Visit Jacksonville, Florida

Whether you’re visiting Jacksonville for the awesome beaches, thrilling sporting spectacles, rich history and culture or just the great outdoors, you’ll find more than you expect here in northeast Florida. Leisure and business visitors will leave feeling relaxed and reinvigorated after exploring all that this area has to offer. You’ll be able to do as much or as little as you want with charming inns in historic areas just waiting to be discovered or resorts that cater for your every need.

History of Jacksonville

Riverside & Avondale Neighbourhoods

The historic districts of both Riverside and Avondale show case homes on the St Johns River that are charm personified. Listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, Riverside is one of Jacksonville’s oldest and coolest neighbourhoods. Voted as one of the country’s top 10 Great Neighbourhoods, Riverside and Avondale have a unique mix of history, culture, charm, and modern design – find out more information through the Riverside Avondale Preservation Society. This is a hip part of town with a young population. Million-dollar waterfront homes and upscale apartment buildings are the norm, but there is nothing pretentious about the area; instead the vibe here is that of community, urban living, and keeping it local. The world-class Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is also located in the Riverside neighbourhood. Riverside’s Five Points area is a bohemian neighbourhood with funky coffee shops, outdoor cafés, one-of-a-kind shopping, nightclubs, antique stores, and more. In the last few years, a new food and beer district has emerged on King Street; locally-owned restaurants, bars and breweries call the street home and are bringing in hundreds of visitors of all ages every weekend. Some of the options include Intuition Ale Works Brewery, Bold City Brewery, The Garage Lola’s, and Kickbacks.

The San Marco Neighbourhood

Located just minutes away from downtown’s Southbank is the historic neighbourhood of San Marco. Stroll along San Marco Square and you’ll discover incredible dining, upscale trendy clothing boutiques, and sensational art galleries. The San Marco dinner theatre and Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest community theatre in the country dating back to 1938, are also located within the square. Riverfront Park in San Marco is a wonderful location for city views, especially during the sunset. Don’t miss the San Marco fountain of lions, which reflect the neighbourhood’s association with Italy’s Venice Business District. Save your appetite and visit the new San Marco dining district; it includes some of Jacksonville’s best restaurants, including bb’s, The Grotto, Indochine, and Maple Street Biscuit Company. Don’t stop at just dinner, since the area is emerging with nightlife hot spots like Grape and Grain Exchange, Le Bar at Bistro AIX, The Parlour, Sidecar and one of the seven local breweries, Aardwolf Brewing Company.

There are many amazing activities you can enjoy in Historic San Marco including:

Watch the Sunset at Riverfront Park

This acre-long park along a quiet San Marco block gives visitors a perfect location to watch the sunset and spot dolphins and even manatees on the river. Riverfront Park has a few benches and parking along the road. Popular with fishermen, the small yet perfectly situated park is a prime spot for a lazy afternoon. Other frequently visited spots for sunset lovers are Jim Rink Park and Greenscape Celebration Park in San Marco.

Dinner and a Movie at the San Marco Theatre

This is one of two places in town where you can enjoy dinner, drinks, and a movie. Built in 1938, the San Marco Theatre has been restored to reflect its golden years and it is a now a popular destination for families and couples looking for a unique night out. The menu includes freshly made pizzas, paninis, quesadillas, and a great beer and wine selection.

The San Marco Art Festival, Jacksonville

Celebrate with two days of art in the streets as San Marco Boulevard closes to traffic and opens to art lovers. Vendors from across the nation gather in the historic San Marco Square to show sculptures, paintings, pottery and jewellery. The San Marco Art Festival is free and open to the public; it takes place in April and November.

The San Marco dinner district

Some of Jacksonville’s most exciting dining options are located in this neighbourhood. Bistro AIX offers rustic French flavours with a modern and elegant twist; it is one of the city’s dining gems, having been locally owned and operated since 1999. In the heart of San Marco Square, visitors can find Taverna, established in 2009; this restaurant specialises in seasonal European cuisine. The atmosphere is rustic yet sophisticated. When it comes to upscale dining, Matthew’s offers a diverse and elegant menu showcasing local ingredients. Matthew’s Restaurant has been a recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Restaurants award each year since 1999.

Aardwolf Brewing Company, Jacksonville Craft Brewery

Aardwolf Brewing Company offers a taproom and brewery just minutes from the heart of Downtown San Marco. Take a step back in time as you step into Aardwolf’s Taproom, a renovated ice house from the early to mid-1930s Every Wednesday the crew releases a new pilot batch beer; be the first to try it!

CULTURE, ARTS & CRAFTS

Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, Jacksonville

Discover an amazing collection of art from 2100 BCE to today, and stroll through a series of historic gardens at this unique Jacksonville attraction. This historic art museum features a variety of exhibits, including one of the world’s top collections of Meissen porcelain. See works of art from ancient cultures, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and modern America, and don’t miss the beautiful outdoor gardens on the scenic museum grounds.

Live Theatre, Jacksonville

The live performance scene in Jacksonville is eclectic and inspiring! Whether you are looking to see the latest Broadway plays with the FSCJ Artist Series of Jacksonville or visit the longest-running dinner theatre in the nation at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining, we’ve got something for any audience. The FSCJ Artist Series sponsored by Chase enhances the entertainment scene in northeast Florida with Broadway productions, concerts, ballets, operas, dance productions, school performances and variety shows. The Alhambra Theatre & Dining is the nation’s oldest continually operating professional dinner theatre and the only professional resident theatre between Atlanta and Miami. Chef DeJuan Roy pairs themed dinner options with each show, offering delicious meals as you enjoy the show!

JACKSONVILLE BEACHES & SURFING

Gorgeous white sand beaches await you just minutes from downtown Jacksonville. With plenty of beachfront and walking-distance accommodations, the beaches are a quick and easy escape from the everyday.

Jacksonville boasts three beach areas: Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach, plus the historic fishing village of Mayport to the north. Locals say the best spot to hit the waves is “The Poles”, located just inside Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. Along the 22-mile paradise, Jacksonville offers a range of activities, including water sports, relaxation, nightlife and family fun. During the summer months, jump aboard Jacksonville Beach’s convenient Beaches Trolley to explore all the beach neighbourhoods and attractions.

HEALTH, WELLNESS & SPA ATTRACTIONS, JACKSONVILLE

With its beautiful beaches, spectacular golf courses, warm weather and vibrant culture, Florida is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.

Jacksonville is home to 17 top-ranking hospitals (including Mayo Clinic, Memorial Hospital, Baptist Health, St Vincent’s HealthCare, Baptist Medical Center Beaches, UF Health, Jacksonville Medical Center, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute and Nemours Children’s Hospital) all recognised for their exceptional healthcare.

Mayo Clinic is recognised as the top hospital in Jacksonville and is nationally ranked for its excellent cancer treatment and patient care. It is acclaimed for its general medical and surgical facility.

A superb range of luxury spas are available in the Ponte Vedra Beach area including:

Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is one of north Florida’s most sophisticated luxury spa. An aesthetically pleasing environment where peaceful surroundings and ultra-modern facilities combine with an impressive selection of more than 100 beauty and pampering services.

Infused with inspirations from great spas throughout the world, the spa’s décor is reflective of the natural beauty and casual elegance of Ponte Vedra Beach.

Sawgrass Marriott Spa provides a ‘vibrant world of wellness and serenity’ surrounded by 15 acres and tucked amid winding lagoons, moss- draped water oaks, twisted palms, and giant magnolias. This 25,000 square foot luxury sanctuary is a zen inspired realm where personalised treatments, soothing music and warm lighting accent a tranquil symphony of Eastern design elements.

EXPERIENCE THE GREAT OUTDOORS IN JACKSONVILLE

Huguenot Memorial Park is a 295-acre horseshoe-shaped peninsula surrounded by the Fort George Inlet, the St. Johns River, and the Atlantic Ocean. Spend the night under the stars at one of 70 campsites and wake up early for a romantic stroll as the sun rises over the clear waters. The park has incomparable wildlife watching
as one of the Great Florida Birding Trail sites, and little explorers will enjoy the fishing and bird watching.

With beaches on one side, and a salt marsh and maritime forests along the other, Little Talbot Island State Park truly showcases Florida’s natural beauty. The quiet and relaxing campgrounds feature two bath facilities and each of the 40 campsites has water, electricity, an in-ground fire ring, and a picnic table. Bike or hike along five miles of pristine beaches or meander through a wooded nature trail. Bike rentals and canoes are available at the Ranger Station.

Sports Activities in Jacksonville

Biking & Cycling in Jacksonville

For a Florida destination, Jacksonville offers incredible mountain biking trails at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. The trails’ names say it all; “Grunt”, “Misery”, and “Tornado Alley” offer wild adventures through the wooded paths of this oceanfront park. There are also several other beginner trails for novice riders.

Jacksonville Bike Trails

Take the whole family out to the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail-Trail, which offers a 14-mile shaded ride through woodlands and wetlands. You are likely to spot a few local residents, including rabbits, hawks, kingfishers, wild turkeys, and deer.

Best Golf Course in Jacksonville

The Slammer & Squire course is located in the heart of our golf resort near Jacksonville, Florida and is one of St. Augustine Florida’s favourite golf courses. This 18-hole championship resort course was designed by Bobby Weed with design consultants Sam “The Slammer” Snead
and Gene “The Squire” Sarazen.

The Slammer & Squire course officially opened to the public in May 1998 and has become a favourite Jacksonville Florida golf course and features two distinct nines with generous fairways, contoured greens, and plenty of water hazards along with impressive views of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The course was the host site of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, a Senior PGA Tour event and hosted an array of other golf events such as the Honda Cup.

Conveniently located near Jacksonville, Florida, The Slammer & Squire makes a great round of golf as part of a Stay & Play package or simply for an afternoon out of the office.

Restaurants in Jacksonville, Florida

No other Florida city has more unique flavours than Jacksonville, a melting pot of cultures and tastes, with a thriving culinary culture pioneered by local chefs who have been nationally and internationally trained and are now back home crafting delicious menus infused with global flavours. Jacksonville’s food scene is an eclectic hybrid of inspired casual elegance and classic Southern comfort, injected with the flavours of the coast and a dash of international flair.

Whatever your craving might be, you will find the perfect restaurant in Jacksonville. From elegant bistros, to rustic fish camps and everything in between, Jacksonville is a destination for food lovers with great taste.

In Jacksonville, the term “farm to table”, and even “farm to bar”, is more than just hype. Local restaurateurs are committed to sustainable practices, using local seasonal ingredients to create delicious menus that showcase the best of Jacksonville and northeast Florida.
Read our guide to our recommended eating establishments.

The Best Shopping in Jacksonville

Whether you are looking for a local farmer’s market, art galleries, large national retailers or designer boutiques – all shopping tastes are catered for in this area.

From farmers markets to trendy boutiques, Jacksonville has some great shopping in beautiful locations and with entertainment thrown in for some of the locations. There is the Beaches Green Market and the Riverside Arts Market.

For those who like some retail therapy we have a guide to Jacksonville’s Best Shopping.

Lion statue in Jacksonville Florida

Best Jacksonville Hotels

Omni Jacksonville Hotel

The Omni Jacksonville Hotel, situated in the heart of the downtown area, connects you with Jacksonville’s most popular cultural and business districts. Steps from the St. Johns Riverwalk, this premier hotel pairs Southern hospitality with contemporary luxury. Modern, elegant guestroom accommodations provide travellers with the comforts of home. Relax poolside with dramatic views of the river and skyline or at the newly renovated JBar and Juliette’s. With convenient access to Everbank Field, Times Union Center, Memorial Arena, Jacksonville Landing, and other popular attractions, Omni Jacksonville puts you in the midst of the excitement of the River City.

Casa Marina Hotel

Celebrating nearly a century of romance, the Casa Marina is gracefully poised on the dunes of the Atlantic Ocean, providing a world of luxurious accommodations paired with fine dining. One of Florida’s Historic Hotels of America, the Casa Marina has enjoyed a rich history of dazzling parties and celebrity guests. Today, its 23 stunning bedrooms and parlour suites are individually decorated to represent the changing eras of our
hotel’s rich history. Let us amaze you with a feeling of classic, timeless glamour from the moment you check in for a memorable overnight visit, an extraordinary lunch in The Penthouse Lounge or Sunday brunch. Even a martini or lemonade on the veranda will steal your heart.

Courtyard By Marriott

On offer is free high-speed internet, a full-size work desk with a two-line speaker phone, an outdoor pool, a whirlpool tub, a newly renovated public space including the Courtyard Bistro, which serves breakfast and dinner each day, a fitness centre and meeting space. 32-inch flat-screen TVs are in all rooms.

Hampton Inn, Jacksonville Beach

The Hampton Inn at Jacksonville Beach is popular among business guests attending events and conferences at the resort, as well as those visiting the area on vacation. With private beach access, you can go for a swim in the ocean straight from the hotel complex. If staying poolside is more your style, waterfalls, a grotto area and whirlpool can all be found in the large heated pool. You can also take in the spectacular scenery with a cocktail at the Oceanside Tiki Bar before retreating to your comfortable and spacious room.

Mayo Clinic / Inn by Marriot

The Inn has perfected the extended stay experience. By combining all the comforts of home with a passion for service, they strive to make every guest feel welcome. The hotel is directly connected to the Mayo Clinic provides comfort in 78 spacious studio, 1 and 2 bedroom suites.

Four Points by Sheraton, Jacksonville Beachfront

Each of the 72 rooms at the Four Points hotel has its own private balcony looking out onto the pretty beaches and dramatic ocean. Situated in a very convenient downtown location, you’re steps away from the best restaurants and shops and all the most popular nightspots.

Hotel Indigo Jacksonville-Deerwood Park

The quaint Tapestry Park Village is the convenient and peaceful location for the Hotel Indigo Jacksonville-Deerwood. The hotel complex in Jacksonville’s Southside is easy to get to, but when you look out over the tranquil lake, you’ll feel like you’re in the back of beyond.

The hotel is proud of the area’s history as a former 1920s film studio and often entertains guests with silent movie nights in its evening events schedule. The village itself is full of adorable patio restaurants and shops that cater to visitors, residents and business people.

Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park

Southside is an area with a burgeoning business community and if you’re a visitor to this hotel, you’ll be impressed by the attention to detail at every stage of your stay. The rooms come complete with workspaces and gadgets galore, a theme which continues into the cutting edge communal areas which are perfect for networking or just chilling out. Cocktails at the on-site bar are a great start to the evening before dining in one of the high-quality local restaurants.

One Ocean Resort and Spa

The staff at the One Ocean Resort and Spa are completely dedicated to providing you with the most personal and professional service to leave you feeling totally relaxed and worry-free. The resort looks out over the stunning beaches and is conveniently close to shops and restaurants too. To make your stay even more restful and luxurious, take a treatment in the unforgettable hotel spa with views straight out over the Atlantic ocean.

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