Go-LO Riverside

by Erin Thursby
Following up on our commitment to the Go LO initiative, we’re encouraging folks to buy local, shop local and eat local. This month, our Go LO spotlight is on Riverside.
From tiny studio apartments and affordable bungalow rentals to gorgeous historic cottages and million dollar houses, Riverside has a diversity of dwellings for almost any price point. Walkable shopping areas such as the Whiteway corner (Park & King) and 5 Points help to connect neighbors, as do the parks.
Resident Kathy Garrett says she has a lot of reasons to love living there: “Riverside is the jewel of Jacksonville. As a Riverside resident, one can take advantage of an urban vibe, enjoy convenience to restaurants and shopping as well as having unprecedented access to nature via Memorial Park and the River Walk. What is not to like? After returning to Jacksonville from Chicago, Riverside was the only area in Jacksonville I ever thought to live!”
Riveside is also home to the Cummer Museum, the Riverside Arts Market and a number of art hot spots. Despite the highest saturation of hipsters in the city, don’t worry, everyone is cool enough to hang out in Riverside. People of all stripes and ages walk their dogs, jog, ride their bikes, shop and drink at the neighborhood watering holes.

Local Activities
With parks and lots of sidewalks, it’s no wonder that Jacksonvillian June Tillett calls Riverside “a great place to exercise.”
You’ll see a lot of folks on bicycles in this neighborhood. It’s a popular way of getting around, but you can make you bike ride in Riverside/Avondale a bit more special by taking a tour from e2ride which can supply all your gear and snacks, while teaching about the historic sights and houses in the area. You’ll get friendly “hellos” from porches as you ride with them. Go to their website, www.e2ride.com, to check out their tours.
Not into biking? Instead, you can get some transcendental exercise at Lotus Yoga on Stockton, which has all kinds of scheduling options and packages for the busy Riverside resident or Downtown office worker bee, from lunch classes to morning and evening sessions.
Art is an important part of Jacksonville’s culture and Riverside is one of the neighborhoods that reflect that culture. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is a center of art activities, with classes, lectures, exhibitions and other activities. Check out our art listing on page 8 for the activities surrounding the Cummer’s Garden week. The Riverside Arts Market, which will be opening up again in March, is a weekly market featuring local artists, artisans and locally-grown veggies.
Motorcycle enthusiasts might want to check out an unusual business in Riverside called Ton Up (located at 580 College Street). You can actually ride right into the building of this cafe/garage/meeting place/art gallery. If your bike’s got troubles you can put it on a lift and rent specialized tools to fix it. You can bring bite to eat (they don’t serve food), watch TV, surf the ‘net using their free wi-fi and purchase bike accessories, memorabilia or leathers.
If you’re into less specialized activities, you can catch an indie flick at the 5 Points Theatre. Or you can hang at one of Riverside’s many watering holes, which are as varied as houses here: from the college/post-college dive bar vibe of Birdies to the classy Walker’s Wine Bar or the backyard speakeasy vibe of Anomaly’s Underbelly. Kickbacks is as popular for their various brews as they are for their gastropub menu.
For a vacation not far from home, there are a number of B&Bs in the Riverside area, tucked away in huge historic houses, such as the Riverdale Inn on Riverside Avenue. Why go somewhere else when you can go local and discover a neighborhood just a few miles away?

Eat Local
There’s no shortage of great food in Riverside. For tea and a light lunch you can’t go wrong with Cozy Tea in 5 Points. Or you can head to the TreeCup Cafe inside the Cummer Museum (you don’t have to buy a pass into the museum to go).
At dinner you should make reservations (or at least call ahead ) to 13 Gypsies or for the Italian stylings of Primi Piatti. There certainly isn’t a shortage of sushi in the area, as it’s the most common type of restaurant (Sushi Cafe, Sumo, Sake House, Wasabi) in Riverside.

Shop Local
Some of Jacksonville’s best locally-owned shops can be found in Riverside. With mixed residential and business, there’s not enough space for most big box retailers to thrive. Instead, doctors, attorneys and even hairstylists offer their services from inside historic houses. Other retailers are scattered throughout the neighborhood, but for concentrated shopping, you’ll want to head to 5 Points or the Whiteway (corner of Park & King).
Antique and vintage booth-based stores selling goods at sweet prices are one reason to hit up the neighborhood. The glorious Fans & Stoves and neatly kept 5 Points Antiques can both be found in 5 Points. The huge Southern Crossing Antique Mall in Whiteway should always be a stop in the neighborhood.
A variety of shops can be found in Whiteway. For the comic book geek there’s Universe of Superheroes and every gearhead knows City Cycle Bicycles. For art and everything a trendy Riversider must have, there’s the Draper Studio Store on King, selling TACT tees, Burro Bags, canvases and prints from local artists, plus terrariums, vintage items, accessories and housewares that you won’t find elsewhere. (They keep weird hours, but are ALWAYS open Saturdays).
For the clothes horse, girls can head on over to 5 Points for the affordable but chic Anomaly, Betsey Johnson at the established Edge City and the vivacious Violet. All of these stores also carry awesome accessories. Anomaly has some super indie girl jewelery; Edge City carries graphic, colorful Betsey Johnson and Espe bags; shoppers stock up on Fiji lotions and Ray Bans at Violet.
It’s not just you that can be fashionable in 5 Points, but also your dog! Bark Boutique carries cute collars, pretty leashes, stuff for doggie dress up and more. They have a dog treat bakery, other dog sundries and a grooming service. Owner Jamee Yocum says that part of the reason she loves living and working in Riverside is that “it’s really dog friendly.”

Riverside Events
First Fridays THE FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH Shops in 5 Points stay open late, artists hold shows in various spaces and there’s sometimes a block party.
Spring Tour of Homes APRIL 16- 17 This two-day, self-guided tour will feature ten incredible historic homes and businesses. Special weekend events include an antique car show, an Art House, and raffle.
Cummer Museum Events (check out our art events on page 8)

Riverside Related Memberships
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens There are several memberships you can look into. You can be a member of the museum and get discounts on classes and lectures, and get sneak peeks of exhibitions. If you’ve an interest in art events and you’re between the ages of 23 to 40, an Up & Cummers membership might be just the thing to get you involved with other, similarly-interested people your age.
Riverside Avondale Preservation Society (RAP) Get connected to the Riverside/Avondale community while supporting historic preservation and walk-ability. The membership in RAP is tax-deductible. Even if you aren’t a member, their website is worth visiting, because you can download podcasts for a walking tour of the neighborhood. www.riverside-avondale.com
The Garden Club of Jacksonville Located in Riverside, this garden club is comprised of circles around Jacksonville. With lectures, preservation tips, seminars and more, it’s perfect for the amateur gardener. www.gardenclubofjacksonville.org
Riverside Rotary Club of Jacksonville Get the skinny on volunteer opportunities, get to know your community and connect with local professionals. www.riversiderotaryjax.org