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skyline of Jacksonville, Florida looking from the Atlantic Ocean

15 Things to Know About Living in Jacksonville

Moving to Jacksonville? Florida’s biggest city has fantastic year-round weather, affordable housing, a thriving restaurant scene, and incredible outdoor recreation near the Atlantic Ocean. Check out these 15 things to know about living in Jacksonville!

Enjoy Jacksonville’s Low Cost of Living

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Want to live in one of the most affordable cities in Florida? Consider moving to Jacksonville! The cost of living in Jacksonville is 7% lower than the Florida average, making it more affordable than comparable cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. In fact, the average home price in Jacksonville is 17% lower than the national average, with a median home price around $140,000 and median monthly rent around $955. If you’re looking into the most affordable beach towns to settle down in, consider living in Jacksonville!

Join Jax’s Growing Job Market

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Jacksonville’s job market has seen consistent growth, particularly among industries like health care, finance, hospitality, and education. While living in Jacksonville, you can explore careers at Fortune 500 companies including CSX, Fidelity National Financial, Johnson & Johnson, CBRE Group, and more! Plus, Jacksonville has a lower-than-average 3.2% unemployment rate. So if you’re looking for great employment opportunities, Jacksonville may just be the city for you!

Earn Your Degree at Jacksonville Colleges

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Interested in pursuing higher education in Jacksonville? There’s no shortage of options! Attend Florida State College at Jacksonville, and choose from over 150 programs in fields ranging from aviation and information technology, to business. Get the full experience of attending a waterfront campus at Jacksonville University, which has been named one of the best regional universities in the South! Or get your degree in coastal biology, nursing, education, or health administration at the University of North Florida.

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“Third-Largest Military Presence in the Country”

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With several major military facilities in the area, the River City is a great place for military families to live! The Naval Station Mayport is the third-largest naval facility in the U.S., spanning over 3,400 acres to include a seaport and an air facility. Blount Island Command serves as a hub for the Marine Corps prepositioning programs. With 21,000+ active duty members and civilian personnel, Naval Air Station Jacksonville is also one of the largest employers in Jacksonville—offering jobs in naval flight operations, training programs, and more. Additionally, The Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition (JMVC) works to facilitate career, business, and education opportunities for veterans and active duty members.

Travel Around the Gateway to Florida

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The City on the Move is easy to get around, thanks to its public trolleys, water taxis, ferries, and buses provided by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA). Easily get from Mayport Village to Fort George Island with the help of the St. Johns River Ferry. Offering stops along the banks of St. Johns River, make your way from Southbank to downtown on the Jacksonville River Taxi. If you’re looking to get to other large South Florida cities like Orlando and Miami, leave your car at home and take advantage of Jacksonville’s Amtrak train service! Or travel around Downtown Jacksonville with ease via the Skyway, an elevated monorail system.

Experience Outdoor Recreation in Jacksonville

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As it has the largest urban park system in the U.S., one of the best things to do in Jacksonville is to get out and explore the 80,000 acres of the city’s incredible green spaces. Catch breathtaking views of the St. Johns River, or hike the park’s extended trail at Fort Caroline National Memorial Park. Go for a swim, bike through some of the 46,000 acres of wetlands, or visit one of the cultural heritage sites at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Go surfing at The Poles, learn to kayak and fish in the freshwater lake, or let kids cool off at the splash park at family-friendly Hanna Park. Spend a night under the stars while camping or go bird-watching at Huguenot Memorial Park. Or immerse yourself in nature, try your hand at paddleboarding, or gallop on horseback along the coast at Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park!

Soak Up Sunshine on the First Coast

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Jacksonville is home to four main beaches that span 22 miles of sandy coast, each located about 30 minutes outside of Downtown Jacksonville. Fish from the pier, play beach volleyball, or have a picnic with friends at Jacksonville Beach. Spend an afternoon surfing the waves at Atlantic Beach. Go for a bike ride along the coast or grab a beer with your furry friend at BrewHound at Neptune Beach. Plan a trip to Mayport Beach—which is known for its fresh seafood restaurants and delicious Mayport shrimp—and experience why it’s one of the best beaches in Jacksonville! Head to Ponte Vedra Beach to golf at the course of The PLAYERS Championship, indulge in retail therapy, enjoy the dog park with coastal views, or check out the dunes. Or go kayaking in Jacksonville, bike along the beach, or try beachcombing at Little Talbot Island State Park.

Jam to Jacksonville’s Jazz Scene

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Jacksonville’s proximity to other Southern states plays a strong role in its jazz-filled past. The historic LaVilla area used to be known as “The Harlem of the South,” acting as a place where jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Billie Holliday brought their tunes to Jax. This influence can still be seen in Jacksonville today through its many concerts, events, and jazz clubs. Spend Memorial Weekend listening to a jazz artists during the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Enjoy live music from blues legends and up-and-coming artists during the three-day Springing the Blues music festival. Sign up for spoken word and listen to smooth jazz at Jazz Poetry Cafe. Spend date nights sharing appetizers and listening to local jazz artists at Breezy Jazz Club. Or check out the speakeasy-styled bar with classic Southern charm and jazz performances from the Groove Coalition at The Volstead.

Join the First Coast’s Art Scene

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Jacksonville has many museums and art installations sprinkled throughout the city, making for a thrilling art scene. Explore more than 5,000 pieces of art ranging from European paintings to Ancient Egyptian pottery at The Cummer Museum. View modern paintings, prints, and sculptures at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Walk through galleries, grab a bite from the food trucks, and listen to live music on the first Wednesday of the month at Downtown Art Walk. Support small businesses, local artists, farmers, and more as you shop at the Riverside Arts Market. See what local artists are imagining in the popular CoRK Arts District—which is housed in a converted 80,000-foot warehouse. Check out live performances from comedians and musicians and see how the Jacksonville area of LaVilla was once known as the “Harlem of the South” at the Ritz Theatre and Museum. Spend an evening at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts—which hosts events ranging from Broadway shows like Hamilton and Aladdin, to symphony orchestra performances. Or shop for handmade jewelry, paintings, photography, and more while supporting local artists at the San Marco Art Festival each November.

Find Fun Family Activities in Jacksonville

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Parents and kids alike will love the many family-friendly attractions Jacksonville has to offer! March through Stingray Bay, the African Forest, and the Wild Florida Loop exhibits while seeing exotic animals at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Stroll through Lake Loop, Sand Ridge, and other nature trails to see Florida’s wildlife at the Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Schedule a candy-making class, have a birthday party, and more at Sweet Pete’s Candy in Downtown Jacksonville. Plan a fun-filled day of laser tag, miniature golf, and arcade games at Adventure Landing. Get out with other comic book and pop culture fans every October at WasabiCon, the city’s top gaming and pop culture convention. Get to know more about dinosaurs, take part in the interactive Health in Motion: Discover What MOVES You exhibit, and visit the planetarium at the Museum of Science & History (MOSH). Take in the beautiful nighttime scenery down at the Friendship Fountain, which illuminates Downtown Jacksonville with its colored lights. Or enroll the little ones to an after-school workshop or program at Theatre Jacksonville!

Root for Jacksonville’s Local Teams

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Love sports? Jacksonville has plenty of teams for you to check out! Get ready to yell “DUUUVAAAL” as you cheer on the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) every fall at TIAA Bank Field. Tailgate with friends and get ready to cheer on the college football teams who made it to the Gator Bowl at EverBank Stadium. Take yourself out to the ballgame to see the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (MiLB) play at 121 Financial Ballpark. If hockey is more your speed, watch the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL) score some goals at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Or catch the Jacksonville University Dolphins (NCAA D-1) and UNF Osprey (NCAA D-1) men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, golf, football, or volleyball teams compete all year long!

Scope out a Prime Shopping in Jax

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Looking for prime shopping in Jacksonville? The city has a wide range of high-end fashion brands, popular retailers, antique stores, and specialty shops. Splurge on upscale name brands like Gucci, Steve Madden, Louis Vuitton, and more at St. Johns Town Center. Explore retail stores, get pampered at the full-service nail salon, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many casual dining options at The Avenues. Shop for beachy fashion, great novels, or local art along the A1A strip. Find a variety of antique furniture, home decor, gifts, and one-of-a-kind collectibles when you pop into Avonlea Antiques & Interiors. Or stroll through Chamblin Bookmine, Wolf & Cub, and other locally-owned shops in Downtown Jacksonville!

Enjoy Community Events

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When you live in Jacksonville, there are tons of exciting events to attend! Watch hundreds of boats make their way out to the water to compete for fishing prizes each July at the Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. Join runners of all levels during the Gate River Run 15K. Experience a diverse range of cultures through food, art, and more during Jax’s World of Nations Celebration! Catch the Blue Angels during the annual NAS Jax Air Show, or take part in the Veterans Day Parade through Downtown Jacksonville. Snack on Southern food while listening to country tunes during The Great Atlantic Country Music Festival. Celebrate the start of the holiday season by watching the Jacksonville Light Boat Parade on St. Johns River. Or take pictures with Santa, go sledding, pet goats, or go ice skating in Jacksonville while celebrating the holidays during Jacksonville WinterFEST.

Explore the Tastes of Jacksonville

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Start your day with a Farm Stand Omelet, Uptown Breakfast Bowl, Pancake Stack, or Fried Chicken Biscuit from Uptown Kitchen. Order Wood Grilled Salmon, Szechuan Tuna, Blue Crab Cakes, and other coastal cuisine at Marker 32. Try Red Beans and Mayport Shrimp, Grilled Fresh Mahi, Calamari, or a Baja Taco Plate at The Fish Company. Eat Kimchi Tots, Korean Fried Broccoli, Don Don Noodles, and more at Bellwether, one of Downtown Jacksonville’s best restaurants. Share a plate of Dynamite Shrimp, Fried Goat Cheese, or Crab Cakes while enjoying rooftop views at River & Post. Sample savory dishes like Roasted Oysters, Escargots, and Steak Tartare at Restaurant Orsay, a French bistro with Southern influence. Feast on Prime Beef Tenderloin, Seared Foie Gras, Sweet Prawn Spaghetti, Pasta Radiatori, and other French and Mediterranean cuisine at Matthew’s Restaurant. Or get your dessert fix with Triple Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cheesecake, and Peanut Butter Mousse from Biscottis.

Stay Out for Jacksonville Nightlife

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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Jacksonville after the sun goes down, there’s no shortage of options! Listen to live music on a patio with seaside views at the Lemon Bar. Head over to a premier comedy club offering live entertainment from comedians like Greg Morton, DC Curry, and Bill Bellamy at the Comedy Zone. Play games like Guitar Hero, Donkey Kong, and Pac-Man at LeaderBoard Arcade Bar & Pizzeria. Looking for some of the best breweries in Jacksonville? Jax is one of the best cities for craft beer! Take a trip to Bold City Brewery for a huge selection of craft beers like the Mad Manatee IPA, Big Perm Hoppy Blonde Ale, or Nitro Dukes Brown Ale. Or sample from a rotating tap while enjoying great food at Intuition Ale Works.


Moving to Jacksonville? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities throughout the Jacksonville area to help with your transition. Find a storage unit near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.