Wade Skinner
Wade Skinner

What’s Living in Jacksonville FL Like? 🏙️🐚 | What to Know About Moving to Jacksonville

Looking for a great quality of life, excellent outdoor recreation, and cultural attractions with an affordable cost of living? It’s possible to get all that and more on Florida’s First Coast. Jacksonville, known simply as Jax to residents, is “Where Florida Begins.” Living in Jacksonville, FL, offers a unique blend of southern charm, quiet coastal town, and sprawling metropolis.

This beautiful city is known for its 1,000 miles of coastline, beautiful weather, and huge urban park system. Young professionals, families, and retirees alike find plenty to love about The River City: it’s no wonder it’s one of the fastest-growing large cities!

Thinking about moving to Jacksonville, Florida? Here’s what’s waiting for you.

Where Is Jacksonville?

Jacksonville, Florida is in the First Coast region of northeastern Florida along the St. Johns River and Atlantic Ocean. It’s the county seat of Duval County and the two have a consolidated government. Jacksonville is bordered by the Jacksonville Beaches communities of Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Neptune Beach, and Nassau, St. Johns, Clay, and Baker counties. The town of Baldwin is an enclave of Jacksonville.

Towns and cities near Jacksonville FL include Lakeside, Fruit Cove, Nocatee, Fleming Island, and Orange Park.

Jacksonville is just 12 miles south of the Georgia state line. It’s 72 miles southwest from Jacksonville FL to Gainesville and 141 miles from Jacksonville to Orlando.

Jacksonville Information

  • Jacksonville county: Duval
  • Area: 874.5 square miles
  • Jacksonville zip codes: 55 zip codes from 32099 to 32290
  • Jacksonville area code: 904
  • Elevation: 16 feet
  • Time zone: Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5)
    Airport: Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), 13 miles north of downtown

Jacksonville Population & Demographics

The Jacksonville FL population is 949,611, up 15.5% from 821,784 in 2010. It’s the largest city in Florida by population and area, and the largest city in the South by population outside Texas. The five-county Jacksonville metro population is 1.73 million. It’s the 4th largest metro area in Florida.

Jacksonville is an incredibly diverse city. The racial and ethnic composition is: 53.1% White (48.5% non-Hispanic), 30.4% Black or African American, 11.3% Hispanic or Latino, 4.9% Asian, and 7.9% two or more races.

It’s home to Florida’s largest Albanian American community and the third largest in the country. Other major ancestry and ethnic groups include:

  • Puerto Rican: 2.6%
  • Sub-Saharan African: 1.8%
  • Filipino: 1.8%
  • Mexican: 1.7%
  • West Indian or Afro-Caribbean: 1.4%
  • Indian: 0.9%
  • Cuban: 0.9%
  • Arab: 0.9%
  • Vietnamese: 0.5%

 

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Additional Jacksonville demographics:

  • Median age: 36.5 years (metro: 39)
  • Sex ratio: 51% female to 49% male
  • Foreign born population: 12% (metro: 10.3%)
  • Veteran population: 9.7% (metro: 10.6%)
  • Educational attainment: 33% bachelor’s degree or higher (metro: 36.5%)
  • Homeownership rate: 57% (metro: 67%)
  • Median household income: $69,309 (metro: $77,583)

Transportation in Jacksonville

Getting around Jacksonville is easy thanks to several major interstates, an international airport, and public transportation. Interstate 95 and Interstate 10 intersect in the city, creating the region's busiest freeway interchange. Interstate 295, a bypass route of I-95, encircles downtown Jacksonville. Seven bridges in Jacksonville cross the St. Johns River, connecting different areas of the city.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) provides public transportation options:

  • Bus service with 46 regular routes and five express bus routes
  • First Coast Flyer, a rapid bus transit system with four routes
  • Jacksonville Skyway, a monorail serving downtown
  • St. Johns River Ferry, a pedestrian and vehicle ferry between Ft. George Island and Mayport Village
  • Stadium bus shuttle on game days serving downtown, suburban destinations, and Park-n-Ride locations
  • Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC), and intermodal transit center bringing bus, Skyway, intercity bus, and rail service together in a single facility

The JTA is currently evaluating a commuter rail system for the Jacksonville metro area.

Jacksonville FL living is made easier with the Jacksonville International Airport which served a record 7.5 million passengers in 2023. JAX offers nonstop service to more than 35 cities.

Cost of Living in Jacksonville FL

One of the biggest benefits of living in Jacksonville? It offers affordable living with a great quality of life! The Jacksonville cost of living is 6% lower than the national average and 9% lower than the Florida cost of living.

Affordable housing is the primary factor for the affordable Jax living costs. The Jacksonville median home price is 26% lower than the national average of $392,000 while rent is 12% below the national average.

Check out our guide to the average cost of living in Jacksonville FL for an in-depth look at average expenses you can expect.

Jacksonville Real Estate | Home Prices & Average Rent in Jacksonville

The median home price in Jacksonville is $311,500 with a median price of $187 per square foot. You’ll pay a median price of $330,000 for a single-family home. Condos for sale in Jacksonville have a median price of $204,000 while townhomes have a median price of $248,000. You can explore homes for sale in Jacksonville, FL to get an idea of what you can get within your budget.

Planning to rent while living in Jacksonville, FL? The average cost of rent in Jacksonville FL is $1,505 for a 974-square-foot apartment according to Rentcafe. That’s lower than the national average of $1,700.

Of course, Jacksonville home prices and rent vary by neighborhood. Here are median prices in several top neighborhoods.

Average Home Prices and Rent by Neighborhood in Jacksonville
Avondale $492,000 $1,420
Beach Haven $471,000 $1,634
Riverside $435,000 $1,596
Del Rio $427,500 $1,761
Mandarin $405,000 $1,664
East Arlington $390,000 $1,526
Sandalwood $386,000 $1,692
San Marco $345,000 $1,545
Baymeadows $272,000 $1,566
Ortega $241,000 $1,208
Highlands $191,000 $1,489

Best Neighborhoods in Jacksonville FL

By area, Jacksonville is the largest city in the contiguous U.S. It’s no surprise there are over 500 neighborhoods in the city! Jacksonville neighborhoods are divided into several large areas:

  • Northside
  • Westside
  • Southside
  • Arlington, east of downtown across the St. Johns River
  • Downtown and Urban Core
  • Jacksonville Beaches, all on the coastal barrier island outside the city limits

Jacksonville is large and diverse, and you’ll find neighborhoods to suit nearly any lifestyle. Whether you're looking for the lively beach life, a quiet suburban sanctuary, or the energy of a dense urban community, Jacksonville has a place that feels like home. Here are just some of the best places to live in Jacksonville, Florida!

San Marco – One of the Best Neighborhoods in Jacksonville for Young Professionals

This historic neighborhood is modeled after Venice’s Piazza San Marco with a vibrant shopping district. It’s the best neighborhood in Jacksonville FL for young professionals with diverse housing options and nightlife, boutique shopping, art galleries, and dining within walking distance. Known for its historic riverfront mansions, San Marco also boasts a mix of historic bungalows and new construction. One of the latest additions is The Station at San Marco, a new mixed-use development with 345 apartments.

Riverside – Historic & Walkable Jacksonville Neighborhood Near Downtown

A mecca for the arts, Riverside is favored by the creative crowd for its bohemian vibe. You'll find an abundance of galleries, craft breweries, and a bustling open-air market on weekends. Close to downtown, Riverside is one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Jacksonville and is known for its wide, tree-lined streets. The community is home to many families, young professionals, and millennials.

Ortega – The Best Place to Live in Jacksonville FL for Low Crime

Ortega is one of the safest Jacksonville neighborhoods, but low crime isn’t all it has to offer. It’s one of the most affluent communities in the city and home to Timuquana Country Club and several marinas. This quiet neighborhood, with its historic bungalows and waterfront homes, offers some of the best waterfront views in the city, yet it’s surprisingly close to the urban core of Jacksonville.

Arlington – One of the Oldest Neighborhoods in Jacksonville

Arlington makes up the eastern section of Jacksonville, one of the oldest parts of the city. It’s popular with retirees and young families who appreciate the space, suburban atmosphere, and outdoor amenities. Arlington is home to top attractions like Tree Hill Nature Center and the Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Mandarin – Quiet, Family-Friendly Neighborhood with Great Schools

This serene, riverfront neighborhood is home to some of the best public schools in the city. Residents enjoy a tranquil atmosphere, beautiful nature preserves, and iconic oak trees covered in Spanish moss while still being close to downtown and the Beaches. It’s mostly owner-occupied, with very few options for renters.

Jacksonville Weather & Climate

If there’s one thing that likely entices people to relocate to Jacksonville, it’s the fantastic weather. The Jacksonville climate is a delightful mix of sunshine and temperate conditions, with hot summers and mild winters. The city falls within the humid subtropical climate zone, characterized by hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters.

  • Jacksonville rainfall: Annual rainfall is 51”, well above the national average of 38”. The wettest season is June to September thanks to the tropical moisture from the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Summer weather: Summertime in Jacksonville can be sizzling, with average high temperatures that can reach into the low 90s. The humidity can make the temperature feel much hotter. Thunderstorms are fairly common in the summer.
  • Winter weather: Jacksonville winters are very mild. January is the coldest month with average lows in the upper 40s to low 50s and average highs in the upper 60s to low 70s. You won’t even need a winter coat on most days!

The subtropical climate makes Jacksonville a year-round destination for outdoor activities, whether that involves exploring the city’s green spaces, hitting the links, or enjoying the nearby coastal towns.

 

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Best Restaurants in Jacksonville

After moving to Jacksonville, you’ll be able to enjoy your fill of the city’s signature foods whenever you want! Jacksonville is known for its Mayport shrimp; Gullah Geechee dishes like garlic crabs, a variant of a seafood boil; Jacksonville-style barbecue; and camel riders, a unique stuffed pita sandwich created by the city’s large Arab American community.

Here are just a few of the top restaurants in Jacksonville you’ll want to check out for yourself.

The Bearded Pig

Enjoy traditional Jacksonville-style barbecue at this counter-serve eatery with a full bar and large beer selection, plus a scenic patio area.

The Bearded Pig, 1808 Kings Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32207 (904) 619-2247

Julington Creek Fish Camp

Nestled along Julington Creek by Mandarin Park, this relaxed seafood restaurant serves up Jacksonville seafood classics with river views and a full bar.

Julington Creek Fish Camp, 12760 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32223 (904) 886-2267

River & Post

This upscale steak and seafood restaurant is known for its regional dishes and rooftop bar. It’s one of the best Jacksonville restaurants for fantastic views!

River & Post, 1000 Riverside Ave #100, Jacksonville, FL 32204 (904) 575-2366

Things to Do in Jacksonville

Whether you’re an art lover, history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or devoted foodie, you’ll love life in Jacksonville. There are seemingly endless activities in Jacksonville FL for all ages, including world-class museums, zoos, and botanical gardens – not to mention gorgeous beaches just minutes away.

Here’s a look at what to do in Jacksonville FL once you’re settled into your new home. Want more fun things to do in Jacksonville? Check out the city events calendar and the Jacksonville Parks and Rec department for upcoming festivals, events, and activities.

Top Jacksonville Attractions

  • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: One of the top Jacksonville activities for families, the zoo boasts a wide variety of animals and beautifully landscaped gardens.
  • Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens: This peaceful oasis spans 120 acres, offering scenic trails through diverse ecosystems and an array of native plants.
  • Kingsley Plantation: This historic site allows visitors to learn about the lives of those who lived and worked on the plantation and tour well-preserved structures
  • Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park: This scenic oceanfront park has hiking trails, a freshwater lake for boating and fishing, and a beautiful ocean beach for swimming and surfing.
  • The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary: This haven for big cats rescued from neglect and abuse allows visitors to support conservation efforts and experience close encounters
  • Main Event Jacksonville: Enjoy a variety of entertainment options, including bowling, arcade games, laser tag, and more
  • EverBank Stadium: This 67,000-seat stadium is home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and hosts major concerts and events

Arts & Entertainment in Jacksonville

  • Riverside Arts Market: A vibrant outdoor market by the St. Johns River with local art, crafts, and live entertainment
  • Florida Theatre: Historic theater hosting a variety of live performances and events in downtown Jacksonville
  • Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts: A premier venue for theater, dance, and musical performances in the heart of the city
  • Daily’s Place: This entertainment facility adjacent to TIAA Bank Field hosts concerts, festivals, and community events

Museums in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Parks

  • Memorial Park: Tranquil park along the St. Johns River with walking paths and memorial sculptures
  • Metropolitan Park: Waterfront park hosting events, concerts, and sports activities
  • Losco Regional Park: One of the best parks in Jacksonville for families with a large playground, splash pad, sports fields, and picnic areas
  • Riverside Park: Scenic park with river views, playgrounds, and historic monuments in the historic Riverside neighborhood

Shopping in Jacksonville

  • River City Marketplace: Northside Jacksonville’s largest mall with 80+ retailers and restaurants
  • St Johns Town Center: Major open-air lifestyle shopping center with 175 restaurants and shops
  • The Avenues: Two-story regional shopping center with family and military-focused shopping

Map of Things to Do in Jacksonville FL

Jacksonville Sports

Sports enthusiasts will find a lot to love about living in Jacksonville, Florida! It’s a big football city with a single major league team, but many minor league and semi-professional teams plus huge sporting events. Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida both compete in NCAA Division I with several major college sports events throughout the year.

Major sporting events in Jacksonville:

  • Gate River Run, a 15-km race and the largest of its distance in the U.S. with 13,000 runners and spectators. It’s been held every year since 1977.
  • Gator Bowl, an annual college football game bowl held continuously since 1946
  • The Florida-Georgia game between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs has been held almost every year since 1933
  • The 6-day Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament (GJKT), the world’s largest kingfish tournament

The city boasts two large sports venues: EverBank Stadium, home to the Jaguars, and VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, a 16,000-seat multi-purpose arena.

Jacksonville sports teams:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
  • Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (MiLB)
  • Jacksonville Armada FC (National Premier Soccer League)
  • Jacksonville Sharks (National Arena League)
  • Jacksonville Giants (American Basketball Association)
  • Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL)

 

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Jacksonville FL Crime Rate

As you compare the pros and cons of living in Jacksonville FL, crime will likely make it to the list of downsides. The crime rate in Jacksonville is 3,569 crimes per 100,000 people with 2,871 property crimes and 698 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That’s 52% above the national average and 66% higher than the Florida crime rate. The homicide rate is 15 per 100,000, about 3x higher than the rest of the country.

While Jacksonville has a high crime rate, it’s lower than Orlando and Daytona Beach. Violent crime is usually not random and often concentrated in a handful of dangerous areas. There are many safe places to live in Jacksonville with crime well below the national average.

Economy & Jobs in Jacksonville

Ahead of moving to Jacksonville, you are likely curious about your career prospects. The Jacksonville economy is incredibly diverse and very stable. In 2023, it had the fastest private sector job growth among all U.S. metro areas! Its economy is far more diverse than most Florida metro areas which are usually dependent on tourism and retail.

You’ll find Jacksonville, FL jobs are plentiful in a number of key sectors:

  • Finance and insurance accounting for 11% of jobs in Jacksonville
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Aviation and aerospace
  • Life sciences
  • Information technology
  • Logistics & distribution thanks to three major interstates, an international airport, extensive railways, and JAXPORT, a deep water port with three marine terminals

Multiple Fortune 500, national, and regional companies are headquartered in Jacksonville. It’s home to three U.S. naval facilities and the third-largest naval complex in the country. Naval Air Station Jacksonville alone employs more than 25,000 people while Naval Station Mayport is one of America’s largest Navy bases.

Major employers in Jacksonville include:

  • Duval County Public Schools (jobs)
  • Baptist Health System and Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville (jobs)
  • Mayo Clinic (careers)
  • City of Jacksonville (jobs)
  • Florida Blue, a health insurance plan provider
  • Fidelity National Financial, title insurance and settlement services
  • Fidelity National Information Services, a global fintech company
  • CSX Corporation, rail freight transportation provider
  • The Home Depot Pro, wholesale distributor and seller of maintenance, repair, and operations products
  • Deutsche Bank

As you prepare for living in Jacksonville, Florida, it may help to explore your career opportunities before your move. You can start with jobs in Jacksonville, FL on Indeed. The City of Jacksonville jobs board covers careers for the city and Duval County – the two have a consolidated government.

Jacksonville Healthcare

Did you know Jacksonville is one of the Southeast’s major healthcare destinations? The region has several high-quality hospitals including the Jacksonville Mayo Clinic, one of only three Mayo Clinics nationwide. It’s ranked the top hospital in Florida, #17 in the state, and one of the world’s top 250 hospitals.

The Jacksonville metro area is also home to five Baptist Health hospitals, Ascension St. Vincent’s with three hospitals, and two HCA Healthcare Hospitals. Half of the region’s hospitals earned top marks nationally. UF Health Jacksonville is home to the country’s third proton beam therapy center.

Jacksonville Florida Schools

Families living in Jacksonville FL are served by Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), the sixth-largest school district in Florida. It serves over 130,000 students in traditional neighborhood schools, charter schools, and magnet programs.

Every DCPS school offers at least one special program, choice program, or acceleration program. Most schools are traditional boundary-based, but there are a handful of non-dedicated magnet schools that accept students outside the neighborhood. The district has 34 charter schools, most of which have a lottery system.

High schools in Jacksonville are among the best in Florida. The six best high schools in Jacksonville FL are ranked among the top 50 in the state!

  • Stanton College Preparatory School (#8 in Florida and #76 nationally)
  • Paxon School for Advanced Studies (#22 in Florida, #196 nationally)
  • Darnell Cookman Middle/High School (#23 in Florida, #232 nationally)
  • Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (#28 in Florida, #330 nationally)
  • Samuel W. Wolfson High School (#43 in Florida, #688 nationally)
  • River City Science Academy (#47 in Florida, #751 nationally)

Stanton College Preparatory School is a challenging and very selective magnet school with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. It’s the most desirable school in the city with a rigorous curriculum and magnet lottery admissions.

Families can also choose from many private schools in Jacksonville FL like Bolles Middle School, Trinity Christian Academy, Providence School of Jacksonville, and The Foundation Academy.

After moving to Jacksonville, Florida, you’ll also enjoy many excellent options for higher education:

  • The University of North Florida (UNF) which is organized into six colleges with various undergraduate degrees and graduate programs
  • Jacksonville University (JU)
  • Edward Waters College, Florida’s oldest historically black college
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville, a public college with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees
  • The University of Florida
  • University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville

Jacksonville Utilities & DMV Change of Address

There are a few things to do to prepare for moving to Jacksonville, FL, including forwarding your mail and setting up new utilities. You can change your address with USPS online and set up mail forwarding. If you’re relocating within Florida, make sure you update your address with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). You can do this through the MyDMV portal or in person.

Jacksonville offers consolidated utilities through JEA, Florida’s largest community-owned electric utility. More than one million customers in Northeast Florida receive electric, water, and sewer services from JEA. Visit JEA to start new service online. An initial deposit may be required.

Ready to enjoy everything the First Coast has to offer? Skinner Moving & Storage is ready to deliver a stress-free moving experience with the best Jacksonville movers handling all the hard work. Give us a call at (940) 730-1545 to get started with your free, personalized moving estimate today!

Wade Skinner
Wade Skinner
Hi my name is Wade Skinner, President and co-owner of Skinner Moving & Storage. As a family owned and operated business and a 5th generation Jacksonville family, we believe every customer should be treated like family. We live our Mission Statement and Core Values. This is the Skinner difference!

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