As a life-long resident of Jacksonville, I sometimes forget what a flourishing downtown scene we have here. We all know about our fantastic Downtown Library and the frequent concerts (and fireworks) at the Jacksonville Landing, but downtown is much, much more than that. From unique modes of transportation to (free) tours of our local robotics company, downtown Jacksonville has plenty to do and see without breaking your budget!
Top to Bottom Walking Tour
No need for a 45-minute ride to St. Augustine, we have plenty of history in the heart of our city. Check out the Top to Bottom Walking Tour. This walking tour of Downtown Jacksonville is a fantastic way to explore downtown with an expert! Departing Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am from the Landing, this guided tour takes you to the TOP of Jacksonville (or one of its tallest buildings that is) and to the BOTTOM (I don’t want to give away this super awesome surprise) and many interesting places in between.
Tuesday’s tour always makes a stop inside the Florida Theatre, Thursday’s tour takes you behind the scenes at the Jacksonville Symphony. The best part is, children 5-12 are only $5 and 4 and under are free! Reservations required, call (904) 827-1845. Have a large group or planning a field trip? They offer personalized group tours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Cost: FREE for kids 4 and under, $5 kids 5-12
For more than 30 years, the Sally Corporation has held the title as Jacksonville’s local animatronics corporation. During that time, they have hosted thousands of visitors for tours of their robot factory. (Yes, I said ROBOT FACTORY!) Tours are offered on Tuesday and Thursday hourly from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. free of charge to groups no larger than 30 people (no tours in July or August). Kids must be 7 or older! Click here for more tour info! Cost: FREE
The Jacksonville Skyway
The Jacksonville Skyway is the perfect way to experience a bird’s eye view of the city for FREE! I remember taking a trip downtown as a child to experience the Skyway when it first opened–I’m thrilled to give my kids the same experience I had. And with trains running every 3-6 minutes, it is perfect for even the most restless of toddlers. For the Skyway Schedule click here Cost: FREE
The Water Taxi
The Water Taxi is by far the best vehicle in which to see the city with six stops: Friendship Fountain, The Jacksonville Landing, The Crowne Plaza, the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk, the Municipal Marina and, on Saturdays, the Riverside Arts Market. The taxi runs Sunday-Thursday 11am-9pm and Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm. Visit their website Cost: $2
The Skyline Café
Have you ever heard of The Skyline Café? Probably not. It is a cafeteria-style lunch spot at the top of the Bank of America building that offers scenic views of Downtown and the St. Johns River. No reservations are required, and it won’t break your budget either. Their specials change daily so check out their website here!
If you ask the locals, they will tell you to stop by the Burrito Gallery (it was voted Best Burrito for the past six years by readers of Folio Weekly)! It is located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville at 21 East Adams Street, walking distance from the Florida Theatre, Main Library and many other popular downtown attractions. Their menu is prepared fresh daily and offers Vegetarian and gluten free options.
Downtown Vision has put together multiple printable itineraries of what you can do downtown; you can check them out here!