Best areas to live in Ocala

Are you thinking about buying real estate in Ocala? Lots of families are choosing to make this highly livable city their home, and all of them want to know which areas in Ocala are the best ones.

It turns out that when it comes to neighborhoods that offer outstanding quality of life, Ocala is spoiled for choices.

Let’s take a closer look at seven of the best areas to live in Ocala.

Historic District

Ocala’s Historic District is aptly named. First developed in 1880 as a residential neighborhood, the district expanded eastward from the center of town. The earliest homes in the area are clustered along Fort King Street. This is where you’ll find numerous Queen Anne Revival and Victorian-style houses. As you progress eastward, you’ll notice that the homes become more modern, featuring bungalows and other architectural styles. One of the most attractive enticements to living in the Historic District is the many old oak trees, all of which drip with Spanish moss.

The most desirable portion of the Historic District is found southeast of Highway 40. It is a small area, encompassing only a few city blocks, but it is a remarkable neighborhood. Prices can vary widely here, ranging from approximately $350,000 up to well over one million dollars.

Fort King District

The Fort King National Historic Landmark is the main attraction in this neighborhood. In addition to the reconstructed fort, there is a Visitor Center, a library, an interpretive trail and the Heritage Teaching Garden.

This is a neighborhood that boasts an abundance of beautiful houses, many of which were built in the mid 1970s as well as some newer construction. It’s close to the Historic District without being in it, which means that you can move in for a great deal less money. In recent data, $235,000 was the median home price for single-family dwellings in the Fort King District. That means that you can find home prices starting at about $200,000 and going up to $575,000.


This is a thoughtfully designed, extremely attractive community that is quite large. It feels incredibly secluded in its perch off of Highway 200. You turn at an understated sign at the main entrance, then are pleasantly surprised by the many upscale houses and apartments in the area. If you buy a home in Heathbrook, then you will truly have it all. The community boasts an excellent gym that’s well equipped, multiple swimming pools and plentiful green spaces. Expect to spend about $275,000 for a good house. In Heathbrook, lawns and streets well kept, all is peaceful and quiet and you’ll find that you’re surrounded by lots of trees. You can buy a piece of paradise at an affordable price in this neighborhood.

Fore Ranch

Are you excited at the prospect of becoming a homeowner but don’t have a ton of money to spend? Fore Ranch may be the perfect location for you. Plentiful homes priced at between $180,000 and $250,000 are available here. In addition to a multitude of single-family homes, you’ll also find a broad selection of townhouses. Lots in this community tend to be a bit smaller, which may be perfect for your family if you don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining a yard. Residential lots are kept smaller to provide larger areas for community amenities, of which there are many. A gym, swimming pools, splash pads, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, walking trails and man-made ponds are just the beginning. If you have a growing family, Fore Ranch is the ideal place to settle.

Equestrian Homes

Ocala is the “Horse Capital of the World,” and it has worked hard to earn that title. If you want to become a part of the city’s equestrian society, opt for one of the many farms. All you really have to decide is how many acres you want. Some farms have as few as two or three acres, but other properties may have 2,000 or more acres. Accordingly, you will find a wide range of prices, with smaller farms sometimes going for as little as $150,000. On the high side, you could easily pay $17,000,000. This means that whether you want to raise a few chickens or breed million dollar horses, you can easily make your dream a reality in Ocala.

Silver Springs Shores

It’s time to learn about this developing and hugely popular neighborhood in Ocala. Located to the south of the city, Silver Springs Shores is the place to find affordable homes and an overall attractive cost of living.

Officially, Silver Springs Shores is outside of Ocala’s city limits. This means that first-time home buyers can easily qualify for USDA no down payment home loans on properties in this area. For $200,000, you could get a spectacular first home that is the perfect starter property.

Making Silver Springs Shores even more attractive is how quickly it is developing to provide shopping and services to residents. With a Publix, a Walmart, gas stations, multiple shopping centers and all sorts of service providers, you don’t have to go far to get everything you need when you live in this neighborhood.

Marian Oaks

Like Silver Springs Shores, Marion Oaks is a residential area that is just outside of the city limits. This makes it the ideal place to buy a home with USDA loans for first-time home buyers. Marion Oaks is becoming extremely well developed. In fact, it’s like a city all its own. This is not a small, contained housing development, but a true community that encompasses just over 14 square miles. You’ll find a shopping center, gas stations, churches, schools and grocery stores right where you need them. With low-cost houses that provide an interesting mixture of old and new construction, you’ll have plenty of reasons to love the lifestyle at Marion Oaks.

Call Florida’s Choice Realty First

Do you want to learn more about these and other outstanding neighborhoods in Ocala? If so, call Florida’s Choice Realty today. Our knowledgeable Realtors can help you find your new home.

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Flood Zone Information Ocala

When the weather forecast hints that there is a chance of flooding in the Ocala area, most homeowners take note.

That’s because many residential and commercial properties in the region are located in so-called flood zones. In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, produced revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps in 2017 that placed many of the properties in Ocala within Special Flood Hazard Areas, or SFHA.

This doesn’t mean that buying property in Ocala is a bad idea. However, it does mean that it’s sensible for buyers to be aware of whether or not the property they are interested in is in a flood zone. If that property is in a flood zone, then they will want to know more about the property’s flood zone classification and the requirement to carry flood insurance.

What Is a Flood Zone?

FEMA is responsible for identifying geographic areas that are at some risk for flooding. Some properties are in high-risk flood zones that have a one-percent or greater chance of flooding each year. Other properties may be in low to moderate risk level areas that have an approximately 0.2 percent or less chance of flooding on an annual basis.

Is the Property You’re Looking at on a Flood Plain?

It’s definitely wise to know whether or not a home that you’re thinking about buying is on a flood plain. In Ocala, your Realtor will let you know if this is a consideration for the property you have in mind. You also have the option of visiting the FEMA website, which has a Flood Map Service Center. All you have to do is enter the address or coordinates in the search bar to determine whether or not that particular home is on a flood plain.

Ocala & Marion County Flood Zone Map Links

  • City of Ocala FEMA Flood Maps- Click Here
  • FEMA Informational Handout- Click Here
  • About the Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance- Click Here
  • The National Flood Insurance Program Website: Click Here
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office – (Division of Emergency Management): Click Here
  • Florida Division of Emergency Management- (Financial Assistance and other related programs): Click Here
  • View/Print: Home Protection Tips

Tips for Buying Property in a Flood Zone

Every year, many people in Ocala buy homes and commercial properties that are located in flood zones. They do so only after preparing themselves for the considerations that go along with owning property on a flood plain.

High-Risk Flood Zones

If you look at the FEMA maps, you’ll see that some properties are labeled with the letter “A” or “V.” Considered the highest-risk areas for flooding, you’ll usually find these designations along coastlines and rivers. Frequently, these regions are referred to as Special Flood Hazard Areas, and Ocala does have some of these designations.

If you buy a home in a Special Flood Hazard Area, then you are required to carry flood insurance. This is because there is an approximately 25 percent chance that you will experience a flood within the next three decades.

In addition to having flood insurance, you can install a backup battery for your home’s sump pump to ensure that you’re prepared if that big flood ever arrives.

Low- to Moderate-Risk Zones

Properties in these lower-risk zones are marked with “B,” “C” and “X” on FEMA maps. B is used for properties in a moderate-risk area. Although flood insurance is not required for properties in these areas, it’s still wise to protect yourself with a policy. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, as many as 25 percent of the claims they review come from “B” zones.

How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?

Buying a property that is labeled with an “A” or a “V” is going to cost more in flood insurance premiums than a property in a “B” zone.

The good news is that most flood insurance policies are actually quite inexpensive. Because Ocala is classified as a Class 3 Community with properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas, homeowners in these regions are eligible for a 35 percent discount on flood insurance. Even if your home is not located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, you still qualify for a 10 percent discount.

Keep in mind that ordinary home insurance policies do not protect you in the event of a flood. Instead, it is necessary to carry an additional flood insurance policy to ensure that your property is truly protected.

Ask the Experts at Florida’s Choice Realty

If you are thinking about buying a home in Ocala, then you need to know if the home you’re considering is in a flood zone. Moreover, it’s imperative that you know if that home is in a high-risk or low- to moderate-risk zone. This will help you to determine how much flood insurance you may need and how much of a discount you are entitled to.

Contact the knowledgeable Realtors at Florida’s Choice Realty about Ocala’s flood zones.

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4 Must Know Horse Property Ownership Tips

If you own a horse and are thinking about buying a property that would allow you to give up rented stable space, then it is critical for you to choose your new property carefully.

Of course, buying real estate always requires time and careful reflection. It is important to consider the condition of the house, its location, how much storage space it has and even the suitability of its kitchen.

However, if you are considering keeping a horse in Ocala, or even several horses, then there are even more factors to consider. When you are ready to become a horse property owner, contact Florida’s Choice Realty first. In our expert Realtors, you will find knowledgeable guidance and advice that will help you locate the perfect equestrian community and property.

Consider the Type of Barn

Many horse properties already have a barn on site. This can be a huge advantage because it saves you the trouble of having a barn built. Many horse owners recommend wooden barns because these are more convenient to insulate. You also may encounter a property with a metal barn. These can be quite practical, durable and easy to maintain. However, metal barns also can be very loud, especially during thunderstorms, and you’ll want to consider this before you buy.

While you’re checking out the barn, take some time to count the number of stalls so you can be certain that all of your horses will have a place to call home. Check to see if there is a loft where hay can be stored. If so, how many bales can fit into the space at once? Is there other storage available for all of the miscellaneous equipment that goes with horse ownership?

Just like the house, the age and condition of the barn are crucial considerations. Be certain to ask the Realtor how old the barn and stalls are, as this may help to indicate when they may need to be repaired or replaced. Also, be certain to ask about and review any drainage systems and waste management systems. Have an inspector look at these and other factors before making a purchase decision.

Land Type

When it comes to land, you probably need to look for some specific attributes for your equestrian property. If the acreage is quite extensive, then chances are good that some of it is wooded and some of it is pastureland. Make certain that there are no steep slopes where you will be keeping your horses as constant time on a pitching slope can be damaging to tendons and ligaments. It also is helpful if there is plenty of land that’s not covered in dense vegetation as this protects both the horse’s hooves and his eyes from tree branches. Accordingly, your horses will have plenty of room to roam without fear of hurting themselves.

You’ll also want to be aware of any marshy areas on the acres where the soil doesn’t drain well as this similarly is not conducive to the health and safety of your animals. Areas with standing water are mosquito breeding grounds, and these pests can spread diseases that are harmful to horses. Spend some time examining how rocky the soil is too. Severely rocky soil can hurt the soles of the horse’s feet, which can be surprisingly tender.

Another critical consideration is water supply. Keep in mind that horses drink between five and ten gallons of water every day so it is helpful if the property has a deep, reliable well that can easily meet these needs.

Check the Perimeter

Next to the barn and the type of land, a perimeter check is an equally critical factor to consider. What kind of fence surrounds the property? Has it been well maintained? Will you need to replace it or perform extensive repairs on it within the first two years?

Why is this so important? The health and safety, perhaps even the life, of your horse depend upon it. More than one horse owner has had a nightmare experience when a horse is injured or killed after escaping through a poorly maintained fence. Breaking a leg in a ditch and being hit by a passing car are just two of the possible scenarios.

Because you want to avoid this, you have to ensure that your property’s fence is well-maintained at all times. If you see barbed wire fence anywhere on the property, bear in mind that you will have to remove it and replace it before your horse moves there. Many horses are severely injured after becoming entangled in this dangerous type of fencing material.

You want to ensure that the fences on your property are highly visible so that your horses can easily see them. Resilience is another critical characteristic. This refers to the fence’s ability to properly react to the impact of a horse running into it. Will the fence have a little bit of give but not shatter into sharp splinters that may cause further injury?

Ask lots of questions about the maintenance requirements for the existing fence. Some really high-quality fences that cost a great deal at installation require very little hands-on care. Other fencing material may be cheaper to install but requires constant vigilance to ensure that it’s still functional and safe. Which kind does your horse property have?

Also, take a look at how tall the fences are. Most equine experts recommend perimeter fences that are at least five feet tall. It is possible for some horses to jump a fence of this height, so if you have a particularly athletic animal, then you may want to opt for a fence that is even higher.


A great deal of equipment is needed to provide proper care to your horses. Does the prospective property that you are considering have adequate storage space? For instance, you’ll need a tack room where you can keep all of your equestrian gear. You also might need a separate feed room. This is a horse-proof area where you can store your horse’s grain so that she cannot break in and overfeed herself. Further, consider whether or not you need a designated area to keep a manure spreader, horse trailer, tractor or arena equipment. Does the property have enough storage space for all of that equipment, or will you have to add more outbuildings?

Remember, horses need plenty of space, and so does the equipment that goes with them.

Join the Equestrian Life in Ocala

Ocala is widely recognized as an excellent place to live if you love horse culture. If you feel that the time is right for your family to bring your horses home, then talk to Florida’s Choice Realty today. The guidance of an experienced Realtor is just what you need when you are considering the purchase of a horse property.

6 Must-Visit Natural Springs In and Around Ocala

The things you can do at the Springs

What’s the best thing about living in Ocala? Some people say that it’s natural beauty around every corner and some say it’s the abundance of natural springs.

These warm, clear, pristine waterways offer idyllic settings for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. Paddlers love them too because they provide the perfect opportunities for getting out on the water.

Even if you prefer to stay dry, you might find a glass bottom boat cruise, a hike, bird watching, interpretive sites and picnic areas. Simply put, Ocala’s natural springs have something for everyone.

Keep reading to discover the must-visit natural springs in the Ocala area.

1. Silver Springs State Park

  • Park Hours: Seven days a week, 8:00 am to sundown
  • Address: 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488
  • Phone Number: 352-261-5840
  • Admission: $2 for adults; children five and younger free
  • Website:

This deservedly popular park has all sorts of attractions to delight the whole family. Glass bottom boats were invented here, and they remain a favorite for park goers. Since the 1870s, visitors have boarded the boats to gain an uncommon view of Mammoth Spring, which is the head spring of the river.

Silver Springs also is a wonderful place to enjoy paddling with canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards all available for rent. Hiking is popular too, with most of the trails being relatively short and level so the whole family can enjoy them.

You may want to reserve a campsite so that you can make the most out of viewing the native wildlife and touring the Silver River Museum where you can learn about local history, archaeology, paleontology and much more. Be certain to set aside time to visit the recreated 19th-century Cracker Village and to have a delicious meal at the restaurant.

2. Alexander Springs

  • Park Hours: Seven days a week 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Address: Ocala National Forest, 49525 County Road 445
  • Phone Number: 352-669-3522
  • Admission: $7 per person weekdays; $10 per person weekends; $70 plus tax for annual day use pass
  • Website:

The Alexander Springs Recreation Area has plenty of options for relaxation and fun. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent at this portion of the Ocala National Forest. The gently sloped spring pool remains a constant 72 degrees throughout the year with crystal-clear water.

Anglers love dipping a line in the water here, while hikers could spend days exploring the trails. Bicycling, picnicking, wildlife viewing, boating and swimming are available all year. In addition, this is the only place in the national forest where scuba diving is permitted. It costs just $6.50 per person to participate.

3. Silver Glen Springs

  • Park Hours: Seven days a week 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Address: Ocala National Forest, 5271 State Road 19, Salt Springs
  • Phone Number: 352-669-3522
  • Admission: $7 per person weekdays; $10 per person weekends; $70 plus tax for annual day use pass
  • Website:

Also part of the Ocala National Forest, the Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area sits on the edge of the Big Scrub. One of the things that makes this area particularly fascinating is that it contains important archaeological findings. Once the site of an ancient village, today the area is home to all sorts of archeological diggings. Interpretive signs provide an interesting and informative adventure.

Hikers enjoy Silver Glen Springs because of the three-mile Lake George Trail and the Spring Boils Trail, which is a convenient three-quarters of a mile long.

Of course, water activities are the highlight for most visitors. Non-motorized boating is always popular. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent, allowing everyone to enjoy a close up view of manatees in the water while eagles soar overhead. With the clear waters always a lovely 73 degrees, swimming is popular all year. Be certain to bring your snorkeling equipment to get a closer look at the fish.

4. Juniper Springs

  • Park Hours: Seven days a week 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Address: Ocala National Forest, 26695 E. State Road 40, Silver Springs
  • Phone Number: 352-669-3522
  • Admission: $7 per person weekdays; $10 per person weekends; $70 plus tax for annual day use pass
  • Website:

This is another pick that’s conveniently located in the Ocala National Forest. Constructed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the complex today includes a campground, trails, picnic areas and swimming holes.

A general store, which sells ice and firewood along with other necessities, is on site, and shuttle services are available during the busiest seasons. Canoe rentals are available with prices starting at $20 for two hours, or you can launch your own kayak or canoe for a nominal fee.

A self-guided, barrier-free interpretive trail is available for the enjoyment of all visitors. Stop for a tour of the Old Mill House to learn more about the Civilian Conservation Corps and how the complex at Juniper Springs was built. Snorkelers and swimmers are always welcome in the water. Be on the lookout for the elusive American eel.

5. Paradise Springs

  • Park Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; open Monday and Tuesday by appointment for groups of five or larger; closed Christmas Day
  • Address: 4040 SE 84th Lane Road, Ocala, Florida
  • Phone Number: 352-368-5746
  • Admission: $30 per diver, per day
  • Website:

If you are a scuba diver, then visiting Paradise Springs on a regular basis is a must. This is your opportunity to experience a spectacular cavern dive right in your own backyard.

One of the things that makes this such a special spot for diving is the prehistoric fossils that are embedded in the walls of the cave. With 72-degree water all year long, you’ll want to explore this underwater cave in every season. That’s good news because it would take a lifetime to see all that there is to discover.

6. Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs is a particularly well-known place for tubing. The activity closes down for the winter from October through March, but you can expect pretty heavy usage for the rest of the year. If you go for the tubing, understand that there is a designated entrance for this activity. A shuttle service is provided for a small fee, and tubes are available for rent.

In addition to campgrounds and a concession stand, the park also boasts gardens, an interpretive exhibit, playgrounds and picnic facilities.

Other popular activities include fishing, geocaching, hiking, paddling, snorkeling and swimming, providing something for every visitor.

Call Florida’s Choice Realty First

Do you want to find your home in Ocala? When you do, you’ll be able to visit these and other natural springs in the region on a regular basis. Don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy adventures in warm, crystal-clear waters every weekend.

With Florida’s Choice Realty, you’ll find local real estate experts who really know the market and can ensure that you find the home of your dreams.

Ocala’s World Equestrian Center

Newcomers usually aren’t here long before they hear a lot about the World Equestrian Center. In fact, some people actually move to Ocala just to be closer to this famous facility.

Even if you are not part of Ocala’s rich equestrian culture, you’ll probably want to visit at least a few times. That’s because the World Equestrian Center is a main gathering place for all sorts of festivities, conventions and events. An elegant resort is located on site, and you may want to enjoy some upscale shopping and dining. Or, perhaps you’d just like to enjoy an indulgent day at the spa.

As you’ll soon discover, the World Equestrian Center has something for everyone.

What Is the World Equestrian Center?

As the name suggests, this is a world-class facility at which various horse-centric events are held every year. With a variety of shows and competitions, the Center is a popular gathering spot, especially since spectators can attend competitions for free.

The facility in Ocala attracts competitors from across the country as it boasts more than 300 acres, 22 outdoor rings and four indoor arenas. This makes the facility a true four-season attraction.

In addition to a variety of equestrian events, the Center also hosts many conventions and tradeshows, canine shows and even weddings. Several sporting facilities also are on site, including arenas that are suitable for volleyball, basketball, soccer, martial arts, dance, cheerleading, lacrosse and many others.

What Can You Do at the World Equestrian Center?

Whether you visit to take in some dressage competition or for some other purpose, you’ll definitely want to reserve some time for the shops. The on-site luxury retail complex spans an elegant 13,000 square feet, encompassing a wide array of goods and services. This is the place to find the perfect equestrian boots and riding gear, but this retail area also provides many boutiques boasting art, fashion, home décor, jewelry and much more.

If shopping works up an appetite, then explore the Center’s dining options. Enjoy authentic Mexican fare at Filo’s followed by an indulgent ice cream cone from Miss Tilly’s Lollipops. You also have the opportunity to catch up with friends at Ralph’s Burger & Sandwich Shop or share a meal at Viola & Dot’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria. New dining options are being made available all the time.

Whether you’re visiting Ocala for an equestrian event or just to get away, be certain to schedule at least one appointment at the Day Spa at World Equestrian Center. The combined salon and spa occupies a 7,000 square foot space, giving everyone plenty of opportunities to relax and indulge. From facials and massages to stylish cuts and updos, this spa and salon does it all.

Did you know that the World Equestrian Center is one of the best places in the region to get married? Start your big day off right with a customizable bridal package at the spa, then head to the elegant on-site chapel. Complete with breathtaking landscaping to provide you with the perfect backdrop for photos, the chapel can seat more than 100 guests, and an oak canopy is located nearby for hosting large receptions. Even catering is available to help put the ideal finishing touch on your celebration.

Conventions and tradeshows are big business at the World Equestrian Center. If your organization is seeking a high-quality event center that boasts plenty of capacity, then your search is done. A total of five exposition centers, totaling more than 600,000 square feet of indoor space, is available for an incredible range of events. The exposition centers have already hosted national, regional and local events for countless organizations and industries.

The exposition centers also are appropriate for hosting an array of indoor sporting events. With plenty of versatility and flexibility, the expo centers feature loading docks, oversized LED screens for scorekeeping and advertising, built-in concessions, audiovisual services and much more. Outdoor fields for sporting events also are available, and the cross country trails offer the ideal facilities to host an event.

Whether you are attending an event at the World Equestrian Center or just want to enjoy an elegant getaway that’s close to home, book a stay at the Center’s hotel. The Equestrian Hotel is stylish and elegant with 248 well-appointed suites and rooms. Many of the rooms even overlook the open-air grand stadium. Located just a few minutes’ walk from the Center’s other facilities, the hotel is the perfect place to relax, shop and dine. Vacation rentals and an RV park are adjacent to the hotel.

Real Estate near the World Equestrian Center

Did you know that it’s even possible to live adjacent to the World Equestrian Center? Each lot features three plus acres on which you can build the home of your dreams. A variety of English and French country designs are currently available. All residents benefit from 24-hour security, an on-site veterinary practice and laundry and dry cleaning services. It’s also possible to garner VIP memberships for golf clubs, equestrian events and the clubhouse.

Additional properties that are move-in ready, including single-family dwellings and condominiums, are available in the adjacent Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club.

Learn More with Florida’s Choice Realty

Are you interested in the equestrian lifestyle? If so, then you’ve got to check out real estate near the World Equestrian Center today. The center is one of the city’s main attractions as well as being a major gathering place for entertainment and commerce.

Living here is just the icing on the cake, so contact us about local real estate today.

Events in Ocala

Things to do throughout the year

People move to Ocala, Florida for any number of reasons. Perhaps it is the climate, the low crime rates or the excellent schools. Whatever draws them here, most residents find that events in Ocala make their hometown even more memorable and special.

The city hosts many fun events each year. Which ones will become your favorites and your family’s can’t-miss traditions?

Head to Tuscawilla Park

Most residents love to attend the Cattle Drive & Cowboy Round-Up in Tuscawilla Park each year. This February event is the perfect time to watch an actual cattle drive and participate in activities that are fun for the whole family.

Each spring, Tuscawilla Park hosts the Tuscawilla Art Park Series, featuring live concerns, open-air art galleries and movies under the stars.

Earthfest Celebrate Arbor Day also happens in Tuscawilla Park each April. There’s something going on for everyone at this festival with its tree rappelling, rock climbing wall and youth fishing derby. With craft vendors, food trucks, live music and more, everyone will love this event.

Celebrate in Downtown Ocala

Downtown is a popular neighborhood with residents and visitors alike thanks to its many restaurants, shops and spas. However, this quarter deserves to be famous for its events as well.

Downtown is the scene of First Friday Art Walk. This event runs from September through May and features the work of more than 30 artists plus live entertainment and creative activities for the whole family. In March of each year, First Friday Art Walk celebrates a Retro Sounds theme with plenty of tribute bands.

If you are looking for even more fun in downtown Ocala, then come back in November for Light Up Ocala. The signature event of the holiday season brightens up the city each year. At the end of November, the city lights its official Christmas tree, and it is an occasion for a big celebration. Expect craft vendors, lots of delicious food and four stages featuring live entertainment. Two highly interactive kid zones make this event a favorite with little ones. Santa is there as well to listen to each child’s dearest wish.

Fort King National Historic Landmark

If you like to have your events tinged with a little bit of historical flavor, then plan to visit the Fort King National Historic Landmark at least a couple of times a year. Late in the winter, the site hosts the Fort King Grit Annual Strength Challenge. With competitions for all levels including beginning, intermediate and advanced, three-person teams are asked to move huge objects over challenging distances. This whole event has a fascinating historical component, as the participants move sandbags, barrels and logs.

Don’t want to participate? This event also is one of the most entertaining to attend as a spectator. Pick your favorite team and cheer them on.

December brings the Fight for Freedom: Attack on Fort King historical reenactment. This educational event chronicles tensions between Native Americans and European settlers during the period just prior to the Second Seminole War.

Horse-Centric Events in Ocala

Do you love horses? If so, then you have chosen the right place to call home. Ocala is well-known as horse country, and there are many stable facilities in the region. One of the most notable of these is the Florida Horse Park.

This 500-acre facility is the premiere venue for equine events in the region. Competitions, shows and events happen throughout the year. The Florida Horse Park Winter Classic is held here each year as is the Grandview Invitational Draft Horse show. Whether your interest is in cutting, dressage, show jumping or something else, you’ll find several exciting events every month.

The park further is host to many club-based organizations as well as eclectic offerings like an RV trade show.

Looking for More?

If you want to find even more family friendly fun and events, then look to neighboring communities such as Gainesville and Mt. Dora. Each one is only a short drive away, and you’ll love the warm and welcoming neighbors that you find here.

Gainesville offers memorable annual events like the Hoggtowne Medieval Faire, Jest Fest, the Alachua County Fair and the Downtown Festival and Art Show.

In Mt. Dora, you can enjoy a storytelling festival, Blueberry Festival and the Mount Dora Scottish Highland Festival.

Look for a Home in Ocala

More and more families are flocking to Ocala because of the incredible standard of living that is available here. If you are interested in knowing more about real estate in Ocala, then contact one of our Realtors today. Each one is an expert on the local market, making it possible for you to find the home of your dreams.

Downtown Square Ocala Florida

Take a Tour of Downtown Ocala

Quaint, historic, lively, and full of surprises is how I would describe downtown Ocala, Florida. One of the things that sets it apart from other communities is its charming downtown square.

In the downtown square you will find families, friends, and co-workers soaking up what this amazing town has to offer. Although I was not born in the era where you went downtown to shop, people watch, and simply be among the action, I can’t help but go there in my imagination when I am walking around the downtown square of Ocala. People are friendly and there is a magical buzz in the air. A buzz that makes you forget life’s stresses for a time. 

Ocala, Florida is a fantastic place to raise a family. Filled with history, great shops, outstanding restaurants and plenty of memorable events, the downtown square is the main gathering place for the entire community.

Ocala’s Early Years

In Ocala’s earliest days, the plat of land on which the city would be built was surveyed by Marion County Engineer David Bruton. One section, called Block 56, was designated as a “Public Square.” This was to be the site of the future courthouse. Other sections were auctioned off, with early buyers building things like a store, a boardinghouse and even the city’s first private residence. By 1847, a post office had been built, and the city’s streets were being formally laid out.

Growth was slow in the ensuing decades because of the Civil War. By 1880, most the city’s buildings were still clustered around the courthouse. Businesses included bakeries, stables, a barber shop, the offices of the Ocala Banner and many homes. Most of these buildings were destroyed by fire a few years later, but the downtown district eventually rebuilt, this time with materials like iron, stone and brick. This led to Ocala being called the “Brick City.” Through two World Wars and the Great Depression, Ocala’s downtown managed to grow and thrive. Although some historic buildings were razed in the 1950s and 1960s, many still stand today to be used and enjoyed by Ocala’s citizens and visitors.

Ocala Today

Today, downtown Ocala is the place to be when it’s time to attend a festive event. It’s everyone’s favorite place to ring in the New Year, and the community returns at the end of the year for Christmas shopping, live music, a tree lighting and other fun events. Between those two momentous occasions, the community gathers at the Reilly Arts Center for unforgettable live performances and at the historic movie houses to watch the latest releases and old-time family favorites. From Easter to the Fourth of July to Halloween, there’s always a festival or party taking place to help everyone feel like they’re part of the community.


Opportunities to eat and drink with friends abound in downtown Ocala. Locals know that the best place to experience a Rooftop Lunch is at Pi on Broadway while the best caffeine jolt is found at Symmetry Coffee & Crepes. If you’re looking for a bakery that serves healthy options, then look no further than A Thousand Hills Farmacy & Café. Desserts are covered by Ocala’s Chocolates & Confections, and if a burger and milkshake are what you’re craving, then you’ve got to go to Ocala’s Downtown Diner.

Craft beers and mead are found at The Keep Downtown and Infinite Ale Works, and the Corkscrew Winery serves up the opportunity for customers to ferment their own wine. Enjoy a unique evening at the Tipsy Skipper, an unlikely tiki bar that’s always hosting riotous events. Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar is the perfect place to partake of both authentic southern barbecue and unforgettable whiskeys.

Our Favorite Restaurants

Sink your teeth into some amazing steak and great atmosphere at:

Mark’s Prime Steakhouse 30 S Magnolia Ave, Ocala, FL 34471 (352) 402-0097

Are your tastebuds craving great seafood?

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 24 SE 1st Ave, Ocala, FL 34471 (352) 840-0900

Sushi fan? Be sure and stop in for the best at:

Sushi Bistro of Ocala 18 SE Broadway St, Ocala, FL 34471(352) 401-7650

A fantastic place to go and get some work done while sipping some of their fabulous coffee or snacking on one of their impressive pastries. 

Symmetry Coffee Crepes 108 N Magnolia Ave STE 102, Ocala, FL 34475 (352) 525-0495

Whether you are out on the town with your favorite person or need to impress a business partner, you can’t go wrong.

Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar 10 S Magnolia Ave, Ocala, FL 34471 (352) 512-9458


We love to celebrate the history and culture of Ocala by having community events throughout the year. Friday art walks and movies in the park are events are some of the event staples through the year but Ocala also boasts large annual festivals like the Cattle Drive and Cowboy Roundup. Check all the events that downtown Ocala hosts on their site.


Of course, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to do some shopping while you’re downtown. This is the perfect place to find unique shops like the Marley Mae Market & Paperie, The Mustard Seed Collection, Agapanthus, The Pink Hanger Collection and many more. Offering unique gift items and home décor, these stores are bound to delight shoppers. Don’t forget to visit the Ocala Downtown Market, a massive farmers’ market that offers up some of the freshest produce around.

Living in Ocala

Of course, downtown Ocala isn’t just the best place to catch a movie, get a massage, shop to your heart’s content or feast on a gourmet meal. It’s also a fantastic place to live. Single-family dwellings that provide excellent proximity to downtown are widely available. Many of these homes are located in the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, offering you the opportunity to enjoy the best of suburbia and urban accessibility.

If you want to be even closer to the beating heart of downtown, then consider choosing a condominium. Some of these properties are located adjacent to or just a couple of blocks away from Ocala’s Downtown Square. Many of these condo units were built within the last few years, and new neighborhoods are in the process of being constructed. Don’t miss your opportunity to get in on one of the newest condo developments in Ocala’s downtown.

Ocala’s unique downtown district successfully blends a history that dates back to 1846 and brand-new development that includes all of the modern conveniences. If you like the idea of being able to attend year-round community events in a stress-free manner and being able to eat at your favorite restaurant every night of the week, then it’s definitely time to consider real estate near downtown Ocala.

Living close to your preferred shops, bars and restaurants can become reality for you. Contact our downtown Ocala real estate professionals to learn more about your options for owning a home in this vibrant neighborhood.

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