Frontdesk welcomes you to Jacksonville, Florida! The “Bold City of the South,” often just called “Jax,” is the largest city by square mileage in the United States. Jacksonville is most well known for its beaches and football team, but the city has much more to offer to visitors. Keep reading to learn more about what to do, where to eat, and how to get around Jacksonville.
Things to do in Jacksonville
There are many fun things to see and do in Jacksonville. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, enjoy spending time outdoors or indoors, there is a wide variety of activities to enjoy.
Jacksonville has 22 miles of beautiful beaches to enjoy. The city’s four main beaches are Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach, and Atlantic Beach. Soak up the sun, go swimming, or try surfing or paddleboarding.
Northern Florida is known for being a golf hotspot and that certainly includes Jacksonville. Check out Bent Creek Golf Course or Blue Sky Golf Club, both under half an hour from downtown. Golfers who truly want the best of the best can splurge for a round at TPC Sawgrass, home of THE PLAYERS Championship.
The Cummer Museum of Art is the largest fine arts museum in northeast Florida. It has over 5,000 works of art spanning centuries including Norman Rockwell and the Wark Collection of Early Meissen Porcelain, plus historic gardens. Tip: Admission is free every Tuesday and Friday from 4 to 9 pm.
Zoo & Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo is one of the top attractions in northeast Florida. It features more than 2,000 animals and 1,000 plants in the garden section. The zoo has a two-time national award-winning jaguar exhibit plus tigers, elephants, giraffes, and more.
Best Restaurants and Bars in Jacksonville
Start off with brunch at Maple Street Biscuit Company, which has three locations in Jacksonville (two near downtown and one by the beaches). The cafe is known for its delicious biscuit sandwiches and other southern comfort dishes.
If you only have time for a quick bite but still want great food, swing into Corner Taco. It is located just down the street from the Cummer Museum of Art and serves up street-style tacos, burritos, and other Mexican fare. The restaurant also offers vegan and gluten-free options.
For dinner, head to Black Sheep in Five Points. The farm-to-table restaurant has menu items like pork chops, duck confit, shrimp and grits, and burgers, with a focus on Southern cuisine. There is also a rooftop dining and bar area.
Hidden Gems in Jacksonville
- Sweet Pete’s Candy – a shop known for their sea salt caramel and other gourmet candies.
- Dwight’s Bistro – a restaurant on the beach featuring Mediterranean inspired dishes, including handmade pasta.
- Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary – a big cat sanctuary with tigers, lions, leopards, and more.
- Riverside Arts Market – a market held every Saturday under the Fuller Warren Bridge featuring local artists and food vendors.
- Chamblin’s Uptown – a book store with over 500,000 used and rare books.
Downtown Jacksonville, also known as Downtown Core, has great restaurants, shopping, and entertainment such as EverBank Field (home to the Jacksonville Jaguars). The area is largely walkable.
Five Points is a historic neighborhood that has become known for its bohemian vibe. It is home to great restaurants like the afore-mentioned Black Sheep and Corner Taco, as well as the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.
San Marco is located south of downtown, across the St. Johns River. It was formerly known as the independent city of South Jacksonville. The neighborhood is home to the San Marco Square, a commercial district with indie boutiques, art galleries, and cafes.
Southbank is also located across the St. Johns River from downtown, near San Marco. Attractions include the Museum of Science and History, Friendship Fountain, and the Southbank Riverwalk.
The Beaches is an area in eastern Jacksonville bordering the Atlantic Ocean. As the name indicates, it is home to Jacksonville’s four main beaches, as well as beachfront shopping and dining.
Best Way to Get Around Jacksonville
The best way to get around Jacksonville is by car. Jacksonville does have some public transportation, including the Jacksonville Skyway (an elevated monorail) which runs during the weekdays. There is also the Riverside Trolley, which services downtown Jacksonville and the Riverside district, and the Beaches Trolley, which runs between Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jacksonville
Jacksonville was founded in 1822 and incorporated in 1832.
Jacksonville has hot, humid summers often reaching over 100° and warm to mild winters between 50-80°. The wettest months are May through September, while the driest months are from November through April.