Nail Your New Year’s Resolution Down(town)

Whatever 2014 threw your way, a new year means new possibilities. It’s a chance to start something new, to be a better you. Maybe that’s why New Year’s resolutions are so popular. According to the all-knowing Wiki, about 40% of us make them. Whatever your ideas of self-improvement might be, Downtown Jacksonville will deliver.

“In 2015, I will support the arts.” If you hashtagged #istandwithmoca in 2014, put your resolution where your quick-typing fingers are and spend time perusing MOCA’s contemporary art, then pop over to the Spark District’s Sculpture Walk Jacksonville at Main Street Park. Take in a show at the historic Florida Theatre or at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts where you can see a Broadway show or listen to our world-class Symphony (soon to be led by the Specktator’s sexiest man in Jacksonville, Courtney Lewis). Relive the glory days when Jacksonville was Harlem of the South at the Ritz Theatre, or enjoy one of the many free concerts at Friday Musicale often held, you guessed it, on Fridays.

“In 2015, I will get a new hobby and stop looking at #catsofinstagram all day.” January’s First Wednesday Art Walk will feature various hobby-oriented groups and guilds, including dance, martial arts, painting, quilting, yoga–even a cigar 101 class. Coming to Art Walk is really a two-for-one in the resolution category: get a new hobby and support the arts. Go to

“In 2015, I will exercise and/or eat better.” There’s no better exercise loop than the bridges, which mix challenging inclines with (literally) breathtaking views of the St. Johns and its wildlife. Or, step it up with the 6.5-mile RAM route or the 10.5-mile Duval Half Prep route. Visit and search #runDTJax for route information. Plus, you’ll have no trouble sticking to your diet Downtown. Many perennial favorites fare well with the health conscious among us. Vegetarians will feel the love at Zodiac Bar & Grill and at Burrito Gallery. Cutting out all animal products? Chamblin’s Uptown Café and Chomp Chomp vie for vegans’ attention. Giving up gluten? Find new favorites at Pho. A Noodle Bar and Magnificat Café.

“In 2015, I will shop local.” Disclaimer: If a day at the Town Center is your happy place, shopping Downtown may not be for you. But put in the effort to seek out Downtown’s locally owned shops, and you will be well rewarded with unique gifts and products that you won’t find anywhere else: from rockabilly fashion to hard-to-find books to Sweet Pete’s sea salt caramels.

“In 2015, I will connect with the community.” Join a young professional group that focuses on Downtown including, Downtown Rotaract Jax, MOCA’s Contemporaries, MOSH’s The Elements, JCCI Forward and the St. Johns Riverkeeper’s Rising Tides. Help the homeless by volunteering your time at a social service provider like Sulzbacher Center or Clara White Mission. And, most importantly, with mayoral, city council and sherriff’s elections coming up this spring, do your homework and get out there and vote.

Lastly, if you’re resolving not to make any resolutions in 2015, that’s okay, too. Just make sure your 2015 finds you in #DTJax.

About Katherine Hardwick