Jacksonville is a big city situated in northeastern Florida where the St. John’s River meets in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a regional business center that also has many museums and cultural gifts. Swimming and surfing are popular activities at nearby barrier island beaches like Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach. Jacksonville is also famous for various enthusiastic sports events like Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Sharks and much more. Championship golf courses in the area like headquarters of the PGA Tour and Ponte Vedra Beach’s TPC Sawgrass.
Jacksonville is the largest city in the continental United States (840 Square meters). It was previously called Duval Street. The new name Jacksonville was after General Andrew Jackson- the first military governor of Florida. Isiah Hart, who was the founder of Jacksonville, named two of the city’s first streets after his daughter’s name, Laura, and Julia.
The Mayport Ferry connects Jacksonville’s beaches to Amelia Island areas and the Fernandina Beach. The St. Johns River flows north instead of south. Jacksonville was listed as one of the top five upcoming cities in America in Good Morning America (2006). With unique shops and dining experiences in the eclectic Five Points area is basically named for its landmark five-way intersection.
Planning to visit Jacksonville?
Jacksonville is the perfect and best-suited destination for your vacation. From the 1,100 miles of shoreline to 80,000 acres of parks and trails, it has world-class art and museums, and various enthusiastic sporting events.
Best time to visit Jacksonville
The popular time to visit Jacksonville is from March to July and November to December. It is an ideal time to enjoy a visit to Jacksonville with your family and friends. A Jacksonville Jazz Festival was organized and there is a free concert by famous international jazz artists in various indoor as well as outdoor locations.
Beach, Friendship Fountain, Museum, Zoos, and gardens these are some of the attractions are so engrossed in Jacksonville’s culture. They are really impossible to ignore. Some of them are really revolved around the waterway, the great St. John’s River that keeps life flowing through Jacksonville. It is so difficult to list some of them.
1. The Beach
Jacksonville is just incomplete without discussing its natural, beautiful and one of most well-known attractions- the beach. Jacksonville’s public beaches cover approximately 20 miles across the Atlantic coast. Beaches are open all time 24×7. Jacksonville Beach is famous for its 1000 foot fishing pier.
2. Jacksonville’s Riverside District
Jacksonville’s historic Riverside-Avondale is one of the most well-preserved historic neighborhoods in the United States, with more than 5000 historic buildings. Riverside-Avondale was listed as one of the top ten neighborhoods in the U.S. by the American Planning Association. It is the closest thing will find to Greenwich Village in Florida, as stated by Financial Times.
It has numerous attraction like weekly Riverside Arts Market, the Cummer Museum of Art, Gardens, and Five Points. A section of the Riverside is famous for its diverse shopping and lively culture.
3. Museum of Contemporary Arts
The Museum of Contemporary Art at Jacksonville is the Southeast United States’s one of the largest contemporary art galleries. It is across the street from the significant Hemming Plaza in downtown, the city’s first park. MOCA is next to the downtown Jacksonville library in the former Western Telegraph Office building. It was opened in the year 2003 in partnership with UNF.
4. The Museum of Science and History
Jacksonville Children’s Museum is now known as The Museum of Science and History. It has seven permanent exhibits, a new, modern planetarium, and a specialty revolving exhibit. Past exhibits contain Dinosaurs, Ice Age Mammals, and Dinosaurs of the Deep, both of which include cartoon. It is a must visit place in Jacksonville especially for children.
5. Friendship Fountain
Friendship Fountain has witnessed many proposals of First Love. Jacksonville local residents trust that this fountain has special powers. Whether it is true or not but no one can deny the beauty of Friendship Fountain. Friendship Fountain was World’s largest constructed fountain in 1941. In the year 2011 some renovation was done and a new improved look given to the fountain and surrounding area. After that, the Fountain is now secured for decades to come.
8. Jacksonville Landing
The most important part of Jacksonville is the St. John’s River. It is actually the recognition of Jacksonville. We can say that it is the lifeline of Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Landing is such an amazing place to walk alongside its waters, pick a boat ride, have dinner, do some shopping and enjoy other activities too. The Landing is also a popular place for Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville shark games and hundreds of special events each year.
9. Downtown Art Walk
The first Wednesday of each month between 5 PM and 9 PM whether rain or shine, a downtown art walk takes place in Jacksonville’s over a 15 block radius. It came into existence just a few years back but now art Walk turned into one of Jacksonville’s finest attractions. It features more than 30 galleries including live music, food, drink, and work with local artists.
10. Fort Caroline National Memorial
Fort Caroline National Memorial is a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Reserve, which is managed by the National Park Service. Fort Caroline which was established in the year 1564 was the first French colony in the United States. It has around 6000 years of human history. It is a must-see destination for Jacksonville for visitors especially for those who are interested in history. The Timucuan Reserve also has Kingsley Plantation which has a collection of well-preserved early 19th-century plantation.
11. Jacksonville Gardens and Zoo
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is famous for over 2,000 animals around 110 acres. It also hosts seasonal and other special events. It was previously located in Springfield in early 1910s. It is situated on Jacksonville’s Northside. It is an interesting place to watch.
12. EverBank Field
EverBank Field was previously known as Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and Alltel Stadium. It is the permanent place of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars play 10 home games in the stadium in each NFL season. Headquarters of Jaguars is also inside this stadium. EverBank is also a place for a famous annual Florida-Georgia game and for other annual events like concerts and outdoor sporting events too. It is a capacity of approximately 73,000. EverBank Field is situated in the heart of downtown in Jacksonville.
Things to Do at Jacksonville
Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the country, with more than 75,000 acres. Miles of untouched beaches, woodlands, waterways, and marshes are there to enjoy outdoor activities. You can also explore Northeast Florida’s sole ecosystem by hiking or biking besides nature pathways. You can spot hundreds of local bird species in the surroundings. An evening camping is also there to enjoy under the stars in any of the exquisite parks. Following outdoor activities can be enjoyed at Jacksonville any time
- Yoga and Meditation
- Zoo & Wild Life
Jacksonville is a place of a natural water wonderland. From a royal St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway, marshes, beaches, and lakes, there is lots of fun for everyone while enjoying the water activities in Jacksonville. Various fun filling activities are
- Peddle boarding
Art & Culture
Jacksonville is a very renowned world-class arts and culture destination. The local art and music can be enjoyed at the festivals and events. Various types of music from classical to rock and roll is very popular among local residents and visitors, whether it is performed in Veterans Memorial Arena or in historic Florida Theatre or the Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall.
Basically Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the almost the second largest festival in the U.S. Lots of art material can be found at this place, be it a Renaissance masterpieces at the Cummer Museum or contemporary works at MOCA. Art lover can also visit local galleries to support up-and-coming artists. Jacksonville is a place of Artists. Everywhere or in any place tons of art is available in public places also. Visit Jacksonville Main Library or can view one of the local artists as they created a masterpiece. Now, that can be seen in the Yates Garage in –
- Galleries & Museums
- Museums celebrating Jacks History
- Live Theatres
- Various events including Jazz Festivals
With the ability for tailgating and a real passion for all sports, local residents of Jacksonville have honed the art of the sports celebration and welcome all visitors to participate in the fun. In Jacksonville football is all time undisputed king. Some more popular games are –
- Jaguars of Jacksonville
- Sharks of Jacksonville
You can also enjoy golf in the morning in pristine public and semi-private courses designed by experts of the game. You can also enjoy your lunch by locally caught fresh seafood by the Intracoastal. All afternoon you can explore and enjoy the beauty of natural beaches. Outing at night, you can visit the craft breweries of the Jax Ale Trail, and enjoy one of the finest dining scenes in the Southeast.
Shopping Time!! Jacksonville offers lots of shopping points for any taste. Walk through San Marco and Avondale areas to visit trendy boutiques. You can discover vintage treasures in Southside areas and the eclectic Five Points. You can also enjoy various local markets places for local handmade art and craft. If you want to have fun with shopping mall you can join Avenues Mall or the outdoor shopping mecca the St. Johns Town Center.
- Shopping at Malls
- Downtown Shopping
- Beach-side shops
- Farmers’ Market
- Places to Eat
- Restaurant Orsay
Serves Seasonal French food & creative cocktails in the dining room of Orsay with luxurious seating arrangements will relax you to your core. It opens at 4 PM and provides Late-night Food and Happy hour drinks.
The convivial bistro serves small plates of sandwiches, salads, and brunch in a historic brick-lined space. It opens in the morning 10.30 AM and serves Late night food too.
It serves basically Italian food like brick-oven pizzas & seasonal Italian & Spanish dishes in a cozy accommodation. It opens at 11 AM in the morning.
Julington Creek Fish Camp
It Serves Seafood. It is a relaxed, elegant spot for seafood with a Southern twist. It also has a full bar with a view of the river. Opening time is 11 AM in the morning.
Black Sheep Restaurant
It is a full bar serving craft beers & cocktails with casual dining hall plating locally sourced Southern chow. It opens at 10.30 AM daily.
Maple Street Biscuit Company
It basically provides breakfast and lunch. It serves biscuit sandwiches & Southern sides for breakfast & lunch. Dinner is only on weekends. It opens early in the morning 7 AM.
It is a local diner chain which serves classic American breakfast and lunch fare in a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. Opening time is 6.30 AM in the morning.
Green Erth Bistro
It is a health-focused cafe for Middle Eastern kebabs, wraps and spreads. It also has vegan options in a warm and comfortable space.
Southern Roots Filling Station
It serves coffee, vegetarian breakfast, and lunch & also bulk organic foods. It is a good option for vegetarians. It opens at 8 AM in the morning.
Undoubtedly Jacksonville is the best place for visitors to enjoy everything including outdoor activities, water activities, sports, shopping and many more events. Jacksonville, the largest city in the continental U.S. is really the perfect place to experience a new face of Florida. The waterways, parks, zoos and ecological preserves in Jacksonville give you an opportunity to feel the real existence of nature and also relax in nature’s lap.
In Jacksonville, the versatility of life can be seen. From natural beauty to a modern and vivacious city filled with fine dining options, luxurious hotels, world-class museums, electrifying events, cool and cozy nightlife, a fashionable Downtown and unique historic districts, thrilling sports of Jacksonville Jaguars, sharks and much more. Jacksonville is the place with entertaining options for visitors of all ages.