Jacksonville, Florida, is on the northeast coast of the state. It is a metropolitan city with a lot to see and do. The city’s mix of the arts, beaches, and fusion southern food make it a great place for a weekend getaway. Check out these places for insider information on where to stay, what to do, and the best places to eat for your weekend in Jacksonville.
Where to Stay:
One Ocean Resort and Spa:
Stay at One Ocean Resort and Spa for a room by the water on Atlantic Beach with rates starting at $175 per night. This resort is perfect for a couple’s weekend getaway with its romance package, which includes rose petals in your room, champagne, and fruit, with a couple’s spa services that you can add. You can take in the view of a romantic sunset at one of Jacksonville’s best beaches.
For a place to stay closer to the locals, try Riverdale Inn located in the Riverside area near Five Points. The rooms are in a Victorian mansion and cost around $150 per night. Get advice on places to go from the local couple who own and run the inn. This comfortable inn has a 24-hour bar, a brunch buffet on the weekend, and afternoon teas if you book in advance.
Hyatt Regency Jacksonville:
One of the most in-demand hotels in Jacksonville is the Hyatt Regency due to its central location overlooking the river and Main Street Bridge and rates starting around $120 a night. Have a drink at the bar by the heated, rooftop swimming pool, or get in a run in the hotel gym. Not only is this hotel a convenient option if you want to explore downtown, but the meeting rooms and business center make it easier to take a weekend for yourself at the end of a business trip.
What to Do:
Riverside Arts Market
Start your Saturday morning at the Riverside Arts Market, a local marketplace full of artistic wares you can buy from artists around the city. You can also grab a treat from a local food vendor on Farmer’s Row, or head down the street and watch a concert at the TH-Center. Get there by 9 am to start the day with an hour of free yoga. The market is open until the mid-afternoon, around 3 pm. The Riverside Arts Market notoriously takes place under the bridge on the St. John’s River, with views of the water and live music as you shop.
Shop at Five Points for unique boutiques in a bohemian neighborhood. Shopping in the late morning or early afternoon is the best way to beat the crowds on the weekend. The stores here offer an eclectic range of shopping from high-end dress boutiques to boutiques with a vintage style. You can also get a craft beer to cool down from one of the many local bars and breweries in the neighborhood. Visitors know of the area for both its eclectic vibe and the architecture, which is reminiscent of a small town.
Catty Shack Ranch:
Go to Catty Shack Ranch to big cats from the wild up close. This is a rescue sanctuary that takes in and treats exotic animals, especially felines. Once animals come to the sanctuary, they remain there for life. You can see lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, silver foxes, and more. You can only go on Sunday, so book your tickets in advance. You can choose from a daytime tour, a tour with a more in-depth educational component, or a night feeding. Tickets range from $10 to $15 for adults and $5 to $10 for children.
Where to Eat
Another Broken Egg Café:
Every weekend away needs brunch, and Another Broken Egg Café offers brunch that combines modern food with a southern flare. Open on the weekends through lunchtime, this southern original has a location by Tapestry Park and Jacksonville Beach. You can find classic southern food like shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles or try something new like a lobster omelet. Wash it all down with one of their unique brunch cocktails. Many meals are between $10 and $15.
Try modern southern food in a laid-back atmosphere at Gilbert’s Social. This restaurant serves up turkey oxtail, pulled pork, and more classic southern meats, but you can also find plenty of fruit and vegetable combinations all at prices around and under $20. Gilbert’s Social is not open on Sundays or Mondays, so go here for lunch or dinner earlier during your trip. Chef Kenny Gilbert competed on multiple reality cooking shows. He has also won awards and cooked for presidents and celebrities.
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails:
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails is a two-time James Beard Award nominee and a great spot for dinner. The restaurant focuses on locally sourced food and has an array of seafood. You can even ask for a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free menu. It is centrally located in The Markets at Town Center, and you can go any day of the week. Many of the main dishes are between $20 and $30.
If you’re only spending a weekend, you’ll need to know how to pack as much of the city into as little time as possible. You can still experience a lot that Jacksonville has to offer if you know where to go and what to do beforehand. Try these places during your mini vacation in Jacksonville.