Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. The consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits; with a population of 821,784, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the Southeast, and the eleventh most populous in the United States. Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles (547 km) north of Miami.
Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763, after the French and Indian War, and the British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point, which the Seminole called Wacca Pilatka and the British named the "Cow Ford", both names ostensibly reflecting the fact that cattle were brought across the river there. Britain ceded control of the territory back to Spain in 1783, after its defeat in the American Revolutionary War, and The settlement at the Cow Ford continued to grow. After Spain ceded the Florida Territory to the United States in 1821, American settlers on the north side of the Cow Ford decided to plan a town, laying out the streets and plats. They soon named the town "Jacksonville", after Andrew Jackson. Led by Isaiah D. Hart, residents wrote a charter for a town government, which was approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832.
During the American Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle being shipped from Florida to aid the Confederate cause. The city was blockaded by Union forces, who gained control of the nearby Fort Clinch. From 1862, they controlled the city and most of the First Coast for the duration of the war. Though no battles were fought in Jacksonville proper, the city changed hands several times between Union and Confederate forces. Warfare and the long occupation left the city disrupted after the war.
The end of the indoor shopping mall may be indicated by the opening of The St. Johns Town Center in 2005 and the River City Marketplace, on the Northside in 2006. Both of these are "open air" malls, with a similar mix of stores, but without being contained under a single, enclosed roof. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), only one enclosed mall has been built in the United States since 2006.
Much like the community itself, the Jacksonville restaurants scene is an eclectic hybrid of inspired casual elegance and classic southern comfort, infused with the unmistakable flavor of the coast and a dash of international flair. From local eateries and fish camps to four-diamond cuisine and urban hotspots, there is a restaurant for every taste. Dining options in Northeast Florida range from upscale bistros to down-home fish camps, all infused with warm Southern hospitality. End the evening with a colorful nightlife scene as varied as it is vibrant. Sundown in Jacksonville sheds light on entertainment options as diverse as the local landscape.
Whether you’re looking to explore the waterways hands-on with a guided eco-kayak tour or casting a line; seeking the calming spirit of the waters with a romantic meal for two overlooking the ocean or simply taking the family for a great day at the beach, there is a way for everyone to enjoy the water in Jacksonville.
- St. John's Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Jacksonville and became the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida in 1951. The congregation was founded in 1834 as St. John's Parish and is one of the seven original parishes when the Diocese of Florida was received into union with the General Convention in 1838. According to the cornerstone for the present Cathedral, the first St. Johns Church was built in 1842 and burned in 1862 during the Civil War. In the early 1870s, Edward T. Potter designed a new St. Johns and initial construction began in 1873. The church was completed and dedicated in 1877. In 1902 a new church building had to be designed by design firm Snelling and Potter when the original structure burned in the Great Fire of 1901. St. John's Cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1906
- The St. James Building is a historic building in Jacksonville, currently housing Jacksonville City Hall. It was designed by architect Henry John Klutho and opened in 1912. One of many structures in downtown Jacksonville designed by Klutho after the Great Fire of 1901, it is considered his masterpiece. The building is located at 117 West Duval Street, on the former site of the St. James Hotel. It was designed as a mixed-use building containing the Cohen Bros. Department Store (later May Cohens). The department store closed in 1987, leaving the building empty. In 1993 it was purchased by the City of Jacksonville under the River City Renaissance plan, with the intention of remodeling it as the new City Hall. It reopened in 1997. On April 18, 2012, the American Institute of Architects's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.
- Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center is a 265,000-square-foot (24,600 m²) convention center located in downtown. Opened in 1986, it was built incorporating Jacksonville's Union Station as well as several thousand square feet of newly-built structure. Located in Jacksonville's LaVilla neighborhood, the Prime Osborn contains two exhibition halls totaling 78,500 square feet (7,290 m²), several ballrooms and meetings rooms. The City of Jacksonville is looking to replace the Prime Osborn within the next decade, with a larger 500,000+ square foot convention center in downtown Jacksonville. The Convention Center station of the JTA Skyway is located across the street.
- The Morocco Temple (also known as the Morocco Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine) is a historic Shrine building. It is located at 219 Newnan Street, and was designed by New York architect Henry John Klutho. On November 29, 1979, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The building is the oldest Shrine temple in Florida. The grand building was erected in 1910-11 in the prairie style of architecture using Egyptian-themed symbols.
- Friendship Fountain is a large fountain in Jacksonville. It is located in St. Johns River Park (also known as Friendship Fountain Park) at the west end of Downtown Jacksonville's Southbank Riverwalk attraction. The world's largest and tallest fountain when it opened, it has been one of Jacksonville's most recognizable and popular attractions. The fountain and park were designed by Jacksonville architect Taylor Hardwick in 1963 and opened in 1965. The fountain's three pumps could push 17,000 US gallons (64,000 L) of water per minute up to ten stories in height. Friendship Fountain remained one of Jacksonville's signature attractions through the 20th century, but severe corrosion and deterioration to the equipment resulted in periodic closures in the 2000s. In 2011 the city completed a $3.2 million renovation to the fountain and the surrounding park.