Welcome to the Bold City! Jacksonville is one of my favorite destinations in Florida because it combines the best of all worlds. While exploring, you can see lush green spaces filled with eclectic art, head to the beach for a day spent tanning under the sun, brush up on history at the many museums spread across the city, or spend a day getting your foodie on (the food here is amazing!).
After spending a weekend getaway in Jacksonville, I knew I had to write a post with some of my favorite things to do in Jacksonville to help you plan the perfect itinerary for your trip (warning: there’s a lot of spots to eat on this guide!)
Things to do in Jacksonville
Catch an epic sunset at Tide Views Preserve
Set on the Southbank of Downtown near the San Marco neighborhood, Tide Views Preserve is one of the best spots on the Intracoastal to catch an unforgettable sunset.
Address: 1 Begonia St, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
Visit the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
If you’re in the mood to feel as though you’ve left the city entirely, the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is the perfect way to go on an adventure! Boasting over 2,400 exotic animals and 1000 species of plants, you’ll spend the day feeding giraffes, watching jaguars and other felines go about their day-to-day, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to spot a manatee!
Address: 370 Zoo Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32218
Take a My Bar My Way Class at Sweet Pete’s
Love candy and all things sweet? You can go on a tour to learn all about the one-hundred-year-old Sweet Pete’s candy mansion. You’ll get to explore the different rooms in the building and go behind the scenes on what the candy process is all about. To finish off the activity, you’ll go into the chocolate bar to choose your toppings and create the perfect combo to suit your sweet tooth! This is one of the most fun and affordable things to do in Jacksonville if you’re looking for a unique experience in the city.
Address: 400 N Hogan St, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Explore a local park
Jacksonville is home to some of the best parks in Florida, so it’s essential to visit a few on your itinerary! For untouched nature and a break from the bustle and hustle, visit the Jacksonville Arboretum. If you’re more of a history buff, head to Memorial Park, where you’ll get a display of Jacksonville’s history and landscape architecture. Castaway Island Preserve is another gem for beautiful greenery and unparalleled views (it also offers an array of trails where you can get close and personal with Florida’s ecosystems).
Jacksonville Arboretum – 1445 Millcoe Rd, 32225
Memorial Park – 1620 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Castaway Island Preserve – 2885 San Pablo Rd S, Jacksonville, FL 32225
Bird Island – 101 Library Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. A local spot my friend told me about. It’s got a great bridge by the water, a fun maze, and it’s a great place to walk with the kids.
Shop till you drop
Jacksonville is a shoppers haven, especially if you’re on the lookout to purchase local goods! San Marco Square, Five Points, St Johns Town Center, Beaches Town Center, and Riverside Arts Market are all amazing places to go find some unique items to bring back home, all of which are made by Jacksonville-based makers and artists!
San Marco Square – San Marco Pl, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Five Points – Park Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204
St Johns Town Center – 4663 Jacksonville, FL 32246
Beaches Town Center – 9 Atlantic Blvd, Neptune Beach FL 32266
Riverside Arts Market (Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM) – Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Head to the beach
Of course, there are some amazing beaches in Jacksonville! Neptune Beach is our favorite!
Where to eat in Jacksonville
One of my favorite things to do in Jacksonville is to EAT! The city is a foodie’s dream and there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re into beach settings or themed restaurants, there’s plenty of great places to eat here that you might just end up spending your entire itinerary exploring Jacksonville’s eateries!
- North Beach Fish Camp – Exquisite seafood served at a modern barn
- The Local – Southern food with a twist and an amazing selection of drinks
- Poe’s Tavern – If you’re a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, this is a must! This bar’s theme is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe (from the décor to the ambiance) and serves delicious burgers and amazing drinks.
- M Shack – Family-friendly burger joint (great milkshakes!)
- Burrito Gallery – Loved the colorful outdoor patio and the TexMex food!
- Keke’s Breakfast Cafe – A must-visit spot for breakfast at a traditional dinner setting that will make you feel as though you’re visiting Jacksonville in the 50s.
- Indochine Downtown – Cozy spot if you’re craving southeast Asian food.
- The Bearded Pig – Perfect if you’re craving an outdoorsy setting and a BBQ!
- V Pizza/Sidecar – Award-winning Napolitan pizza served next to a speakeasy – need I say more?!
- Mezza Luna – Italian deliciousness with a twist
- Dockside Seafood Restaurant – Eat glorious seafood on a boat!
- Davinci’s Pizza – A homey pizza place with unique toppings
- Fancy Sushi – Offers a wide array of Japanese food
- Sliders Oyster Bar – An oyster joint on Neptune beach!