Jacksonville Recommendations

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As Deacon fans flock to Jacksonville, there is plenty to do in the “Bold City” as we paint the town old gold and black. See below for suggestions for activities, food, drink, and places to celebrate post-game. Don’t forget to participate in the various events sponsored by the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl and its partners including a pep rally on Thursday afternoon and a New Year’s Day 5K run through downtown Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is a sprawling city (the largest city by landmass in the contiguous United States) so getting from one neighborhood to another can take up to 30 minutes. Be sure to take travel time and potential game-day/New Year’s Eve traffic into account as you explore the city and surrounding area.

We are thankful to members of the WAKEJacksonville community for passing along the recommendations below. They are thrilled to welcome thousands of Deacs to their home!

    Things to See and Do

  • Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

    The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is the largest fine arts museum in Northeast Florida. The Cummer was established in 1958, when art collector, garden enthusiast, and civic leader Ninah Cummer bequeathed her art collection and riverfront home to create a museum. Today, the core collection of 60 pieces from Mrs. Cummer’s estate has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art. The historic gardens, set against the backdrop of the St. Johns River, serve as a centerpiece of beauty for all to enjoy.

  • Memorial Park

    Memorial Park is one of Jacksonville’s best-loved treasures. Located along the banks of the majestic St. Johns River (incidentally, at one of its widest points, as it starts to turn east from its southern source towards its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean), this six-acre park draws visitors from across the Northeast Florida community.

  • Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

    The Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is a 120-acre property with an interesting history. The Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens officially opened to the public in November 2008. At the time the Arboretum opened, there was a paved parking area, the Lake Loop, Jones Creek and Ravine trails. All of the trails, benches, board walks, and picnic tables in the Arboretum were built by volunteers from the community.

  • Jacksonville Riverwalk

    Bordering the St. Johns River, the Jacksonville Riverwalk is usually filled with joggers, tourists, folks sitting on benches, and lovers walking hand-in-hand, all of them watching the riverboats, the shorebirds, and downtown’s skyline reflected in the water.

There are three beaches that run the coastal perimeter of Jacksonville: Atlantic, Neptune, and Jacksonville. It’s not unheard of for locals to be on the sand in December. Swimming is for the bravest of Deacs.

These beach communities are very walkable and you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants, breweries, and local shops to keep you occupied.

New Year’s Eve in Jacksonville

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Say goodbye to 2021 and ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display over the St. Johns River. Make your way down to the waterfront with friends or family before midnight to snag a great seat for the festivities. Fireworks will begin exactly at midnight.

The Volstead

Celebrate at this speakeasy style bar with delicious craft cocktails as you ring in the new year. Their NYE celebration begins at 9:00 p.m.

New Year’s Eve: Rhapsody in Blue Eyes

Tony DeSare and the Jacksonville Symphony bring you the best songs of Sinatra, and Gershwin’s extraordinary Rhapsody in Blue. All followed by the best New Year’s party in town featuring dancing to The Chris Thomas Band, champagne and the best viewing location for the fireworks right outside the door.