By Matthew Winship, DVI Intern
Part two in our Downtown Itineraries series brings you great ways to spend your lunchtime Downtown. Featuring activities to relax and recharge, while taking in the beauty this city has to offer.
There are more than 70 Downtown eateries open for lunch that serve everything from sandwiches and pizza to sushi and fried rice. Check out our list of all Downtown lunchtime dining options. To enjoy that lunch or the one you brought from home visit any of Downtown’s outdoor dining locations such as Hemming Park and the new Hemming Park Café (135 W. Monroe St.), The Landing courtyard (2 Independent Dr.) and Friendship Fountain (1015 Museum Cir.).
Need to satisfy your sweet tooth? There are a number places that can satisfy your craving. Sweet Pete’s (400 N. Hogan Street) has two floors of just about every type of candy and chocolate that you can think of (even gluten free and vegan options too.) Or, if you are looking for the ultimate brownie, Mocha Misk’i (209 N. Laura Street) can definitely help! Their brownies are made with all natural ingredients and decorated almost any way imaginable. Looking for cookies? Coastal Cookies located in The Jacksonville Landing has some of the best cookies around. Looking for amazing chocolate? Peterbrooke Chocolatier (100 W. Bay Street) is known for some of the best chocolate in town. Be sure to try some of their chocolate covered popcorn.
FIND A GREAT BOOK
Explore the Main Library (303 N. Laura St.)
The perfect place to get away from the day is within the walls of the Main Library, where you can not only look for and check out books, music and movies, but you can also view exhibits and enjoy exploring the different rooms. In addition, the library hosts occasional lunchtime activities as well, or just bring your lunch and enjoy dinning in the courtyard. For more information on the Main Library, visit its website.
Check out Chamblin’s Uptown Café (215 N. Laura St.)
If you love shopping and you love rare books, this is the place to spend some free time. This labyrinth of books, DVDs, CDs and more is always worth a visit. Look around, shop and grab a cup of joe from the café.
TAKE IN SOME ART
Tour MOCA Jacksonville (333 N. Laura St.)
Although it will cost you the price of admission, this museum is a quiet place to retreat and be inspired away from the hustle and bustle of both the Downtown streets and your workday. MOCA Jacksonville also is where you can find the popular NOLA MOCA.
Visit other art galleries
In addition to MOCA Jacksonville, there are plenty of established art galleries to enjoy on a break from jury duty or work. For a list of galleries including The Art Center, Monroe Galleries and Southlight Gallery visit our galleries directory.
RELAX IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Take a walking tour
Lunchtime is the perfect time to put on your walking shoes and explore Downtown Jacksonville. There are a number of Downtown walking tours available, including the guided, history-packed “Jacksonville Top to Bottom Walking Tour” and other self-guided tours. See our Discovering Downtown on Guided Tours itinerary for more ideas.
Ride the Jacksonville River Taxi
Take in scenic views of the city while cruising on the St. Johns River. You might even spot a dolphin or other sea life while you’re out! Find rates, routes and more on their website.
Enjoy a city park
Drop by one of Downtown Jacksonville’s parks to take in a bit of nature on your lunch break. Hemming Park has ample seating and offers a variety of eventsthroughout the week. Friendship Fountain, located on the south bank, offers a great place to take unwind. If you stick around Downtown until nighttime the fountain will glow in multiple colors for its music and lights program everyday from dusk to 11 p.m.
DO SOME SHOPPING
Shop at The Jacksonville Landing (2 Independent Dr.)
A destination for anyone who loves to shop, this Downtown landmark has everything from cookies and clothes to art and concerts. Visit their events page to check out what is coming up.
Other shops in Downtown
In addition to The Jacksonville Landing there are several other shops located in Downtown. Bark Downtown offers almost anything you can think of for your four legged friend. Hemming Plaza Jewelers has all of your jewelry needs covered. Visit our shopping directory for a full list of shops.
WORK UP A SWEAT
Go for a walk or a run
Put on your sneakers and walk the Riverwalk or across the Main Street and Acosta bridges for a quick lunchtime workout. The new Southbank Riverwalk is now open and provides beautiful scenery as you walk off the stresses of the morning. Need more workout inspiration? Check out our fitness itinerary or chose a running route.
Lift some weight
If you are looking for an indoor experience, there are several Downtown gyms listed in Getting Fit Downtown. Many offer shorter classes perfect to fit in a lunch hour. See our fitness itinerary for a list of local gyms.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
See what’s new at the Museum of Science and History (1025 Museum Circle)
There’s always something fun to see and new to learn for both children and adults at this interactive museum chock full of – you guessed it – science and history exhibits. It’s a great place to retreat for lunch, and you can even picnic by Friendship Fountain.
Visit Downtown churches
If you need a little peace and quiet on your lunch break, there are more than a handful of churches Downtown that offer a quiet place to have a few moments to yourself during a busy day. Check out this list of Downtown churches.
- Parking meters are free every weekday after 6 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday. Or if you prefer, check out the 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. Visit our page for 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, closed Monday. For a one-way ticket, fares are $5/adult and $4/children ages 3-12. Children younger than age 3 ride free. 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.