Fun Things to Do
From the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl Classic festivities on New Years Eve and New Years Day to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in April to the Mayor's Holiday Open House at city hall in December, the city's Special Events Office produces a variety of musical, cultural and festive events throughout the year. Click here to learn the line-up of this year's events.
The Cultural Council of Jacksonville offers an online calendar of a wide variety of events happening around the area at ExperienceJax.
With 57,373 acres of parks, including state and federal lands, Jacksonville now ranks No. 1 among U.S. cities in gross acreage for parks and is in the top 10 in the percentage of acreage in the city devoted to park land.
The wide variety of parks ranges from small neighborhood playgrounds for toddlers to biking, hiking and horse trails to athletic fields to boat ramps. There also are vast areas of unspoiled natural wilderness, much of it newly acquired by the city. From the quiet dignity of an oak forest, to the vastness of the salt marsh, Jacksonville's nature parks have an abundance of flora and fauna to satisfy the tastes of the casual observer or the dedicated nature hound.
We ask that you share our special respect for the native inhabitants of these natural places. Where do you want to play today?
(For information on 'Family Fun on Florida's First Coast,' click here.)
(Click here for museums)
As much for its beautiful beaches as anything, Jacksonville has become known as Florida's First Coast. Unlike much of the rest of Florida, the First Coast's miles of beaches remain relatively unspoiled and unfenced. The Beaches communities in Duval County -- Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach -- also offer some of the best sport fishing, boating and water sport opportunities in the country.
A stroll along the beach might yield a collection of seashells, a view of the porpoise and northern right whales that cavort off the coast, or merely the relaxed state of mind that ocean waves can foster. Mayport Naval Station is home to many U.S. ships. Nearby, fishing boats ply the waters for a variety of fish and shrimp.
The Jacksonville Zoo, north of downtown, is a natural wonderland growing and changing daily, with more than 1,000 rare and exotic creatures. Covering about 70 acres along the St. Johns River, the zoo has the only walking safari in Northeast Florida.
A true family adventure, the Jacksonville Zoo offers an entertaining and educational experience for visitors and residents of Florida's First Coast. For more details, check out the zoo's web site.
Shopping & Entertainment
Historic San Marco
San Marco is an artsy shopping, dining and entertainment district just south of downtown. Stroll through an historic square featuring Italian-influenced architecture and a classic statue of three lions. Avail yourself of art galleries, boutiques, eateries, bookstores and other speciality shops, including a chocolatier. Entertainment includes the art deco San Marco Theatre and a community theater. San Marco has frequent special events, including art shows and a wine tasting. (Map) (More information)
When it comes to spectator sports in Jacksonville, there's no question that football is king. And the king's throne is Everbank Field, which opened in August 1995, and is home of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. The stadium is the centerpiece of the city's sports complex on the eastern edge of Jacksonville's Downtown, on the western banks of the St. Johns River near the Hart and Mathews bridges.
In February 2005, the 73,000-seat stadium played host to Super Bowl XXXIX. The stadium is also the site of two annual college football events -- the Gator Bowl Classic and the annual Southeastern Conference match up of Florida and Georgia. Occasional concerts and other special events are also held at the stadium.
The completely revised stadium was built in less than 20 months, faster than any major-league stadium has ever been built in North America. That allowed the Jaguars to be the first expansion team in sports history to play its first home game in its first season in a new stadium or arena.
The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
Thousands of baseball fans came out to celebrate the completion of the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, on April 4, 2003.
Located northeast of the intersection of East Adams Street and A. Philip Randolph Boulevard in the Sports Complex, the new ballpark has a seating capacity of 10,000 and is home to the Jacksonville Suns. The red brick exterior complements both the new arena and the historic St. Andrews Church, which sits adjacent to the site.
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Located just west of A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard, the Arena's red brick exterior complements the new baseball park and the historic St. Andrews Church. It holds hockey and basketball games, allowing Jacksonville to compete for national events. The Arena was the site of an Olympic exhibition game between the US Men's Basketball team and Puerto Rico in 2004. In March of 2006, Jacksonville will host First and Second Round games for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Near the Arena, the Duval County Veterans Memorial Wall showcases the names of more than 1500 local military personnel who lost their lives while on active duty. The Memorial Wall is a testament to Jacksonville's important relationship with the military and remains an integral part of the Sports Complex.
Fort Caroline National Memorial
A near full-scale rendering of the fort was created to memorialize the 16th Century French effort to establish a permanent colony in Florida.
After initial exploration in 1562, a colony was established in 1564, only to be eliminated by Spanish forces from nearby St. Augustine in 1565. Exhibits in the National Park Service's Visitors Center provide information on the history of the first European settlement on the American mainland, the French colony's interaction with the native Timucuans and the colonists' brief struggle for survival. (More information)
Downtown Jacksonville is where the Old South meets urban chic, and you can experience everything this thriving metropolis has to offer. From cafes and boutiques to museums and galleries and more than $1.6 billion in redevelopment projects, our downtown renaissance has begun. (More information
The Jacksonville Landing
The hub of Jacksonville's growing entertainment district in the Downtown area, The Jacksonville Landing is a cool place to dine and shop on the St. Johns River. From North Florida and around the United States, millions of people enjoy the Jacksonville Landing's festive mix of shops, restaurants and eateries and its hundreds of entertainment events annually. The Landing is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the city, attracting a large share of the 5.18 million visitors that come to Jacksonville. (More information