Jacksonville - Good Place to Live?
As the largest city in the world by geographic size, Jacksonville has many areas to fit any lifestyle. From the beaches to suburbia to downtown city life, there are many things to do in Jacksonville, and it is also easy to find an area to live that matches your personal preference.
Each area of the city has its own unique characteristics. Use this map and read the area summaries below to find out more about what Jacksonville has to offer.
As the heart of the city, downtown Jacksonville sits on the St. John's River and is home to numerous corporations, sports teams, museums, and entertainment.
The city's skyline is marked by its tall buildings and the multiple bridges that cross the St. John's River to downtown. At the foot of the Hart and Matthews bridges is the Sports Complex, which includes TIAA Bank Field (home of the Jacksonville Jaguars). The complex is also home to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the city's minor league baseball team, and the Jacksonville Icemen, the city's minor league ice hockey team.
Many museums are located downtown to include the Ritz Theatre and Museum, the Museum of Science and History, the Jacksonville Fire Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, and the Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center.
Riverside and Avondale
The areas of Riverside and Avondale are a blend of tradition, culture, and modern charm. While the area is known as a "hip" section of town with a younger population, many luxury waterfront homes and high-end apartments are characteristic of this part of town.
The unique feel of the area is captured in Riverside's Five Points. Local cafes, coffee shops, boutique clothing shops, and food options make this area a popular location. Some of Jacksonville's budding breweries such as Intuition Ale Works Brewery and Bold City Brewery are located here.
Riverside and Avondale are popular areas to live due to their close proximity to downtown, unique culture, and charming older homes.
As one of Jacksonville's oldest neighborhoods, the Springfield area has recently become an up-and-coming area as old homes are revitalized to modern times.
Old oak trees line the streets of Springfield, giving it an "Old South" traditional feel. With its charming old homes, the ongoing revitalization of the area is making it another attractive option for those who want to live in close proximity to downtown.
Popular for its trendy culture, San Marco is known for its upscale dining, unique shopping and boutiques, and even art galleries. Seven local breweries call the area home too.
San Marco is known for its historic homes and views of the city from Riverfront Park. Located east of the St. John's River, the area sits in a central location of the city's geography, making it a popular area for professionals and families alike.
As one of the first areas of Jacksonville that was settled by Europeans in the 1500s, Arlington is home to residential areas, shopping, dining, and other activities.
The Fort Caroline National Memorial is located in Arlington, and the area is just a short distance to both downtown and the beaches. The area is also a popular area for military servicemembers who are stationed at Mayport Naval Base because of its easy access along the Wonderwood Expressway.
The Northside is certainly a growing area of Jacksonville. While the Northside used to only include the airport and some industry such as Anheuser-Busch, the vast area on the Northside is now a growing residential area that is home to the Jacksonville Zoo and the River City Marketplace, a growing retail and food area.
Attractions on the Northside include the amazing Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and the Kingsley Plantation. Of course, a brewery tour at Anheuser-Busch is always a fun option on the Northside as well.
The Westside of Jacksonville includes Naval Air Station Jacksonville and the beautiful area of Ortega. Known for its beautiful views of downtown Jacksonville, the Westside includes a variety of home price points to accommodate any lifestyle.
Its convenience to downtown and NAS Jacksonville make it a popular location as well.
Orange Park is located on Jacksonville's southwest corner, and the area includes many attractions such as shopping at the Orange Park Mall and live greyhound racing at the Orange Park Kennel Club.
Nestled on the westside of the St. John's River, Orange Park is just south of downtown and NAS Jacksonville in Clay County. The area receives its name from its founder's hope for a fruit-growing industry, but a deep freeze destroyed the crops and the industry never recovered.
Southside and Mandarin
Jacksonville's Southside and Mandarin are two suburbs of the city which are scattered with family-friendly neighborhoods. The Southside area is home to the Avenues Mall and many country club communities.
Mandarin, which is located on the east side of the St. John's River, is filled with marinas, parks, and more views of the water than any other location in Jacksonville.
The beaches of Jacksonville, commonly referred to as the First Coast, are another element that add to Jacksonville's unique charm. Jacksonville's primary beaches include Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach.
The four coastal areas offer all sorts of beach life from cozy beach cottages to oceanfront mansions to nightlife to great restaurants and seafood.
The beaches are generally marked by the area west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Likewise, Florida's iconic A1A roadway passes through all four beaches.
Mayport Naval Station sits just north of Atlantic Beach at the entrance to the St. John's River.
Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is known as the nation's oldest city. The historic town is located south of Jacksonville on the Atlantic Coast and is filled with tourist attractions, marinas, and beaches.
The city, which is located in St. John's County, is also home to Flagler College, a beautiful college nestled in the city's historic section. The Spanish colonial-era buildings as well as elite 19th-century architecture are a must-visit for any tourist or resident alike.
Amelia Island is a popular destination for those looking for a quaint vacation. The small island, which is one of the most southern Sea Islands that extend from South Carolina to Florida, is located in Nassau County just north of Jacksonville.
Fernandina Beach and Amelia City, which are two of the island's communities, are both popular vacation destinations. The island is only four miles wide at its widest point.
Palm Coast is one of the area's newest cities. It was only incorporated in 1999 and is located in Flagler County.
The city, which sits on the coast and represents the area between Ormond Beach and St. Augustine, has had one of the highest population growth rates in the country in the last 20 years. Many residents of Palm Coast enjoy the quietness of the community and often commute to Orlando or Jacksonville for work.
Located on Jacksonville's Northside, Jacksonville's International Airport serves as the hub for long-range transportation in and out of Jacksonville.
With two runways and over 60 aircraft based at the airport, the facility serves primarily flights to Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; New York, NY; and Dallas / Fort Worth, TX.
Southwest, American, Delta, and United are the primary airline operators at Jacksonville International Airport.
With over 2,400 animals housed on approximately 117 acres on Jacksonville's Northside, the Jacksonville Zoo is another must-visit for any resident or visitor to Jacksonville.
The main attractions of the zoo are the Range of the Jaguar and the Land of the Tiger. More than 800,000 visitors frequent the zoo per year, making it one of the city's most popular attractions.
River City Marketplace
Opened in 2006, the River City Marketplace is quickly becoming part of Jacksonville's growing Northside. Located just east of Interstate 95 and only two miles from Jacksonville International Airport, the shopping district is anchored by three primary vendors: Walmart, Lowes, and Regal Cinemas.
The outdoor mall provides retail shopping for Northside residents and is frequented often by Georgia residents who don't want to drive the extra miles to the St. John's Town Center located on Jacksonville's Southside.
St. John's Town Center
The St. John's Town Center is the epicenter of Jacksonville's retail shopping experience, and it is quickly becoming a primary destination for restaurants as well.
Opened in 2005, the St. John's Town Center is located on 200 acres on Jacksonville's Southside. The outdoor mall is home to stores such as Best Buy, Costco, Nordstroms, Dillards, Apple, and Target, among others. Luxury brands include Louis Vuitton and Tiffany's.
The area also includes popular restaurants such as Cooper's Hawk, Capital Grille, Cheesecake Factory, and Seasons 52.
TIAA Bank Field
TIAA Bank Field is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars and is a site for numerous events such as concerts and the annual college football rivalry game of Florida versus Georgia.
The stadium sits right on the St. John's River and has a capacity of over 76,000. Super Bowl XXXIX was hosted at the stadium in 2005, and the stadium possesses two end zone video boards that are the largest scoreboards of their kind in the world.
Home of THE PLAYERS, a tournament often billed as professional golf's fifth major, TPC Sawgrass sits just west of A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach. Ponte Vedra Beach is also the location of the PGA Tour's Headquarters.
TPC Sawgrass houses two elite golf courses: the Stadium Course (which is where THE PLAYERS is held) and the Dye Valley Course. Both courses are designed by esteemed golf architect Pete Dye.
Naval Air Station Jacksonville
Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, commonly called NAS Jax, sits on Jacksonville's Westside and is home to many aviation squadrons and other commands in Jacksonville.
The sprawling base sits on the St. John's River and offers stunning views of Jacksonville's downtown area. Residents throughout Jacksonville will often see the Navy's newest reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8, making its approach landing to NAS Jax.
Naval Station Mayport
Naval Station Mayport is one of two naval bases on the east coast of the continental U.S. Home primarily to destroyers and littoral combat ships (LCS) as well as helicopter squadrons, the base serves as an important homeport for U.S. naval operations.
The base sits at the mouth of the St. John's River just north of Atlantic Beach.