If you’re looking for a suburban feel with access to beautiful scenery and an average of 270 days of sunshine per year, Jacksonville, Florida, is the place for you. While the city is known for some of its most popular attractions, like the Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens and the Friendship Fountain, it’s also full of secret spots to uncover. From the most beautiful beaches to fantastic food options, the River City is home to all sorts of local favorites that will give you a truly unique perspective on the city.
Best hidden gems in and around Jacksonville
Not sure where to start? We’re here to help. We’ve asked Jacksonville locals to take you through the city from an insider’s perspective. So whether you’re renting an apartment in Jacksonville Beach, buying a house in Miramar, or considering moving to the area, get ready to explore the top hidden gems in Jacksonville.
Below, we will take you through some of the city’s best hidden gems, and hopefully, you’ll learn about some attractions that you may never have visited before. After all, this is a city that has plenty to offer.
Jacksonville Library Map Room
At the city’s main library, you will find The Map Room on the top floor. It is the heart of the special collections section.
The room is beautifully designed, containing a whole host of historical maps of our area. A number of them are handmade and hundreds of years old. Not only do they have cultural and historical importance, but they are works of art.
Whether you want a strong handcrafted beverage or you’re yearning to travel back to a different decade, The Volstead won’t disappoint.
The name is inspired by the Volstead Act, which banned the sale of alcohol throughout the Prohibition era. Of course, you won’t find such restrictions at this elegant ’20s-themed bar.
With smooth jazz music in the background and dim lights, it’s a cozy yet luxe place to enjoy an unusual cocktail. You can even have a go at making your own cocktails by taking one of the masterclasses.
There are a number of historical sights in Jacksonville’s Mandarin neighborhood.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, purchase a house here. The property has since been demolished, but her legacy still flourishes. Stowe contributed to building what is now the Mandarin Community Club, formerly the town’s school.
The Mandarin Store and Post Office was constructed in 1911 and is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.
B.E.A.K.S. stands for the Bird Emergency Aid & Kare Sanctuary. The team here offers care and rehabilitation for orphaned and injured birds in and around Jacksonville.
The sanctuary receives approximately 4,000 birds every year, including a broad range of species, such as owls, pelicans, wrens, blue jays, wood storks, ospreys, eagles, and even ostriches and emus.
You can visit the animals here and learn all about the importance of conservation.
Bird Island Park
We have Bobby Weed to thank for the serene, beautiful design of Bird Island Park. This attraction provides you with a fascinating insight into the ecosystems of northeast Florida.
There is a pond, with a boardwalk that encircles it. There is also a play area for children, as well as many sculptures, art, and a turtle maze.
Last but not least, we have Treaty Oak, which is known as Jacksonville’s oldest resident. Dating back to 1822, it is believed to be Jacksonville’s oldest live oak tree.
It has grown to 70 feet in height and has a circumference of 25 feet. It is a stunning and surprising vision, as it is situated in Jesse Ball DuPont Park, which is one block long, with towering skyscrapers providing a contrasting backdrop.
A wooden deck surrounds the Treaty Oak trunk, inviting visitors to get close and truly take in the tree’s immensity.