- Jacksonville, or Jax to the locals, is the largest city in the contiguous United States, and one of the most vibrant cities in northeastern Florida. It is known for its beautiful beaches, numerous parks, world-class museums, and lively entertainment scene. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this city. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, here are the top 20 attractions in Jacksonville:
Attractions in Jacksonville Florida
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This 120-acre zoo is not just a wildlife sanctuary but a blooming botanical garden showcasing over 1000 plant varieties. It’s home to over 2,000 animals, including the world’s largest collection of white-faced capuchin monkeys.
The zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), adhering to high standards of animal care and conservation. Alongside exploring the wildlife and flora, visitors can engage in educational programs, animal feedings, and interactive exhibits like the Dinosauria exhibit and the 4D Theater. It’s a destination that promises fun and learning for all ages.
Just remember that admission to the Jax zoo is between 9 AM to 5 PM so get there early if you want to explore as much of the zoo as you can before sundown. You can also buy tickets to the zoo here.
Address: 370 Zoo Parkway Jacksonville
Operating Hours: Opens daily (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
- Total admission tickets (Includes admission, Dinosauria, 4D Theater, Unlimited Train, Unlimited Carousel Rides, and Animal Feedings)
- $27.95 – $37.95 : Kids (ages 3-12)
- $34.95 – $44.95 : Adults (ages 13-64):
- $32.95 – $42.95 : Seniors (65+)
- General admission tickets (Includes admission to the Zoo)
- $24.95 – $29.95 : Kids (ages 3-12)
- $29.95 – $34.95 : Adults (ages 13-64):
- $27.95 – $32.95 : Seniors (65+)
- Kids that are 2 years old and below are free.
- Military Discount:
- Adults (13 to 64): $26.95
- Children (3 to 12): $22.45
Phone no: (904) 757-4463
2. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
A sanctuary at heart, the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and providing a haven for big cats.
Alongside daily daytime tours, the sanctuary offers night feedings, allowing visitors to watch the big cats being fed. Special events and volunteer opportunities are available for those looking to contribute to animal care.
On selected nights, (and for a special admission ticket) visitors even get to observe live feeding. Be sure to buy tickets in advance so you don’t need to wait in line.
Address: 1860 Starratt Road Jacksonville
- Daytime tours: Opens daily (1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
- Adults: $15
- Children (3-11): $7
- Children (2 and younger): Always free and do not require a ticket
- Night feeding (held every Friday & Saturday 6:00–7:30 p.m.)
- Adults: $35 for a general admission ticket
- $45 – package deal ticket, which includes free t-shirt ($24 value) and free drink or snow cone
- Children (3-11): $20 general admission ticket
- Children (2 and younger): Always free and do not require a ticket
Phone no: (904) 757-3603
3. The Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens
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A 120-acre nature preserve, the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens offers over three miles of hiking trails meandering through diverse ecosystems.
With over 100 labeled native and exotic plants, it’s a member of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), adhering to high standards of horticultural excellence and public service.
The Arboretum ensures a blend of education and recreation with its programs, events, and volunteer opportunities.
Address: 1445 Millcoe Road Jacksonville
Operating Hours: Opens daily (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
- $3 for non-member
- Free and unlimited visits for members. Become a member here.
Phone no: (904) 318-4342
4. Museum of Science and History (MOSH)
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The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) is a treasure trove of interactive exhibits that delve into science, technology, and local history. With a planetarium, a science and innovation center, and exhibits focused on Northeast Florida, it’s a hub of learning and discovery.
A member of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the museum adheres to high standards of service, offering a variety of educational programs and events for all age groups.
If you want to visit the MOSH, they are open From Thursdays to Mondays only. They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. View their calendar here to see upcoming events.
Address: 1025 Museum Circle Jacksonville
- Monday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
- Tuesday – Wednesday (closed)
- Thursday – Friday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
- Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
- Sunday (12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.)
- $16.95 : children (ages 3-12)
- $19.95 : adults (ages 13-54)
- $16.95 : seniors (ages 55+), military, students
- FREE for members and children (2 years old and below)
Phone no: (904) 396-6674 Ext 210 to speak with a Guest Relations representative
5. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
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Known for its extensive collection of contemporary art from the US and globally, the Jax Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a hub for art enthusiasts.
With rotating exhibitions often spotlighting emerging or mid-career artists and various educational programs, including hands-on art classes, it’s a space that encourages artistic exploration.
As a member of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), MOCA stands for high standards in serving the public’s interest in the art world. You can check the schedule of events for MOCA here.
Address: 333 North Laura Street Jacksonville
- Monday (closed)
- Tuesday – Saturday (11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
- Sunday (12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.)
- $8 : Adults
- $5 : Children (ages 6-18), students, seniors, military
- FREE for children ages 5 years old and below
- FREE admission every Saturday (11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) VyStar Credit Union
- The first floor of the museum, including the Atrium Gallery, is always free to the public.
Phone no: (904) 366-6911
6. Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
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The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens stands as a harmonious blend of art and nature. With a collection boasting over 5,000 works of art encompassing paintings, sculptures, and photography, it’s a haven for art enthusiasts.
The museum doesn’t just stop at displaying art; it breathes life into it through various events and exhibitions held throughout the year. A visit here isn’t complete without a stroll through the stunning riverside gardens, home to a diverse range of Florida’s native flora, meticulously designed to offer visitors a tranquil retreat.
For those keen on a richer experience, the museum offers guided tours of its art collection and gardens, which can be arranged in advance, allowing a deeper appreciation of the pieces and horticulture on display. The Cummer Museum is indeed a place where every corner has a story waiting to be told, and every visit leaves one with a sense of awe and a longing to return.
Address: 829 Riverside Avenue Jacksonville
- Monday (CLOSED)
- Tuesday, Friday (11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
- Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
- Sunday (12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.)
- Free : Children (Ages 5 and under), First Responders & Healthcare Workers with ID
- $10 : Students (Ages 6-17), Seniors, Military, College students with ID on weekends
- $15 : Adults:
- Free : College Students (Tues – Fri)
Phone no: (904) 356-6857
7. Friendship Fountain
Friendship Fountain, located in St. Johns River Park, has been more than just a fountain since its installation in 1965; it’s a symbol of Jacksonville’s charm.
Known for its mesmerizing sunset views, the fountain has become a popular spot for wedding photos. The beauty of this place is enhanced by the surrounding landscaping, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle of the city.
The fountain area is wheelchair accessible, allowing everyone to enjoy its calm. Beyond the fountain, St. Johns River Park extends an invitation to explore various other attractions and activities, making it a venue where the day passes by in a series of memorable moments.
Address: 1015 Museum Circle Jacksonville
Operating Hours: open 24 hours
Phone no: (904) 630-2489
8. Fort Caroline National Memorial
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This national memorial is a historic site commemorating the French Huguenot settlement of 1564. Although it is only a replica fort (because the original one was completely destroyed by the Spanish back then), the Fort Caroline National Memorial still gives you an accurate idea of what the original fort looked like. It also features a 1.3-mile nature trail, a museum, andFort Caroline National Memorial is a tribute to the French Huguenot settlement of 1564, albeit through a replica fort. The memorial extends a canvas of educational experiences through programs for schools and groups.
A 1.3-mile nature trail winds through the memorial, allowing visitors to spot native Florida wildlife, a replica of a Timucua hut, complete with an in-progress canoe.
The narrative of Florida’s history and the Timucua people is well encapsulated in the memorial and the nearby Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, which offers gateways to outdoor adventures.
Each visit to the memorial and its surrounding preserve is a step back in time, opening pages of history that shaped the region.
Admission is free, and it’s open daily from 9 AM to 4:45 PM. Although, you might want to schedule your visit here on weekends (between 11 AM to 3 PM) because this is the only time that the Park Rangers allow people to enter the Plantation house.
Address: Arlington, Jacksonville
Operating Hours: Opens Wednesday – Sunday (9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Phone no: (904) 641-7155
9. Little Talbot Island State Park
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Little Talbot Island State Park is a slice of natural paradise amidst the urban sprawl. The barrier island offers pristine beaches with views of the Atlantic Ocean and various hiking trails perfect for bird-watching. The park has a picnic area and a playground, making it a family-friendly destination.
The wildlife here is diverse, with deer, raccoons, and various bird species calling it home. Being part of the Florida State Parks system, Little Talbot Island is a precursor to exploring other parks and trails within the network.
The calm ambiance of the park, paired with its natural beauty, makes it a perfect getaway for those seeking a peaceful retreat.
Address: 12157 Heckscher Drive Jacksonville
Operating Hours: Open daily (from 8 a.m. to sunset)
- $5 per vehicle (up to eight people).
- $4 single-occupant vehicle.
- $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Phone no: (904) 251-2320
10. Kingsley Plantation
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Kingsley Plantation is a journey through time, recounting the lives of the enslaved people who toiled on this 19th-century plantation. Various tours are available, each offering a unique perspective on the plantation’s history.
The plantation hosts educational programs, providing a deeper insight for schools and groups. Among the historic buildings on the site are a church, a schoolhouse, and several slave cabins, each narrating a part of the plantation’s past.
Kingsley Plantation is a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, which enriches the narrative through outdoor activities and exploration opportunities.
Each visit to the Kingsley Plantation is a lesson in history, honoring the memories of those who once lived and worked on these grounds.
If you want to visit Kingsley Plantation, it is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. You can also check out their calendar here for special events.
Address: 11676 Palmetto Ave. Jacksonville
Operating Hours: Opens Wednesday – Sunday (9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Phone no: (904) 251-3537
11. St. John Town Center
Regarded as a shopping mecca in Jacksonville, St. John Town Center is a sprawling 2.6 million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex that houses over 175 retailers. The complex extends its offerings to more than 20 restaurants, ensuring a diverse culinary experience for its visitors.
With three hotels on-site, it’s a self-contained haven for those looking to indulge in retail therapy, savor delicious meals, and enjoy vibrant events throughout the year.
The open-air design of the center, coupled with its outdoor dining and shopping area, makes it a popular venue for outdoor concerts and events, enriching the city’s social scene.
Address: 4663 River City Dr, Jacksonville
- Sunday (11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
- Monday – Thursday (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
- Friday – Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Phone no: (904) 998-7156
12. The Beaches
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Jacksonville’s coastline is adorned with beautiful beaches, each offering a slice of paradise with its sandy shores and clear waters. Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach are among the favorites, providing a backdrop for numerous aquatic adventures, including fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, and scuba diving.
The beaches transform into vibrant social hubs with their lineup of bars, cafes, restaurants, and activity shops. Open 24/7, they offer unrestricted access to serene beach experiences, although a curfew on alcohol post-midnight ensures a peaceful ambiance.
13. The Florida Theatre
The Florida Theatre, with its establishment dating back to 1938, holds a special place in Jacksonville’s downtown. This historic venue has been a host to a myriad of shows and performances spanning comedy, music, dance, and more, making it a popular spot for both local and touring artists.
The theatre’s calendar has various events, each promising a unique cultural experience. With every performance, the Florida Theatre contributes to Jacksonville’s rich history and vibrant arts scene.
Check out their lineup of activities and events so you can schedule your visit in time with an awesome show or performance.
Address: 128 East Forsyth Street Jacksonville
Operating Hours: varies depending on the event showcased
Phone no: (904)355-5661
14. TIAA Bank Field
Home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, this stadium also hosts NFL games, concerts, as well as other events. However, if you’re not visiting for the events, you can also check out TIAA Bank Field for its playgrounds, sparkling pools, and open picnic spaces, or the adjacent Daily’s Place for concerts and other performances.
TIAA Bank Field, the revered home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, is much more than a stadium. It’s a venue that brings many events to life, from NFL games to concerts and family events.
The modern amenities, such as playgrounds, pools, and open picnic spaces, amplify the visitor experience, making it a venue that caters to a broad spectrum of interests.
The adjacent Daily’s Place further enriches the entertainment offerings with its schedule of concerts and other performances, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening around.
If you’re interested in watching the Jaguars play on their turf and going wild with the lively local fans, check out their schedules here to time with your visit.
Address: 1 TIAA Bank Field Drive, Jacksonville
Operating Hours: depends on the event being showcased
Phone no: (904) 633-6100
15. Jax Ale Trail
The Jax Ale Trail offers a self-guided tour through Jacksonville’s flourishing craft beer scene. At participating breweries or pubs, visitors can pick up a Jax Ale Trail Passport, a gateway to exploring the city’s brewed delights.
With each brewery visit, the passport accumulates stamps, and on collecting a certain number, visitors earn enticing prizes such as a t-shirt and a koozie.
Beyond just a beer-tasting expedition, the Jax Ale Trail provides a fun and engaging way to explore the city and celebrate the craftsmanship of local brewers.
In conclusion, whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, or just having fun, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Jacksonville. These 15 attractions are just the beginning of all that this vibrant city has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the best kid-friendly attractions in Jax include the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the Catty Shack Ranch, the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, The Museum of Science and History, The Little Talbot Island, and any of the 3 major beaches. These places are very entertaining and they offer plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy.
You can check out the beaches anytime. They are available all year round. However, conditions do vary and what they offer might be different from what you need. For example, if you’re a pro or mid-level surfer and you’re heading to the beach to catch some great waves, it’s best to go during the colder months. While there are still some waves to catch during summer, they’re not going to be as big as the waves during winter.
If you’re looking for attractions in Jax that don’t cost anything, you can go to the beaches, the Friendship fountain, and the museums. Nearly all museums in Jax are free. The beaches are open to the public and unless you’re availing of any special service, you don’t need to pay for anything. The same goes for the Friendship fountain. You can just watch and take photos at the fountain free of charge.
Jacksonville offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, fishing, kayaking, and exploring the city’s green areas, parks, and beaches.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) are two of the top museums to visit in Jacksonville.
Some of the best parks and playgrounds in Jacksonville include Pumpkin Hill Creek Park, George Crady Fishing Pier, Olustee State Park, Amelia Island State Park, and the Jacksonville Arboretum.
Jacksonville offers a range of water activities, such as surfing, swimming, fishing, boating, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The city also has diving and fishing reefs for those interested in exploring the underwater world.