Avondale/Riverside is the only designated historic district in the Jacksonville, Florida area and runs along the St. Johns River just minutes from downtown. This historic district is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the American Planning Association named the area one of the year’s 10 great neighborhoods. The Riverside Five Points area is an artsy neighborhood with funky coffee shops, outdoor cafés, one-of-a-kind shopping, nightclubs, antique stores and more.
Voted as one of the best neighborhoods to retire in by Money magazine, Avondale provides the advantages of big city life while maintaining the peace and tranquility one desires in a quaint neighborhood. Riverside-Avondale has a mix of 16 parks and softly curved roadways dating back to the 1920’s. While much of the neighborhood is wealthy, middle-income households can surely find something affordable. There is a variety of living styles including rental units, bungalows, Tudor houses and majestic historical homes along the river. Each one is built separately and not one is the same as the other; however, the common thread that runs through the streets is the community itself. Riverside/Avondale offers an abundance of parks, art galleries, boutique shopping and lots of dining. The streets are lined with hundred-year-old oak trees, blooming crate myrtles, dog walkers and families with children. Avondale’s sophisticated charm and oak-lined avenues cater to the upscale shopper with a covey of specialty boutiques, fine galleries and gourmet eateries.
Amongst all of the shopping and development along the Riverside Street is Sun-Ray Cinemas, an eclectic theatre where the locals go. Sun Ray was the first theater in Florida equipped to show talking pictures and has been opened since March 1927. Now it is the host to a few top movies, lots of documentaries and always a nice mix of independent films. Riverside is also home to the Cummer Art Museum and Gardens. It is the largest fine arts museum in Northeast Florida and the second largest art museum in Florida. It offers a great kids area for exploration, specialty summer camps, after school activities and has FREE Tuesday admissions to all who pass through its doors after 4:00 PM.
But don’t forget to get outside! Since Riverside/Avondale is along the St. Johns River, there are plenty of opportunities to hit the water. Every day you are bound to see many sailboats and kayaks, just beckoning you to join them. Every Saturday from March through December artists, craft vendors, local farmers, performers and musicians gather under the canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge in the Riverside District for an unforgettable day, The Riverside Arts Market. Admission is free but the good times are priceless! Quick tip: plan to ride your bike as parking is hard to find. And if walking around at night, grab a ride on the trolley which strolls the area for one low price on the first weekend of every month from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am.
The Riverside Five Points area is an artsy neighborhood with funky coffee shops, outdoor cafés, one-of-a-kind shopping, nightclubs, antique stores and more. It is inclusive of eclectic shoppes like Bark, Edge City, Fans and Stoves Antique Mall, Hawthorne Hair Salon and more! For a slower speed, visit the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens or the Sun-Ray Cinema offering one or two shows daily. Regardless, you should be able to park and walk anywhere…from breakfast, to the park, to the arts market on Saturday, to the YMCA, to yoga, grocery shopping, an art exhibit, boutique stores and more!
You’ll also find nearby Avondale is a great place to shop for antiques or enjoy a meal. Many of the area’s bed and breakfasts are also located in this historic neighborhood. Normal sites would be: many people enjoying the beautiful parks, relaxing on a walk to get ice cream, laughing at an outside bistro diner while at dinner, walking or running with a dog, quietly enjoying the view from one of these older quaint bungalows or simply riding a bike to get a few items at the grocery store!