Jacksonville, located in the northeast corner of Florida, is the state’s largest city (and the country’s largest in land area, with 800+ square miles). Named after Andrew Jackson, the city was settled in 1816 and incorporated in 1832. Destroyed during the Civil war, Jacksonville was rebuilt, becoming a major industrial city and a transportation hub. Three US Navy installations are in the area. Today, Jacksonville is a growing city with a young population and a strong economy that is diversified among technical, manufacturing and service industries.
Jacksonville colleges include Florida Community College, the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, Florida Metropolitan University, Florida Technical College, Remington College, Edward Waters College, the Sanford-Brown Institute, ITT Technical Institute and the University of Phoenix.
Jacksonville’s many cultural attractions include a symphony orchestra, a zoo, many art galleries and museums. Downtown, the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, renovated in 2003, is a new 60,000 square foot, six-floor facility, with a permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, educational facilities and a theater. The Cummer Museum of Art, the largest fine arts museum in Northeast Florida, has a large collection of 18th century porcelain figures. For history, there’s the Museum of Science and History and the Museum of Southern History. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is an annual 4-day, multi-venue event that combines music and art each spring.
For spectator sports, 73,000-seat Alltel Stadium hosts the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, as well as the Gator Bowl each New Year’s Day and the 2005 Super Bowl. Next to Alltel is the brand-new, 10,000-seat Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, where the Jacksonville Suns, the AA affiliate of the Miami Marlins, play minor league baseball. Jacksonville also has an arena league football team, the Jacksonville Sharks. Just 90 miles away, Daytona is the site of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 road race each February.
With warm temperatures throughout the year and dozens of beaches nearby, Jacksonville has unlimited recreational possibilities. The Atlantic coast of Northern Florida is a popular spot for surfing, swimming and boating. Lively Jacksonville Beach is the most popular surfing, swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boating beach. The Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier is an accessible spot for fishing, with no license required. Anastasia State Recreation Area in St. Augustine is an 1,800-acre park with miles of beach and a saltwater lagoon filled with bluefish, pompano, and other bounties of the sea. More than 50 golf courses can be found in the Jacksonville area, including many of the top courses in the country. The World Golf Village in nearby St. Augustine has the Golf Hall of Fame, an IMAX theatre and three 18-hole courses, including the only course designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
As popular as Jacksonville’s beaches are by day, they’re even more popular at night, with many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues at Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach. Downtown, the Riverwalk, a 1.2-mile boardwalk on the banks of the St. Johns River, has restaurants, shops and entertainment. Ponte Vedra Beach has many upscale restaurants. Microbreweries, sports bars and Irish bars can be found up and down the coast from Georgia border to St. Augustine. With a young population (median under 34, younger than most Florida cities), great beaches and constant sunshine, Jacksonville is a great place to be.