ACTIVITIES FOR YOU AND Your Dog in Jacksonville
By Dalia Colón
With beautiful beaches, world-class golf courses and a thriving cultural scene, Jacksonville offers something for everyone—even pets.
If you’re heading to Jax, as the locals call it, your dog will have plenty to do, especially in downtown’s Riverside & Avondale neighborhood. Here are some suggestions for a dog-friendly visit.
This weekly market for produce, baked good, craft items and live entertainment is perfect for pets. Several vendors sell dog clothing and natural, organic doggie treats. There are also dog water stations and a pet adoption booth, in case you’d like to add to your brood. Check the calendar for events like Dogtoberfest in the fall and other pet-friendly festivals. The market is held every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. 715 Riverside, Jacksonville, (904) 389-2449.
Just two blocks from Riverside Arts Market is this trendy neighborhood full of restaurants, bars, antique shops and boutiques. Stroll the leafy streets with your four-legged friend, then settle in for a meal. Restaurants with pet-friendly patios include Black Sheep, River & Post, Bread & Board, Corner Taco, Timoti’s and M Shack.
Also located in the Five Points neighborhood, this self-described “urban dog boutique” offers everything from clothing to birthday cakes to nail polish—all for dogs. But that’s just the beginning. Available services include grooming, training, doggy daycare and boarding. And forget the cages. Each overnight suite features a raised pet bed, chandelier, mood music and cameras so you can see how much fun your pet is having without you. 1021 Park St., Jacksonville, (904) 356-4530.
Locals and visitors alike rave about the clay tennis courts, basketball courts and fun-for-all-ages playground at this park in the Riverside & Avondale neighborhood. Shaded walking paths make it a hit with leashed dogs, too. 3700 Park St., Jacksonville, (904) 630-2489.
Just steps from Riverside Arts Market is this 14-acre greenspace that’s home to a duck pond, playground and countless festivals throughout the year. Best of all for your pet is the park-within-a-park, John Gorrie Dog Park. The off-leash dog park is split into areas for small and large dogs. 753 Park St., Jacksonville, (904) 255-7907.
Also nearby is this 6-acre greenspace dedicated to the Florida’s World War I veterans. You and your leashed pet can enjoy a self-guided walking tour of the park’s monuments. Each loop around the oval is a quarter-mile long, so you can keep walking until you’re both dog-tired. 1620 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville.
This area is one of downtown Jacksonville’s crown jewels, slicing through the metropolis with more than a mile of scenic boardwalk that hugs the St. Johns River. Bring your dog for a scenic stroll to observe the boats, birds and public art that draw residents and visitors alike. 1001 Museum Circle, (904) 630-CITY.
This combination doggie daycare/dog park/craft beer shop/coffee house is a match made in heaven for cosmopolitan canines and their owners. The indoor/outdoor dog park features 5,000 square feet of climate-controlled play space, plus an additional 10,000 square feet of outside running space with artificial turf—no more muddy paws! While your pooch plays kick back on the patio or in the taproom (yes, really) with a craft beer, wine, cold-brew coffee or kombucha. If your day’s plans don’t include Fido, buy a half-day or full-day pass for Kanine Social’s doggie daycare. 580 College St., Jacksonville, (904) 712-6363.
To learn more about Riverside Arts Market and dog-friendly things to do in Jacksonville, check out visitjacksonville.com.