Downtown Jacksonville, also known to the locals as DTJax, is the central business district of the city and has a wide range of activities for visitors and locals to enjoy. If you are currently residing in DTJax or planning to take a trip there, here are some of the top things to do in Downtown Jacksonville.
Things To Do in Downtown Jacksonville Florida
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA, affiliated with the University of North Florida, is one of the Southeast’s most significant contemporary art institutions. Located in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, the museum boasts a permanent collection of over 800 works, focusing on artists from the Southeastern United States.
Its rotating exhibits showcase a variety of contemporary art forms, including paintings, sculptures, and multimedia works from nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. MOCA Jacksonville is notable for its Project Atrium series, which features site-specific and site-sensitive installations by emerging and mid-career artists.
Every first and third Wednesday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m., the museum hosts an Art Walk, offering free access to explore temporary exhibitions after hours.
The Atrium Gallery on the first floor is always open to the public for free. Various events and programs occur throughout the year, such as VyStar Free Saturdays, Kids Free November, Coffee with a Curator, MOCA Movie Night, Brunch and Learn, and MOCA Mini Market.
Museum Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 noon to 5 p.m.
Museum Nights: every first and third Wednesday 5 – 9 p.m.
- $8 – adults;
- $5 – seniors, military, students, children (6-18 yo)
- Free – children 5 and below
* The first floor of the museum, including the Atrium Gallery, is always free to the public.
* Saturdays are free admission thanks to the generous support of VyStar Credit Union.
Visit the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, situated in nearby Riverside, houses an expansive collection of over 5,000 works of art dating from 2100 BCE to the present day.
The museum’s gardens extend over more than 2.5 acres, featuring both formal and informal gardens with a century-old oak tree as a highlight. The Cummer Cafe provides a delightful break for guests.
The museum conducts various tours, including guided tours of the gardens, art, and architecture, alongside self-guided audio tours.
Museum Hours: CLOSED on Mondays
- 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Friday
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday
- 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
- $15 – adults;
- $10 – seniors, military, students, children (6-17 yo)
- Free – children 5 and below
Tour the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
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The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is home to over 2,000 animals and features exhibits such as the African savannah, the Range of the Jaguar, and the Australian Outback.
For an engaging experience, the zoo provides a Nature Agent Compass Rental for ages four and up, offering a fun and interactive way to explore the zoo. A Total Experience package is available that provides access to featured exhibits.
Zoo Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Ticket Prices depend on the package you are availing of, plus the age of the visitor and the date of the visit.
- General Admission: $25 to $35
- Total Experience (includes access to featured exhibits): $28 to $45
- Nature Agent Compass Rental (for ages 4 and up): $12
Stroll through the Riverside Arts Market
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The Riverside Arts Market takes place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. under the Fuller Warren Bridge, showcasing the work of local artists, craftspeople, farmers, and food vendors.
This market is a perfect venue to support local industries and enjoy live music, food, and unique items such as handmade jewelry and fresh produce. It serves as an economic outlet and communal gathering, promoting local products weekly.
If you are by the riverside on a Saturday, show some love by buying local products and crafts from the Riverside Arts Market.
Address: 715 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville
Open Hours: Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Take a river cruise
Downtown Jacksonville presents an array of river cruises on the St. Johns River, with options ranging from sightseeing and dinner cruises to sunset cruises.
These cruises offer spectacular views of the city skyline and historic landmarks. St. Johns River Taxi provides various tours and charters, including sunset cruises, field trips, and scout excursions.
Amelia River Cruises & Charters offers narrated tours of Cumberland Island and Amelia Island, while Lucky Dolphin Tours specializes in dolphin-watching tours and sunset cruises.
If it is your first time visiting DTJax, remember to take at least one river cruise. You can choose between luxury river cruises or just regular river taxi services. Either way, you must enjoy the beauty of St Johns River before leaving Jax.
Address: 245 Riverside Ave #300, Riverside
Open hours: Tuesday to Thursday 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Phone no: (904) 860-8294
Enjoy a concert or sporting event at TIAA Bank Field
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TIAA Bank Field, home to the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team, is a hub for excitement, with various events held throughout the year, including the annual Florida-Georgia football game.
If you are a football fan and want to see how the Jaguars and the lively local fans go wild during Football nights, you can come and see the game at the TIAA Bank Field. Just check out the game schedules here.
Next to it, Daily’s Place Amphitheater keeps the energy alive with its lineup of concerts and other events. With seating options such as club seats, suites, and cabanas, every event promises a memorable experience.
Address: 1 TIAA Bank Field Dr, Jacksonville
Phone no: (904)-633-2000
Visit the Veterans Memorial Wall Park
The Veterans Memorial Wall Park is a significant historical attraction in Jacksonville, along the St. Johns River. It houses several memorials, including a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Five Star Veterans Memorial, honoring the five branches of the military. The park, apart from being a remembrance site, hosts events such as the annual Veterans Day Parade..
Address: 1145 E Adams St, Jacksonville
Open Hours: Open daily 24 hrs
Admission Fee: No entrance fee (open to the public)
Attend a performance at the Florida Theatre
The Florida Theatre, a historic venue in Downtown Jax, is a cultural hotspot hosting various concerts, plays, comedy shows, and other events throughout the year. Backstage tours are available for those interested in exploring the theatre’s history and architecture. Various seating options, including balcony and box seats, ensure a unique viewing experience for every performance.
If you want to catch a concert and enjoy a classic taste of old Jax, see all the upcoming events in the Florida Theatre here. Ticket prices and opening hours vary depending on the events.
Address: 128 E Forsyth St #300, Jacksonville
Phone no: (904) 355-2787
Visit the Friendship Fountain
The Friendship Fountain, positioned at the west end of the Southbank Riverwalk, is a frequently photographed landmark in Jacksonville. Established in 1965, this fountain embodies the city’s dedication to nurturing friendship and unity.
A significant renovation in 2011, costing $3.2 million, introduced a new LED lighting system that elevates the visual allure of its water displays. Its proximity to various eateries and attractions makes it an appealing starting point for venturing into the Southbank area.
- Address: 1015 Museum Cir, Jacksonville
- Open Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk
- Admission Fee: No entrance fee (open to the public)
Explore the Jacksonville Riverwalk
Jacksonville Riverwalks, comprising pedestrian paths along the north and south banks of the St. Johns River, offer a tranquil escape amidst urban settings. These paths provide access to attractions such as the Friendship Fountain, the Museum of Science & History, and the Jacksonville Landing. They lead to several parks, including Treaty Oak Park and Jesse Ball DuPont Park, offering a mix of natural and urban explorations.
- Address: Southbank Riverwalk, 1001 Museum Cir, Jacksonville | Northbank Riverwalk, 2 W Independent Dr, Jacksonville
- Open Hours: Open daily, accessible all hours
- Admission Fee: No entrance fee (open to the public)
Visit the Museum of Science & History
Close to the Riverwalk, the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) awaits with a myriad of interactive exhibits spanning science, history, and culture.
The Bryan-Gooding Planetarium within MOSH presents daily shows, with laser light shows set to music being a highlight. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the rooftop observatory welcomes the public, offering a glimpse of the night sky through telescopes.
Various educational programs, including summer camps, homeschool classes, and scout programs, make MOSH a center of engaging and educational activities.
- Address: 1025 Museum Cir, Jacksonville
- Open Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Admission Fee: Varies, check the website for details
- Website: Museum of Science & History
In conclusion, Downtown Jacksonville offers a wide range of activities for visitors, including art museums, outdoor markets, river cruises, and historic neighborhoods. Whether you’re interested in shopping, dining, or exploring the city’s cultural offerings, there’s something for everyone in Downtown Jacksonville.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you want to see the main attractions in Downtown Jax, these include:
- Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA)
- TIAA Bank Field
- Florida Theatre
- Riverside Arts Market
- River taxis
There are many more attractions to be experienced here, but these are just some of the most popular.
Yes, Downtown Jax has been rated by Walk Score® with a score of 75/100. This makes DTJax very walkable, where most errands can be accomplished on foot. In short, the proximity of necessary facilities makes living in Downtown Jax relatively easy even without owning a car.
There are currently 32,950 residents in Downtown Jacksonville, around 95.13% of which are US-born citizens. Among these 32,950 residents, 49.08% are females while 50.92% are males. The median age of the residents is 38 years old.
Families can enjoy various activities in Downtown Jacksonville, such as exploring the exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, delving into books at the Downtown Jacksonville Public Library, or experiencing local culture during the Jacksonville ArtWalk.
Indeed, Downtown Jacksonville offers complimentary attractions like the iconic Friendship Fountain, the tranquil Treaty Oak Park, or a self-guided tour of the public art scattered throughout the downtown area.
Downtown Jacksonville is the venue for notable events such as the melodious Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the eclectic Riverside Arts Market, and the luminous Jacksonville Lantern Parade.
Downtown Jacksonville boasts a culinary scene with highly regarded restaurants such as Cowford Chophouse, Bellwether, and Olio, offering a range of gastronomic experiences.
In Downtown Jacksonville, visitors and locals can utilize the Jacksonville Skyway monorail or the JTA bus system to navigate the city.
For shopping enthusiasts, Downtown Jacksonville provides prime spots like the Jacksonville Landing, the bustling Hemming Park, and the artisan-focused Riverside Arts Market.