Jacksonville is a city rich in history. Founded in 1822, Jacksonville was originally named Cow Ford, due to the way cows were herded across the St. John’s River. When Florida became a state, the city’s name was changed to Jacksonville in honor of Andrew Jackson, the state’s first provisional governor. Not long after, the city began to grow rapidly, and distinct neighborhoods formed. To this day, these historic neighborhoods play a large role in both Jacksonville’s economy and its resident’s way of life. Lifelong residents and recent transplants alike desire to live in these neighborhoods due to their idyllic parks, eclectic shops and restaurants, walkability and a long list of other reasons.
Springfield is the oldest neighborhood in Jacksonville and the closest to all the hustle and bustle of downtown. Once the fastest growing and most desirable part of town, Springfield was hit hard after the great fire of 1901. In 2010, Southern Living magazine noted Springfield as the south’s #1 “comeback” neighborhood. Today, the area is seeing tremendous development in both housing and business. It is extremely accessible by foot or bike and home to many local shops and restaurants. Perhaps the best-selling feature are the beautiful historic homes and treelined streets, which make Springfield an ideal neighborhood for both Jacksonville’s younger and older generations.
Bars: Hyperion Brewing Company
Parks: Henry J. Klutho Park
Arguably one of Jacksonville’s most desirable neighborhoods, Riverside is extremely popular among Jacksonville residents. Originally home to many of the people credited with developing the city, Riverside quickly became known as an area for the wealthy due to its riverfront location and proximity to downtown. Today, Riverside is home to people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. Its beautiful parks, historic homes, and beloved restaurants, bars and shops have led to this area’s significance to those deciding what area of town they wish to call home.
Parks: Memorial Park
Like Riverside, Avondale is extremely desirable. Located along the river directly adjacent to Riverside, Avondale was one of the first developed neighborhoods in Jacksonville. Buyers are attracted to the beautiful, historic estates that line the river’s edge. It also features its very own business district located in the heart of the neighborhood. After just a quick walk or bike ride, there you will find many shops and restaurants that are loved not only by those from Avondale but people from all around town. This neighborhood is extremely family-friendly and offers something every member of the family will enjoy.
Parks: Boone Park
Further down river after Avondale is the neighborhood of Ortega. This neighborhood reached its prominence when the Florida Yacht Club, established by William Backhouse Astor, Jr., a member of the famous Astor family from New York City, was relocated here after the great fire of 1901. Today, The Florida Yacht Club, along with nearby Timuquana Country Club, anchor Ortega as a center for socialization within the community. With beautiful treelined streets, riverfront parks, multiple schools and churches, and homes ranging in size from small cottages to large mansions, Ortega has proven itself to be a great place to live for people of every age.
Restaurants: Simply Sara’s
Across the river from the other four neighborhoods lies an area called San Marco. This neighborhood is adjacent to the many businesses that make up the Southbank section of downtown, making it a convenient place to live for those that work nearby. Developed by Telfair Stockton, the original developer of Avondale, San Marco has a similar feel to that of its neighboring areas on the other side of the St. Johns River. What makes San Marco so sought after are the estate-like homes along the river, a booming social district with many local restaurants and shops, a top-rated elementary school, and its location close to downtown and the many other businesses that comprise Jacksonville’s southside. San Marco is also home to many of Jacksonville’s popular bars and breweries, making it a great gathering place after work and on the weekends.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a home in Jacksonville, you simply can’t go wrong with any of these historic areas. While they all have their own unique aspects, each of these five neighborhoods provide something for the whole family. From riverfront parks, great schools, delicious restaurants and charming shops, it’s likely these areas will continue to be centers of life in Jacksonville for many more years to come.