by: admin in Art Walk, Spotlight No Comments  

by Zahni Thuzar, DVI Intern

Landis Greenhut

Source: Sarah Henderson

“Space painting” and spray paint art have recently become Internet sensations, showcasing the artistic talents of individuals all over the world. The results of the process leave you in awe, trying to fathom how exactly these artists are able to create their masterpieces. But instead of going online to see these incredible outcomes, you can find one of these spray paint artists right in your backyard.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Spotlight, Thought Leadership No Comments  

This week, the Florida Times-Union released “Meet the candidate” Q&As for Jacksonville’s mayoral contenders: Omega Allen, Bill Bishop, Mayor Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry. Among the questions including those on the Human Rights Ordinance, mental illness, race relations, Police and Fire pension, each was asked, “What is your top priority for reviving Downtown?” Here is what they had to say:

Omega Allen



Bio excerpt: A native of Jacksonville and a graduate of William M. Raines, Omega Allen was influenced and molded by the academic and social elite of the African American Community who expected her to excel, achieve, and lead.

Omega has an MBA from Jacksonville University where she graduated Cum Laude. Her academic achievement is a testament to her intellect. She is a Doctoral Candidate and upon completion of her dissertation, she will be awarded a Ph.D. in Public Administration specializing in municipal government. Omega returned to college to obtain the credentials and education needed to successfully lead Jacksonville.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

My top priority for reviving downtown is the proper care and relocation of our homeless population. Then the focus immediately switches to attracting new retail, residential, and entertainment venues by offering responsible incentives to utilize the abandoned City-owned properties.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

P.O. Box 28788
Jacksonville, FL 32226

Facebook: Omega Allen for Mayor

by: Admin in Business Spotlights 1 Comment  

Daniel James Gamsky consulting a client.

You could say hair stylist Daniel James Gamsky ran into the idea for his business.

On a jog through Downtown, Gamsky’s running partner suggested he look at available space in a building she and her husband owned. They detoured their workout to the historic Drew Building on Bay Street to take a look.

“My friend said, ‘Why don’t you clean it up, set up a chair and see what happens?'” said Gamsky.

The year was 1995, and within the next few weeks, he did just that – opened the doors of Daniel James Salon on the building’s third level with one chair and one assistant.

It was just the two of them for six years. “Then, a friend wanted to come and work,” Gamsky said, “and the next thing I knew, I had employees.”

Twenty years, a staff of 12 and a second location in Avondale later, Gamsky is thankful for the success Downtown has provided his team for the last two decades.

by: admin in Itineraries Comments Off on #DTJax Itineraries: Discovering Downtown on Guided Tours  

By Matthew Winship, DVI Intern

Below is the first in a blog series highlighting our Downtown itineraries to help you see and experience the heart of our city. Check our our other itineraries for more great activity ideas!

Sometimes the best way to discover Downtown Jacksonville is with a little help from organizations that know it through and through. With these guided tours of Downtown, you’ll be sure to find old historic haunts and unearth some Downtown gems you didn’t know were there.



Top to Bottom Walking Tour (904-827-1845)
Let Downtown expert Gary Sass be your guide, and hear the stories of the River City from the Great Fire to the First Hollywood. You’ll gaze across the city on a rooftop and explore the secret underground tunnels beneath Downtown. Cost is $20 per person, with seasonal discounts also available. Tours run every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Tour attendees meet at The Jacksonville Landing escalators.

“River City Haunts” Walking Ghost Tour (904-827-1845)
Guided by lantern light, let “local ghosts” take you on a tour through streets, alleyways and haunted buildings throughout Downtown. You’ll get to explore the city, while also learning about the hair-raising histories that took place here. Cost is $20 per person, with seasonal discounts available. Tours run every Friday from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tour attendees meet at The Jacksonville Landing escalators.




Jacksonville Kayak Tours (904-999-4919)
Looking for a little adventure? Tour Downtown from the St. Johns River with a kayak and guide from the Jacksonville Kayak Company. This kayak tour of Downtown Jacksonville included both natural and man-made scened.  Get a unique perspective on some of Jacksonville’s bridges while taking in iconic downtown landmarks such as The Jacksonville Landing and Friendship Fountain. If you time it just right you’ll be able to to tour McCoy’s Creek through a secret passage under the Times Union building.  Tours are $65 for single rider, and $130 for tandem. Call for more information.

Florida Theatre Tour (904-355-5661, ext. 232)
Get up-close and informed on this historic Jacksonville cultural venue that opened in 1927 on Forsyth Street. The tour is approximately 30 to 45 minutes offered Monday through Friday. To schedule a tours (groups are welcome), call 904-355-5661, ext 232. Complimentary tours are also available on select First Wednesday Art Walks.

Jacksonville Historical Society (904-665-0064)
The Jacksonville Historical Society, the area’s leading source of information on First Coast history, offers custom outdoor and indoor tours for individuals and groups, including tours about Downtown that include the Merrill House and other Downtown landmarks. Call the Society’s office for more information.

Sally Corporation (904-355-7100)
For more than 30 years, this Downtown animatronics corporation has hosted thousands of visitors for tours of its robot factory. Tours are offered on Tuesday and Thursday hourly from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. free of charge to groups no larger than 30 people (no tours in July or August). Tours are by reservation only and the minimum age of attendee is seven.




Northbank Historic Walking Tour (East)
Produced by DVI, this tour takes you on a journey through the heart of Downtown with 27 stops that highlight unique buildings, historic churches and more. Download the PDF.

Northbank Historic Walking Tour (West)
For a tour of the west end of the Northwalk, download the PDF. You’ll visit historic Hemming Park, Snyder Memorial plus 16 other stops.

Southbank Historic Walking Tour
To round out the Downtown walking tour experience, DVI also offers a walking tour of the Southbank, where you’ll get great views of the Jacksonville skyline and discover lovely Treaty Oak Park and the Acosta and the Main Street Bridges. Download the PDF.


  • Parking meters are free weekdays after 6 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday. Or if you prefer, check out parking garage and lot options.
  • The Skyway, free, operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and during special weekend events. More information.
  • The Jacksonville River Taxi hours are Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m and Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For a one-way ticket, fares are $5/adult and $4/children ages 3-12. Children younger than age 3 ride free. Round-trip fares (not including special event or game days) are $7/adult and $5/children. Check out their website for more information and special events fare.
  • If you need assistance Downtown, our Downtown Ambassadors are here to help. Look for them in their orange polo shirts or call 904-465-7980.

For more information on Downtown destinations, check out our online directory. Many Downtown destinations also hold various special events throughout the year. Be sure to check our events calendar often, or sign up for our weekly events e-newsletter.

By  Leslie Priddy, DVI Intern

Craving a new food destination? How about someplace where vegans, gluten-free and meat eaters can all live harmoniously without limiting dining options? #DTJax has more than 30 different restaurants that cater to all dietary needs.

In no particular order, here are my top five places friendly to vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and gluten-free eaters Downtown.


Veg #1 wrap. Photo by Chris P. on Yelp

Veg #1 wrap. Photo by Chris P. on Yelp

Vegan heaven: Chamblin’s Uptown Café

Vegans know where to find the best healthy bites, and you’ll discover some at Chamblin’s, which boasts an extensive vegan menu. For breakfast, I recommend the sexy grits. A vegan approach to traditional Southern grits, Chamblin’s take includes nutritional yeast, tempeh, Earth Balance “butter,” salt and pepper, and daiya dairy-free cheese. Another option is a tofu scramble, paired with coffee made creamy with almond or soy milk.

For lunchtime, both meat eaters and vegans are known to love Chamblin’s wraps. My personal favorite wrap is the Veg #1, which contains hummus, cucumbers, red peppers, tomato, sprouts, almonds, pepitas and a vegan house vinaigrette. The jerk tempeh wrap is also equally delicious, and tofurkey can be used to substitute any meat on the menu.

Daily specials always have a vegan option, and soups of the day are vegan-friendly. It’s no wonder why Chamblin’s Uptown Café is a prime choice for vegans. Bonus: for gluten-free needs, any sandwich can be served on Rudi’s bread.


by: Admin in Business Spotlights No Comments  

Downtown will be even sweeter this spring when Peterbrooke opens a shop near the corner of Laura and Bay streets. Marketing manager Elizabeth Cordell of Hickory Foods, management company of Peterbrooke, gave us the scoop – seriously, gelato, anyone? – on what the new shop will house. She also shared some cool info on Peterbrooke’s new factory, opening this summer just outside of Downtown’s official boundaries.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the kiosk inside the lobby of the building at 100 W. Bay St., packed with Valentine’s Day goodies! And samples….

Peterbrooke pop-up shop until the full shop is opened.

The Peterbrooke kiosk, now open at 100 W. Bay St. until the full shop opens in the spring.

Why did you all decide to open a store Downtown?

Downtown is growing, and we want to be a part of it! We decided to open a store in the Downtown core area to be able to reach those people who work and live Downtown.

We moved the factory from San Marco to the Brooklyn area (specifically Mixon Town) because we simply needed more space to make the chocolates, give tours and hold events!

What will your new Downtown shop feature?

The new Downtown shop will include coffee, baked goods, hand-dipped treats, custom gift baskets, gelato and our famous chocolate-covered popcorn! The store will have a storefront window space on Laura Street.

The factory will be open for parties, events and tours, and we will have a retail location on the property. We will also be opening our new bakery, “Peterbrooke Bake Studio,” at our new factory. Now, customers will be able to order custom desserts and baked goods from us!

by: Katherine Hardwick in Art Walk, Events, Marketing & Promotions No Comments  

unnamedI’m going to let you in on a little secret. Regardless of what your lady-friend says, every woman appreciates thoughtful gestures even OR especially on Valentine’s Day.

You love her because she’s one-of-a-kind, so show her with a gift that celebrates her unique style and a night on the town she’ll always remember. Trust me, you’ll get points for planning ahead.

Gift Ideas

  • Keep it simple and shower her with a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers from Fresh Market OR make her laugh with a gift of Poo-porri “before-you-go” toilet spray from Grease Rags Clothing Company.

Plus, on Valentine’s Day between 1-3 p.m. Chamblin’s Uptown is offering a Book Lover’s discount. Purchase a book …or ten and get a Mimosa on Chamblin’s!

And for those last-minute shoppers, don’t miss spoiling your Valentine with local chocolates from the new Peterbrooke pop-up shop on Bay Street. No surprise we recommend the super-cute Downtown skyline chocolate bars!