When moving to a new city or state for the first time, it stands to reason that not all neighborhoods are created equal. The best place to live will depend on a lot of factors — your income, family situation, occupation, education, interests. Finding the right neighborhood is key to having a happy and productive life in the city where you live, and it’s always good to take stock of a city before you move. With that in mind, here are some of the best neighborhoods in Jacksonville, FL along a variety of criteria.
Most Desirable Neighborhoods
For obvious reasons, some of the most desirable neighborhoods in Jacksonville are those near the beach — whether it’s Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, or Jacksonville Beach. All of these neighborhoods have some of the highest property value in the city, as well as a low crime rate. Because they feature beachfront housing, these neighborhoods come with all the features and amenities you might expect — fine dining, highly-rated public schools, and plenty to do for surfers, beachcombers, campers, and anyone interested in the outdoor lifestyle. The only possible drawback to living in one of these areas is the higher price of housing and the accompanying homeowners insurance — according to Ross Martin at the Zebra, the average monthly premium for the neighborhood is around $131, about 10% higher than the national average.
Best Family Neighborhoods
Not coincidentally, Neptune Beach is also known as one of the best places to raise a family in Jacksonville. Neptune Beach’s two-story neocolonial and ranch-style homes are great for growing families, and there is a wealth of good schools nearby. There are also plenty of kid- and family-friendly facilities in the neighborhood, such as the Oceanside Rotary Skatepark, the Beaches Town Center, and a wide variety of family restaurants.
Another family-friendly neighborhood in Jacksonville is Avondale. Avondale is a tightly knit community that often holds local events such as the Riverside Arts Market and First Friday. It’s also an historic neighborhood — one of the oldest in the city — and has a wide variety of parks and green spaces such as Edgewood Parks, Hollywood Park, and Fishweir Park. Like Neptune Beach, it has plenty of large houses for sale, and some of the top-rated schools in Jacksonville.
Believe it or not, Downtown Jacksonville is also a great place to raise a family, if you’re the kind of family who likes being in the center of things. Places such as Friendship Fountain, Metropolitan Park, and Riverfront Plaza offer plenty to do for kids and adults alike, and the townhouses, apartments and condos are relatively affordable compared to the beach communities. Families with students will also find themselves near such institutions as the downtown campus of Florida State College, the LaVilla School of the Arts, and the Cathedral School.
For those who want to raise their family near the water, Mandarin may be the perfect neighborhood. Mandarin is near the St. Johns River and Old Bull Bay, with beautiful riverfront views and stately oak trees in many yards. As with these other neighborhoods, there are plenty of park spaces nearby, such as the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve and Walter Anderson Memorial Park. Outdoorsy types can take a hike along the trails, and those with more scholarly interests can visit the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society or the South Mandarin Branch of the Jacksonville Library.
Most Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods
Long-established historical neighborhoods are one thing — but what about the neighborhoods that are just beginning to take off? Consider Springfield in Jacksonville — when downtown Jacksonville burned in the Great Fire of 1901, nearby Springfield endured difficult times for quite a while, and has recently found renown as one of the most attractive neighborhoods in Jacksonville. Springfield features gorgeous architecture, an active community and neighborhood association, local events such as community dinners, and good schools.
Another “comeback story” is the neighborhood of Murray Hill, near Jacksonville’s downtown. An older neighborhood, Murray Hill has been revived by growing nightlife, new green spaces, an active neighborhood association, and the social strip along Edgewood Avenue, which features bars, coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques. There’s also the historic Murray Hill Theatre, as well as plenty of retail access. Murray Hill is an older neighborhood, and so the homes tend not to be as large as they are elsewhere in Jacksonville, but they’re also affordable, making them perfect for young professionals and those not necessarily looking to raise a family.
Finally, although it’s been mentioned before, the neighborhood of Avondale is worth another look. Avondale has seen new life as young families and professionals move in, perceiving it as a hip and vibrant neighborhood. Avondale is home to some of the best and most famous bars in the area, as well as community businesses, local markets, and a wide variety of dining opportunities.