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Gainesville is the county seat, the largest city in Alachua County in the State of Florida and the largest city of Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Gainesville is the largest city in the region of North Central Florida. Santa Fe Community College, one of America's largest community college, is also located in Gainesville.

The Gainesville MSA was ranked # 1 place to stay in North America in the 2007 edition of Cities Rangert.og for best character. Also in 2007, Gainesville ranked as one of the "best places to live and play" in the United States by National Geographic Adventure. Gainesville was ranked as the "fifth 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 his statutes restricting soup kitchens to 130 meals a day.

Gainesville is known for its forljærlighet of visual art. Every year, there are two large art festivals attract artists and visitors from all over the southeastern United States.

Gainesville is known for recreational drug culture for "Gainesville Green", a particularly potent strain of marijuana.

Gainesville is well known for its music scene and has produced a number of bands and musicians, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stephen Stills, Don Felder and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles. Today, Gainesville is still known for its strong music scene and was voted "Best place to start a band in the United States."

The Spring Arts Festival, held each year, usually in early April, at Santa Fe College, one of the three largest annual events in Gainesville, known for its high quality, unique artwork.
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