jacksonville city guide


illustration by julia rothman

today’s guide comes from the ladies behind the sweet iced tea blog. becky, a native of jacksonville, met her now blogging partner ginger in 2006, and is a self proclaimed lover of  sweet tea, grits, roadside stands, Sunday school, winding porches and rocking chairs. while ginger now lives in monterey bay, california, she stays true to her southern ways and attempts to show west coasters how to butter and fry everything and say “y’all.” today becky and ginger take us on a tour of their beloved jacksonville with a great list of attractions, restaurants, and beaches.  thanks ladies for this wonderful guide!–stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!

Finding beauty in the south is not difficult, but with major cities spread far and wide it can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are without an agenda.  Jacksonville, Florida, where we started our blog, Sweet Iced Tea, is one of the largest cities (land mass) in the country.  While we don’t mind driving in Jacksonville, it is worth having a destination in mind.

Jacksonville is a city full of chain restaurants and shops, but the true heart of the city is run by the families, friends and inspired individuals who hope to provide you with a truly unique dining or shopping experience.  Jacksonville is a big city with a small town feel. You will always run into someone you know.

Suppertime in San Marco/Downtown –

Matthew’s The atmosphere is very sophisticated and minimalistic, the waiters knowledgeable and professional, the food wonderful. Be prepared for a fine dining experience.

TAG Take Away Gourmet is also owned by Matthew’s. The food is equally delicious, reasonably priced, and while you can eat in the small bistro, or out on the front porch, many choose to box up a lunch or dinner and take it home by the pound.

Bistro AIX Bistro AIX features French-inspired food and drinks. A beautiful, but not-stuffy dining experience is one of Jacksonville’s favorite spots to meet and eat.

BB’s BB’s is a great place for lunch or dinner. From their appetizers to their desserts, everything is scrumptious. The owners of BB’s also own Biscottis in Avondale (Riverside area). Their brunch is amazing, and their desserts are specialty (and humongous)!

Taverna Taverna offers a casual, minimalistic approach to simple food that’s always enjoyable.

Layla’s Layla’s Mediterranean food is one of the best spots in San Marco to chill out with falafel, couscous, lamb, and other Greek and Med favorites. They offer hookah.

Pizza Palace Delicious pizza that is addictive. This is the real stuff accompanied by a casual and always busy atmosphere complete with televisions always playing the latest game for the guys.

San Marco Deli The San Marco Deli, while closing in the late afternoon, serves great breakfast and lunch. Their sandwiches are made with wholesome ingredients and their soups and grill items are some of the best in town. Personal favorites include their hamburger, chicken salad, grilled cheese, and in the summer, if you can find their gazpacho, it will change your life!

Metro Diner Metro Diner is the perfect little place – just what you think of when you think of a classic dinner. Their salads, sandwiches, breakfast, all are delicious. But my favorite, is the pot pie. Homemade and delicious

Black Bean Black Bean is a new addition to the San Marco square. They feature Cuban food including sandwiches, soups, and… of course, most dishes feature a cuban favorite – black beans!

The Grotto The Grotto is a great place to meet friends for a drink or appetizers. While they don’t serve any full meals, it’s the perfect start, or end, to any night in the square. You’ll always find a full crowd.

European Street E Street is a Jacksonville favorite. There are many locations around town, all featuring a huge menu with selections from sandwiches, salads, soups (try the beer cheese). They also feature candies, beers and wines, and delicious desserts imported from all over.

Peterbrooke Chocolates If you’ve yet to taste a treat from Peterbrooke, you’re in for a treat! They offer a variety of chocolate desserts including strawberries, pretzels, and pizza. A Jacksonville favorite, their specialty is chocolate-covered popcorn. Trust me… it sounds strange, but you’ll be addicted from the first bite!

Tidbits Tidbits is great for lunch. They offer delicious, and healthy sandwiches.

Wine Cellar This is a great little restaurant to bring friends to. They offer a selection of wine, and their food is delicious.

Chew Modern but cozy atmosphere paired with great dishes that are flavorful and creative.  Mint tea, and the chicken curry sandwich are a great lunch option.  Check for specials.

Café Nola Located in the Museum of Contemporary Art, this restaurant caters to the downtown lunch crowd and offers night life options with dinner.  Offering a wide variety of dining options, there is something for everyone.

Burrito Gallery Some of the best burritos in town. Order your dinner at the counter and grab a table, they go quickly.

Frivolities in San Marco/Downtown –

San Marco Theatre The San Marco Theatre is a local favorite. While they only show one screen at a time, they always pick the best films, so you’ll want to make this a regular part of your San Marco experience. They offer the classic movie treats (candy and popcorn), but also serve delicious pizzas, quesadillas, pitchers of beer and wine by the glass.

Theater Jacksonville Theater Jax features a season of plays by local actors. A little known fact – (Ben Linus from Lost) got his acting start right here at this theater in Jacksonville.

Market on the Square Come down to the gazebo on Saturdays for fare from local farmers and growers. You can find the Market on the Square on Saturdays in and around the gazebo. Local farmers and merchants bring their goods to purchase. Take an early morning Saturday walk and mingle with residents as you take your pick of the freshest tomatoes, berries, plants, all kinds of goodies. Fresh from the garden, right to the neighborhood.

Museum of Science and History While MOSH, as it’s commonly referred to, is designed as a children’s museum, adults will find plenty to do. The planetarium is a favorite for the whole family, or a good date night activity for the grown ups.

Treaty Oak Bring a picnic and eat under this rather large live oak tree, a symbol of the South. It’s estimated to be over 250 years old!

Rosie True This trendy store for the ladies offers a great selection of beautiful clothes that fit any style. They carry top brands such as 7 for All Mankind, Michael Stars, and Free People.

San Marco Bookstore A great place to find used and rare books. If you’re looking for something specific, they’ll find it for you!

The Write Touch Offering fine stationary brands such as Kate Spade and Crane, the Write Touch is the perfect place to stop in for cards, writing implements, books, and other gifts.

The Bath & Linen Shoppe The Bath & Linen Store offers fine products for the home. Come prepared to want every beautiful product in this store.

Villa Rugosa Flower Shop More than just your standard-issue floral design store, Villa Rugosa goes above and beyond to artistry. Their arrangements are always unique, and always breath-takingly beautiful.

Flying Phoenix I’ve waxed on about the Flying Phoenix before. You will always, always find a treasure at this tiny storefront packed with antiques. The owners have great eye for a find and always have reasonable prices.

San Marco Preservation Society

You might have noticed the cute little white chapel off of Atlantic? Old-fashioned town hall style meetings meet here!

Museum of Contemporary Art Three floors of intriguing masterpieces.  Operated by the University of North Florida, as a result, opportunities for students and patrons abound.

The Florida Theatre A truly unique theater with exquisite ceilings.  Lots of musicians and bands make their way through this venue. It is a perfect place for a date.

Wet Your Whistle in San Marco/Downtown-

London Bridge Full selection of imported beers. Live music. Locals galore.

Mark’s Downtown Dressing up is the key to a night out at Mark’s.  Once you are in, you can dance the night away.

Dos Gatos is the unmarked, chic spot across from the Florida Theatre. With plenty of interesting cocktails to choose from, you will not be bored.

The Pearl Your neighborhood hipster bar that pumps the jams during party hours.

Suppertime in Southside/Arlington–

Blue Bamboo East/West Kitchen with lots of flare and spice.  Kick it up for additional spice.

P.K. Noodle Pho King Vietnamese restaurant with over 20 different types of Pho (soup with noodles) to choose from.   Perfection.

Lemon Grass Modern Thai.  Classic dishes with a modern atmosphere.

The Secret Garden Café Barely a secret this lunch spot has quickly become a favorite.  With dishes such as a friend green tomato sandwich, and fried grits and shrimp you will leave satisfied.  The sweet tea is perfectly prepared as well!

The Donut Shoppe One of the few remaining local donut shops with fabulous cake donuts.  The city lines up for a bite of these in the mornings.

Seven Bridges Part of a seven restaurant group and sister restaurant to Ragtime in Atlantic Beach, this brewery has a flavorful selection of beer on tap.  Perfect for appetizers and a beer sampler.

Suppertime in Riverside/Avondale –

13 Gypsies A Peasant Kitchen.  Call ahead for reservations in this quaint, tapas restaurant.  Homemade bread.

Restaurant Orsay French infused dishes.  Spectacular happy hour options. Sunday brunch.

Casbah Fried jibneh, greek salad, mint hookah, and an Almaza.

Biscotti’s The ultimate dessert destination.  A counter of cakes and other delicacies welcome you upon arrival.  Always save room for dessert.

The Cool Moose Whether you order breakfast or lunch, this locals spot definitely shines with charm and warmth.  French toast, eggs benedict, sweet potato fries and the veggie burger (sans cheese) definitely stand out on the menu.

Whiteway Deli Tabouli. Locals. Deli sandwiches. Lots of personality.

Mossfire Grille Tex Mex dishes, relaxed atmosphere and plenty of fun.

Cozy Tea The first Friday of each month they offer a five course Indian dinner. Reservations required. BYOB.

Wet Your Whistle in Riverside/Avondale-

Bold City Brewery Jacksonville’s newest and most friendly microbrewery.  Family owned and operated with several great beers and lots of personality. Make sure to play connect four at your table, and have a pulled pork sandwich.

The Brick Sit outside and enjoy the breeze at this restaurant/bar.

Kickbacks Gastropub – 60 beers on draft and over 400 bottled varieties.  Check out the options for occasional Monday evening fixed price menus with beer pairings.

O’Brothers Irish Pub Who doesn’t love a good Irish pub?

Frivolities in Riverside/Avondale-

5 Points Theater Movie watching the old way. Food, beer and wine is served with fewer people and lots of character.

Southern Crossings Antique Mall Reasonably priced.  Merchandised well. Great Finds.

Edge City Colorful and bold pieces worth adding to your wardrobe.  Tarantino jewelry.

Hope Jewelers Estate jewelry and custom creations.  Buzz in to see timeless jewelry worth dreaming and purchasing.

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens Boasting quite possibly the south’s most beautiful and peaceful gardens.

Memorial Park An often reprieve from the workday you will find many walking, eating, fishing and generally enjoying the outdoors.

BEACHES

Atlantic and Neptune Beach

Suppertime at the Atlantic and Neptune Beach Town Center –

Al’s Pizza Famed Jacksonville chain with the best pizza. Skip the entrees, but BBQ or pesto pizza are dynamite. Of course, you cannot go wrong the family favorite, cheese pizza (extra crispy).

Slider’s Seafood and Grille (favorite) One of the few beach restaurants with outdoor seating. Order a bushel of oysters, and a beer. You are good to go.

Mezza Luna The Italian restaurant at the beach.  Fun for a side of pasta and a glass of wine.

Wet your whistle at the Atlantic and Neptune Beach Town Center

One Ocean The newly renovated oceanfront hotel can boast of its beautiful new bar and restaurant.  You can also eat dinner at the bar, which is sometimes so much fun.

Ocean 60 Restaurant and Wine Bar Great happy hour with a large martini list, and has great live music on the weekend.  Also, recently started to carry Bold City and Star Hill microbrewery beers.

Ragtime Tavern One of the local microbreweries with three bars under one roof to choose from.  Tends to be an older crowd, but grab a stool at the back bar (closest to the ocean) and ask your bartender for a Red Fish.  You will be an instant local.

Pete’s Bar Famed for well, everything.  It is the area dive bar, with the largest appeal and cheapest drinks.  You can play pool, foosball, video bowl, and have a PBR.  Cash only.  Just don’t wear your best duds as you will smell of cigarettes, but it is still a favorite.

Lemon Bar (favorite!) Open seasonally, this outdoor bar is the perfect place to pull up a seat and cool down with a cold drink (we do that a lot in the south).  The views seal the deal.  Come prepared with your ID.

The Wine Warehouse Don’t want to fuss with a bar? Just head to the Wine Warehouse and Mark will suggest wines to pair with dinner, or just for fun.  Check out the chilled beer before heading to the register as there is always something fun to select.

Frivolities at the Atlantic and Neptune Beach Town Center

Red Daisy The owner has an amazing eye for new and antique items.  I could live in this store.

The Bookmark The local book store with local appeal.

Bio-Max Organic corner store. Lovely.

Jewels By Lubeck custom jewelry that is mouth watering.

Bali Cargo Company Interesting pieces from Bali, including furniture, purses, jewelry, and stationary.

Jaffi’s Cute clothes. Come prepared to spend.

Shore Things Beach living accessories for your home and life.

Other Atlantic and Neptune Beach stops

Singleton’s Seafood Shrimp boats and watch the ferry cross.  Fried everything. Cold beer.

Hala Café Mediterranean goodness, accompanied by a wonderful family serving.

Culhane’s Irish Pub and Restaurant

Fly’s Tie Irish Pub The tiniest and favorite little pub at the beach.

Zaitoon Mediterranean bliss.  Excellent service. Pretty space. .

Jacksonville Beach

Suppertime-

Cruiser’s Grille Cheeseburger and fries. Their ranch dressing is so delicious you could drink it through a straw. I did it once, but ranch is a better match for your fries! Skip the ketchup.

Thai Room Lovely thai food.

Ellen’s Kitchen Best priced breakfast in town. Get there early to avoid a wait.

Taco Lu The local taco stand. Get a Dirty Sanchez (PBR and a shot of tequila) for $5 and a taco.  Ask if they will pan fry your corn tortilla –they are so much better that way.

Campeche Bay Fish tacos, salsa and chips, fajita sandwich, and marguerites.  It is a great spot to skip the business of other bars, as their bar is open in the late night.  Happy hour is early and later!

Delicomb Delicatessen and Espresso Bar Organic selection of breakfast and lunch.

Marker 32 Seafood done right (Jacksonville’s specialty), good wine selection, and views of the marsh.  Need I say more?

Beach Buds Chicken Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, collard greens and biscuits.  Add a sweet iced tea and you have yourself a meal.

Mojo’s Barbeque Pulled pork platter with black eyed peas and fries. Pour the Carolina vinegar sauce over everything and you pretty much just experienced heaven on earth.

Angie’s Subs THE local sandwich stop.  Good sandwiches, good people watching, really good sweet tea, and management that actually cares.

Salt Life Food Shack The new kid on the block, with the largest appeal.  Surfers, skateboarders and fish tanks.  It screams, “I love living at the beach” or at least, “I want to live at the beach.” Expect a wait.

Wet your Whistle –

The Ritz Bar The busiest bar at the beach.  Inexpensive drinks, but go early to avoid the crowds.  Standing room only after 10pm.

The Brix Sister bar to the Lemon Bar and the Ritz Bar.  It is a bit more expensive than the Ritz, but they carry a larger selection of beer on tap. If there is a line, get in a cab and head to Ragtime in Atlantic Beach.

Ginger’s Place The most interesting bar at the beach.  No need to get all dolled up.  You can grab a drink, and head to a pool table or sing a bit of karaoke. Experience a bit of the dirty south.

The Penthouse at the Casa Marina Hotel Outdoor bar seating overlooking the ocean. Cocktails come in perfectly tall glasses. Watch a full moon rise over the ocean in the summer and your life will change.  Head out before ten to miss the crowd change.

Frivolities –

It’s Eclectic Fun and eccentric jewelry.

Pineapple Post Wooden plates in all sizes, Italian pottery and beach life goods.

Private Gallery Beach folks rarely head to the mall, if we can avoid it, so we stop off here to find a cute pair of earrings, shoes and clothes.

Cottage by the Sea Home goods for the beach lover.

C.Alicia

Excellent! I’ll be in Jacksonville in the fall; my college roommate is getting married at the Cummer! I’m so excited & I’ll definitely use this guide to fill in any free time I might have.

Brie

Reppin’ DUVAL!!! Sorry, had to get that out. I am thrilled to see my city on D*S!

I want to also mention Riverside Arts Market (RAM) which happens every Saturday from 10 to 4, March through December in the Riverside/Downtown area.

It’s a marketplace for local produce, arts, crafts, plants, services, food, you name it. Enjoy live music and street performers, too while strolling around with your dog meeting the locals.

If you wanna hang out with me, I’ll probably be at Kickback’s trying a new beer. ;)

Van

Good guide, I’ll have to check out each unexplored spot. But there’s far more to do in Riverside than what’s listed.

My two favorite haunts are “5 Points Cafe” for delicious food and the cozy artsy ecclesiastic environment and “Underbelly”, which I’m sure is the only bar in town with a tree house.

Design*Sponge should let me write a Thriter’s Guide to Jacksonville, me and my friends have extensive, first-hand experience :)

Elizabeth

Oh, this makes me homesick! I wish I could eat at the Metro Diner right now!

Melanie J.

Was so surprised to see Jax on here! I’ve lived here for what feels like forever and can’t wait to escape, but this list will help me appreciate the city a little more while I plan my move. I have an addition too: the Avonlea Antique Mall at Philips and Baymeadows in Southside is a gem for vintage hunters and thrifters. Great list, ladies!

Erin

So excited to see my old stomping grounds on d*s! I do think that First Street Gallery in Neptune Beach should be included. It’s jam packed with local artists. And it’s across the street from Pete’s Bar!

Natalie

I had to do a double take for this post! I’m glad that Jacksonville made it on this blog. I’ve migrated up here to go to a university from Miami and hated it at first. But now I’m appreciating what Jacksonville has to offer. It’s a great city with a great people.

Layne

Duuuuvaaaal! (sorry guys, had to follow along with that one…).

I love it! My home town, and I don’t recognize half the things listed (sad I missed out on so much!) I’ll actually be in Jax next week, so this is just…darn timely! My sister Aubrie works at European St. in San Marco area. Always good beer on tap.

Also kinda wonderful to see so many Jax natives in the comments. Hey ya’ll!

Christie

Hawthorn Salon is totally new salon in Riverside’s 5 Points. I feel like this salon would be appreciated by all that read this!

Sells Bumble and Bumble and Malin + Goetz. Designed with modern furniture and fixtures made with Cypress wood straight outta the swamps of Florida!!

sean

Great list but you skiped my 2 favorite bars: shantytown pub in springfield and the lomax lodge in five points. Great places for the cheers atmosphere with a large selection of craft and import beer. Grab a two hearted ale after a long day in the hot sun!

ansley b.

yeah jacksonville! i agree with brie who mentioned adding the riverside arts market. they always have something going on and have definitely become a jacksonville main stay.

Aoi

So glad to see my town featured! This is my 3rd time living in Jax, and the third time’s a charm indeed! I hated it here for years, but this time around, I’m LOVING it. Especially now that I’m living just blocks from 5 Points…

@Van: I’d LOVE to see your thrifting guide to Jacksonville! ;)

Kim -- The Sassy Crafter

I live in Gainesville, just down the road from Jacksonville, and was pleasantly surprised to see this city guide here on d*s! I second the recommendations for Bistro Aix, BBs, and Casbah , which is a great post-dinner, non-clubby hangout spot that features hookahs and belly dancers on the weekends.

@ Aoi @Van: I’d also love to see a Jax thrifting guide!

K

Guess I haven’t found any of Jacksonville’s charm yet…after 3 years it’s still hard to get past the endless strip malls, non-existent public transportation, scads of run-down 1980s-chic apartments and the 20 minute+ drive to get anywhere.

The main branch of the public library is nice, at least.

Cait @ Hernando House

I was surpised to see a city I know so well on the city guides, but I feel like a lot of things were left out… I guess those who want to know the charm of Jacksonville can just use this as a jumping off point on their exploration.

Ana

I lived there for 3 years and since then it’s developed some decent food spots but when I was there it was dead, devoid of culture or fun.

The Cummer. 5 points and the antique mall were my only saving graces.

Jessica C.

I’m a California native that’s been in Jax for 5 years …I was stoked to see Jax featured because I was really hoping to find something new I hadn’t checked out but unfortunately most of this isn’t great. Like a previous commenter said Jacksonville is really lacking in character. I’m not a hater though it’s not a bad place to live!

If you are coming in for a visit I would recommend

Entertainment-
The Florida Theatre
Kayak Amelia
Hannah Park
Riverside Art Market
St Augustine
Amelia Island
Golfing
Doing Dishes (paint your own pottery)

Food-
Lulu’s in Ponte Vedra – best Seafood I have found locally and fantastic prices.
Biscotti’s
Marker 32
Cinotti’s Bakery – If you need ANYTHING bakery/cake related you MUST go here FANTASTIC!! They also serve fresh paninis and other yummy lunch items.

drink-
Brix

Hope this helps someone!

Kendra

If you are in the area, I’d highly recommend the drive down to St. Augustine. I’m biased as it’s my hometown, but I think it is one of the most beautiful little towns in America. It’s the oldest city in the US and has not only history and character but also a laid back beach town vibe. Wander historic downtown for cute shops, head to Capp’s for sunday reggae while watching the sunset over the intercoastal. Salt Water Cowboys on “the island” has fantastic fried Alligator… I mean essential for any Florida visit right? I need to visit right now!

Sarah

It’s fun to read about our local spots today–but don’t forget a couple more places at “the beaches”. North Beach Bistro has taken over where The Tree Steakhouse was briefly, and their food and atmosphere are great–tablecloth place but not fussy. And Chizu’s is probably some of the best Japanese in town, and they just moved to Penman Road.

And if you want to get the salt spray off your car before you head back across “The Ditch”, Beaches Carwash has great shopping and hilarious greeting cards.

Brie

Speaking as a life-long resident of the Jacksonville area, and one who is well-traveled, I admit you aren’t going to immediately “get” Jacksonville. But for many of us, it can’t be replaced. I live in the Murray Hill neighborhood just outside of Riverside. It’s a bike ride away from a lot of great places in Riverside and Avondale (Including the fantastic Let Them Eat Cake bakery, the soon to be Intuition Ale Works brewery, 5 points, and the Arts Market). We’re a pretty tightly knit community, and try to support progress and the arts in Jacksonville as much as we can.

Jacksonville is like a collection of small towns and suburbs, and naturally some are more charming than others. I don’t recommend the Southside if you’re sickened by strip malls and cheap new construction–unless you want to get your shop on in a serious way. I do recommend knowing someone here who can help you cut through the sprawl.

For animal lovers or people with kids we have a very nice zoo and gardens.

New to Jacksonville is the Arboretum (http://www.jacksonvillearboretum.org/). It’s a great escape from the city into some native flora (with occasional fauna).

There’s almost too much to mention…Art Walk downtown once a month, the Riverwalk, First Fridays in 5 points, the architecture in Springfield and Avondale, Zombie Bikes, yadda yadda. More here than meets the eye and it’s expanding quickly.

Ashley S

I grew up in Jacksonville; I’m thrilled to see it spotlighted and so happy that all of my favs are included!

And Biscotti’s is a-mazing for anyone looking for a good spot!

Natalie

Is La Nopalera in San Marco no longer around? What about Barbara Jean’s at the beach (best crabcakes and southern food)?

I miss Hala’s so much and have been unable to find something comparable in Atlanta (where my parents live) or in Charlottesville, Va (where I live)!

Cyndi Nipper

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned French Pantry yet. It’s so good for lunch (only). Set aside a good chunk of time for lunch since it’s not near anything else, and there’s always a wait. Jacksonville has a few good neighborhoods that make up for it’s overall lack of charm. When I saw the title, I knew the content would focus on Riverside, San Marco, and the Beaches.

layne

@Brie, I second your lengthy and thoughtful comment! Also, fully agree that the Jax Zoo is worth a trip. It’s amazing.

@Natalie, I’m almost positive La Nop is still in San Marco. I LOVE that place and am always craving their Bean & Cheese nachos and Margaritas. The. Best. Ever. (and I live in Austin, TX, home of some of the most amazing tex-mex/rita combos in the USA… La Nop will always be my favorite, though).

Aoi

Have to comment a second time. For those who feel like they’re still missing something in Jax, I just have to say: Keep looking! You’ll find it! I noticed I was most miserable living on the Southside, and now that I’m living in Riverside, I’m so much happier.

A few other mentions missing from the list:
Moon River Pizza is a great place in Murray Hill. They’ve recently expanded, so it’s spacious, the pizza is delicious, and the staff is awesome.

I know others have mentioned RAM, First Fridays at 5 Points, and Kayak Amelia. All definitely worth checking out.

Also, the Main Library downtown houses the Zine Collection. I think that’s beyond awesome. Their blog is at http://jplzinelibrary.wordpress.com/

Sharon

Awwwww, my hometown has made the bigtime with a D*S city guide, well maybe at least the medium time. Although I do feel old that I only know a handfull of the places listed. But this brought back fond memories of Metro Diner breakfasts with the high school carpool and days walking around 5 points.

nijireiki

Don’t forget the Broadway shows that tour through FSCJ (pka FCCJ)! I totally missed out on seeing Topol in the “Fiddler On The Roof” farewell tour (lack of funds), but I saw “Cats” with my (cat-obsessed) younger sister. (http://www.artistseriesjax.org/)

The Florida Theatre has some great shows and acts that come through (Weird Al was here week before last), including a free (annual?) performance of “The Rocky Horror Show.” I’m going this year if it’s being staged again! (http://www.floridatheatre.com/)

And just a stone’s throw away in Orange Park, Whitey’s Fish Camp was selected by Garden & Gun magazine as one of the top fried catfish joints in the South. (http://whiteysfishcamp.com)

Also, yes, La Nopalera is THAT GOOD. Plus it’s cheap and you get bottomless chips and (delicious!) salsa. Yelp is also a great way to find restaurants; it’s how I found Havana Jax (paella & raspberry white chocolate cheesecake, OM NOM NOM) and Apna/Apna Bazaar (Pakistani-Indian restaurant/buffet-and-grocery).

Carolina

Oh JAX how do I miss thee… Never thought I would say that, bu this list has brought back some good memories!!!

tracy@ The Red Daisy

Holy Cow !!! Thanks D*S for the amazing plug ! Having lived here almost my entire life, it’s fantastic to now to own a biz @ the beach as well. The Beaches Town Center( Neptune & Atlantic Beach) has really grown in last ten years…remember Silvers and the original Ellen’s Kitchen ?!??!?! The coldest milk & best grilled cheese on the planet !!
All of us out here at the beach truly thank all of you for your support. Come see us, either during Dancin’ in the Streets, the Sat Farmer’s Market, or THE BEST ArtWalk around…the third Thursday of every month ! There’s even FREE Music on the Courtyard @ 200 First Street EVERY FRIDAY Night Apr-Oct !! You will really want to live here ! Or at least spend the one night(Palms Retro Hotel) and wish that you did :) Hope to see you soon.
PS Angie’s is , by far, THE BEST SWEET TEA ANYWHERE !!!!!!! Not bad subs, either !

heather ivy

RAM absolutely!
every Saturday for great artists, some produce and for THE best crabcakes in town!
http://www.riversideartsmarket.com

and it DEFINITELY depends on what side of town you call home – I’ve lived in almost ever part of this sprawling city (it’s amusing that the art to head this article shows the Landing which is not even mentioned – but not worth mentioning:) Jax is getting it’s culture and we’re making it happen! You can find it if you want it for sure! Thanks for giving us some props on d*s!

Crista Freeman

After being away from my home town for 11 years it is amazing how much everything has changed. Cannot wait to go home and hit up Cruisers for some cheese fries dipped in ranch dressing. Mmmmm.

Crystal

I was just wondering yesterday when D*S would be adding a J-ville city guide, hooray! I work in 5 Points (Riverside) and love it.

Two great clothing shops you should add:

— Violet (in Riverside/Avondale)
— Olive (in San Marco)

I live in St. Augustine and do the commute, and if you’re visiting the area you should definitely make the short trip down.

Friendly Local

if yr in the 5 pts area, give yrself a few hours to rummage through the Fans and Stoves store. Its the best collection of weird odds, ends, and art in the whole city. And the ladies who work there are the friendliest folks in town. I have met some of the most interesting Senior Citizens and local characters while wandering the aisles of the Fans and Stoves, and they usually have some really cool Jax native R.Land pieces for sale.

If you want to see Jax Beach down and duuuurty south, Hit Gingers, Mangoes, or Pete’s at 10 a.m. The Lemon Bar is great, but you have to get there early to grab a table. Its kind of expensive, though, so you’ll probably want to start at Pete’s first.

Casa Marina has the best hotel rooms, but if yr an out of towner without a car, One Ocean is probably the best bet, as you can walk to everything yr gonna want to do. (Eat at Ragtime or Tamas, drink at Petes or Lemon Bar, get sand in yr britches.) Casa is close to the Ritz, Brix, Campeche, and, if you really want to see Jax Beach at its finger licking grimiest, Bukkets.

If yr a fancy lady or a proper gentleman and you need your hair done while yr on vacation, look up Karin at Bellezza in Ponte Vedra. World traveled and trained, versatile, creative and always focused on precision. And then get dolled up and hope the J. Johnson Gallery is having an opening while yr in town.

Be sure to visit St. Augustine at least once, and if you have time, take a trip to Cumberland Island.

anastasia

thanks for posting and great job on the list!

as a follow up to some of the other commenters, it is easy to live in jacksonville and never really ‘live’ here….you need to get connected! join groups, explore other neighborhoods, get involved! It is an “up and coming” city and that is part of the fun – you can be a part of that energy and help shape the cultural landscape.

Not sure if I missed it, but Uptown Market in Springfield deserves a big shout out for fulfilling a need for a great breakfast place downtown. Another great Springfield addition is Three Layers http://www.threelayersacoffeehouse.com which serves great desserts, coffee, wine and has a nice garden out back (complete with a resident bunny). There is also live music!

Also, the First Wednesday ArtWalk is an event that has become a huge monthly gathering and offers an urban art and music scene. http://downtownjacksonville.org/first-wednesday-art-walk/

I hope some of you that feel lukewarm about jacksonville will have fun exploring all of the fun things to do!

Rae

Oh wow! I was also surprised to see Jax make d*s city guides list! I lived in Arlington for 4 years and hated Jacksonville for the first year but then I started exploring and the place grew on me.
I was a fan of Farrah’s Hookah Lounge before the smoking ban passed and the place closed down.
My friend tended bar at the Bridge so I would always stop in for a Woodchuck. I definitely hit up La Nop for margs and endless chips and salsa. Campeche Bay has some of the best fish quesadillas I’ve ever had, seriously try one.
Jax is a great city that just requires a little bit of digging underneath the surface.

Lana

The Brick is my favorite so far, we usually takes our dog and it is pet friendly with outside sitting. Big fan of nice and slow paste life in Avondale. Art, food, and shopping there are fantastic and very diverse :)

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