Arts, Culture, Music--Sans the Snobs

Jacksonville is one artistic city. We have something for everyone whether you enjoy performing arts, galleries, live music or museums.

Take a look at our suggestions below, if you have questions along the way ask a local their advice!

Things To Do

Start off your day with a stop at one of the most visited museums in the Southeastern Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. They are the second largest art museum in Florida and has received international recognition for their Old Master and American paintings, beautiful formal gardens and renowned collection of Meissen porcelain, as well as their art education center. If you are here on Tuesday, it's free admission day!

The Ritz Theatre and Museum celebrates the rich legacy of the African-American community that thrived in LaVilla for more than 100 years. The theatre and museum are revered as the premiere cultural institution in Jacksonville, Florida, showcasing art, music, drama, poetry, and African American history. Theatre Jacksonville, the oldest continuously operating community theater in the country, and Players by the Sea, where local playwrights, solo performance artists and groups of young actors perform personal projects, along with a balance of traditional and contemporary works.

Standing proudly at the entrance to the historic neighborhood of Springfield is the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. One of seven in the country, the museum maintains permanent and rotating exhibits of original documents, letter collections, notes and drafts of famous writings. The museum is housed in the 1921 home of the First Church of Christ Scientists, a delight to visit in its own merit. Live musics and shows are not hard to find while in Jacksonville. Elvis Presley made his first appearance in an indoor theater in Florida in 1956 at the Florida Theatre. This Theater proudly hosts a variety of performances in the grand style of the bygone days and is a Jacksonville treasure on the National Register of Historic Places.

Only In JAX

Experience the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) in the heart of Downtown. MOCA Jacksonville is one of the largest modern and contemporary art museum in the Southeast. The permanent collection consists of more than 700 works in a wide range of media, representing prominent national and international artists of the 20th and 21st century. While you are there, stop and enjoy an artistically inspired meal at Cafe Nola located inside the museum.

Continue exploring Downtown; tour the "Off the Grid" Galleries. These unique galleries and studios showcase up-and-coming artists, allowing them to create temporary galleries in unused storefronts in the urban district. Craving more art? Head over to Riverside for a drive by of Cork Arts District an 80,000+ square feet warehouse centered around artist studios and galleries. Check to see if they have an upcoming event. Looking for evening of fun? How about a show at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre the oldest dinner theatre in the country? The theatre has performances year round.

Timing Is Everything

Music fills the streets every Memorial Day weekend with the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Top Jazz performers will play on four different stages in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville.

If you’re here on a Saturday stroll down the riverwalk to the Riverside Arts Market. RAM, as it’s known around here, offers an amazing arts and entertainment venue to Northeast Florida. Unprecedented in size and scope, RAM provides a dependable marketplace for artists to sell their creations weekly, as well as providing a marvelous family entertainment destination each weekend on the St. Johns River.

Don’t miss our performing arts, who’s in season while you’re here? For the evening, relax to the sounds of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for world-class entertainment. JSO is the largest orchestra in the state of Florida. In season, FSCJ ARTIST SERIES presents popular Broadway shows at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. Fifteen blocks of Downtown come alive during the first Wednesday of the month with Downtown’s Art Walk. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the eclectic art bazar showcasing Jacksonville’s best artist and musicians.

About the Author