Black Sheep - Poutine - Jacksonville, Florida

Weekend Getaway to Jacksonville, Florida

Even though we have traveled through a good portion of Florida, we have yet to make it to Jacksonville.  Fellow travel bloggers, Heather and Alex, from Outside the Den call Jax their home, so they know all the ins and outs of the city.  They write all about culinary adventures, cultural explorations, community happenings, and natrual wonders–we love browsing their site for interesting stories, beautiful photographs and travel inspiration.  We are so excited that Heather has shared her tips with us for the perfect weekend getaway to Jacksonville; now we are dying to visit!

Jacksonville, Florida, the largest city in area of the contiguous US, is home to an endless array of things to eat, experience, and enjoy (sometimes all three at once!). This city, “where Florida begins”, would take years to fully explore but check out some of our favorite spots for a good taste of what Jax has to offer.

Arriving on Friday night, head straight to the rooftop of Black Sheep Restaurant for some of the best views in the city. Start out with a Dusty Boot (bourbon, simple syrup, lemon and lime juices, bitters, smoked sea salt and cracked black pepper rim) and order some poutine from the kitchen. If it is cold, cozy up to the fire on one of the couches. Soak in the atmosphere and enjoy your company.

Black Sheep - Poutine - Jacksonville, Florida

Wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed, and ready for some urban exploring. If you need a caffeine boost, Bold Bean Coffee Roasters is the best spot in town for coffee. Personal favorites are the Honey Latte and the Chai Tea Latte, but you really can’t go wrong here.

Bold-Bean-Coffee Jacksonville, FL

Depending on your personal preferences, make a stop at one of Jacksonville’s museums for some cultural energy:

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens – A personal favorite, this jewel of Jacksonville has a strong permanent collection, and always brings fantastic visiting exhibitions to the area. Don’t miss out on the impressive gardens, which is as much of a draw as the art collection. The Café at the Cummer is a delightful lunch spot, especially with the recently expanded patio dining options.

Cummer Museum & Gardens, Jacksonville, FL

Cummer Museum & Gardens, Jacksonville, FL

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) – an anchor of Downtown Jacksonville, MOCA is keen on sharing thought-provoking modern work and making Jacksonville a hub for contemporary art. Project Atrium, a site-specific and site-sensitive rotating installation, is a draw for visitors who want to see emerging and mid-career artists.

The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) – a perfect pick if you are traveling with children, MOSH is full of kid-friendly exhibits such as “The Body Within”, “Atlantic Tails: Whales, Dolphins and Manatees of Northeast Florida”, and the Florida Naturalist’s Center where you can meet MOSH’s resident live animals. Don’t miss a planetarium show; MOSH’s planetarium is the largest single-lens planetarium in the world!

• Need a free art option? Check out the Jax Mural Project for the low-down on the street art scene in Jacksonville.

Jax Mural Project, Jacksonville, FL

Once your museum visit is complete, make your way over to Hawkers Asian Street Fare for lunch. This 5 Points area restaurant might be the new kid on the block, but it has already made quite an impression on residents. Start out with the roti canai, a Malaysian flat bread that comes with excellent curry dipping sauce. The menu is large and varied, so order based off your preferences (or ask your waiter for some recommendations), but don’t miss out on the Vietnamese coffee! After lunch visit the Riverside Arts Market. Held every Saturday from 10am-4pm, this outdoor market features up to 160 artists, farmers, and food vendors.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Jacksonville, FL

For dinner, cross over the bridge and make your way to the St. Johns Town Center. Jacksonville legendary Chef Tom Gray recently opened his opus, Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, and you’ll want to taste how he serves up contemporary regional American cuisine. Start out with a couple of drinks (The Corn ‘n Oil and Lorem Ipsum are personal favorites), and the kettle corn as a snack. For entrees, you won’t want to miss the Dr. Pepper glazed Short Rib and the Chicken-n-Waffles with waffle pudding!

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Jacksonville, FL

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Jacksonville, FL

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Jacksonville, FL

Not ready to close out the night? Head downtown to Underbelly for some live music and drinks. This venue is known for bringing in the best music in town, and don’t be surprised if you see a famous musician “crashing” the stage (most recently Brian Johnson of AC/DC). Local favorites Mama Blue, Canary in the Coalmine, and Grandpa’s Cough Medicine are also regulars at this hot spot.

Use Sunday to appreciate the natural beauty of Jacksonville. Grab a breakfast smoothie from Pulp in San Marco and head over to the Treaty Oak at Jessie Ball Dupont Park to embrace an over two century old phenomenal Live Oak specimen. The trunk of the Treaty Oak is over 25 feet in circumference and over 70 feet tall (Downtown Vision). This is the epitome of the magnificent beauty of nature, and one you’ll want to spend some time enjoying.

Treaty Oak, Jacksonville, FL

Treaty Oak, Jacksonville, FL

Head back over the bridge and make a stop at Biscottis in Avondale for brunch. Biscottis is famous for some of the absolute best desserts in town, but don’t miss out on brunch favorites like Cajun Seafood Benedict and Crème Brulee French Toast. Weather permitting, take a seat outside (which is pooch friendly as well).

Wind down your visit with a trip to Memorial Park. With a beautiful view of the St. Johns River, this six-acre park is perfect for people watching, picnicking, and sunbathing. Be sure to take a photo of the unofficial mascot of the Riverside Avondale area, Winged Victory, the C. Adrian Pillars sculpture which pays tribute to the 1,200 Florida soldiers who were killed during World War I.

Memorial-Park, Jacksonville, FL

Memorial-Park, Jacksonville, FL

Memorial-Park, Jacksonville, FL

Heading to Jacksonville in mid-April? Don’t miss out on One Spark, the world’s crowdfunding festival. Happening April 9-13 in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, One Spark highlights over 600 creators with projects in art, innovation, music, science, and technology. Creators will be vying for $310,000 in crowdfunds and cash awards, $3.25 million in capital investments, and direct contributions from visitors.

One Spark, Jacksonville, FL

One Spark, Jacksonville, FL

One Spark, Jacksonville, FL

One Spark, Jacksonville, FL

One Spark, Jacksonville, FL

One Spark, Jacksonville, FL

If you need more Jacksonville inspiration, be sure to check out the Jax specific section of Outside The Den.

About The Guest Author:

Alex and Heather from Outside the Den

Both graduates of history, Heather and Alex share a love of finding the story beneath the story.

Together they created the blog Outside The Den where they inspire others to get outside of their comfort zones through culinary adventures, cultural explorations, community happenings, and natural wonders.

 

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15 Comments
  • Tamara Gruber
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:54h, 01 April Reply

    Poutine in FL…I would have never expected that! Although what was on it, giant chunks of ham…spam…bacon?
    Tamara Gruber recently posted…Collecting Shells in Captiva & Sanibel, FLMy Profile

  • Corinne
    Twitter:
    Posted at 03:06h, 02 April Reply

    Timely post. I’m heading to Florida this summer, and I’m trying to decide to stop in Jax or St. Augustine…you are making a good case for the former!
    Corinne recently posted…A is for Australia! (A-Z Blogging Challenge)My Profile

    • Ericka
      Posted at 21:14h, 02 April Reply

      You could really visit both. You can pretty much get around areas of Jacksonville in 30 minutes or less. St Augustine is usually about 30-45 mins from every direction. I feel St Augustine is great for couples wanting to have romantic quality time or school field trips . While Jacksonville is more for everyone. You will have more of a chance to relax in Jacksonville.

    • Heather - Outside the Den
      Twitter:
      Posted at 08:33h, 04 April Reply

      Hi Corinne!

      So excited you are going to be visiting Florida this summer! I would (obviously) say that you need to make a stop in Jacksonville! We have *so* many amazing things going on right now and I’d love to give you a tour!

      St. Augustine is definitely a place that you should see as well, and we have our favorite spots there too. But of all the couchsurfers, family, and friends that have stayed with us – the overwhelming majority said that St. Augustine was a little overrated. Again, I definitely think you should add it to your trip and I’d love to give you some recommendations, but please make sure you have a few days planned for Jax too!

      Happy travels!
      Heather – Outside the Den recently posted…The Grand Tour – An Enduring JourneyMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 18:47h, 16 April Reply

      Yeah, I think stopping in both is a great idea! I loved St. Augustine, but now that I’ve been hearing more about Jax, I think I would enjoy it almost more!!

  • Cathie
    Posted at 11:21h, 02 April Reply

    I live halfway between the two and I can tell you that you definitely want to pick St. Augustine!

  • Marysia
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:02h, 11 April Reply

    I’m a total foodie, so was sold after seeing all those food pictures!

  • Megan
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:12h, 11 April Reply

    Looks fab! We’re taking another roadtrip North from Fort Myers soon so will have to plan a stop! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • ben
    Posted at 21:14h, 12 April Reply

    Great collection of photos! 🙂
    ben recently posted…Charlottesville – A Great Choice for Your Next VacationMy Profile

  • Ron
    Twitter:
    Posted at 15:56h, 14 April Reply

    Some great spots in Florida for sure! I haven’t had the chance to explore much of Jacksonville yet (I always get caught up in historical St. Augustine right down the road) but I’ll be sure to check out some of the spots…especially the eateries! 🙂
    Ron recently posted…How to Meet Locals while Traveling AbroadMy Profile

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