Jacksonville is an energetic city that has it all: beaches, sports, nightlife and culture for the couples who love to get out and about.
Out on the Water
This scenic city is surrounded by water, whether it’s the beautiful St. Johns River or the glistening Atlantic Ocean. In fact, with 1,100 miles of navigable water, Jacksonville has more shoreline than any other city in the nation and boasts seven bridges stretching over the river. Make sure you schedule a little R&R time out on the water. Go for a long walk along the riverfront downtown or on a secluded beach on the ocean, just a short drive from the city center. To explore the city’s harbor, take a guided urban kayak tour or a dinner cruise on the Foxy Lady timed perfectly for the sunset.
Add MOCA and MOSH on your list of to-dos. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is exhibiting “Get Real” this winter, a showcase of contemporary American realist artists including Jacksonville’s own Jason John as they portray narrative portraiture, social, psychological and magical realism. The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) is an interactive museum featuring dinosaurs, a planetarium and events like MOSH After Dark and First Friday Cosmic Concerts.
The beautiful, riverfront Times-Union Performing Arts Center is home to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and traveling national shows like Ringo Star, Mannheim Steamroller and Annie this season. The 1920s Florida Theatre hosts 200 events annually from ballet and opera to pop, rock, country and blues. Upcoming highlights are Diana Krall, the Chinese Acrobats, Celtic Thunder and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Once known as the “Harlem of the South,” the Ritz Theatre still hosts music events today.
The home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, EverBank Field, is upping the ante this season with $63 million in upgrades, including the world’s largest video display screen of any stadium in the country. If that weren’t enough to excite fans, they’ve also opened a two-story party deck complete with swimming pools and cabanas and a “fan cave,” with WI-FI, flat-screen TVs, tablets, video game consoles and power leather home theater recliners. Sounds like every man’s dream.
Like any good Southern host, Jacksonville’s dozens of locally owned restaurants invite visitors and locals to linger over freshly cooked meals packed with local flavors. In the heart of the historic San Marco neighborhood is Matthew’s, run by Chef Matthew Medure who blends Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean and Deep South influences. Splurge on the six-course menu with wine pairings. Over at Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, get your Southern fix with dishes like seared day-boat scallops served with three-cheese grits or chicken and waffles with pepper jelly. In the hip Riverside, Black Sheep calls to the Southern soul with local Mayport shrimp and grits or chicken and dumplings.