St. Johns Town Center (mall), Jacksonville
St. Johns Town Center , an outdoor, pedestrian-friendly, “Main Street” style mall (dubbed a “lifestyle center” in the retail industry), is THE premier shopping and dining destination between tourist-happy Orlando and big-business Atlanta. You could even say it’s a “mall” for outdoors-loving people who hate to go to the mall! I don’t even like most of the high-end stores found here, yet I really enjoy walking its sidewalks and green. Of course, if you are a shopaholic (brace yourself) St. Johns Town Center is home to the likes of Tiffany & Company, Louis Vuitton, Urban Outfitters, The Apple Store, Sephora, Lucky Brand Jeans, Tommy Bahama, Pottery Barn, Fossil, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fossil, Anthropologie, Mayor’s, Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma, and a whole slew of other ritzy and/or trendy chains that I do not have the money, fashion sense, or status envy to shop at. (That said, I do have three favorite hang-outs: a two-story Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lifeway Christian Store, and Barnes & Noble.)
Aside from shopping, another equally impressive drawing card is its selection of restaurants. Here, your stomach (and wallet) must decide among the likes of The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Maggiano’s Little Italy, The Capital Grill, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Bahama Breeze, Ted’s Montana Grill, Cantina Laredo, J. Alexander’s, Black Finn, Seasons 52 (coming soon), and a host of other more common variety chains.
Opened in 2005, St. Johns Town Center is more than just Jacksonville’s premier shopping and dining destination – it’s also a rival hub to downtown. Situated at the busy super-interchange of J.T. Butler Boulevard (a freeway that links I-95 to the beaches) and SR 9A (the eastern half of the city’s beltway), the center is the heart of Jacksonville’s busy and ever-booming Southside, surrounded by a landscape dense with office, residential, and retail developments. The campus of the University of North Florida and the popular Cinemark Tinseltown megaplex are also within very close proximity – as are even more restaurants and big-box retailers!
Looking for a relaxing place to sit when taking a break from upscale shopping? Here is a photo taken at the "town square" I mentioned in the previous tip that serves as the outdoor mall's centerpiece. Here you can enjoy the tranquility of koi ponds, statues and small fountains.