Downtown Jacksonville Entertainment Venues

Many of Jacksonville’s most recognizable landmarks, including venues for all types of entertainment, are located in downtown Jacksonville.

Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center
(1000 Water St., 630-4000) When it was built in 1919, Jacksonville Terminal was the railroad gateway to Florida. Now it is completely restored and renovated and where the trains once ran on time, boat shows, conventions, trade shows, banquets, and meetings now run like clockwork. With 265,000 square feet of space, the Prime Osborn Convention Center is large enough and versatile enough to accommodate gatherings of virtually any size, small or large. The center was the site of the 2nd Annual Green Expo in April and will host the City’s Senior Expo and Chamber of Commerce Business Expo this month.

Florida Theatre
(128 E. Forsyth St., 355-2787) The Florida Theatre originally opened in 1927, as Downtown Jacksonville’s fifteenth movie theatre. The Florida Theatre is the city’s last remaining example of 1920’s fantasy architecture, and is one of only four remaining high style movie “palaces” built in Florida during this period. One of the most memorable events in the theatre’s history occurred in 1956, when Elvis Presley came to the Florida Theatre for one of his first headline concert appearances on an indoor stage. Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding sat through the performance to ensure that Presley’s body movements would not become too suggestive. The theatre underwent a major restoration effort and re-opened its doors in 1983. Today, the Florida Theatre is home to about 200 different events annually and is a permanent home for many Jacksonville arts institutions such as Theatreworks, the Jacksonville Film Festival, the Florida Ballet, Jacksonville Ballet Theater and the annual Community Nutcracker. In May the theatre will host Unwigged & Unplugged: The 25th Anniversary of This is Spinal Tap as well as many local dance recitals. Over the summer months the theatre will present classic movies on Sunday afternoons.

Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum
(829 N. Davis St., 632-5555) The Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum celebrates the rich legacy of the African-American community that thrived in LaVilla for more than 100 years. The Ritz Theater was designed in 1929 by local architect Jefferson Powell in the Art Deco style. From the 1930s through the 1960s, this theater jammed with Ray Charles and many other artists who worked the Chitlin Circuit. The renovated theater seats 400 and a has large stage for a variety of movies, music, dance and theatrical productions. Joined at the hip is the recently opened LaVilla Museum which features an eye-catching mix of African and African American cultural exhibits. The Ritz Theatre host regular events such as Amateur Night at the Ritz on the first Friday of Every Month, The Art of Spoken Word on the first Thursday of every month, and Ritz Jazz and Blues Lounge on the third Saturday of every month, as well as other local and touring shows.

Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
(1 Stadium Pl., 633-6100) Home of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is adjacent to the St. Johns River in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is the result of a $135 million renovation project; this 76,000 seat facility also hosts the annual NCAA University of Florida vs. University of Georgia and Gator Bowl football games. The stadium played host to Super Bowl XXXIX on Feb. 6, 2005 with the New England Patriots defeating the Philadelphia Eagles and entertainment provided by Paul McCartney. Just a few of the people who have graced the stadium stage over the years are Rev. Billy Graham, boy band ‘N Sync, and Tim McGraw. The Monster Truck Jam is an annual sell-out event complete with tailgating fans. The Jaguars’ first exhibition of the 2009 season will be on August 22 with a pre-season match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Veterans Memorial Arena
(300 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., 630-3900) The Veterans Memorial Arena is a 15,000 seat multi-purpose arena located in the Sports Complex. Built in 2003, the Arena is home to the Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame, and has hosted events such as 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Elton John, NFL Super Bowl Concert Series, and is the future host of the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. May kicks off at the arena with Taylor Swift performing to a sold out crowd, then a Night of Champions with Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffel, finishing off with Cirque Du Soleil : Saltimbanco and a lot of high school graduation ceremonies mixed in.

Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
(301 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., 854-0655/358-2846) The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville opened in 2003. The $34 million facility is home to the Jacksonville Suns. The facility was built by Jacksonville taxpayers as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. The Suns welcomed the 1,000,000th fan to the Baseball Grounds in just its fourth season and have led the Southern League in attendance each of those years. The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville sits on a little more than 9 acres and includes a 112,000-square-foot field and an 18,400-square foot sky box. The Suns host some very popular regular specials such as Fifty-Cent Family Feast, Thursday Night Throwdown, Family Faith Night & Friday Family Fireworks! You can find the Suns playing at the Baseball Grounds many nights throughout May.

Metropolitan Park
(4110 Gator Bowl Dr., 630-0837) Located in Downtown Jacksonville on the St. Johns River across from Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Metropolitan Park is just minutes from I-95 and easily accessible from any part of the First Coast. Metro Park is home to many concerts and other events. Guests enjoy the public docking space, playground, picnic areas, landscaped gardens and riverfront walk that this charming plot of nature offers. This month Metropolitan Park will be the location of the 17th annual World of Nations Celebration and Starry Nights with LeAnn Rimes accompanied by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Times Union Center for the Performing Arts
(300 W. Water St. , 633-6110) With a riverfront view, this theatre complex attracts several thousand theatre and music lovers every month. The three halls of the center include: the 1,800-seat Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall, designed for non-amplified stage events; the 3,000-seat Jim and Jan Moran Theater, designed for amplified performances and the 600-seat C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry Theater, a multi-purpose hall with stage. The Symphony Hall is home to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. The FCCJ Artist Series presents many of their Broadway shows at the Moran Theatre including the popular musical “Wicked” which will be running through early May.

The Jacksonville Landing
(2 Independent Dr. W., 353-1188) The Jacksonville Landing is located Downtown on the St. Johns River. Millions of people enjoy the Jacksonville Landing’s festive mix of shops, restaurants and eateries and its hundreds of entertainment events annually. The Jacksonville Landing has strong local support with 55,000 Downtown office workers and is also one of the best visitor attractions in the city.

Downtown Riverwalk
(630.CITY) The St. Johns River is the nation’s longest north flowing river and it loops through the heart of Jacksonville. The Riverwalk, located on both the Northbank and the Southbank of the river, is a wooden boardwalk bordering the St. Johns River. It’s a great place to stroll, shop, or just watch the river boats cruising past. Seafood fests, parties, parades and craft festivals all take place on the Riverwalk, making it one of the true focal points of Downtown Jacksonville.

MOCA Jacksonville
(333 N. Laura St., 366-6911) The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) is located in the heart of downtown Jacksonville next to City Hall on historic Hemming Plaza. Focusing on exhibiting and collecting art created since 1960, the Museum displays the works of national and international artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Museum also features the ArtExplorium Loft, a family learning center with adjoining classrooms offering exciting educational programs. MOCA’s film series and lectures are featured in the 125-seat theater. Don’t forget The Museum Store and Cafe Nola, a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Jacksonville Main Library
(303 N. Laura St., 630-2665) Whether you’re looking for information, researching your geneology, or simply browsing for an afternoon read, the Jacksonville Public Library’s Main Branch has what you need. The Library also hosts exhibits, performances, films and gatherings of all types.

Hemming Plaza
Located in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, Hemming Plaza is bounded by City Hall at St. James, the new Federal Building, the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art and Historic Snyder Memorial. The park covers one block, and boasts two fountains and a mainstage area. Just four blocks north of the Jacksonville Landing, Hemming Plaza is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the outdoors Downtown. Hemming Plaza plays in a big part in Downtown’s First Wednesday Art Walk hosting dozens of vendors and entertainment as well as Friday Farmer’s Markets.

About EU Jacksonville

october, 2021

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