By Christina Graw, contributing writer
In a city as large and diverse as Jacksonville, it’s sometimes difficult to experience all the cool things this place has to offer. Downtown alone is home to dozens of bars and restaurants, thousands of event annually and some of the city’s most unique cultural sites. To help you explore Downtown destinations you might be missing out on, I’ve put together a “bucket list” of places to go and things to do outside of the common urban-core fun you’re used to.
Jaxsons Night Market
Completely impressed by my first visit, the market is an outdoor farmer’s market filled with food, arts and entertainment that takes place the third Thursday of every month at the Laura Street Trio lot. Learn more at its Facebook page. It’s also added boutiques in trucks such as Belle of the Boulevard. So, if you’re like me and love to shop, you can grab a beer and have at it!
La Cena is a quaint Italian restaurant and bar. It’s small enough to be missed by visitors, but La Cena is sure to please with a relaxing atmosphere, stellar wine list and authentic Italian food.
Mavericks Country Line-dancing
You’re sure to have a blast at Maverick’s free country line dancing on Thursday nights. Every Thursday, locals come to Mavericks Rock ‘N Honky Tonk located at The Jacksonville Landing to boot, scoot and boogie.
This small restaurant tucked into the corner of Ocean and Adams Street serves sandwiches and street food with a twist. They menu is diverse and includes mouthwatering American cheeseburgers all the way to international fare like the incomparable bahn mi. All the food is fresh and made in-house, including their famous curry chips. The décor of the restaurant is eclectic, too, with bright-colored tables, local posters, band stickers and heavy-metal themed barstools.
Attend a City Council Meeting
Jacksonville is a large city with a lot happening. The best way to stay involved with civic matters is to attend a City Council meeting. Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers, in City Hall at 117 W. Duval St. in Downtown. Plus, you’ll get to check out the beautiful historic structure that is the St. James Building.
Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
This church is one of the oldest Catholics churches in North Florida. The Immaculate Conception has a fascinating history after being torched by Union soldiers in 1863 and then rebuilt in 1871. Visiting this church is sure to give you a peek into Jacksonville’s past and a peaceful oasis to spend some quiet time alone.
This unique office space is home to entrepreneurs, writers and other professionals who enjoy this modern, collaborative atmosphere. Everyone’s first day of co-working is free, plus they have a bunch of cool events every month as well! Find out more at its website.
Looking for even more great places to explore and events to check out in the heart of the River City? Visit the No. 1 online resource for Downtown information, downtownjacksonville.org. What would be on your “bucket list” for Downtown? Share them with us in the comment section below.