The San Marco Neighborhood
Spend the day shopping and dining in San Marco on the Southbank.
Located just minutes away from Downtown's Southbank is the historic neighborhood of San Marco. Stroll along San Marco Square and you'll discover incredible dining, upscale trendy clothing boutiques, and sensational art galleries. The San Marco dinner theatre and Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest community theatre in the country dating back to 1938, are also located within the square. Riverfront park in San Marco is a wonderful location for city views, especially during the sunset. If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the Petebrooke Chocolatier store!
Don't miss the San Marco fountain of lions, which reflect the neighborhood's association with the Venice, Italy business district. Save your appetite and visit the new San Marco dining district, it includes some of Jacksonville’s best restaurants including bb’s, The Grotto, Indochine, and Maple Street Biscuit Company. Don't stop at just dinner, the area is emerging with nightlight hot spots like Grape and Grain Exchange, Le Bar at Bistro AIX, The Parlour, Sidecar and one of the seven local breweries, Aarrdwolf Brewing Company.
Getting Here from Downtown: Take the Acosta Bridge south across the river. Exit onto San Marco Boulevard and continue for a mile. Arrive at the San Marco Square. Free parking is available.
5 Don't-Miss Attractions in San Marco
1. Watch the Sunset at Riverfront Park
This acre-long park along a quiet San Marco block gives visitors a perfect location to watch the sunset and spot dolphins and even manatees on the River. Riverfront Park has a few benches and parking along the road. Popular with fishermen, the small yet perfectly situated park is a prime spot for a lazy afternoon. Other frequently visited spots for sunset lovers are the Jim Rink Park and the Greenscape Celebration Park in San Marco.
2. Dinner and a Movie at the San Marco Theater
This is one of two places in town where you can enjoy dinner, drinks, and a movie. Built in 1938, the San Marco Theater has been restored to reflect its golden years and it is a now a popular destination for families and couples looking for a unique night out. The menu includes freshly made pizzas, paninis, quesadillas, and a great beer and wine selection.
3. The San Marco Art Festival
Celebrate with two days of art in the streets as San Marco Boulevard closes to traffic and opens to art lovers. Vendors from across the nation gather in the historic San Marco Square to show sculptures, paintings, pottery and jewelry. The San Marco Art Festival festival is free and open to the public, it takes place in April and then again in November.
4. The San Marco Dinner District
Some of Jacksonville’s most exciting dining options are located in this neighborhood. Bistro AIX offers rustic French flavors with a modern and elegant twist, it is one of the city’s dining gems, locally owned and operated since 1999. In the heart of the San Marco Square, visitors can find Taverna, established in 2009, this restaurant specializes in seasonal European cuisine. The atmosphere is rustic yet sophisticated. When it comes to upscale dinning, Matthew's offers a diverse and elegant menu showcasing local ingredients. Matthew's Restaurant has been a recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Restaurants award each year since 1999.
5. Aardwolf Brewing Company
Aardwolf Brewing Company offers a taproom and brewery just minutes from the heart of Downtown. Take a step back in time as you step into Aardwolf's Taproom, a renovated ice house from the early to mid 1930's located in the historic San Marco area. Every Wednesday the crew releases a new pilot batch beer, be the first to try it!
Top 6 Things to Do in San Marco Square in 2016
Annual Tree Lighting in Balis Park. The first Friday in December at 6 PM join neighbors and merchants as they light up Balis Park for the annual tree lighting ceremony. Celebrate the season for some delicious bites from BBQ, a festive holiday cocktail, brews from Aardwolf Brewery, LIVE MUSIC and store discounts!
Bash in Balis Halloween/Florida v Georgia. Halloween weekend and on the eve of the infamous Florida v Georgia football game, San Marco has a “Bash in Balis.” The park will rock live music, games, food and drinks from Grape & Grain Exchange from 5 p.m. til after dark. Remember to where your Orange or Red to support your favorite team!
Storytime in Balis Park. Held on the second Saturday of each month. San Marco Bookstore presents a new story to children and parents from 10 to 11 a.m. in Balis Park. Sometimes the author or characters from the book will join in on the fun!
Wine & Chocolate Run. Sponsored by Peterbrooke and 1st Place Sports. Exactly what you think: Running, Wine and Chocolate. It’s the sweetest 5K in Jacksonville. April 23rd the run starts at 6 p.m. and the wine and chocolate will last all night long!
First Friday Acoustic Night in Balis Park. After a busy work week, stop into the San Marco Dining District for date night. Next head to Balis Park for live music, dancing or relaxing the first Friday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. in #MySanMarco
THE FEAST OF CARNEVALE San Marco Merchants Association invites the community to celebrate San Marco’s 90th Birthday: Feast of Carnevale. Sunday, October 9, 2016. 150 guests will delight their senses at a banquet-style feast in the heart of San Marco while reveling in the rich history and raising a glass to 90 years of community. To mark this milestone occasion, banquet fare will be prepared by the acclaimed chefs of The San Marco Dining District; Chef Matthew Medure (Matthew’s), Chef Sam Efron (Taverna), Chef Wesley Nogueira (bb’s Restaurant) and Chef Chris Cohen (Bistro Aix). The alfresco dinner will take place in the stunningly renovated Balis Park, the centerpiece of San Marco Square. The exclusive event is expected to sell out, and those wishing to take part in this unique celebration are urged to get their tickets early. Banquet tickets will be available at www.mysanmarco.com.