The Downtown Area

Jacksonville's heart is in its Downtown urban core.

Graced by the beautiful St. Johns River, and minutes away from pristine white sand beaches, Downtown Jacksonville is truly unique. Cross over one of the bridges spanning the river or take a sunset water taxi ride for the best city views! Listen to live music by local musicians, enjoy a guided nature talk and delight in the marine life that can only be found along the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville. Don't miss seeing the St. Johns River dolphins from the river taxi.

Nestled between skyscrapers and the St. Johns River, Downtown Jacksonville’s North and South banks have an urban vibe with a cool atmosphere. Fortune 500 companies call the city’s core home. During the week, thousands of professionals and visitors fill the streets enjoying unique lunch and dining destinations, world-class museums, and a variety of nightlife options, from casual bars to upscale lounges.

Things to Do in Downtown Jacksonville

The NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars play Downtown at the Sports Complex, as does the city's minor league baseball team, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Jacksonville IceMen, arena football team the Jacksonville Sharks and the ABA's Jacksonville Giants. Downtown museums include the Ritz Theatre & Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, and the Museum of Science and History. Other attractions to visit include Sweet Pete's (our local candy factory with free tours!) don't leave without tasting Pete's signature sea salt caramels. Visit the Jacksonville Public Library and don't miss the Imagination Squared Exhibit! or the outdoor courtyard! Downtown Jacksonville boasts 5.6 miles of beautiful riverfront, including almost 3 miles of riverwalk, perfect for a stroll or a jog by the St. Johns or stop at the iconic Friendship Fountain.

What to eat & drink in Downtown:

The city’s core has over 90 restaurants to choose from, anything from food trucks, to casual eateries, to upscale bistros with eclectic menus. While visiting Downtown be sure to enjoy a great meal at Bellwether, Super Food & Brew, MOCA cafe, Indochine, Burrito Gallery, Cowford Chophouse, Morton's The Steakhouse, Olio, River City Brewing Company or the Chart House. Grab a whisky sour at The Volstead. Here are some of the best bites.

  • Bellwether- This casual yet sophisticated restaurant will offer an eclectic mix of timeless fare for lunch and dinner. Featuring outdoor dining, a full bar and private dining options. Don't miss the Korean Broccoli, it is a crowd favorite!
  • Cowford Chophouse - Jacksonville’s Cowford Chophouse brings luxury and great views to downtown. The steakhouse has a rooftop bar with craft cocktails and a plush interior. If you’re looking to splurge, check out their Wagyu filet—you won’t be disappointed. Don't miss the rooftop for spectacular views.
  • De Real Ting Café - Downtown, you can experience the ultimate Caribbean experience at Da Real Ting Café. They serve authentic Jamaican food. At night, you can experience live music when bands and DJs take over the back room. When you check it out, try the Jamaican patty lunch—a fan favorite!
  • Hemming Park- Food Trucks and Live Entertainment Monday-Friday
  • Indochine - Voted Folio Magazine’s “Best Thai Restaurant” 3 years in a row, Indochine is the place to go for anyone who loves Thai food, wants to try Thai food, or just likes food at all. Their crab Rangoon is the must-try here, with real lump crab and curried cream cheese. This is not your average Rangoon.
  • Juliette's Bistro - Located in the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Juliette’s Bistro has been serving up delicious First Coast cuisine for 27 years. The BBQ buttered shrimp combines some of the best Jacksonville and Juliette’s has to offer with local fresh shrimp cooked with Duke’s Brown Ale from local Bold City Brewing.
  • Jumpin' Jax House of Food-Located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, Jumpin' Jax House of Food is one of the newest restaurants to open in the area. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu from the pizzas to burgers and salads and wraps. This is a local and memorable dining experience you won't forget.
  • Olio - For “lunch done differently” locals head to Olio in downtown Jacksonville. With inventive soups, salads and sandwiches this is a favorite among the working crowd and visitors alike. Their duck grilled cheese is a star, but don’t miss out on the fries with house-made basil aioli, or if you’re feeling extra hungry go for the bacon cheese fries (make sure you still get that aioli though!).
  • On the Fly Sandwiches & Stuff - At On The Fly -a local food truck-, the sandwiches are definitely worth a try, but the stuff is where it’s at. Sweet potato planks, topped with melted bleu cheese, pulled pork and their special On The Fly Sauce – that’s some really great “stuff.”
  • Sweet Pete's - Sweet Pete’s makes over 10,000 pounds of caramel a year, and for good reason. People can’t get enough of the sweet stuff. Made right here in Jacksonville, Sweet Pete’s Caramels are a true Only in Jax treat! Be sure to try the signature Sea Salt Caramels.
  • Vagabond Coffee Bodega - The smell of fresh-brewed coffee will draw you to this location—instantly. They are serious coffee people with specialty blends and roasts. They also serve pastries (try the blueberry ginger scone) to accompany your perfect cup of joe.

Stop in to a Visitor Center

We have a visitor center in downtown Jacksonville on North Laura Street in the heart of the city, one at The Jacksonville International Airport and one inside the Beaches Museum & History Park, stop in to say hello and learn more about things to do in the area from a local expert. Grab some info on downtown talking tours.

Downtown Transportation Options

There are many ways to get around Downtown, drive and park at one of the more than 43,000 public parking spaces or use public transportation or the Skyway. The Skyway connects Downtown’s Southbank to its Northbank in less than five minutes for free. You can also enjoy incredible views and move between Downtown points of interest on the water taxi. To help you find your way, Downtown Ambassadors are always nearby ready to give directions and suggestions to visitors, spot them by their bright orange shirts.

Getting Here

Downtown, is a 20-minute drive south from Jacksonville International Airport. Take I-95 and exit right at Exit 116, Forsyth Street. Continue on Forsyth Street and head east, this will take you into the heart of Downtown.

Where to Stay