Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida isn’t your average
beach town; it has culture, history and a whole lot of personality. It’s a
city on the rise, which is why some travel experts refer to Jacksonville as the
next San Francisco or Portland. It's not something you'd expect to hear about a beach town, but the city's location on the St. Johns River gives it a lot to brag about. Now’s the time to experience what so many are already discovering — Jacksonville's colorful neighborhoods and city streets are dripping with art, culture and potential.
Considered one of the hottest art scenes in the Southeast, Jacksonville’s local arts and music scenes are situated on every corner — inside and outside. Its public art installations are easy to find (and totally Instagram worthy), while its galleries, markets and museums are something you’d expect to find in a big-name city like New York. Art lovers can spend hours perusing the galleries and gardens at Cummer Museum of Art. Afterward, score a cool souvenir at one of the monthly local art festivals. The Riverside Arts Market, featuring food, music, and local artists, takes place on the first Saturday of each month, and a free, self-guided tour of the downtown galleries occurs on the first Wednesday of each month throughout the year. No trip is complete until you've checked out the public art exhibits produced during ArtRepublic, a mural festival in November, or have taken a selfie in front of one of the many Instagram-worthy murals in downtown (search #JaxMurals on Instagram to find the best of the best).
Year-Round Festival Season
Celebrating global heritage, seafood, jazz and the blues, Jacksonville is — quite frankly — a city of festivals with travelers making their way to experience the fun in Jacksonville throughout the year. In late winter and spring, runners make their way to Jacksonville for the 26.2 with Donna and Gate River Run, the largest 15k in the United States. By the spring and summer, Jax is mellowing out and grooving to the sounds and rhythms of the blues and jazz at Springing the Blues and Jacksonville Jazz Festival. When the fall colors begin to shine in the rest of the country, Jacksonville dons its own fall colors — team colors, that is. As a major sports town, the city is awash in Gator orange and blue and Georgia red when one of the biggest rivalries in all of college football heads to EverBank Field in downtown.
Past and Present Collide
By now we’ve established that Jacksonville has arts and culture, but it also has a lot of history to brag about as well. 6,000 years' worth, to be exact. Before the first European settlers came to this corner of Florida, the Timucuan Native Americans inhabited the area surrounding the St. Johns River. The city's proximity to the St. Johns River spurred an interest in cultures from around the world, including the Spanish, British and French. The result is a melting pot of cultures that gives Jacksonville unique influences from around the world. For a play-by-play of Jacksonville’s history in a fitting setting along the St. Johns River, opt into a 30-minute history cruise with River Quest Boat Tours every Saturday.