Top 12 Things to Do in Jacksonville

Blessed with beautiful beaches, lush green spaces and a vibrant downtown, Jacksonville offers visitors endless things to see and do. As Florida’s largest city by area, Jacksonville provides small town charm alongside big city amenities. Nature lovers, families and culture aficionados will all find plenty of activities tailored to their interests in this sunny Northeast Florida destination.

Cummer MuseumArt displays and beautiful gardens.
Jacksonville’s HistoryMuseum with interactive exhibits.
Jacksonville BeachesCoastal enjoyment with diverse beach towns.
Jacksonville ZooAnimal encounters and exhibits.
Anheuser-Busch TourBrewery visit with tastings.
Adrenaline ParkIndoor and outdoor climbing challenges.
Times-Union CenterPerforming arts venue with various shows.
Riverside NeighborhoodsEclectic areas with shops and cafes.
Riverside Arts MarketOpen-air bazaar with arts and food.
Evergreen CemeteryHistoric cemetery with notable graves.
TIAA Bank FieldNFL games and tailgating.
Golf CoursesChampionship courses and Topgolf.

To help make planning easy, we compiled this guide to the top things to do in Jacksonville. It provides a local’s perspective on must-see attractions as well as some hidden gems. Read on for the best ways to experience Jacksonville’s beaches, parks, museums, entertainment venues and more.

Immerse in Art and Gardens at the Cummer Museum

Name and Location: The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is located downtown on the St Johns River at 829 Riverside Ave.

History and Significance: Founded in 1958, housing preserved historic gardens and a collection of over 5,000 artifacts spanning from 2100 BC to the present day.

What to Expect: Wander through the permanent exhibits inside showcasing pieces like Meissen porcelain, then meander the lush outdoor oasis of the Italian, English and Olmsted gardens on the river.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday–Saturday 10am–9pm, Sunday 12 noon–5pm. Admission $12 for adults. Guided tours offered.

Considered one of Jacksonville’s top cultural attractions, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens dazzles with both visual art displays and meticulously cultivated outdoor spaces. The museum houses over 5,000 pieces spanning an incredible 4,200 years of art history in mediums like painting, porcelain and sculpture. Highlights include works by legendary artists such as Peter Paul Rubens along with innovative contemporary American crafts and photography.

In addition to world-class fine art exhibits, the galleries overlook the Cummer’s beautifully landscaped gardens. Visitors can explore fountains, vine-covered arbors, reflecting pools and winding riverfront walkways showcasing native Florida botanicals. Stop for a bite or coffee at the Museum Café nested in the midst of vibrant floral displays. From the art to the gardens, the Cummer provides a refined dose of culture and nature.

Discover Jacksonville’s Vibrant History

Name and Location: Jacksonville’s downtown showcases its rich history with sites like Hemming Park, City Hall, Old St. Andrews Church ruins, and exhibits in the Ritz Theatre and Museum.

History and Significance: Once burned during the Civil War, Jacksonville rebuilt to become Florida’s largest city known for resilience and rebirth.

What to Expect: Walkable attractions provide insight into the diverse architectural past and key events through preserved landmarks, engaging tours, and interactive multimedia exhibits bringing history to life.

Visitor Information: Enjoy self-guided walks or book various history tours. Many sites free to access during daytime hours year-round.

Jacksonville’s Museum of Science & History illuminates the destination’s lively heritage through interactive exhibits and displays. In the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium, visitors embark on an immersive trip through the cosmos or look back in time to old world Jacksonville. Guests can uncover centuries of local history in the museum’s Art & History wing showcasing everything from the Timucuan tribes to the Civil War era up through more recent times.

Kids particularly enjoy the Children’s Museum section packed with hands-on STEM activities. They can touch a cloud, climb a mock rocket ship and even excavate dinosaur bones. From science to local heroes, the museum offers enlightening experiences for visitors of all ages through technology, art and artifacts.

Sunbathe on Epic Jacksonville Beaches

Name and Location: Jacksonville Beaches stretch over 22 miles on the Atlantic Coast from Mayport to Ponte Vedra Beach just east of the city.

History and Significance: With some stretches quiet and natural while others offer lively entertainment, the extensive sandy beaches provide endless room for recreation.

What to Expect: Lifeguarded beaches boast sparkling soft sand, rolling waves, and abundant space for sunbathing, swimming, beach walking, surfing, volleyball and seaside resort amenities depending on location selected.

Visitor Information: Public beach access sunrise to sunset daily. Parking fees apply in designated lots. Surf and beach gear rentals available seasonally.

One of the best things to do in Jacksonville is simply head to the beach. Thanks to its prime spot along 22 miles of Atlantic coastline, the city grants easy access to soft sands, rolling waves and seaside recreation. Each distinct beach town provides its own flavor from lively Jacksonville Beach with its bustling oceanfront restaurants and fishing pier to peaceful Ponte Vedra Beach guarded by soaring sand dunes.

Jacksonville Beach charms visitors with retro resorts, beach boutiques and the original Lifeguard Station restaurant, open since 1934. Nearby Neptune and Atlantic Beach also tempt travelers with local cafes and quirky shops set right along the shore. Further south, Ponte Vedra Beach wows with gorgeous palm tree dotted scenery. No matter what atmosphere you seek, Jacksonville’s spectacular beaches have it covered.

Safari Through Jacksonville Zoo

Name and Location: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens located just south of downtown at 370 Zoo Parkway exhibits over 2,000 rare and exotic animals.

History and Significance: Open since 1914, considered one of Florida’s best zoos spanning over 100 acres recreating Asian, African and South American habitats to conserve wildlife species.

What to Expect: Expansive animal encounters like feeding giraffes, endangered rhino and gorilla observations, boat tours through Africa exhibit full of elephants, lions, zebras and more roaming lands replicating their natural environments.

Visitor Information: Open daily 9am-5pm year-round. Admission is $24 for adults. Flora and botanical gardens also on site.

From curious kids to wildlife lovers of all ages, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens provides memorable animal encounters just minutes from downtown hotels and city center. This award-winning zoo immerses visitors into the exotic Range of the Jaguar, an exhibit recreating rainforest habitat to showcase big cats like jaguars, mountain lions and ocelots in naturalistic displays. Guests can safely view predators prowling and lounging across realistic Amazonian settings.

Beyond big jungle cats, the zoo also hosts everything from playful penguins to massive elephants as well as a petting zoo with fuzzy rabbits and pot-bellied pigs for hands-on interaction. And it wouldn’t be a zoo without an epic reptile collection including the infamous Komodo dragon. When you need a wildlife fix, the Jacksonville Zoo delivers.

Taste and Tour Anheuser-Busch

Name and Location: Anheuser-Busch Jacksonville brewery located downtown at 111 Busch Drive offers behind-the-scenes tours with refreshing samples.

History and Significance: One of the country’s largest Budweiser breweries has crafted the iconic American lager onsite since 1969.

What to Expect: Informative walking tours explain the iconic Clydesdales stables, brew house process and history behind the facilities where millions of bottles run through production lines daily, finished off with a tasting session directly from the source showcasing classic selections and experimental test batches.

Visitor Information: Free public tours daily 10:30am-4pm for ages 21+, reservations required booked online in advance. Gift shop onsite.

Beer lovers won’t want to miss visiting the Jacksonville Anheuser-Busch Brewery for VIP access behind the scenes of a real working suds factory. Walk the brew house floor overlooking steaming tanks and take the all-important quality control job very seriously in the tasting lab. Interactive exhibits detail iconic brands like Budweiser and Michelob ULTRA through their long brewing histories.

Pro tip: Don’t miss saying hello to the famous Budweiser Clydesdales in their stately red barn on site. Their dapper appearances never disappoint! Visitors can opt for self-guided tablet tours or join weekly guided outings for extra insights into the iconic company’s northeast Florida outpost just a quick drive from downtown. With family-friendly attractions and samples galore, the brewery tour leaves visitors thoroughly entertained.

Reach Exhilarating Heights at Adrenaline Park

Name and Location: Jacksonville Adrenaline Park adventure attraction located conveniently off I-95 at 9500 Philips Hwy.

History and Significance: Florida’s largest action sports complex opened in 2016, offering heart-pumping aerial adventures.

What to Expect: Soar sky-high suspended on aerial ropes courses and zip lines above a lake, then leap from heights into a giant inflatable AirBag. Scale climbing walls and try ninja warrior courses to push personal limits in the thrilling outdoor and indoor park.

Visitor Information: Open daily, sessions last 2+ hours. Ticket prices $20-60 based on activities chosen. Waivers required for safety harnesses and gear. Age/height restrictions apply.

From warrior courses to trampoline free-for-alls, Adrenaline Park pumps visitors full of adrenaline with incredible indoor and outdoor climbing challenges. Brave participants navigate a series of aerial rope courses perched up to five stories above ground. Everyone remains securely fastened into safety cables and guides provide encouragement to try thrilling ziplines and obstacle crossings catered to all skill levels. Those with a fear of heights can stick to the indoor zone filled with parkour-style equipment, rock climbing walls, ninja tracks and even massive dodgeball courts. No matter your adventure style, you’ll find heart-pounding fun at Adrenaline Park.

Enjoy Outstanding Performances at the Times-Union Center

Name and Location: The Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts downtown venue is located at 300 Water Street along the St Johns River.

History and Significance: Operating as the primary event space since 1997, hosting celebrities and major touring shows.

What to Expect: With multiple theaters seating over 8,000 collectively, the contemporary complex highlights Jacksonville’s vibrant arts scene. Audiences enjoy live music, comedy, family and Broadway theater productions in an electric atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Show schedules and ticket purchases available online. Year-round programming, some free community events offered alongside higher profile ticketed performances in the arena space.

As Jacksonville’s largest performing arts complex, the Times-Union Center hosts phenomenal concerts, touring Broadway productions and comedy shows inside multiple elegant theaters. Fans can catch chart-topping tours ranging from country stars like Eric Church to pop icons like Elton John taking the arena stage on world tours. Additionally, Broadway in Jacksonville continually rotates beloved musical smash hits from Wicked to Disney’s Frozen through the theaters.

With fantastic acoustics and atmospheres evoking old world glamor, the Times-Union transports audiences to new worlds of entertainment. Performance genres range from classical orchestras to uproarious standup routines to extravagant ballroom dance showcases. No matter what piques your interest, the complex provides dynamic performances all year long.

Wander Eclectic Riverside Neighborhoods

Name and Location: Historic Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods along the St. Johns River just southwest of downtown Jacksonville.

History and Significance: Established in the late 1800s, the scenic districts lined with sprawling historic homes and lively shopping/dining make for popular local haunts.

What to Expect: Strolling the brick lined streets uncovers charming Southern character through boutiques, cafes, unique architecture and peaceful park spaces, with friendly residents eager to answer questions about their unique community.

Visitor Information: Areas safe and walkable to explore attractions daily. Use rideshares or drive to optimal parking for the central districts easily accessed from downtown.

Just across the river from downtown, Jacksonville’s Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods entrance visitors with charming scenery perfect for aimless wandering. Stroll down brick streets shaded by sprawling oaks dripping in Spanish moss as you pop between funky art galleries, indie boutiques and cozy cafes inside historic homes. Five Points and King Street particularly impress with local watering holes, offbeat bookstores and LGBTQ friendly nightlife venues.

Riverside also provides fabulous window shopping and dining opportunities along trendy strip Like Oak Street and store-lined districts filled with antiques and boutiques. The residential streets lined by arts and crafts style bungalows simply ooze vintage character. For a taste of local living, meandering the Riverside parks and neighborhoods always delights.

Explore the Riverside Arts Market

Name and Location: Riverside Arts Market located under the Fuller Warren Bridge along the Downtown Southbank Riverwalk on Saturdays 10am-3pm.

History and Significance: Founded in 2009 to support over 100 local artists and small businesses while providing community programming parallel to the outdoor shopping experience.

What to Expect: Booths sell locally crafted art, vintage goods, flowers and fresh produce alongside global cuisine options to enjoy while listening to live music performances and observing visual artists at work. Kid zones provide special hands-on creative programming weekly.

Visitor Information: Free admission and parking every Saturday except major holidays. Pet friendly.

For more spirited local fun, check out the bustling Riverside Arts Market taking place every Saturday under the Fuller Warren Bridge. The lively open-air bazaar gathers over 100 quality arts vendors selling handcrafted jewelry, pottery, paintings and more. In between scouring locally made goods, snack on food truck fare, sip craft beer and sway to live musical performances.

Guests can even watch select artisans giving live demonstrations from glass blowing to jewelry making across the market. It offers a fabulous opportunity to directly meet and support Jacksonville creatives while also taking home special souvenirs. Arrive early to secure street parking around the market’s Downtown riverfront location. By early afternoon, the festivities usually wrap up.

Wander Historic Evergreen Cemetery

Name and Location: Old Evergreen Cemetery at 4535 Main Street N in historic Springfield neighborhood, established in 1881.

History and Significance: Jacksonville’s oldest active cemetery filled with ornate headstones and mausoleums honoring generations of the city’s founding residents across over 200 acres.

What to Expect: Peaceful, self-guided walking tours past elaborate Victorian grave markers lined with soaring oaks dripping Spanish moss. Many early community leaders laid to rest in the historic Southern graveyard.

Visitor Information: Ground open daily 8am-5pm to roam respefully. Maps in office near entrance. Consider rubbing a lamb sculpture’s head for luck.

Though cemeteries seem an unlikely attraction, Jacksonville’s Evergreen Cemetery provides a tranquil, park-like space to reflect on the city’s history. Established in 1881 as the area’s first private cemetery, Evergreen today houses generations of Jacksonville residents across over 200 acres next to the St. Johns River. Visitors admire the Victorian-style gates and stroll dense oak canopies, blooming flowers and peaceful ponds where even the occasional squirrel or deer sighting may occur.

Beyond scenery, Evergreen also provides historic intrigue with the graves of local leaders and visionaries who shaped Jacksonville. Guided walking tours reveal fascinating stories behind the interred like Medal of Honor recipient Alexander Darnes and others who impacted areas from infrastructure to racial justice in Jacksonville over two centuries.

Tailgate at TIAA Bank Field

Name and Location: Home games for the Jacksonville Jaguars held at TIAA Bank Field by the St Johns River in downtown Jacksonville.

History and Significance: Originally opened in 1995 as Jacksonville Municipal Stadium alongside the NFL team’s founding, since modernized but the electric gameday atmosphere remains.

What to Expect: Join the infectious energy of over 67,000 fans sporting team colors flooding parking lots surrounding the stadium for barbecue, drinks and Cornhole before kickoff. Expect bold fan participation during hard hits happening on the field.

Visitor Information: Season runs September–January. Single game tickets start around $50, parking passes $30+. Boosted security procedures enforced.

As home turf for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, TIAA Bank Field offers a rowdy good time for football fans during the long season stretching from August through January. Diehard fans circle each home matchup on the calendar, ready to cheer on exciting players like quarterback Trevor Lawrence with 69,000 fellow fanatics at the downtown venue.

Arrive early on game day to fully experience the area’s electric spirit. Parking lots transform into massive tailgates with music, food trucks and games hours before kickoff. Stop by the Flex Field Plaza outside the Entry Paviliation to catch emerging artists on the performance stage and snag photo ops with the Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville. Don’t forget to also glimpse relics from the team’s early days at the Jacksonville Jaguars Hall of Fame inside the stadium gates. When ready, grab your tickets and join the vibrant, growling crowd as the teams take the field.

Tee Off on Iconic Jacksonville Golf Courses

Name and Location: Jacksonville boasts several renowned championship golf courses, most designed by legends like Arnold Palmer and Bobby Weed.

History and Significance: With a sunny climate suited for the sport and proximity to top talent, the city contains challenging picks considered Florida’s best range from coastal to woodlands.

What to Expect: Expect immaculate greens, visual variety and attentive service. Most Jacksonville courses place high difficulty, like the notorious “Island Green” hole at TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. Booking well in advance suggested for visitor tee time availability.

Visitor Information: Resort courses permit public booking often weeks ahead to secure hefty fees averaging $150+ per golfer. Rentals and lessons offered. Dress codes enforced.

With the PGA TOUR Headquarters located right in Jacksonville, it comes as no surprise that the city provides fantastic greens year-round. Golfers flock here to test championship courses home to major tournaments like THE PLAYERS hosted annually at the formidable TPC Sawgrass just up Highway 95. Brave golfers try their swing on the notorious island green 17th hole surrounded on all sides by water hazards.

Closer to downtown, Topgolf Jacksonville fuses gameplay with lively lounge spaces overlooking the St. Johns River. Players swing microchipped golf balls at floating targets across the driving range while scoring points. Between turns, kick back with cocktails and bar bites in the swanky spaces offering fantastic skyline panoramas through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Topgolf satisfies both novice and seasoned golfers with high-tech practice made fun. Between iconic courses and entertainment complexes, Jacksonville clearly caters to golf lovers.


From unspoiled shores to historic neighborhoods dotted with cafes and boutiques, Jacksonville impresses visitors with diverse attractions suiting all interests and traveling styles. Families will stay busy with interactive museums and thrilling parks while nature lovers soak up the city’s vibrant botanical gardens and wildlife conservatories. Foodies indulge in freshly caught seafood with riverfront views before perusing works by local artisans. Football fans flock to cheer on the Jaguars with the world’s largest cocktail party. Whether you crave culture, adventure or R&R, Jacksonville truly offers an exceptional getaway full of surprises waiting around every corner.

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