Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville#11 in Best Things To Do in Jacksonville
Art aficionados won't want to miss the chance to visit MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in downtown Jacksonville. This facility showcases nearly 1,000 individual works from artists like Alex Katz, Robert Longo and Philip Pearlstein. The museum's vast galleries house everything from paintings to sculpture to photography, while temporary exhibition space hosts touring works that explore artistic styles.
For many museum-lovers, it's MOCA's special events that are the main draw. The museum sponsors a variety of educational programs like guest lectures and youth activities. According to one TripAdvisor user, "They have fantastic events, like summer movie classics and guest lectures … And before I forget to mention them, the parties are fantastic, especially New Year's Eve."
MOCA is open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Thursday) and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. And the first Wednesday of every month, MOCA hosts an Art Walk from 5 to 9 p.m., allowing visitors to explore temporary exhibitions after hours for free. General admission to the museum is $8 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and students. To learn more, visit the MOCA Jacksonville website.
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#1 Amelia Island
About 30 miles northeast of downtown Jacksonville, the relaxed community of Amelia Island draws families in droves with its 13 miles of beaches, historic attractions and relaxed atmosphere. While here, you can learn about pirate lore at the Amelia Island Museum of History, look for alligators and wild horses while on a waterway cruise, hike through Fort George Island Cultural State Park or simply lounge on the sand. Recent guests particularly recommend laying your towel along the shores of Fernandina Beach, a small community that stretches along the northern part of the barrier island. "The beaches are second to none. The water is clean and warm. Downtown is charming and filled with good shops and restaurants," said one TripAdvisor user.
Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach are a bit of a hike from downtown Jacksonville, and traffic can be treacherous. If you'd like to make the most out of a visit to these beachside communities, consider setting up camp there — the island is home to some of the area's more opulent accommodations, including The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. You'll also find numerous vacation rentals and condos that can accommodate larger groups. Just be sure to make your reservations well in advance if you're planning to visit in the summer.
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