8 Fun Things to do in Jacksonville, FL, a Newcomer’s Guide


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Nestled along Florida’s Atlantic coast, Jacksonville is a city bursting with fun and adventure. Not only does it feature pristine beaches like Neptune and lush parks like Little Talbot, but it also offers a diverse range of activities for all locals and newcomers. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best fun things to do in Jacksonville. So whether you’re a resident looking for new ways to explore your city or a newcomer searching for apartments in Jacksonville, FL, get ready to be inspired by what this city offers.

Aerial Photo of Downtown Jacksonville

1. Try a cooking class

There’s no denying that cooking is a universally beloved activity. Furthermore, it’s not just about whipping up a delicious meal, but also about the joy of creating something special with your own hands. And what better way to take your culinary skills to the next level than by joining a cooking class in Jacksonville?

“Taking a cooking class with my friends and family is a blast,” says local Terri Davlantes. “JAX Cooking Studio has fun, hands-on cooking classes, and the best part—you get to cut, chop, mix, stir, and bake and never have to do dishes. I’ve learned to make French macarons and sushi in several classes. If you’re a foodie, this is an enjoyable experience.”

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2. Head to Mickler’s Landing Beach

Are you looking for a fun thing to do in Jacksonville by the water? Well, Mickler’s Landing Beach is a true hidden gem in Jacksonville waiting to be discovered. With its powdery white sand, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking views, this beach offers a truly enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Ariel and Bige Wade, wedding photographers from First & Port Photography, share, “I think Jacksonville has some of Florida’s best-kept secrets in the entire state. From the downtown views of the great Saint Johns River on the scenic Riverwalk to the Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island State Park, there seems never to be a lack of beautiful places to spend your downtime here. When it comes to our favorite fun thing to do in Jacksonville, it would have to be visiting the peaceful Mickler’s Landing Beach, where you’re guaranteed to see an incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean and, if you’re lucky, be able to pick up some shark teeth that always seem to be everywhere on the beach.”

Mother and daughter walking at the Riverside Arts Market

3. Discover the Riverside Arts Market

If you’re a fan of local arts, crafts, music, and delicious food, the Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville is the perfect destination. Additionally, this vibrant weekly event brings together a diverse range of talented artists and artisans, offering a chance to explore unique creations and support the local community.

“My favorite thing to do in Jacksonville is to go to the Riverside Arts Market,” says Minji from Community Food Waves, (communify_foodwaves on Instagram), a company that promotes conscious eating locally. “This outdoor market features local food trucks, artists, and musicians every Saturday. I love how you can enjoy the view of the St. Johns River while sampling some delicious food like gyro wraps from Fusion Food Truck and empanadas from La Bodega Original Food Stand.”

4. Take a short trip to St. Augustine 

Just a short drive from Jacksonville lies the historic city of St. Augustine, where every street corner is steeped in charm and rich history. Moreover, from its cobblestone streets and ancient forts to its quaint cafes and vibrant arts scene, St. Augustine offers an enchanting escape.

A local photographer in Jacksonville, Bethany Walter, shares, “The most picturesque place near Jacksonville is St. Augustine. There are so many incredible spots in St. Augustine. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful place to be.”

5. Wonder through Memorial Park

Memorial Park is a true oasis of peace and tranquility. This beautiful park in Jacksonville boasts lush greenery, stunning water features, and elegant statues, creating a serene environment perfect for a relaxing stroll or a picnic with loved ones.

“Memorial Park is situated along the banks of the St. Johns River and features a reflecting pool, walking paths, and several monuments honoring fallen soldiers,” says Terry James, a local photographer. “Many locals stop by to enjoy a peaceful stroll, picnic, or participate in outdoor events. The park is also popular for weddings and other special events due to its beautiful scenery and historical significance.”

Children at zoo feeding giraffe in Jacksonville

6. Visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Visiting the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is an absolute delight, making it a must-do activity in the city. Zoo’s varied animal collection, including regal lions and playful otters, reveals the awe-inspiring wonders of nature, leaving you mesmerized. In addition, visiting Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville brings joy with giraffe feeding and observing graceful butterfly dances.

7. Watch a performance at the historic Florida Theatre

A visit to the historic Florida Theatre in Jacksonville is a captivating journey into the world of arts and entertainment. This architectural gem, built in 1927, exudes a timeless charm and grandeur that sets the stage for an unforgettable experience. From Broadway musicals like “The Lion King” and “Hamilton” there are a diverse range of performances available. As you enter the ornate auditorium adorned with elegant chandeliers, the anticipation builds, and the magic unfolds before your eyes. 

8. Go camping at Huguenot Memorial park

For those who want fun things to do in Jacksonville that are perfect for summer, try camping. Embarking on a camping adventure at Huguenot Memorial Park in Jacksonville is a nature lover’s dream. Nestled along the stunning Atlantic coastline, the park offers breathtaking views that captivate the senses. And as you step outside your tent, you’re greeted by miles of pristine sandy beaches.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Ana de Guzman

Ana is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and life & style. Her dream house would be a Mediterranean style home featuring expansive windows.

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