Bell South Tower -- a study in angles
Tapered with a series of visually appealling set-backs, the Bell South Tower, Jacksonville's third tallest building, takes on completely different shapes and appearances depending on your perspective. Look for it on the western side of the city's Northbank skyline.
Jax Metro Area home to Nation's oldest city
Located a short 45 minute drive south of Downtown Jacksonville, the historic city of St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. It was founded by the Spanish in 1565, 42 years before the English colonized Jamestown and 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
Attractions are diverse and plentiful in this European looking village, including forts, historic sites, living history museums, animal parks, sightseeing tours, ghost tours, specialty museums and areas for recreation and amusement. In fact, here it's common to see authentically clothed soldiers and craftsmen walking around town, particularly at the Colonial Spanish Quarter and at the Castillo de San Marcos, where if you're lucky you'll see (and hear) a cannon firing demonstration. The historic district is a walkable area of several square blocks featuring a vast array of attractions, shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed & breakfasts and hotels within a short distance from one another. St. George Street, a pedestrian-only corridor located right in the center of the historic district, is where most of the city's visitors congregate to eat and shop. While St. George may be the only pedestrian-only corridor, numerous other surrounding streets also offer a variety of unique shops, restaurants and galleries from which to choose. In fact, two main entry corridors, King St. and San Marco Ave., are known for having large concentrations of art galleries and antiques shops respectively.
St. Augustine, located about 40 miles south of Downtown, and the pirate town of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, located about the same distance north of Downtown, serve as charming geographical bookends to the volumes of unique experiences visitors will enjoy when visiting Jacksonville.
A hip coffeehouse just steps from the beach
Shelby's is a favorite locals' hangout at Jacksonville's Beach Town Center. Here, patrons can enjoy frozen mango drinks, pastries, sandwiches, salads, ice cream, cakes, pies, cookies, and, of course, coffee drinks, all in a cozy, tropical setting. A courtyard behind the coffee shop features live music on weekend nights. Additional outdoor cafe-style seating at umbrella tables is also availiable. Some locals even bring their pooches. The inside features changing exhibits of local artwork, stands with local art, entertainment and opinion magazines, and bulletin boards advertising all things hip and happening that are taking place at the beaches. Live jazz is performed here on Sunday mornings. Shelby's, along with the rest of Town Center was profiled in a recent issue of Southern Living. Frozen mango drink and a cheese danish turnover.
MOSH: science, history, planetarium & fun for kids
Along the Southbank Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville you'll find the Museum of Science in History or "MOSH" as the locals call it. In addition to featuring dinosaurs and other special interest or holiday exhibits, MOSH can be described as three kinds of attraction areas under one roof.
First off, the main collection of exhibits focus on science and history topics of interest or importance to the nature, early settlements and modern development of Jacksonville, such as manatees, the Timucuan Indians and historic riverboats sunk during the Civil War.
The museum's second main component is the Alexander Brest Planetarium. Here, you can learn about the wonders of the night sky, like where to find constellations and planets. The planetarium is also used from time to time for special nighttime events like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd laser light shows
The third area is mainly of interest to children. This is where they can interact with a variety of hands-on science experiments dealing with topics such as electricity, optical illusions, and shadows, among others.
After living the last 30 years of my life in the cold winters of the Rochester and Buffalo NY areas...I am finally living in paradise in FL. We moved here July 2003. No more cold winters for me and my husband Chris. We love it here! Great city with nice people, tons to do and see......
The Jacksonville Landing entertainment complex
More downtown view