Jacksonville, Florida: More Than I Imagined

Jacksonville is one of those cities I'd always heard about living in Florida, but never really formulated an opinion on. It's on the East Coast, so I knew there were a lot of beach activities to do, but aside from that my knowledge base was extremely limited. Fortunately I had the opportunity to change that last weekend when my parents and I decided to spend the day in Jacksonville en route to my brothers graduation. We started off by hitting up Grassroots Natural Market for some lunch. With Dad's celiacs and my Vegetarianism it can be hard finding places we can all eat out at. I thought this place would  be perfect since we could all grab whatever snack foods we wanted, and I read online that they had a killer smoothie bar. IMG_7327I grabbed one of their pre-made sandwiches, some sort of curry tofu wrap, and it was *so* good. We sat outside enjoying the gorgeous Florida winter weather (highs around 70) and planned out the rest of our day. IMG_7328 The part of town we were in, Riverside, had this great hip vibe to it. There was art everywhere and tons of antique/vintage stores and restaurants. You could easily spend a day walking around the area and still not have enough time to see everything you wanted to. IMG_7333 IMG_7334

IMG_7335 After a bit of wandering our first destination was the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. The Cummer Museum has over 5,000 pieces of permanent artwork and picturesque fairy tale gardens. They offer free admission on Tuesdays from 4-9 p.m. and on the first Saturday of the month so if you're in town then, or a local, you have zero excuses not to check it out! IMG_7337 IMG_7339 IMG_7346 IMG_7354 IMG_7364 A bit more wandering around ensued, and we stumbled upon this huge park in the middle of the downtown area we were at. I love it when cities can preserve as much of nature as possible, and it was clear to me that Jacksonville actively works to do that. IMG_7366 IMG_7368A few of my favorite random sights: IMG_7372 IMG_7373We ended the day with a stop at Sweet Theory Baking Company. Most of their treats are Gluten Free and I read rave reviews on them online so I was excited to see what the fuss was about. They definitely lived up to the hype! 2013-12-13 16.05.04

2013-12-13 16.05.43

2013-12-13 16.06.24

Which Mark do you think I voted for?

2013-12-13 16.08.51Dad had an earl gray latte, Mom and I went with mini chocolate mint brownie bites, and I got the graduate a maple bacon brownie. All phenomenal! 2013-12-13 16.09.05I left Jacksonville that night genuinely impressed. If I am ever in the area again I will absolutely stop back and try to spend the night to see more of the city. If I didn't live by the beach already I'd definitely check out their coastline next time, as well as their Riverside Arts Market on Saturday.

Thank you to Visit Jacksonville for sponsoring my trip! They are also giving away a Florida Gift Basket to one of my readers (open to continental US.) Answer the question below and I'll pick one winner at random and announce them on the blog Friday.

Winner! Please email me your full name and address asap to Erica@EricaDHouse.com.


What would you do if you had the whole day to spend in Jacksonville?