July is National Outdoors Month! To the surprise of many, the Jacksonville’s Urban Core is no stranger to outdoor activities. In fact, looking pass the high-rise buildings and architectural gems, downtown Jacksonville is home to not only businessmen, businesswomen, hipsters and musicians; but also outdoor enthusiasts. Though Jacksonville is known for its vast landmass that accounts for the city’s hiking and bike trails, endless beaches and internal waterways perfect for water sports fanatics; little know about the outdoor activities that downtown has to offer. In appreciation of the city’s limitless possibilities, here’s a short list of year-long outdoor activities you’ll find in #DTJax.

Be a TreeHugger

If you’re looking for something unique and low-cost to do with friends and family, look no further than the Treaty Oak Park. Located on the Southbank of the St. Johns River, the 250 year-old tree is a popular spot for family gatherings, outdoor picnics and relaxation in general. In fact, growing up in Jacksonville, some of our locals no doubt have climbed up the branches at one point in their lives.

For the bravehearts, the “octopus-like” tree provides 145 feet of branches for climbing. And if you climb all the way to the tree’s crown, you’ll find a 25 foot nook – perfect for naps and summer reading. If you’re not up for the climb, no worries. Because of the massive size of the tree, it gives visitors roughly 190 feet of shade – a good spot to get out of the Florida heat!

Biking the Riverwalk

Experience the city on a bike. One of the most popular activities in downtown Jacksonville is biking along the St. Johns River. The Northbank Riverwalk is the perfect cycling route to enjoy both an urban scenery and the cool breeze from the river.

The Northbank is a wonderful 2 mile ride between the Jacksonville Landing and the Riverside Arts Market. You will even ride through the Love Locks Bridge – which not only connects the downtown district with Riverside, but also a known spot for couples to symbolize their ‘unbreakable’ love.

For those looking for a longer ride, plan your route with the DTJax Map. You can’t go wrong with the three bridge loop over the Main Street, Acosta and Fuller Warren Bridges!

Paddling Through #DTJax

For the water sports enthusiasts, urban kayaking is a great alternative to exploring the city. It is a unique way to experience both the urban scenery and one of Jacksonville’s natural beauties. The Jacksonville Kayak Company offers guided tours in Downtown Jacksonville, taking off from the River City Brewing Company Marina.

Imagine this: seeing new angles of the city as you paddle under three of Jacksonville’s 13+ bridges, being swept away by the natural pulse of the River City. Though this recreational activity is not for beginners, if you are up for an adventure do not hesitate to book a tour with Jacksonville Kayak Company.

“Run, Forest, Run!”

Aside from cycling, the most common outdoor workout in the downtown district is running. Covering roughly four square-miles, the urban core is a runner’s world. From the riverwalk to the bridges to the hills, a workout junkie can get their full load of cardio while taking in the urban scenery.

The USA Track & Field website offers an extensive list of running routes within the #DTJax boundary – including the Northbank River 5K. If you’re feeling adventurous and up for a challenge, try the Hart Bridge Loop 12K.

Urban Yoga

Looking to de-stress? In the past couple of years, yoga has played a major role in stress management. Stress and anxiety is alive even in Jacksonville where “It’s Easier Here”; which is why free yoga sessions are offered throughout the week.

Unity Plaza in Brooklyn, dubbed as Jacksonville’s “central park”, along with the Winston Family YMCA offers Tuesday and Thursday yoga sessions year-long. With the built-in waterfront and tiered seating, the Unity Plaza is the ideal central spot for sunset yoga.

Now for the early birds looking for a healthy morning start, go further into Riverside and you’ll find yourself in Corkscrew Park commonly known for the weekly Riverside Arts Market. However, little known fact, before the hustle and bustle of the market traffic hits; Hot Spot Yoga’s Namie Rohack leads morning yoga from 9 – 10 a.m. every Saturday.

These are just some of the outdoor activities in Downtown Jacksonville. Explore the city and discover more possibilities – they are endless! For more activities, visit our directory here.

June is National Rivers Month. Take the time to appreciate and celebrate one of Jacksonville’s natural treasures: the St. Johns River – the longest river in the state of Florida at 314 miles! Since the 1860s, the St. Johns River has contributed to Jacksonville’s tourist industry with the establishment of hotels and countless recreational activities. To celebrate this old “San Juan River” (it’s old Spanish name before British acquisition), check out this list of year-long activities that you can enjoy along the St. Johns in #DTJax.

Bike the Riverwalk

Experience the city on a bike. One of the most popular activities in Downtown Jacksonville is biking along the St. Johns River. The Northbank and Southbank Riverwalks are the perfect cycling routes to enjoy both an urban scenery and the cool breeze from the river.

The Northbank is a wonderful two-mile ride between the Jacksonville Landing and the Riverside Arts Market. You will even ride through the Love Locks Bridge – which not only connects the Urban Core with Riverside, but is also a known spot for couples to symbolize their ‘unbreakable’ love.

For those looking for a longer ride, plan your route with the DTJax Map. You can’t go wrong with the three-bridge loop over the Main Street, Acosta and Fuller Warren Bridges!

Jacksonville Landing

Opened in 1987, the Landing continues to be a local favorite as it goes into its 31st year on June 25. Located right on the river, this shopping complex is known for the various live entertainment and events that it hosts throughout the year. Some crowd favorites include the Florida/Georgia celebrations, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade, the Summer Fireworks Series, riverfront concerts and cultural pride days like the annual Asian American Heritage Celebration

The Jacksonville Landing has one of the best views of the St. Johns River and is the perfect backdrop to 600+ events every year.

Riverside Arts Market

Support local small businesses in your city! Small Business Saturday is a U.S. holiday that celebrates local businesses once a year. But with the Riverside Arts Market, you can celebrate every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The market is located in the Riverside-Avondale district under the Fuller Warren Bridge – one of the best spots to experience the beauty of the St. Johns River.

Regardless of whether you are a Jacksonville native or just visiting, Jacksonville’s “Best Farmer’s Market” is a must. Each Saturday is a different experience with rotating food trucks, vendor booths, live entertainment and morning yoga. Visit the Riverside Arts Market website to plan a true Jacksonville Saturday!

St. Johns River Taxi
Even some of the locals do not know about this popular downtown transportation! Park your car and cruise along the river. The St. Johns River Taxi has six pick up-drop off docks in downtown Jacksonville – including the Jacksonville Landing, Friendship Fountain, Riverside Arts Market and the Metropolitan Marina. So whether you are staying at the Doubletree on the Southbank or heading to a Jaguars game at the TIAA Bank Field, it is the ideal transportation to get around the urban core.

Aside from providing a transit alternative, the St. Johns River Taxi also offers River Jam Sunset Cruises and partners with the Museum of Science and History for River Quest Boat Tours every Saturday. Check out their website for more information!

Urban Kayaking Adventure

For the water sports enthusiasts, urban kayaking is a great alternative to exploring the city. It is a unique way to experience both the urban scenery and one of Jacksonville’s natural beauties. The Jacksonville Kayak Company offers guided tours in Downtown Jacksonville, taking off from the River City Brewing Company Marina.

Imagine this: seeing new angles of the city as you paddle under three of Jacksonville’s eight bridges, being swept away by the natural pulse of the River City. Though this recreational activity is not for beginners, if you are up for an adventure do not hesitate to book a tour with Jacksonville Kayak Company.

These are just some of the activities to enjoy in the River City – not only for National Rivers Month but every single day. It is easier to appreciate your city when you know your city. So get exploring!

For a detailed list of restaurants, shops and museums to enjoy in #DTJax, visit our directory here.

One of the defining and most unique things about our downtown is that it is waterfront. Many people are drawn to live and open businesses in #DTJax because of its proximity to water. As residents, sometimes we forget all of the awesome waterfront and water activities that Downtown Jacksonville has to offer! This summer, we challenge you to experience #DTJax like a tourist and get out on the water to enjoy one of the most unique features Downtown has to offer.

 

St. John’s River Taxi & Tours

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 1.49.16 PMHop on the St. Johns River Taxi at Friendship Park on the Southbank for a fun-filled cruise to the Jacksonville Landing on the Northbank, take the river taxi at night and see the twinkling lights of downtown by boat, miss the traffic during Jags games by cruising across the river to Met Park, take it to the zoo or go on a science and history tour of Jacksonville. The list keeps going! Check out everything St. John’s River Taxi does, everywhere they go and their schedules here. 

 

Photo Credit: @kalanirosemusic

 

Southbank Riverwalk

Southbank1 (1)The recently re-imagined and updated Southbank Riverwalk has become a destination for outdoor festivals, races and public art. Bordering the St. Johns River, directly opposite Jacksonville Landing , this 1 1/4-mile art-filled “boardwalk” is usually full of  joggers, tourists, folks sitting on benches, and lovers walking hand-in-hand, all of them watching the riverboats, the shorebirds, and Downtown’s skyline reflected in the water. For more info, see the listing in our directory.

 

The Jacksonville Landing

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 2.20.25 PMA staple in Downtown waterfront entertainment, The Jacksonville Landing is home to an array of different venues and venues. You can find live music venues, great food, clothing stores, art shops and galleries and so much more, making it a one-stop shop for Downtown residents and visitors. For more than 25 years, The Jacksonville Landing has been the spot to stop in Downtown Jacksonville. Go all out and arrive by boat! Check out their directory of shops, restaurants and venues here.
Photo credit: @dave.m_g

Friendship Fountain

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 2.43.42 PMIs summer really summer without a photo in front of Friendship Fountain? Situated at the west end of the Southbank Riverwalk adjacent to the Museum of Science and History is Friendship Fountain. Dedicated in 1965, it is one of the largest self-contained fountains built, pumping 3,500 to 6,500 gallons of water per minute to a height of 100 feet, with 265 lights molding the water into a sparkling mist. Whether you are looking for a peaceful place for a picnic, or just want to watch the river flow by, Friendship Fountain provides the ideal setting for a sunny afternoon or a romantic evening Downtown.

In 2010, the City of Jacksonville broke ground on park improvements. The $3.1 million project included restoring full functionality to the fountain, updating the fountain’s lighting and adding green space, landscaping and pedestrian accents to the park. Find more info in the listing in our directory here.
Photo credit: @dapperhouseblog 

 

Riverside Arts Market

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 2.58.40 PMGrab your friends, family and pups! Riverside Arts Market is one of our favorite family and dog-friendly weekly events. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., rain or shine, enjoy more than 100 artists, artisans, makers and farmers. Grub on food truck fare and cold beer in the shade under the bridge. Experience the arts and culture of Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. Want to know what vendors will be there? Check out their Interactive Weekly Market Map. Learn more about the event on their website.

Photo credit: @jaxfreedomrun

It’s summertime and the living’s easy, especially when your days consist of feeling the cool breeze and enjoying a drink on the St. Johns River. It’s easy to take for granted just how much to see along our Riverwalk, but spanning along both the Northbank and the Southbank, there are plenty of things to keep you busy, outside and active this Summer on the river!

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Work It Out11

Getting in shape has never been so enjoyable, with so many sights and places to explore along the way in #DTJax. Walk, jog or run along the Riverwalk and get in your miles for Mayor Curry’s Journey to One – Mayorthon. If you’re looking for a little more guidance on where to run along the river, check out our #RunDTJax blog for specific routes. You can also grab some friends and head to Friendship Fountain for a serene group yoga session on the river. Additionally, we have a “Getting Fit Downtown” itinerary which provides cycling routes along the river so that even while you’re exercising, you have a great view!

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The Iconic Skyline 

Some say that Jacksonville has one of the most picturesque skylines and we agree. Whether you’re a amateur or a professional, you won’t have a hard time finding #DTJax’s best angle – they’re all great! Check out some of our favorite spots like the Mirrored River mosaic underneath the Main St. Bridge on the Southbank or the perfect headshot (*or Instagram selfie*) on the bridge with the skyline behind you.

Paddleboards, boat rentals and kayaks – oh my!

For those that are a little more adventurous, take your river experience off dry land. There are plenty of activities to choose from, ranging from stand-up paddle board rentals to kayak tours. Don’t forget to watch for dolphins and manatees who regularly make an appearance along the riverfront.

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St. Johns River Taxi

The fun on the river doesn’t stop with boat rentals, enjoy the sights of #DTJax with a cruise along the riverfront on the St. Johns River Taxi! With new programming, a night out on the river has never been so fun. Every Thursday through Sunday from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m., enjoy the Sunset River Jam Cruise where you can enjoy live, local entertainment and bring your own food and beverages! Plus, every Saturday this Summer, take the River Taxi from Friendship Fountain Park to the Jacksonville Zoo for a day of family fun. Not sold yet? Read our DVI staff experience blog and then buy your tickets here today.

Dinner with a View

#DTJax is home to some of the best restaurants in Jacksonville (see our blog on Jacksonville Magazine’s 50 best restaurants). What is better than finishing up a delectable meal than watching the sun set over the St. Johns? Check out restaurants with riverfront dining such as River City Brewing Company, especially on Sunday-Funday with live music on the Brew House Lounge and Deck! Other riverfront dining options include Benny’s Steak & SeafoodRuth’s Chris SteakhouseFionn MacCool’s Irish Restaurant and Pub and the River Club to name a few!

 

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Music by the River

Almost as iconic as the skyline itself, The Jacksonville Landing is a staple in #DTJax. Multiple times a week, The Landing hosts free music by the river in their courtyard at the Coca Cola Riverfront Stage every Friday and Saturday. The Landing also has ongoing events like the annual X102.9’s Rock on the River, Bud Lights Up The Landing and Caribbean Sundaze. Learn more about The Landing’s events on their website.

Just Around the River Bend

As if walking along the panoramic riverfront wasn’t enticing enough, there are many events, activities and things to see just a short walking distance from the Riverwalk. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. visit the Riverside Arts Market, located under the Fuller Warren Bridge, which showcases the best local artists, food vendors, entertainers and non-profits in our area. Walk to 220 Riverside Avenue and find Unity Plaza, which is home to great restaurants like Hobnob and Brixx Pizza plus an array of events ranging from live music from the Chris Thomas Band, free yoga in the amphitheater, weekly Winston YMCA Y-Fit bootcamps and a monthly speaker series.

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 In #DTJax, we’re lucky to have some of the best elements of our city right here. Enjoy one of the most beautiful attributes of Jacksonville with any of the activities above or let us know your favorite thing to do on the riverfront!

For more information, look to our website and download our free DTJax app today! Available on the Apple Store or Google Play store.