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Hitting all of Jacksonville’s highlights in one day is next to impossible; there are approximately 841 square miles inside its boundaries. Still, with a little thoughtful planning, visitors can see some of the city’s most attractive attributes by nightfall.
Nothing compares to the tranquil beauty of an Atlantic Ocean sunrise, so set the alarm early to start the day with a stroll in Jacksonville Beach. After grabbing a hearty breakfast at one of the nearby cafes or diners, hop in the car and head to the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. The 120-acre nature preserve in Arlington is home to several walking trails designed to help novices and experts alike take in the sights and sounds of native Florida plants and animals.
Refuel with lunch at one of the restaurants at the Jacksonville Landing; options range from specialty rolls at Koja Sushi to Irish fare at Fionn MacCool’s or a deep-dish pie at Chicago Pizza. Afterward, relax with a light stroll along the Northbank Riverwalk, a paved walkway on the St. Johns River that covers approximately two miles. Many of Jacksonville’s landmark bridges, including the Hart Bridge, the Main Street Bridge and the Acosta Bridge, are visible from any point on the walkway.
No trip to Jacksonville is complete without a visit to the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Permanent gallery collections feature masterpieces from ancient, medieval and modern periods. Rotating temporary exhibitions highlight local and international talent.
Dinner in Avondale is always a pleasant way to end the day, whether you opt for French eats at the Restaurant Orsay, fresh and modern American fare at Brick or the day’s fresh catch at The Blue Fish Restaurant. Grab a slice of cake from the dessert case at Biscottis before retiring for the evening.