The first half of 2021 was a busy one for the Jacksonville area with many new, exciting openings of hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions. Here’s a rundown of on-going and upcoming events as well as highlights of what’s new in Jacksonville:
On-going and special events are returning, and highlights are included below. Check the Visit Jacksonville events page for a comprehensive look at big events in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Sharks now through July 31
Seussical the Musical at Alhambra Theatre & Dining now through Aug. 1
Imagination Squared at MOCA now through Aug. 8
Illumizoo at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens now through Aug. 27
The Lost World of Dragons at MOSH now through Sept. 6
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp now through Sept. 19
Brad Paisley with Jimmie Allen and Kameron Marlow at Daily’s Place, July 8
TPA Fest at The Performers Academy, July 9 and 10
First Day Out Musical Festival at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, July 10
Summer Movie Classics: Toy Story at the Florida Theatre, July 11
Jacksonville Taco Festival at TIAA Bank Field, July 17
904 Pop Up at Seawalk Pavilion, July 18
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at FSCJ Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts, July 23-Aug. 1
Don’t Miss A Beat Jazz Festival at Woodstock Park, July 24
Jacksonville Seafood Festival at Northbank Riverwalk Artists Square, July 25
National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at the University of North Florida, July 26 – Aug. 1
Those planning a vacation, meeting or special event in the Jacksonville-area have a handful of new hotels to choose from:
Margaritaville Beach Hotel is an island-inspired getaway in the heart of Jacksonville Beach. With premium accommodations, on-site drinks and dining and an abundance of laid-back luxury, the venue exudes an island state of mind. The 1,725 square feet of meeting space is ideal for business meetings, corporate events, family reunions, birthdays and more.
Residence Inn Jacksonville - Mayo Clinic Area is a pet-friendly hotel, a convenient three minutes from the Mayo Clinic with a complementary shuttle. With more than 4,100 square feet of flexible meeting and outdoor space for up to 120 people, the venue is perfect for individual or small groups.
Element by Westin Jacksonville Beach is an eco-friendly hotel with a focus on sustainability and wellness. Located within walking distance of the beach, the property also offers complimentary bikes for guests to use during their stay.
Comfort Inn & Suites Jacksonville - Orange Park is conveniently located off I-295 near the Orange Park Mall and Naval Air Station.
Tru by Hilton South Mandarin is close to shopping and numerous eateries with easy access to I-295.
WoodSpring Suites Jacksonville Campfield Commons offers extended stay accommodations close to the St. Johns Town Center and University of North Florida.
Restaurants, coffee and specialty food
The Jacksonville food scene is thriving with more than 50 restaurants, coffee and specialty food shops opening so far this year. Some savory highlights include:
Bread & Burger and Estrella Cocina: Jonathan Cobbs and Dwayne Beliakoff brought two new concepts to VyStar Credit Union’s Downtown campus, Bread & Burger and Estrella Cocina each offer unique scenery and delectable menu items. Bread & Burger is housed in a renovated shipping container in the breezeway of the VyStar campus, while Estrella Cocina is the latest in rooftop dining with a bar and lounge. Coming soon to the same area is the third location of The Bread & Board restaurant, and The Bread & Board Provisions, a downtown marketplace that will feature locally sourced goods, produce, coffee, beer, fresh flowers and a wide selection of freshly made grab-and-go food.
Randeez Nutz: Air Force veteran and Jacksonville native Randy Waters grew his boiled peanut brand from road-side tent to restaurant with the opening of Randeez Nutz. The restaurant offers Randeez signature boiled peanuts in a variety of flavors such as Korean BBQ and Cajun, as well as other southern staples like red beans & rice and fried green tomatoes.
Silkie’s Chicken & Champagne Bar: Chef Kenny Gilbert’s famed fried chicken, biscuits and champagne cocktails are now available in the historic Springfield neighborhood. The menu created by the former Top Chef contestant features unique twists on favorites including jalapeno cheddar drop biscuits, watermelon lychee salad and jerk chicken tacos.
Crazy Beans Coffee: Located in JTA’s Regional Transportation Center, Crazy Beans Coffee is believed to be the first new restaurant to open in the LaVilla area of Jacksonville in nearly 15 years. Owned by brothers Edgar and Herbert Bartley, the café offers delectable delicacies, breakfast and lunch options that are the creation of pastry chef and chocolatier Erika Cline.
Vegan Café Jax: Vegan chef Mat Bardroff and his sister, Jenna, opened their eatery in St. Nicholas to showcase healthy food that is both nutritious and delicious. The menu features a variety of items, all 100 percent vegan, including mac & cheese, sandwiches and a variety of desserts.
Listed below are some additional restaurants, coffee and specialty food shops that have opened since January:
51 Comfort Cookhouse Event Gardens & Food Truck
904 Sports Bar & Grill
Anejo Cocina Riverside
Back to the Grind
Banana Leaf Asian Bistro
BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi Brooklyn
Bee Friends Farm
Blue Bamboo Canton Bistro
Cantina Louie – Monument
Carol’s House of Sweets
Deb & Darrell’s Hometown Sweets
Fancy Sushi & Grill
Fast Eddy’s Quick Mideast
Fla Juice & Bowl – San Marco
Garden Truck Foods
Grounds of Grace
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice Jacksonville Beach
LandShark Bar & Grill
Los Andes Restaurant
NomNom Boba T
Oakleaf Slice Pizza and Pasta
Obscura Social House
Paleteria Magia Fresca
Paris Banh Mi Café Bakery
Prospect Five Points
Southern Grounds – Avondale
The Baker’s Son by Valerio’s
The Bearded Pig BBQ Jacksonville Beach
The Muse Bourbon Bar and Grill
The Snout Snug Creamery
The Water Bar by AlkaVita
Umami Asian Grill & Sushi
Windy Hill Chocolate
Xtreme Wings Sports Grille
New attractions, tours and spaces
Jacksonville is open and many new businesses are ready to help you have fun and explore the city:
Art Bikes Jax explore Jacksonville’s art scene while riding an electric bike that has been decorated by a local artist.
Dockless Mobility Program offers e-scooters, e-bicycles and dockless bicycles for rent in Downtown via smartphone applications.
Jacksonville Pub Walks features a theme and different character guide each Friday night as guests visit pubs and learn about Jacksonville.
Seaside Slingshots offers rentals of the three-wheeled slingshot motorcycle to help you explore the city.
Tour Jax is a walking tour company highlighting the beautiful art throughout individual neighborhoods.
Additional new options of places to explore and things to do include:
Atlantic Beach Art Republic murals
Blue Cypress Golf Course
Leaf Meditation & Yoga
Protype Escape Games
Selfie Photography Studio
Selfie World Jacksonville
Sterlings on the Water
The Greenhouse Playhouse
About Visit Jacksonville
Visit Jacksonville is a Destinations International accredited Destination Marketing Organization contracted by the Duval County Tourist Development Council (TDC) to champion the growth of business and leisure tourism in Jacksonville. For a closer look at all there is to see and do in Jacksonville, go to http://www.VisitJacksonville.com or contact 800-733-2668.