Neighborhoods We Love: Riverside/Avondale
Here at TOTC we have a passion for exploring the beautiful and eclectic neighborhoods that makeup the Northeast Florida area. We wanted to showcase the uniqueness of the areas in our “Neighborhoods We Love” feature series and we’re especially thrilled about the next neighborhood we’re featuring: Riverside/Avondale. We’ve highlighted some great areas in art, food, shopping and culture below.
Nestled underneath one of downtown Jacksonville’s busy bridges you’ll find a wealth of local activity, the Riverside Arts Market. The Riverside Arts Market overlooks the beautiful St. John’s River with lovely parks and gardens surrounding the market space. Every Saturday from 10am – 3pm, you’ll be able to find almost any local treasure your heart desires. RAM has a variety of different vendors which range from local farmers selling fresh produce to artists selling homemade jewelry and bath products. Not to be outdone by the unique knick-knacks and gifts, RAM also hosts a collection of different local food vendors. Here you’ll be able to sample foods from all the wonderful cultures represented in Jacksonville. There are quite a few vegan and gluten free options available as well. This event is family friendly, with live music and performances almost every Saturday. It’s a must see if you are a new-comer to the area or a seasoned resident!
The Cummer Museum is a vital source for the celebration of the arts and education in Riverside. This quaint museum located on the banks of the St. John features a host of different artists’ works. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful gardens the city has to offer. The mission behind the Cummer Museum is to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. There is an array of programs to explore at this museum, all with inspired by art, nature and culture. Not only can you check out their gallery and gardens during business hours, but classes are available to the public for their enjoyment. Classes include interactive Art for Tots, Art for Two, and Art Adventures for children and adults alike. The Cummer Museum is also available to rent for private events like weddings and other celebrations.
Historic 5 Points, named for its iconic 5-pointed traffic circle, is in the eclectic Riverside neighborhood just on the border of Avondale. Here the live music, art and food scene thrive. This neighborhood is overflowing with character. Here you can catch a movie at the vintage Sun-Ray Cinema or explore the treasures found at Fans & Stoves Antique Mall. 5 Points gives you that familiar “Main Street” feeling as you peruse its energetic streets. It’s a unique must-see in this neighborhood.
Memorial Park is one of the local treasures of the Riverside/Avondale area. This 6 acre park includes a sprawling green field that’s perfect for a small soccer game or frisbee match. The space overlooks the St. Johns River and is bordered by sweeping oak trees. This park holds a lot of historical significance for the neighborhood. Unveiled in 1924, this park was created to commemorate the lives of Floridians killed in World War I. Names of more than 1,200 veterans were written on a piece of paper and placed in a box inside of the majestic sculpture that resides in the park’s fountain. Enjoy local musicians, set up a spot to fish, or relax in the sun. You can’t go wrong with visiting this beauty!
We can’t mention all of these wonderful places without talking about the food, right? Black Sheep is a modern American restaurant located in the historic 5 Points district. They feature delicious food with most of it being sourced from local and regional farmers and purveyors. They choose to keep it simple with their philosophy by using fresh, local ingredients to create handcrafted food and cocktails for their customers to enjoy. Black Sheep offers a full bar, signature cocktails and an extensive wine list. They are open 7 days a week with casual brunch, lunch and dinner dining options. If you choose to dine here, make sure to check out their rooftop bar and lounge with an amazing view of the 5 Points and Riverside area.
River and Post is one of the more upscale dining options available in the Riverside neighborhood. You’ll find this gem located at the top of one of the downtown skyrises. The view is comparable to none other in Jacksonville. Here you’ll see a gorgeous view of the downtown skyline along the St. John’s river; it’s exceptionally beautiful at sunset. Their mission is to create a warm and modern environment for guests where they can expand their culinary horizons. River and Post is available for reservations or private events.
To close out your visit to this unique neighborhood, you’ll have to pay Biscotti’s a visit. Whether it’s a post-dinner indulgence or just a snack during your afternoon stroll, Biscotti’s offers a taste of locally made sweets that are sure to fill anyone’s sweet tooth. While they do offer a few café bites and cocktails during their happy hour, the desserts are what really make this place stand out. Biscotti’s strives to source locally and enhance the growth of the neighborhood’s charm. Enjoy your sweet treat and a coffee here while tucked snuggly away in the historical Klutho building that Biscotti’s calls home.
Riverside Avondale Preservation was founded in 1974 when concerned residents saw their beautiful homes and businesses being demolished and decided to take action to protect their neighborhood. It has become their mission to advocate and support their historic buildings, vibrant local businesses, and nearby parks. This means so much more than just saving old buildings; RAP’s preservation efforts are about saving the heart of their community. This is no easy task. RAP works tirelessly alongside the residents, business owners, the city, and other groups to ensure that their history does not disappear.
Living in the Riverside Avondale historic district is a dream come true for many people. Every historic home in Riverside Avondale has a story to tell and showcases details that can be found nowhere else. Each home becomes a canvas for owners to create something new out of something classic.
April 27th and 28th marks the 45th Riverside Avondale Preservation Annual Spring Home Tour. This tour shows off the beauty and culture of this neighborhood with open houses of many of the homes, local eateries, and eclectic shops.
For tickets or more information, visit http://www.raphometour.com.
Local real estate agent Brooke Mida specializes in the area and summed up what the market trends are in the neighborhood.
“As one of my absolute favorite areas of Jacksonville, our beautiful booming city, the historic Riverside/Avondale area never fails to impress with its economic resilience and strength. During the first quarter of this year, median home prices were up 7% compared to last year. Last month, 6.3% of homes were even selling over list price!
This comes as no surprise to anyone who has spent time enjoying this artistic, creative, and vibrant community. Any resident will attest that there is nothing that they feel they are missing. It’s convenient location to downtown, endless beautiful parks near the water, countless local non-chain stores, bars and restaurants, historic landmarks, and museums give residents everything they could wish for at their fingertips. Therefore, homes in the Riverside and Avondale are only projected to continue to grow in value,” Mida says.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: Most photos featured here are from the Instagram accounts of the places mentioned.