JAX Facts | Visit Jacksonville (2023)

Impress your friends with your knowledge of local Jacksonville trivia.

Planning a visit to Jacksonville? These fun facts will give you a glimpse of what life is like in Jax.

Jacksonville Facts

  • Jacksonville has more than 840 square miles – (making it the largest city by landmass in the Continental or contiguous USA).
  • The longest stretch of the St. Johns River runs through Duval County – and YES, the river runs from south to north and NO, it is not the only river that does.
  • Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the nation, it is 4x the size of the island of Manhattan! 80,000 acres of parks, including 400 City Parks, 7 State Parks, 2 National park sites and an Arboretum.
  • The Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve, covers 46,000 acres.
  • It's Always Sunny . . . in Jax. We get 270 average days of sunshine per year!
  • The military employs over 30,000 active-duty personnel and nearly 20,000 civilians in the Jacksonville area and is the largest employer in the county.
  • Jax is Florida’s youngest city with an average age of 36 - the state of Florida average age is 42.
  • We are home to 1,100 miles of shoreline, more than any other city in the state, not to mention 22 miles of white-sandy beaches!

Getting Here & Getting Around

  • Plane - JAX provides non-stop flights to more than 30 major U.S. cities and offers an average of 140 daily arrivals and departures on all major domestic air carriers and a network of regional carriers.
  • Train - Daily railroad passenger service to and from Jacksonville is provided by Amtrak, connecting the city with all other locations in the Amtrak system.
  • Automobile - Located at the crossroads of Interstate 10 and Interstate 95, Jacksonville is less than a day’s drive from major destinations like Atlanta, Charlotte, Pensacola, Charleston, Birmingham, Mobile and all of Florida.
  • The Mayport Ferry is Florida's only public auto ferry and connects Jacksonville's beaches to the Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island areas.

Economic Impact Of Tourism

  • 22 million overnight and day trippers visit the city annually – that would be the same as filling TIAA Bank Field every day of the year OR 4 years of every day sold out concerts at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
  • (In a normal year) We average nearly 28,000 people visiting Jacksonville every night. Then add another 30,000 day-time visitors.
  • The total economic impact of tourism annually in Duval County is $3.8 billion. That’s $10.4 million daily.
  • There are more than 50,000 tourism employees in Duval County.
  • Without tourism in Duval County, every household would pay an additional $700 in taxes just to maintain current service levels in the community.

Historical Jacksonville Facts

  • Jacksonville was named for General Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of Florida who, incidentally, never visited Jacksonville.
  • Duval Street, like the county, was named for William Pope Duval, the first Territorial Governor of Florida.
  • Isiah Hart, who founded Jacksonville, named two of the city's first streets after his daughters, Julia and Laura.
  • James Weldon Johnson Park (previously Hemming Park) is the city's oldest public park
  • Fort Caroline is a near full-scale rendering created to memorialize the 16th century French effort to establish a permanent colony in Florida, the actual location of the original fort is unknown.
  • The fire of 1901, sparked from a chimney and igniting a fiber factory, destroyed the heart of the city - 146 city blocks and 2,368 buildings were destroyed. Some 8,677 residents were left homeless, and seven people died. The damage was $15 million - $2 billion today. It is the third largest urban fire in the U.S., next to the Great Chicago Fire, and the 1906 San Francisco fire.
  • In the early 1900s the Ostrich Farm, located on what is today's Southbank of Downtown, was the city's biggest tourist draw.
  • In 1935, A.L. Lewis opened American Beach, a retreat for African Americans who were refused entry to public beaches.

Jacksonville Architecture & Landmarks

  • Planted in 1822 (or so the story says), Treaty Oak, located on the Southbank of Downtown has a circumference of 25 feet and reaches more than 70 feet into the sky. This is Jacksonville's oldest resident.
  • Famed architect, Henry John Klutho was commissioned to design the St. James Building in 1912 serving as a department store. Jacksonville's City Hall now calls this building its home.
  • When the Prudential Building, now known as the Aetna Building, opened in 1955, it was the tallest office building in the South at 22 stories.
  • When Friendship Fountain opened in 1965, it was billed as the world's largest and tallest fountain.
  • The Dames Point Bridge opened in 1989 at a cost of $117 million dollars. It is the second longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
  • The Jacksonville Navy Memorial, on Downtown's Southbank Riverwalk, commemorates the relationship between the people of Jacksonville and the U.S. Navy. The statue is of a young sailor looking out to sea, dressed in uniform with his duffel bag at his feet.

Jax Is A Hotbed Of American Film History

  • In 1916, over 30 movie companies called Jacksonville home with stars such as Oliver Hardy and Fatty Arbuckle making movies in town. Citizens became fed up with the noise and the industry moved to California.
  • The first Technicolor film, “The Gulf Between” was filmed here in 1917.
  • The only studio still standing today is Norman Studios which was among the nation’s first to produce “race films” starring African American characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles.

Jacksonville Sports Facts

  • In 1901, Jacksonville hosted the first-ever college football game played in Florida, with a crowd of 2,000 watching Florida Agricultural College take on Stetson University.
  • The first Gate River Run, an annual 15-kilometer race, took place on April 1, 1978. Today, the race boasts over 13,000 runners each year and is the largest 15k in the country.
  • The National Football league awarded its 30th franchise team to Jacksonville in 1993.
  • The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, with 16,000 seats, opened in 2003.
  • Jacksonville hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
  • Jacksonville native Bob Hayes is the only man to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring.
  • TOUCHDOWN! The jaguar statue outside of TIAA Bank Field is 16 feet long and weighs in at 2,850 pounds.

Jax Culture Facts

  • The Florida Theatre opened in 1927 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The theatre was home to one of Elvis Presley's first indoor concerts in 1956. A local judge sat through the performance to ensure Presley's body movements would not become too suggestive.
  • Southern rock legends, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band were formed in Jax. In its mid-20th century heyday, the LaVilla neighborhood, home to the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum, was known as the "Harlem of the South."
  • The oldest, continuously operating community theater in the country is Theatre Jacksonville, in operation since 1919.
  • The Alhambra Theatre and Dining is the longest running professional dinner theatre in the nation.
  • Built in 1997, Jacoby Symphony Hall is the only true orchestra hall in Florida and is home to the Jacksonville Symphony.
  • Pete's, the oldest bar in Duval County, was featured in the John Grisham novel “The Brethren”.
  • Since 1977, the Sally Corporation, has created animatronics figures and theme rides for adventure and amusement parks worldwide. Past clients include - Universal Studios, Disney on Ice and Six Flags Belgium.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville houses 800 works.
  • The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is the largest fine arts museum in NE Florida.
  • The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) covers 12,000 years of history.
  • The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens features 2,000 animals and 1,000 plant species.

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