The List Jacksonville
The top 10 must-dos in Jacksonville, FL
Rabid sports fans are keeping their fingers crossed and their breath bated, hoping that with a new owner, head coach and roster full of fresh talent, 2012 will become the year of the Jaguar. Don't miss an epic showdown when the Jags host the New York Giants in a preseason matchup for the ages (Aug. 10).
Sleek black couches, seductively low and flattering lighting and exposed brick details give Dos Gatos a speakeasy vibe that's second to none in Jax. Watching the bartenders expertly mix cocktails like the Orange JalapeñoMargarita and El Verano is almost as enjoyable as toasting with and sampling the final product.
The Florida Theatre
Claiming to be "Jacksonville's premier entertainment center since 1927," today its stage is used mostly for live touring acts. However, every summer the cultural landmark revives its original use as a movie theater by screening classic flicks in its vintage ambiance. This month's lineup includes Carousel (Aug.19) and Some Like It Hot (Aug.26).
The Soul Food Bistro
A word of warning: a meal at the Soul Food Bistro is sure to break every diet's rules. However, the real travesty, would be to leave Jacksonville without sampling the golden fried chicken, cornbread, slow braised oxtails and sweet tea that have made this cafeteria-style restaurant a local legend.
Riverside Arts Market
Equal parts food bazaar, farmers market and arts fair, the Riverside Arts Market is held every Saturday under the Fuller Warren Bridge—a veritable explosion of colors and smells. Admission is free, but bring a few bucks for a handmade necklace or fresh kettle corn.
Lions, tigers and bears are tried and true; but in the summer heat, who wants to see sleeping giants? Butterfly Hollow, like a fairy tale come to life with meandering paths and tropical gardens, is an 8,500-square-foot exhibit that boasts hundreds of winged residents amidst fairy houses, garden art and babbling brooks.
Jax Brew Bus
With 10 craft breweries in Northeast Florida, hitting as many as possible can be a real mission impossible. Partake in an unforgettable pub crawl (minus the crawling) with the Jax Brew Bus, which takes you to visit a select handful of breweries like Intuition Ale Works and Engine 15, where you'll sample over 15 styles of beer.
St. Johns Town Center
Fashionistas should leave their heels at home. This mammoth outdoor mall will have them running around for miles, ogling high-end names like Louis Vuitton as well as local favorites like Private Gallery. For a strengthening snack, Sweet! by Good Golly Miss Holly, one of two bakeries owned by two-time Cupcake Wars winner Hollis Wilder, will hit the (sweet) spot.
e2ride Bike Tours
e2ride offers daily, guided bike tours ranging from five to 12 miles of the Riverside/Avondale, Olde Mandarin, Springfield and San Marco neighborhoods. Some tour-specific stops include the birthplace of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the site where the Civil War's first torpedo casualty took place, the house where Truman Capote spent his summers and one of the largest trees in Jax.
Chef Dennis Chan, author of Hip Asian Comfort Food, fuses Asian and Southern influences on his "hip Asian menu," with mouthwatering meals like Chile-mango salmon and soft shell crab and grits. Take his hipness home by attending one of Chan's monthly classes (Aug. 25) in his dining room.