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Jacksonville, Florida
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Jacksonville, Florida on Wikipedia

Jacksonville is a coastal city in the northeastern portion of the state of Florida. It has the distinction of being the most populous city in Florida and the largest city (square mile-wise) in the continental United States, and has a metropolitan area spanning Nassau, St. Johns, Baker, Clay, and Duval counties with a metropolitan population of over 1.25 million people.

Get in
By car
Jacksonville can easily be reached by car. Major highways entering the city include I-10, I-95, US-1, US-90, and FL-A1A.

By plane
Jacksonville International Airport (IATA: JAX), 2400 Yankee Clipper Drive, . Has regular flights to many US cities with major carriers such as Delta, US Air, Continental, American, Air Tran and Southwest.

By bus
Greyhound Bus Lines, 10 North Pearl Street, Phone: 904-356-9976. Greyhound is centrally located downtown. Station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.

By train
Amtrak, 3570 Clifford Lane, 1-800-872-7245, . Service by the Silver Service/Palmetto and Sunset Limited lines.

Get around
Unless you want to spend a lot of time waiting for buses, a car is a must to fully experience Jacksonville; due to Jacksonville's size and low density, most destinations are not within walking distance of each other. Mass transit is limited to the city bus system, and an elevated rail system in the downtown district that links both banks of the river with a crossing on the Acosta Bridge. The bus system is minimally adequate; no bus runs past midnight, and many bus routes stop running at around 8 or 9PM. All buses are linked via GPS to a central control system and stops are well-marked throughout the entire city.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Phone: (904) 630-3100, . The bus system is fairly extensive in scope, but you must plan ahead as the frequency of stops is between 30 minutes to an hour. Buses are air-conditioned and reasonably comfortable, but JTA buses struggle with on-time performance.

Taxi services are available, but expensive due to the sprawl of the city.

Car rentals are the most convenient for of transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenience vis-a-vis return policies and times.

Car Rental Companies include:

Alamo Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-462-5266, .
Avis Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-331-1212, .
Budget Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-527-0700, .
Dollar Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-800-3665, .
E-Z Rent-A-Car, Toll free: 1-800-277-5171, .
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Toll free: 1-800-261-7331, .
Hertz Car Rental, Toll free: 1-800-654-3131, ].
Thrifty, Toll free: 1-800-847-4389, .

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, 829 Riverside Avenue, Phone: (904) 356-6857, . Tu,Th 10AM-9PM; W,F,Sa 10AM-5PM; Su 12PM-5PM. A recently expanded art gallery and formal garden set alongside the Jacksonville waterfront. Features primarily European and American paintings as well as a large collection of early Meissen porcelain.

Museum Of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, 333 North Laura Street (Downtown Jacksonville), Phone: (904) 366-6991, . Tu, Fr, Sat, Sun 10AM-4PM; Wed, Th 10AM-9PM; Closed Monday. This Museum recently relocated to its Hemming Park location in the historic Western Union Telegraph Building and presents a large number of innovative contemporary art exhibits created by regional, national and international artists.

The University of North Florida Gallery, 4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, Phone: 904-620-2534, . M,W,Th 9AM-5PM; Tu 9AM-7PM, F 9AM-3PM. Features several exhibitions each year including regional and national artists and UNF faculty and student art.

Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, 50 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra Beach, Phone: (904) 280-0614 . M-Sa 10AM-5PM.

J. Johnson Gallery, 177 4th Avenue North, Phone: 904-435-3200. . Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 12PM-5PM.

R. Roberts Gallery, 3606 St. John's Av., Phone: (904) 388-1188, .

Stellers Gallery, 1409 San Marco Square, Phone: 904-396-9492, . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-3PM.

Downtown Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Landing, located downtown on the northbank of the St. Johns River, is Jacksonville's festival gathering place. This retail and entertainment center has as its attractions waterfront dining, nightclubs and unique shops all in an urban, maritime setting. This is a prime location for holiday celebrations and viewing downtown fireworks. During the Christmas season, the Landing is also the site of the largest Christmas tree in northeast Florida.

Hemming Plaza is a block sized park in the center of Jacksonville's downtown. Named for Confederate veteran Charles C. Hemming, who in 1898 donated to the City the Confederate monument which is the focal point of the park. The park is surrounded by Jacksonville's City Hall, the United States Courthouse, the Museum Of Contemporary Art, the new public Main Library for Jacksonville, the former Snyder Memorial Church and various restaurants. Step inside City Hall, which is a restored department store built in 1912 and designed in the prairie style by noted local architect Henry John Klutho, and take a look at the large, sunlit atrium which dominates the interior of the structure. The new downtown Main Library opened in 2005 and is the largest Main Library in the state of Florida. The postmodern structure was designed by noted architect Robert A.M. Stern and features a Grand Reading Room and a quiet Courtyard for outdoor reading.

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