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!