You know the saying, “go big or go home.”
But did you know that Jacksonville, Florida is the most populated city in Florida and the largest city by area in the continental United States?
So if you’re planning to move to Jacksonville, you can do both! Here are seven of the best Jacksonville neighborhoods for black singles, young professionals, and families.
Jacksonville is located in northeast Florida, near the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Johns River divides the city as it flows in a northeast direction towards the ocean.
If you enjoy being near water, this is a great area to call home.
But there are also tons of land and sprawling communities throughout Jacksonville. Let’s check out a few of the best suburbs for black families.
Southside is located in the southeast area of Jacksonville, with the St. Johns River as the western border and State Road 90 as the northern border.
It’s a large area that houses, among other locations, the St. Johns Town Center, University of North Florida, the Mandarin neighborhoods, and much more.
Southside is considered a quintessential suburban area with several grocery stores, nine parks, and numerous stores and restaurants. This area is also more recently built up than other parts of Jacksonville.
The Southside area is the perfect place to live if you work in the city and enjoy the beach. Its location gives you easy access to the downtown area via I-95 or I-295 and nearby Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach.
Residents of Southside enjoy a lower cost of living and a lower crime rate compared to other parts of Jacksonville. The monthly rent in Southside is typically around $1,100; the median home value is $313,707.
Most of the schools are A-rated, and the area has an 89% high school graduation rate. You can learn more about Southside Middle School in this USNews article.
Oceanway is located on the city’s northside, near Interstate-295 and the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
This area is northeast of downtown Jacksonville and has some of the most affordable housing in the area. Currently, the median home value of an Oceanview home is $283,689.
Because of the low-cost homes and great views of the city and riverfront, several families consider Oceanview the perfect location for first-time homebuyers.
Families that live in Overview can also enjoy the nearby Jacksonville Zoo and Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary.
Oceanway is also an excellent place for young families or families with younger kids to live. Out of the four Elementary schools, three are top-rated with high scores.
Overall, Oceanway is a rapidly growing suburb in Jacksonville, with several families calling it home.
Jacksonville is home to the Naval Station Mayport and the Jacksonville Naval Air Station. The Mayport base is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, while the Air Station is found just north of Orange Park, located on the west side of the St. Johns River, about 16 miles south of downtown Jacksonville.
Because of its close location to the base, many Naval families live in Orange Park.
Some families enjoy the more rural atmosphere that Orange Park has to offer. It’s about 30-to-45 minutes away from downtown (depending on the time of day and traffic) and has plenty of land and space for outdoorsy-type people.
Here you have access to the St. Johns River and Doctor’s Lake, both fantastic spots for fishing and boating.
Homes in Orange Park are usually around 2,000 square feet, and the current median value is $263,968.
Orange Park is an excellent place for young families who enjoy being outdoors more than the hustle and bustle of the city.
Orange Park is also great for young professionals. Or as a single person who enjoys being around other young people.
If you’re just out of college or starting your career in Jacksonville, here are two other top Jacksonville suburbs for young black professionals and singles.
Avondale and Riverside are two neighboring communities located southwest of downtown Jacksonville. These communities also have riverfront property and a fantastic reputation for nightlife venues.
The bars and restaurants in Avondale and Riverside are upbeat and lively.
Some of the homes were built in the late 1860s, and there is a ton of history in this area.
Both neighborhoods are sandwiched between Roosevelt Blvd and the St. Johns River.
Avondale’s population is just over 6,000 residents. It also homes Boone Park, a large recreational area with plenty of space to run and bike, and several stores and restaurants.
Riverside is considered a bit more upscale and has weekend markets, trendy pubs, and coffee bars for singles and young professionals to enjoy.
These two westside Jacksonville communities are both considered great places for young black professionals to live and commute to work.
Immediately across the St. Johns River, we find another one of Jacksonville’s best suburbs for young professionals and singles: San Marco.
San Marco is the perfect place to live if you work in downtown Jacksonville, located less than three miles away.
This area of Jacksonville was designed after an Italian city of the same name. It’s artsy, trendy, and full of charm.
Residents of San Marco enjoy walking to their nearby destination, which may include an upscale bar, sophisticated boutique, or MOSH – the Museum of Science & History.
You can also check out the Three Lions at San Marco Square, a favorite picture spot for many locals and visitors.
Homes in San Marco currently have a median value of $396,071, an 18% increase in the past year.
San Marco is the most upscale and artistic community of the three neighborhoods we’ve mentioned (Avondale, Riverside, and San Marco). If you love the performing arts, European architecture, and style, this is a fantastic community.
Before moving to a city, it’s good to know about the safety of your potential new neighborhood.
Jacksonville is like any other U.S. metropolis, with its fair share of criminal activity.
In 2012, statistics show that Florida was not considered a peaceful place to live. But, for the past several years, statistics show improvement to the crime rate in the Jacksonville area. However, in this 2019 report, Florida ranks below the U.S average for reported crime rate.
Jacksonville’s crime rate, unfortunately, ranks a bit higher than other Florida cities. However, it’s important to remember that it’s also the most populated city in the Sunshine State, so it’s understandable to see higher criminal activity here.
Your comfort level all depends on which neighborhood you decide to call home. Some of the safest neighborhoods include Riverside, Mandarin, Baymeadows, Deercreek, and Ortega.
Places to avoid living include 29th & Chase, East Jacksonville, and Mid-Westside.
Among the current demographic, 58.2% are white, 31% are black or African American, 10% are Hispanic or Latino.
Of course, that’s a city-wide demographic. As we take a look at each of the neighborhoods, you’ll find a better mix of races in places like Orange Park and Oceanway.
Overall, Jacksonville is a great place for black singles, young professionals, and families. It’s safe, and there are several communities to choose from that fit your style and preferences.
We’ve already mentioned a few of the best neighborhoods in Jacksonville, but here are a few more for your consideration.
Mandarin is located in the southernmost part of Jacksonville and is sometimes grouped together with the Southside community.
But Mandarin is its own unique neighborhood with more than 3,800 households and 9,000 residents.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, once lived here and called it a “tropical paradise.”
Here you’ll find pristine views of the St. Johns River, picturesque oak trees with Spanish moss, and the 10-acre Walker Jones Historical Park with Mandarin Museum.
The history of the Mandarin area is truly unique. The community was named after an orange in 1830, and today residents still enjoy the more rural setting, along with several high-quality restaurants and shops.
Renting in Mandarin typically costs $1,200 a month. The median home value is $414,232.
If you prefer to spend your days on the beach and commute to the city, then Atlantic Beach is the best Jacksonville neighborhood for your family.
Atlantic Beach is located 15 miles due east of Jacksonville and only takes about 25-minutes by car (depending on traffic).
If you enjoy meeting new people from your neighborhood, Atlantic Beach is a very active community. Check out the Wednesday Market for events and crafts. The city also hosts various events throughout the year.
Although the median home value in Atlantic Beach is currently $521,715, that price has increased 20% in the past year and includes ocean-front property. Families can rent homes in Atlantic Beach anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the location.
One of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Jacksonville is Ortega, a small community located on a peninsula in the St. Johns River’s west bank.
There are only about 1,000 people who live in Ortega, and the median value of a home is currently $500,311.
Ortega residents tend to be a bit older. Depending on the location, there are more people married without children than those married with children. It’s the kind of place you plan for when it’s time to retire.
Water activities are popular in Ortega, including boating, fishing, and swimming. There are also a few parks, churches, and shops for residents to enjoy.
All in all, Jacksonville is an attractive city for black singles, young professionals, and families. Whether you enjoy the city life, rural setting, or laying back on the beach, Jacksonville has something for everyone.
Before you move to Jacksonville, plan a visit to tour the city and its many attractions. There are tons of things to enjoy here.