Jacksonville is a city that, despite what it has to offer, is often given a bad reputation nationally.
As a result, potential visitors or even potential future residents are scared away from a city that they might have loved.
So to help those who are still on the fence about Jacksonville, we’ve compiled a few of the most common – and most inaccurate – myths about the city and an explanation of why they’re simply not true.
Probably the most popular myth about Jax is that it’s some sort of hellish wasteland where crime runs rampant and where you’re guaranteed to get shot.
It’s important to note that there are absolutely parts of the city that are more dangerous than others. But equally important to note is exactly how big of a city Jacksonville is.
Should you avoid Moncrief Rd? Yeah, probably. Can you live in Jax for your whole life, explore plenty of the city, and still never visit that part of town? Absolutely.
Locals – particularly the older ones – tend to not do a whole lot to help fight this image. They’ll recall one shooting at the Landing in 20 years of it existing, and turn it into “The Landing is where people go to get shot.” Ironically, the ones who complain about crime in Jax the most are usually those who never leave Mandarin – one of the least crime-heavy parts of town.
For those with a realistic point of view, the nice parts of Jacksonville far outweigh the problem areas that can be easily avoided.
IT’S HILLBILLY COUNTRY
This is a reputation that’s almost inevitable because of Jax’s position in northern Florida.
And indeed, for many years Jax was more of an oversized small town than a real city. Matters aren’t helped any by the city’s long history of racial tensions and racism.
But today, Jax is as modern as just about any southern city, with a thriving population of young professionals eager to not repeat the same mistakes of previous generations.
And while we still have progress to be made – like, for example, getting rid of the shameful Confederate monument in Hemming Park – we’re hardly the Deep South here. People of all walks of life are welcomed, and city council successfully added LGBTQ residents to the city’s human rights ordinance last year – a progressive step forward for a city known as being stuck in the past.
With continued progress, that image of being stuck in the past should go away relatively soon.
THERE’S NO CULTURE
For many years, Jax struggled to find a cultural identity. But nowadays it’s more about trying to pick from several options.
The city has a growing and thriving art culture, highlighted by the beautiful murals and art installations throughout downtown. Riverside serves as a hub for creativity and young thinkers. Riverside Arts Market has become a weekly institution, and several other monthly art walks are hosted throughout the city.
The city also has the advantage of world-class venues such as Florida Theatre and the newly-built Daily’s Place that draw top-level talent to Jax from all over the world.
If you think Jax lacks culture, you’re simply not looking hard enough.
THERE’S NOTHING TO DO
This is another one that may have been true in the past, but is finally starting to change.
Areas like San Marco and Five Points are thriving with shops and active nightlife. The area around the Town Center is exploding and has added fun, family-friendly options such as Topgolf and the future iFLY indoor skydiving venue.
Downtown is still a problem area, but even there, the tide is turning with almost-weekly events held in hopes of bringing foot traffic back to the long-beleaguered area.
What other common myths about Jax do YOU find ridiculous? Do you disagree with any of ours? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!