Last week, Henri and I stopped for a few days in Jacksonville, FL because we had to get some serious work done. It might seem obvious but it wasn’t when we left New York : if you’re trying out digital nomadism it’s easier to get some work done in a city, as opposed to a State Park or any remote area.
More than the lack of coverage —we often get 1 or 2 LTE bars with Verizon even in the middle of a forest— it’s naturally more challenging for us to find motivation when we’re surrounded by trees, birds and amazing nature to explore, plus everything takes a bit longer in the wild (cooking, cleaning, etc.).
Anyway, we stopped in Jacksonville primarily to work but once walking around after work hours, we were pleasantly surprised. We really liked it. Jacksonville is the kind of city that doesn’t make it to the pages of travel guides, yet there were plenty of things to do for four days and we found some great vibes and a very relaxed atmosphere.
The city is huge, it even claims to be the largest in America and we found that many neighborhoods had some interesting things to see, not just the heart of Downtown. A visit to nearby Jacksonville Beach is worth it, despite the lack of clear, turquoise water that characterizes Florida. It’s very laid-back and it’s nice to observe the peaceful diversity there.
We visited Chamblin’s Bookstore & Coffeeshop. Even in New York City I never found such a great oasis! I will never forget this place:
- The coffee is amazing
- They litterally have a million books
- It’s very affordable
- They welcome EVERYONE, it’s obviously a sanctuary for many people in JAX
- They have gender neutral bathrooms.
There was a food truck / music festival on the square near the Contemporary Art Museum that day. I personally don’t use food trucks but if it’s your cup of tea there seems to be some good ones in JAX.
Of course people and things look very cool but I think that’s true about every downtown area in the U.S.
Great mural art and some interesting architecture if you like to find the good things inside the ordinary things.
There are neighborhoods with very old houses. I don’t do it justice because there are much more beautiful, well-maintained Victorian houses in Jacksonville but you get the point, if you like old houses it’s a place for that.
In Riverside, the Cummer Museum is a must-see for art lovers. It’s absolutely wonderful to walk through the gardens on a hot day and the collection is fabulous. There is a very interesting Orientalist collection and more French stuff than on many French museums. If you’re traveling on a budget, it’s free every Tuesday from 4 to 9 pm. The Riverside neighborhood is full of places to eat and drink. It definitely seems to be the center of artistic life.
Finally, Jacksonville Beach is a great place for people-watching and trying out your luck with kitesurfing. The Beach is located 15+ miles away from Downtown.
Ever been to Jacksonville, Florida? Leave a comment.