Why We Love Jacksonville

by Brenton Crozier
‘Ahh, Jacksonville…Your Natural Attributes
Oh Jacksonville, you know we love your natural attributes. You may not be the most picturesque city and you probably know by now that we have ventured off to soak up the beauty of other places, but that was only because you didn’t have the mountains or autumn foliage that we needed at the time. It was only a fling and we came back to stay. And yes, you are really flat, but hills and mountains grow tiresome and are tough on our car’s brakes.
You’re full of pretty parks and give us a front row seat to both the Atlantic and the St. Johns. Yeah, you know how much I love those beautiful beaches and riverbanks. That’s right, swimming, surfing, boating or just relaxing and soaking it all in: you’ve got it going on.

Your Understated Culture
We hear people talk bad about your cultural characteristics all the time. But don’t you worry because we are defending your honor. Sure, not all of Woody Allen’s movies make it down here and a countless number of bands are in bypass mode when it comes to even considering the First Coast, but you have plenty to hold your head up about. There are countless venues to catch a flick or live music and they are absolutely tops. Monster Truck rallies may be more readily available than professional ballet or opera productions, but who’s really complaining about that?
The museums are spectacular and we can enjoy them without numerous tourists and their incessant camera clicking. It’s a cinch to catch the symphony and we’ve caught performances from some of the most celebrated artists of their medium from David Sedaris to Tom Waits. The Florida Theatre is as fine a venue to see a concert as any, the Five Points Theatre isn’t afraid to reel out the quirkier films and how snug is the San Marco Theatre? The libraries are mmmm-wah (that’s us kissing our fingers then opening them all gourmand style) and the academic institutions could go toe to toe with the best of them.
Your musical sons and daughters boast a wide range of talent and genres from the Allman Brothers Brand and Lynryd Skynryd to the Black Kids and Rob Roy. And there are so many more. Wait, you didn’t tell me you had that many, we really need to talk, but that can wait.
And how refreshing to live in a place where cultural fads don’t come and go by the week. Who the hell cares if they are into something that is soooo six months ago? That’s just plain exhausting.

Your Easy, Down to Earth Attitude
That’s right. I like that happy-go-lucky, low maintenance thing you have going on. Yes, I-95 can be unbearably backed up during rush hour traffic and you have just the right amount of haute dining destinations and stuffy social spots, but in general southern hospitality prevails. We can wear our flip-flops without judgmental sneers, take things a little slower without being rushed and start conversations with “Hey ya’ll” if the spirit moves us. That all dangerously borders on the lyrics of a country song, I’m sure.
Jacksonville, you have that unique and much sought-after blend of big city and small town. We can shift seamlessly from Jenkins Barbecue (The Jenk) to Orsay and can confidently tell our friends to meet us for Indian or Thai food. Everything is here, even beyond culinary selection, and it’s all under the radar. You’re not constantly flaunting (in some city’s cases ‘whoring’) or trying to keep up with your peers and have a sincerity that may not make you to most attractive city, but one that is so comforting to call home.
And holy moly, there is so much to do, you never bore us. Whether it’s a scenic stroll through Riverside, drinks in San Marco, shopping on the Southside or going downtown to Everbank to root the Jaguars to victory, you have a little something something for every mood. And yes, you have that small scandalous side, that occasionally rears it’s head and keeps you interesting.
Arts, landscape, warm weather, NFL football, dining for days, new, historical . . . Jacksonville, we heart you, but we forgot our wallet. Can you cover dinner?