We have lived in Florida for right at two years, and have loved every moment of it. The beaches, the food, the river, being close to other major cities, and all the activities are just some of my top reasons why Jacksonville is such a fun city to live in or visit.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite restaurants, bars + cocktail lounges, shopping, and things to do all year round. Leave a comment if you end up trying out any of these spots!
Mezza Luna in Atlantic Beach – Amazing Italian food with a romantic atmosphere. You can come here dressed up or right off the beach, just make a reservation. The food + drinks are so delicious! I usually get the short rib ragu or the lasagna.
Le Petit Paris – There are two locations for this precious restaurant that makes you feel like you’re truly sitting in a Paris cafe. Sit inside or outside on their bistro tables! It’s a brunch vibe, no reservations required, and theres truly something for everyone to enjoy. Mimosas, wine tasting, macarons, quiche, sandwiches, fancy coffees + desserts, soup + salad, etc. It’s one of my favorites in JAX.
Fish Camp – There are four Fish Camp restaurant locations, but we usually go to the Julington Creek Fish Camp. It’s right on the river overlooking the marina with dozens of sail boats, and the service is unmatched. Truly the best bartenders, waiters and managers! Not to mention some of the best seafood dishes for a relatively inexpensive price. Get the cucumber basil gimlet!
River and Post – Downtown Jacksonville overlooking the river, this nice restaurant is perfect for a fancy date night, birthday, bachelorette dinner, or just a celebration. Go upstairs to the bar for live music and to look at downtown!
Chart House – Another nice restaurant by the river.
Coopers Hawk – My husband talks about this place once a week. His work had a lunch here and he’s dying to bring me for wine tasting. It’s a bar + restaurant that offers a wine club membership, wine tasting, and an incredible menu.
Midtown Table – close to St. John’s Town Center. Italian inspired dishes + craft cocktails that are delicious, this has more of a laid back vibe. I’ve seen people celebrate birthdays here, or come to watch the Masters.
Mesa – Indian Restaurant that will knock your socks off. Such sweet service, family owned + literally the most tasty, fun food. You’ll need to make a reservation here, or get there when they open.
Rue St. Marc – One of the best chefs in Jacksonville, this French inspired restaurant is one you will want to go to for aa very special occasion. Their menu, like any good restaaurant, is truly based on what’s in season and what inspires the chef. Plates are a bit small but the courses are plentiful, artistic + delicious. I highly recommend doing the 5 course dinner, AKA the “Rue Experience”
Raintree Restaurant in St. Augustine – a beautiful dinner location in historic St Augustine! Get the cheese board and split a chef’s recommendation bottle of wine. There is not a bad table in this place!
Restoration Hardware – I truly am obsessed with everything about this place. The restaurant is on the top floor – I suggest taking the stairs perusing the home decor on each floor.
Grape + Grain – Located in San Marco, I am truly obsessed with this bar. Deffinitely try to come around the holidays (Halloween – Christmas) as they go ALL OUT. Spooky season especially is a good time at G&G. Take a peak at their tagged instagram photos 😉
Hoptinger – A brewery that has a few locations around Jacksonville. It’s a good time! Get a flight and try a few beers.
Wicked Barley – Another favorite brewery, this one serves food + cocktails as well as beer. There’s games + hang out spots inside and outside, so bring a group!
Margaritaville – A nod to my Jimmy Buffet roots. If you’re into a fun atmosphere, slightly overpriced drinks, but a great view of the ocean, you should pop in here. Next door is Casa Marina if and when you get sick of the Parrotheads.
Casa Marina – Right next door to Margaritaville, this local spot is a hotel, wedding venue, and bar/restaurant. Head upstarts to the Penthouse Lounge for live music (check their instagram stories to see when + who is playing), fun cocktails, and elevated appetizers.
Posting House – Another San Marco favorite.
The District – If you blink, you’ll miss it! Close to Downtown, this little spot has great food and appetizers, but even better craft cocktails. It’s a beautiful indoor/outdoor spot that’s great for a date night or a larger group. I want to say they sometime have live music too?
St John’s Town Center – Outdoor mall for SO much shopping + food.
Little Talbot Island for the beach
Ponte Vedra Spa + Club – book a few months out!
One Ocean Spa – In my opinion, Ponte Vedra Spa is better for the price, amenities + atmosphere. BUT- One ocean is still a good spa. It just depends on what you need, how much time in advance you can book, and your budget. One Ocean is a little less expensive than Ponte Vedra.
Atlantic\Neptune Beach – Park and walk around! There’s local shopping, restaurants, bars and you’re right on the beach.
While you’re in Atlantic Beach, you have to try Whitt’s For Dessert!
Jumbo Shrimp baseball game
Coming to Jacksonville in the fall? Get tickets to the GA/FL game, or a Jags game!
Concerts at Florida Theater
Check out downtown Avondale or San Marco
Live music at Casa Marina in Jax Beach
Amelia Island is close! The Spa at Omni or the Ritz is incredible
Visit St Augustine for the day! Blog post coming soon.