Livability.com put Gainesville at the head of its "Top 10 College Towns: Great Cities for School and Life After Graduation."
It termed it "a paradise for sports fans that offers plenty of ways for students to enjoy the outdoors."
Athens, Ga., home of archrival University of Georgia, famous gardens and a lively music scene that spawned R.E.M and the B-52's, came in second.
Livability said the list is not a ranking of colleges but "rather a ranking of great cities that are home to some of the nation's best colleges and universities. These cities are cultural hubs, artistic centers, intellectual meccas and economic drivers offering students and residents some of the best places to live, study, play and launch a career in America."
The runners-up, in order, were: Chapel Hill, N.C., Nashville, Tenn., Boulder, Colo., Eugene, Ore., Bloomington, Ind., Burlington, Vt., Charlottesville, Va. and Springfield, Ill.