developers somehow find a way. New apartments and homes are built each year around campus, which means students are always moving around. Instead of dragging all of their belongings back and forth, many students rent out a storage unit for the summer. One of the more popular places is South West Self Storage, located just off Archer Road, one of Gainesville’s main roads. These mini storage units are actually pretty big, so be sure to split them with one or two friends to lessen the cost. Some students in off campus houses will additionall offer their houses as storage space for a small fee over the summer.
One of the best parts about living in a college town is that you never have to deal with the pains of furniture shopping. There are dozens of pages on Facebook dedicated solely to furniture exchange, allowing graduating students to sell their barely used furniture to incoming students at a much cheaper price.
Some buildings in Gainesville are so old they don’t have elevators, so moving in and out can be difficult sometimes. The thought of lugging your brand new TV up four flights of stairs or more is just miserable. Leave the manual labor to the pros. Whether you go through 2 College Brothers, UF Mover Guys or Gator Moving and Storage, you won’t have to worry about breaking a sweat.
10 UF Dorms That Make the Dorm Decision Easy for #BabyGators
Written by Hilary Droke
You wake up to the chimes of Century Tower and see that you overslept and your 8:00 AM Good Life lecture starts in 10 minutes. You throw on a pair of leggings and grab your laptop before running straight out the door. Luckily, if you live on UF campus, your lecture hall is only a short walk away—no. And hey, you might even have a chance to grab a coffee at Starbucks before finding your seat. While living on campus at UF offers unique challenges (we’ve all heard the horror stories of finicky air conditioning units and swamp bugs the size of our fists), most UF students find that they wouldn’t trade their on-campus living experience for anything else.
1. Jennings Hall
Forget everything you’ve heard about “dirty J.” If you want a social dorm located just minutes from your Astrology 1000 class, sorority row, and Broward dining pizza (hello, freshman 15) Jennings might just make the perfect home away from home. Plus, with lots of like-minded freshman around, making friends comes easily. “I loved Jennings,” said sophomore Melody Dove. “It’s nice to be surrounded by other students who are new to campus so you can figure things out together. Living on campus is super convenient and makes the transition to college much easier.” And while most students associate Jennings with Preview, don’t let a few bland, undecorated rooms and that terrible basement rec room turn you off from the space. Jennings has some of the nicest common areas on campus. It also has a study room that students can use 24/7 when midterms or finals got them feeling stressed. For the social gator, Jennings seems like the perfect choice.
2. Cypress Hall
One of the newest dorms on campus, Cypress won’t stay one of UF’s Housing and Dining’s best-kept secrets for long. Just a short walk from Norman Hall (something you’ll appreciate after a few Good Life lectures) and right next to sorority row, Gators looking for short commutes and Greek life will thrive. Plus, this dorm has suite-style rooms, meaning you won’t have to fight with 50 other students for the bathroom mirror in the morning. But don’t think that makes the dorm any less social. “I got to make friends that will last throughout my time at UF,” said sophomore Amber Luboff. “If I had lived off campus, there’s a lot of people I never would have had the opportunity of meeting.” And if all that doesn’t already sell you on Cypress, the dorm also has XL full-size beds. Yes, you read that right. FULL SIZE BEDS. This is luxury living, people.
3. Yulee Hall
Yulee Hall makes it easy to roll out of bed and head straight to the gym, dining hall or your first class. “My favorite part was how close it was to everywhere on campus,” said sophomore Annie Wanzenberg. “It was so easy to walk everywhere.” Whether you want to grab a bite at Broward Dining or head to Marston to study (read: gossip with your friends with your Macbooks open) for a little bit after class, Yulee serves as the perfect home base. Plus, the possibility of living right next to the Broward Outdoor Recreation Complex and Broward Beach sounds like a recipe for a great tan and a quick dip after class whenever you want. Yulee makes it easy to take advantage of the Florida sun and everything UF has to offer.
4. Buckman Hall
If the Yulee or Broward Area doesn’t speak to you, check out what the Murphree area has to offer. Just steps from Midtown (read: Fat’s and Tijuana Flats), Gators who want the close-knit feeling of on-campus living and quick access to the outside world and great Gator nightlife will thrive in Buckman Hall. If the possibility of midnight runs to Relish or study breaks at Grillfresh doesn’t make you want to immediately sign that housing contract, maybe the old-timey southern vibes of the historic Murphree area will help you make your decision. UF sophomore Lara Disuanco agreed. “There’s a beautiful garden in front, a wonky but funny fountain,” she said. “My overall experience was awesome. I made a lot of great friends in the Murphree Area and the Area gov rocked.” BRB, signing our housing contracts ASAP.
5. Hume Hall
If you don’t want to worry about your air conditioning breaking in the middle of the August heat or think about the possibility of mold growing on your ceiling, check out Hume Hall, home to the Honors LLC. While the residents keep the volume lower than what you’d expect from students at one of Florida’s biggest party schools, the dorm’s proximity to ChompIT (hello, chicken tenders) and frat row nearby make up for the quietness for extroverts. Plus, the dorm offers some of the nicest private study rooms on campus, perfect for when you need to teach yourself a semester’s worth of lectures. Oh, and a word of wisdom for anyone considering living in Hume next fall: “If you plan on living in Hume, invest in a scooter or just be prepared to walk a lot,” said sophomore business major Grace Pepple. “Hume sits on top of a decently large hill,” added sophomore Stephanie Strickland. “Your quads will feel it.” Sounds like a great way to combat the freshman 15 to us.
6. Graham Hall
If Freeform filmed a college movie on UF’s campus, they’d probably set a lot of it in Graham Hall. After all, it looks like the quintessential college dorm, complete with shared bathrooms and spacious double rooms. Staying up all night gossiping with your best friends looks like a scene from your favorite sitcom. But the best part of Graham isn’t its prime spot right next to frat row and the Reitz Union, although these things definitely can’t hurt. Graham Hall sits right on top of the Pod Market. That means tons of late night snacks and your room becoming the designated hangout after a night out thanks to the burgers and fries available until 3 a.m. from the ChompIT downstairs. “I went in my pajamas for Ben & Jerry’s all the time,” said sophomore Bianca Cegatte. “I liked how convenient it was to grab food or any necessities.” That sounds like the perfect living situation to us, too.
7. East Hall
While East’s reputation as one of the quieter dorms on campus might have turned you off, you definitely should reconsider. Just seconds away from Gator Dining, grabbing a coffee before your early morning class or a quick cookie to stress eat after your chem lecture doesn’t have to waste any of your precious time. Another perk? East is home to some of the best LLC’s at UF, including the engineering community. But don’t feel like you have to descend from Einstein to live there. “I feel at home there,” said second year health sciences major Jaime Kay. “It doesn’t really matter if you are a part of the LLC, because they’re really welcoming.”
8. Lakeside Complex
Students either love or love to hate Lakeside Complex. Located right near Lake Alice, the Bat-House and Southwest Rec (meaning tons of opportunities to get totally fit, or tell yourself you will while actually gorging on Chick-fil-A fries), you won’t exactly feel like part of the hustle and bustle of main campus. But what Lakeside lacks in the perfect location, it makes up for with amenities that will make even those living in the Standard jealous. “My favorite part about living there was the fact that I had my own private bedroom, a full kitchen, and a bathroom that I had to share with only one other person,” said sophomore Makayla Nicholas. Living apartment-style means students get more personal privacy but also have the opportunity to share common space with their fellow Gators. If you aren’t sure about committing to UF off-campus living but still want your own space, consider Lakeside your new home.
9. Tolbert Hall
Can’t wait to see the basketball team take the court, or watch as the Gators Gymnastics girl gang sweep another couple SEC medals? Does your fall semester revolve around football season? If you can’t get enough of sports, whether playing or spectating, consider Tolbert Hall. After all, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the newly renovated Exatech Arena sit right down the road. Even if you don’t feel like cheering on your fellow orange and blues, Tolbert still serves as the perfect place to stay active on campus in between lectures and hanging out with friends. “Tolbert Hall hosts the ROTC LLC,” says sophomore Anna Iraiarte. “You can even ask if you can run with ROTC members early in the morning.” If this all doesn’t make you want to put Tolbert as your #1, the dorm also sports large communal kitchens and gives you the option of choosing a single, double or triple room.
10. Infinity Hall
More independent Gators will shout, “Yes, please!” to the choice to live in Infinity Hall. With its floor to ceiling windows and colorful modern furniture, Infinity Hall looks more like an upper end apartment complex than a UF dorm. Plus, Infinity comes with tons of options: single suites, double suites and super suites all located right next to UF’s Innovation Square, about a 15-minute walk from the heart of UF campus. But don’t let the commute scare you away. “I always took a bus to class or walked,” said sophomore Kat Fiorentino. Nothing’s more convenient than being minutes from campus.
Students also have access to 3-D printing facilities right in their own residence, thanks to the innovative Maker Space and creative labs. There, students can collaborate and work on projects across multiple disciplines. If making new discoveries and printing out the plastic parts necessary for your newest passion project sounds like your ideal on-campus living experience, consider Infinity Hall your new home away from home.
From Dorm to Apartment: 10 More Great Places to Live Off-Campus at UF
Written by Taylor Lockett
Students attending the University of Florida see dorms as a rite of passage into the college lifestyle, but it can sure feel like a relief to go from a cramped two-person room to the spacious offerings of an off-campus apartment.
For students who are looking for a more private living space, or a reason to ditch the shower shoes, here are 10 off-campus living options to consider for your year at UF.
11. Campus View Place
One block away from Sorority Row sits Campus View Place, a perfect space for those who find themselves walking there for lunch, dinner or chapter meetings. Their fully furnished apartments include a TV in the living room, which will prevent the awkward struggle of roommates all chipping in to buy one. Campus View Place also offers a full-sized apartment bed — Perfect for those days when you stay cuddled up under the covers watching Netflix. “Students gravitate to Campus View Place because of our proximity to campus and our spacious apartments. Our friendly staff are always eager and ready to help residents and build connections to create a sense of community,” said Victoria Baldwin, a Campus View employee. The complex also stands within walking distance from midtown and downtown for those nights when staying in sounds too boring to contemplate. The floor plans range in price from $775 to $800. Sign a lease today for a spacious bed and easy walk to campus.
12. Oxford Terrace
Oxford Terrace offers a unique option for their residents where they can rent or buy available units. With spacious bedrooms and private bathrooms, this complex is conveniently located within a walking distance to sorority row and campus. In total, Oxford Terrace offers apartments that are over 1,400 sq. ft. Sheltered parking areas for cars and scooters keep transportation methods from harsh Florida weather. The renting price starts at $675 for a four-bedroom and four-bath floor plan. With sangria in hand and the sunset on the horizon, students can enjoy the view from their covered balcony.
13. Woodlands of Gainesville
For the possibility of a party in the front and in the back, Woodlands of Gainesville’s units have a porch for both. You can also bring along your furry friends because the complex does allow pets. In an attempt to heat up your nightlife, Woodlands offers fire pits for the use of its residents. With s’mores and a cute date, you’re set for a cozy night in. All units come with a full kitchen and individual bathrooms. Rent starts at $610 and could keep you out of the financial woods while still staying about two miles away from campus. Signing a lease with Woodlands secures the chance for stories told around the campfire.
14. 2nd Avenue Centre
If you want a place to call home where you can be the monarch of social butterflies (after quarantine ends of course), then 2nd Avenue Centre may serve as the perfect for you. The complex offers a recreation center with billiards, shuffleboard, air hockey and arcade games. They also provide a theater room, 24-hour fitness center, swimming pool and academic center. “2nd Avenue has some great amenities, the ones I used the most were the gym and the study center,” junior Tomi Adesogan said. “I liked it because it was never really crowded, and it was right in the complex.” With rent starting as low as $599, 2nd Avenue Centre also offers its residents private balconies to go along with their private rooms and bathrooms. 2nd Avenue Centre is the place for students who want to party the night away, but wake up in their own beds.
15. The Enclave
Five minutes away from campus sits The Enclave, a pet-friendly facility that includes a stand-up tanning bed so that you can feel spring break ready all summer long. The renovated lounge houses a pool table, TV and shuffleboard. A coffee bar will keep you caffeinated and functioning while you study in a private booth. Featuring walk-in closets, the Enclave’s rent starts at $599 and tops out at $829. The Enclave serves as a great spot for students who want to hang out and relax between Zoom conferences.
16. Lexington Crossing
One mile away from UF sits Lexington Crossing. This complex offers not one, but two, resort-style pools that are perfect for tailgates, cook-outs and general friendly fun. Their three sand volleyball courts, two tennis courts and two basketball courts are perfect for those sporty gators who like to maintain their glow by soaking up the sun’s rays. With rent starting at $469, Lexington Crossing offers students a chance to enjoy luxury living while still maintaining their budgets. Plus, the 24-hour fitness center will help make sure that your studying habits don’t get in the way of your year.
17. The Niche
The Niche offers students all the comforts of off-campus living, with some added bonuses. For one, you can bring your dog and your friends to The Niche, only two miles from UF’s campus. The outdoor grills and jumbo big-screen pool TVs will make your apartment a fan favorite amongst your friends. With a beach area that includes hammock stations and a large dog park, multiple opportunities are present to destress and decompress at The Niche. The renting price starting at only $329 will also help keep your stress down. At a low price like this, you can save money on rent it put toward buying your dog’s treats.
18. Gainesville Place
Less than two miles away from UF, Gainesville Place offers students comfortable living at an affordable cost. The resort style swimming pool also has Olympic size swimming lanes where residents can swim laps just like the pros. The rent, starting at $515, grants residence access to the complexes mile-long fitness trail, picnic seating, 24-hour gym and daily complimentary coffee. “I think Gainesville Place has good value for what you pay,” senior Kaelan Yakich said. “When I tried researching which apartments would have better value for the money I couldn’t really find any.” Each apartment comes with private balconies, bedrooms and bathrooms. Talk about a bang for your buck.
19. Social 28
About 28 steps away from campus (hence the name), Social 28 offers an extremely close option for off-campus housing where campus can still sit in your direct line of vision. The rooftop pool and hot tub offer an incredible view of the sunset and campus. The fitness and yoga rooms can also get you closer to your fitness goals, since you won’t get as many steps walking to class with this location. The flat screen TV in the living room makes a great amenity for a movie night. Rent starts at $759, which could seem like a steal when you consider how much gas you could save.
20. Royal Villages
A street over from Sorority row sits Royal Village, another great option for off-campus housing. The facility includes two swimming pools and a 24-hour academic center with free printing. That will keep you from rushing to campus before class to print a last-minute paper. The complex also prepared a system for roommate matching. “I loved my roommates. I think they made my college experience better and I know that they will be lifelong friends,” recent graduate Savannah Small said. “Most importantly, the apartment gave me a good feel of what it’s like to live on my own.” With rent beginning at $759, Royal Villages gives students the opportunity to step further into adulthood without worrying about running late to class.
*Updated on May 28, 2018 by Hilary Droke to include “10 UF Dorms…”
**Updated on September 1, 2020 by Taylor Lockett to include “From Dorm to Apartment: 10 Great Places to Live Off-Campus at UF”