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The city was incorporated in 1857. Ocala is located northwest of Orlando, north of Gainesville and southwest of Jacksonville. The downtown area is known as the "Village Center" and has an urban character, but sprawls into suburban areas to the west and east. Ocala's metropolitan area (MSA) includes Marion County and Levy County (the latter which includes Wildwood). In addition, a portion of northern Lake County lies inside the MSA – this part being called 'Lake-Marion' or 'The Villages', depending on context; it also extends into Sumter county to include Belleview with a population around 15000 people living there making it one third larger than Ocala itself . The nearest cities to Ocala are: Dunnellon , Leesburg , Inverness , Crystal River & Beverly Hills . These communities form what is known as the Greater North Central Florida region which has a population over 400k people.