Valentine's Day Staff Picks

Valentine’s Day is giving us the warm and fuzzies this season. Whether enjoying the beautiful parks, romantic restaurants or fun attractions, Jacksonville is full of spots for you to enjoy in the season of love.

The Visit Jax team loves (like really loves) Jacksonville, and we picked some of our favorite hidden gems, date night spots and phenomenal restaurants to enjoy with your best friends, partners or anyone you love!


If you’re looking for fun architecture, bright décor and some of the best sweets around then spend your next date night learning how to make lollipops! Rachel, our Assistant Convention Services Manager says: “Sweet Pete’s is such a great hidden gem of Jax because there’s a little bit of something for everyone. We all have a sweet tooth and can do anything from participating in their booze and candy making classes to picking out our favorite flavor of ice cream. Their homemade sea salted caramels are to die for and if that isn’t your thing, check out their homemade chocolate bars! We all imagined going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory as a kid and this is the way do it in our own backyard.”

Rachel, Assistant Convention Services Manager


Our foodie town is a haven for lovers of great food and local atmosphere. Our COO’s favorite spot? Picasso’s in the Mandarin neighborhood. Sarina says: “My two most favorite things on the menu- the Pizza a la Blanco and the Coconut Pecan Cake. All of the desserts are made fresh by Pastry Chef “Mama” Evans. They have a chalkboard with an amazing wine selection including varieties that you cannot really find anywhere else in Jax. Sometimes I just stop by for a slice of the coconut cake to go!"

Sarina, Chief Operating Officer


Jacksonville is a dog-friendly destination from the beaches to the parks and everywhere in between! Our Sports Sales Manager Tom’s best friend (Linkin, the chihuahua-dachshund mix) is a regular at Brewhound. Tom: “After a long week at the office, the last thing I want to do is leave my dog at home all weekend. That’s what makes Brewhound such a cool spot. The people-friendly dog park has fountains, Adirondack chairs, and a great grass lawn dogs of all sizes can run around in. You can enjoy a great selection of local beers or a cappuccino while hanging out with your friends and their pups!”

Tom, Senior National Account Manager


If you’re looking to wow a special someone, consider Doro, a romantic New American restaurant steps from Atlantic Beach. Our Communciations Manager, Patty loves it! “This Neptune Beach gem is super intimate and very romantic. Practically everyone there is on a date night! The menu is creative, delicious and they accommodate dietary restrictions. You can sit on the chef’s counter and watch him prepare your food right in front of you. Dinner and a show!”

Patty winters
Patty, Communications Manager


Step back in time to a speakeasy that makes you feel like a rum runner in the original 20’s. Take a date and enjoy a drink in the prohibition-themed space. Our Services Team Manager Becky says: “The Volstead is my go-to for creative craft cocktails where the bartenders love showing off their skills. The speakeasy atmosphere is great to relax and enjoy good conversation or live music. I enjoy the old movies they show on the wall and they also have a courtyard out back to enjoy the good Florida weather.”

Becky, Senior Manager of Convention Services


One of the best things about Jacksonville are the experiences hidden behind nondescript buildings. Our Finance Director Brian loves a delicious yet low-key breakfast or lunch date by grabbing a pita or sandwich from Russ Doe’s near the Sports Complex. Don’t forget your cash, since Russ Doe’s is cash-only. “Make sure to order a Russ Doe’s Special, which has seasoned ground beef and your choice of toppings in a pita. You can’t go here without getting a slice of pie from the homemade dessert menu. With a drink, lunch will run you under $10.”

Brian fike
Brian, Director of Finance and Administration


If your valentine is the quiet, thoughtful type bring them for a stroll and picnic in the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. Our Marketing VP Katie: “The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is such a hidden gem! Located just minutes away from Downtown in Arlington and tucked into a location you might miss if you didn't use GPS is this wonderland of trails - each of which is unique. I love to take my dogs there for trail walks. The Arboretum is great for all, there are even paved trails for those with accessibility issues.”

Katie mitura
Katie, VP of Marketing & Communications
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