City Guide / Jacksonville

Living in Jacksonville, FL: What You Need to Know

By Bri Hand | Oct 6, 2021
The Jacksonville, Florida, city skyline at night on the St. Johns River.

Just shy of 1 million sun-lovers call Jacksonville, FL, home. Believe it or not, Jacksonville is not only the largest city in Florida, but the largest in the contiguous 48 states, with 758 square miles comprising Jacksonville and the surrounding Duval County. With all that space, many residents like to enjoy the 22 miles of beaches for a day of sunning or water sports.

Are you contemplating living in one of Landing’s furnished apartments in Jacksonville and are curious about the city’s pros and cons? Read on for a full guide to living in Jacksonville, FL, as well as the perks and challenges, including:

  • The best neighborhoods in Jacksonville
  • Transportation in Jacksonville
  • Major employers in Jacksonville
  • Restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores in Jacksonville
  • Gyms in Jacksonville
  • Outdoor attractions in Jacksonville
  • Nightlife and entertainment in Jacksonville

The best neighborhoods in Jacksonville

Your first step to becoming a Jacksonville resident is deciding which neighborhood you’d like to call home. While Jacksonville is filled with beautiful areas, three neighborhoods come out on top:

  • Secret Cove: One of the best neighborhoods in Jacksonville—especially for young professionals—is Secret Cove, which has a population of 6,787 and a median rent of $1,360. Plus, about 60% of residents rent in this neighborhood. 
  • Deerwood: As one of Jacksonville’s larger neighborhoods, Deerwood has 32,378 residents and a hybrid suburban-urban appeal. With a median rent of $1,427, 44% of residents rent here. This is another neighborhood that young professionals adore for its resort-style residential stays.
  • Greenland: A larger neighborhood, Greenland is dense, with 30,923 residents. Nearly 30% of residents rent in Greenland, and the median rent is $1,527. There are plenty of parks and cafes in the area as well. 

Living in Jacksonville, FL, is an option for those looking to decrease their expenses, as the cost of living in Jacksonville is relatively low. The median rents in Jacksonville’s best neighborhoods can be a breath of fresh air for transplants from big cities such as New York or San Francisco. On the other hand, the median rents in this area are above the national average ($1,062), which some might consider a disadvantage for this growing city.

Transportation in Jacksonville

When you first move to Jacksonville, getting to know the city’s transportation will be vital when exploring its many cultural offerings and picturesque beaches. Ways in which you can get around the city include:

  • Car: Both Interstate 10 and Interstate 95 cross through the city to transport residents and visitors to and from Jacksonville. Perimeter Highway 295 runs around the city itself, helping residents to make their way around the city.
  • Bus: The Jacksonville Transportation Authority runs over 30 bus routes throughout the city.
  • Boat: The St. John River runs through downtown Jacksonville, and provides another passageway for residents. For a novel experience, catch a public ferry or bypass traffic with a river taxi. The St. Johns River Ferry, one of the many public ferry companies, transports passengers and cars to Ft. George Island, a beautiful park that’s home to a 1920s-era resort.
  • Bike: Residents can also rent or purchase a bike for a more eco-friendly option that allows residents to get around the downtown area in style.
  • Foot: Downtown Jacksonville and other compact neighborhoods are walkable. There are also riverfront walking paths for residents to exercise or take a relaxing stroll.
  • Train: The Amtrak train station is just 20 minutes north of downtown Jacksonville. Amtrak offers daily service to connect Jacksonville with intrastate and interstate destinations alike.

Jacksonville’s numerous transportation options are certainly a benefit for residents. Still, a potential disadvantage is the city’s traffic. 

Major employers in Jacksonville

Top employers in Jacksonville are in industries such as health, biomedical, financial, IT, and innovation services. Based on employee numbers, the top 10 employers in the Jacksonville area are:

  1. Baptist Health
  2. Bank of America
  3. Mayo Clinic
  1. Southeastern Grocers
  2. Florida Blue
  3. Ascension St. Vincent’s
  4. Amazon
  5. UF Health 
  6. Fleet Readiness Center Southeast
  7. Citi

If you work remotely or in industries such as IT, health, biomedical services, or financial services, Jacksonville is a great place to call home and make a living. 

Restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores in Jacksonville

The largest city in the nation surely knows how to feed its residents! In fact, due to the city’s low expenses, restaurateurs and baristas alike flock to the city to open up shop. As such, Jacksonville is packed full of scrumptious restaurants, delectable coffee shops, and bountiful grocery stores.


As a growing city that’s popular with young professionals, the best restaurants in Jacksonville are a mecca of newly minted, chic restaurants that offer diverse cuisine. Some local favorites include:

  • Blue Orchid Thai: A trendy Thai restaurant with a modern exterior, Blue Orchid Thai is the perfect spot for a night out. Enjoy house specialties such as coconut shell curry or entrees such as a classic Panang curry. Blue Orchid also offers high-end cocktails such as a lychee martini or a gin and lemon blue orchid satin.
  • Caffe Andiamo: For lovers of all things Italian, visit Caffe Andiamo for artisan wood-burning pizzas and other Italian staples. Relax on the restaurant’s patio and enjoy Jacksonville’s sunshine as you dine on salmon carpaccio or spaghetti bolognese.
  • Taqueria Cinco: Colorful and chic, Taqueria Cinco offers traditional and delicious Mexican cuisine. Choose from their selection of meat or veggie tacos or dine on classic street food like esquites—corn on the cob covered in cheese, mayo, and chili-lime spice.

Coffee shops

Whether you’re looking for the perfect coffee shop ambiance to work remotely or just love a powerful punch of caffeine to jumpstart your day, Jacksonville offers several trendy cafes to get your fix:

  • Bold Bean Coffee Roasters: Visit any of their three cafes in Riverside, Jacksonville Beach, or San Marco. Each location is meticulously designed, and patrons can enjoy a wide range of artisan coffees.
  • BREW Five Points: Stop by this espresso bar in the historic Five Points neighborhood and stay for brunch. Breakfast tacos make for the perfect breakfast as you sip on your salted caramel oat cold brew.
  • Sippers Coffeehouse: This family-owned neighborhood coffee house has all the treats you need, from biscotti to gluten-free donuts. Not a caffeine fiend? Purchase a refreshing rose lemonade instead.

Grocery stores

When you’re not dining out at fabulous restaurants, you’ll want to stock up your fridge for a few nights of dining in. Luckily, Jacksonville offers a variety of grocer options, including:

  • Whole Foods Market: Fans of high-end organic fare will love the Whole Foods near the banks of the St. Johns River.
  • Sprouts Farmers Market: Another option for organic foods, as well as grocery staples, is Sprouts. Both of its locations sit just east of downtown Jacksonville. 
  • Jax Oriental Market: For residents looking for an Asian specialty grocery store, visit Jax Oriental Market or order their groceries for delivery. The storefront offers instant noodles, meal kits, and an assortment of spices. 

With its collection of distinctive restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores, Jacksonville is the ideal locale for foodies of all tastes. 

Gyms in Jacksonville

If running along the riverfront paths isn’t your speed, Jacksonville has plenty of gyms and fitness centers, including:

  • Asana Wellness Center: This comprehensive gym and fitness center offers top-tier equipment, along with a relaxing sauna and hydromassage chair.
  • InShape Ladies Fitness: This body-positive gym offers unique classes such as pole and aerial classes, as well as standard classes such as dance fitness, yoga, and kickboxing.

Jacksonville’s gym offerings are yet another benefit for the city’s residents. Why? It has a great balance of local gyms and national chains, so everyone can find the perfect place to work out.

Outdoor attractions in Jacksonville

If you’re looking for a way to spend a day under the sun, Jacksonville has great options for outdoor fun, too, such as:

  • The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens: The former home of prolific art collector Ninah Mae Holden Cummer, this fine art museum also has gorgeous European-inspired gardens that run along the shores of St. Johns River.
  • Little Talbot Island: There’s no shortage of beaches in Jacksonville. Little Talbot Island is an undeveloped barrier island in northeast Jacksonville that offers more than five miles of beaches, as well as inland biking trails through its maritime forest.
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial: In the 1500s, the French made their home in Jacksonville at Fort Caroline. The Spanish destroyed the fort in 1565, but a replica has been rebuilt for history buffs and nature lovers alike to enjoy. You can go on a walk or a hike through the park or watch dolphins as they swim through the St. Johns River.

Nightlife and entertainment in Jacksonville

There are many fun things to do in Jacksonville. You can spend your days on the beach and spend nights enjoying the city’s entertainment offerings, including:

  • Jax Ale Trail: The Jacksonville Ale Trail offers about 25 craft breweries to visit and enjoy. You can even purchase a Jax Ale Trail Brewery Passport to use as you stop by each brewery for a chance at winning prizes.
  • The Comedy Zone: Since 1990, the Comedy Zone has brought laughter to Jacksonville locals. Enjoy a drink and appetizer as you watch a show!

Find your fun in Jacksonville with Landing

Even though summers can be humid and you’ll likely have to share the beach with tourists, Jacksonville is undoubtedly a wonderful place to live, offering ample opportunities to dine, laugh, and play. 

If you’re hoping to dip your toes in the water, Landing is here to help. We offer furnished apartments on flexible, short-term leases so you can experience Jacksonville how you want for however long you want. Browse our available apartments in Jacksonville today!

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.