At the center of Jacksonville’s historic San Marco neighborhood lies the San Marco Square, a collection of historic commercial buildings with a small park in the middle.
San Marco Square has served as the neighborhood’s main commercial district since 1926, when the area was still largely under development. Its oldest building, the St. Mark’s Building built in 1927, was designed by Marsh & Saxelbye.
The Square features a blend of local and national tenants, including bars, restaurants, boutique shops, and two historic theaters. It’s home to the oldest remaining location of Underwood’s Jewelers, along with Peterbrooke Chocolatier’s flagship store. It also marks the connecting points of Atlantic Boulevard, Hendricks Avenue, and San Marco Boulevard.
Balis Park, the mini-park at the center of the Square, was dedicated in the late ‘80s as the area’s centerpiece. Paid for by the Balis family, the project was also led by the San Marco Preservation Society. It features a large fountain with three lions – an homage to the area’s original inspiration, the Piazza San Marco in Venice.
The Square was renovated in the ‘90s and again in the early 2010s to improve traffic flow, with the most recent round of construction adding a round-about at the intersection of San Marco Boulevard and Naldo Avenue.
Its walkability and its scenic nature have made it one of the most popular gathering spots in Jax. It has the charm of an old-school commercial district, with the relevance of modern tenants and very few empty storefronts.
We’ve selected a few of our favorite shots from San Marco Square, featured throughout the article as well as below.
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