Gainesville, the county seat of Hall County, incorporated on November 30, 1821. It remembers General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812.
Gainesville's Lake Lanier, with its 540-mile shoreline, is a favorite recreational site and houses golf courses, a water park, horseback trails, campgrounds and overnight accommodations. Other places of interest in Gainesville include the Elachee Nature Science, the Georgia Mountain Museum and Brenau Center.
The city is home to Gainesville College, a member of the University System of Georgia, and Brenau University, a private four-year woman's college.