Jacksonville surprises with its variety of “eclectic” shopping options.
I don’t think most visitors have any idea of the variety of shopping experiences that await you in a city that “does its own thing” like Jacksonville. From arts markets, trendy local boutiques and weekend flea markets, this city will happily help you shop until you literally drop while filling your suitcase with locally made goods.
To be honest, I am not your average shopper, while malls serve a purpose for me, if I want to “enjoy” a day of explorative shopping I’m looking for the unique piece of art, the funky handmade earrings, the unbelievable deal, etc. I love to bargain hunt for most things and then spend ridiculously on my dogs or nieces.
If it’s Saturday, I recommend starting at the Riverside Arts Market, or RAM as it’s better known, found under the Fuller Warren Bridge (I-95) in Riverside. This Saturday market which runs from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., rain or shine, features a variety of small businesses from farmers to artists to makers and bakers. The food vendors are always amazing and the musical performers – who perform on a stage with the backdrop of the city skyline and the St. Johns River – are always great. Grab a snack and sit and listen! Jacksonville’s creative side comes out to play here and with probably close to 100 vendors it’s not hard to find things you’ll love. RAM is super family and dog-friendly, so bring the whole family along to explore.
Retail Goes Green
Not far from RAM, located in the Railyard District, is one of the most unique stores I have ever had the opportunity to explore – Eco Relics. This one-of-a-kind antiques store is “committed to reducing waste, repurposing supplies, and providing reclaimed and discount building materials to our community.” They clean out buildings being renovated or torn down and resell the items in this huge store. Anything from antique doorknobs, reclaimed wood, bath tubs, furniture, you name it! They also have their own woodworking shop and use their products to create beautiful pieces. Even if you aren’t remodeling, it’s inspirational just to explore the store and consider all that is there! I highly recommend a walk through the building.
Now if you want to find the real deal of the day and a one of a kind experience, then one of our eclectic flea markets is where you must go. My dad has been a flea market goer for all my life and still comes home every Saturday with some amazing deal – a most recent notable purchase included a Moses clock that announces one of the ten commandments on every hour. From new to old, flea markets are for haggling, so don’t just accept the first offer. The Ramona Flea Market off I-10 has a bar and karaoke inside – and some very talented performers on Saturdays. It’s a great place to rest your legs and soak in the local culture. The Pecan Park Flea Market is the largest in the area, located just off I-95, one exit north of the airport, be sure to visit the pond of gators!
Local boutiques are a great way to find that unique trip souvenir to take home. Downtown on Laura St., Wolf & Cub is an amazing shop which they describe as “a finely curated selection of independently produced products, interesting goods for the home and beautiful things to wear for women and men.” I love their handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, fun hand-screen printed Jacksonville and Jaguars t-shirts, and other unique finds I might encounter. Sailor’s Siren, found in the Beaches Town Center in Neptune Beach, celebrates the “salty Southern life”. This beautiful beachy boutique is the perfect place to find a gift for a friend (or yourself, I mean c’mon). Located on Edgewood Ave in Murray Hill, swing through Momni Boutique for “high fashion style that pushes the boundaries of small-town trends” and pick up super cute fashions for women. Just north on Edgewood swing into Grater Goods, Jacksonville’s only stand-alone cheese shop! They have lots of fun cheese related products and gifts, as well.
If antiques are more up your alley then you MUST stop at Avonlea Antiques, a 40,000 sq. ft. mall on the Southside of the city. They feature about 200 different antique dealers inside the space and even have a great café onsite. I picked up the most amazing antique chandelier to dress up my dining room! It’s a great stop for an afternoon of antiquing!
Throughout the year, the makers community in Jax is busy and on several different weekends you can find pop-up makers markets around the city! These are especially popular around the holidays. Watch Visit Jacksonville’s event calendar for more details on when these are happening and plan your shopping getaway. A day trip will never be enough!