Gator Bowl: Jacksonville's Places To See, Things To Do, Dining

The information after the jump comes from the "Vist Jacksonville" site. They contacted just after Nebraska had been selected for the Gator Bowl to pass along information to Husker fans.

I'm not claiming any great insight to Jacksonville, I've been there, but it's been a while.

Consider this a placeholder where those going to the Gator Bowl might collect some more information about the city and perhaps share some information about the happenings they're attending.

A Schedule of Events for the Gator Bowl is available at the "Visit Jacksonville" site, as well as some hotel packages.

Huskerpedia is hosting a New Year's Eve party featuring Johnny Rodgers and Tommie Frazier. Tickets are $70.

So, you going?

Getting Here

Daily flights are available from the Lincoln Airport aboard United and Northwest to Jacksonville International Airport. JIA is located just north of Downtown Jacksonville, the heart of Gator Bowl celebrations.  Convenient transportation to area hotels is available.

Staying Here

Huskers fans with value in mind can find special hotel rates starting at $70 by logging on to the Gator Bowl section of the Visit Jacksonville web site. Whether visitors seek upscale resort settings, luxury downtown hotels, motels or historic bed & breakfast inns, the Jacksonville area has lodging options to suit every fan’s taste and budget.

Playing Here

With 111,669 acres of parks, including the 46,000-acre Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the country.  Activities include hiking, biking, kayaking, segway tours and more.

There are more than 20 miles of unspoiled, white sandy beaches along Jacksonville’s coast.

Downtown is burgeoning arts community with boutique galleries, esteemed museums with large permanent collections, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, popular performances and more.

Northeast Florida is home to 72 golf courses, the World Golf Hall of Fame, headquarters to the PGA Tour and host of the THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
More Things To Do
 

New Year’s Eve Celebration - Arrive early and Make a Scene Downtown with an electrifying fireworks display over the St. Johns River on New Years Eve in Downtown Jacksonville.  The Jacksonville Landing, located along the Northbank, starts things off with team pep rallies during the day and continues into the evening with live entertainment in the courtyard.  The Jacksonville Landing is home to restaurants and nightlife along with the Twisted Martini, an upscale entertainment and dining venue with South Beach sophistication and Maverick’s a rock and honky-tonk bar where the bravest patrons attempt to master the mechanical bull.  Call (904) 358-1188 or visit their web site.
 
Shopping
St. Johns Town Center provides a unique mix of stores catering to the bargain shopper and those looking for upscale brand names.  The unique outdoor mall has an endless variety of retail choices with stores such as Louis Vuitton, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, BCBG, Lucky Brand Jeans, Hollister and DSW Shoes.  After a long day of shopping, take a break near the Koi pond or curb your hunger pains at restaurants serving Italian, steaks, seafood and American varieties.  Call (904) 998-7156 or visit their web site. .
 
For those looking to start the New Year off with a chic new look, search no further than the revamped Prime Outlets at St. Augustine.  The outlet recently completed a design overhaul and opened several new stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Cole Haan, Charlotte Russe, HUGO BOSS Factory Store, Juicy Couture, kate spade, Kenneth Cole, LOFT Outlet, Lucky Brand Jeans, Michael Kors, Papaya, Gucci Outlet Store and Tail Activewear.  Call (904) 826-1311 or visit their web site.

Other shopping options

Golf

It’s winter, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip the links.  Jacksonville's only indoor year-round state-of-the-art golf facility, Urban Golf, offers golfers the unique opportunity to play over 50 worldwide championship courses on Full Swing Golf Simulators. Hit full shots, practice putting and chipping and even take lessons with top PGA teaching professionals – without ever stepping outside! Take a break in the golfer’s lounge complete with a full menu of food and spirits.  Call (904) 223-0335 or visit their web site. .
 
The World Golf Village, located in St. Augustine, is home to golf courses, a resort and conference center, spa, IMAX® Theater, retail and dining options and the PGA TOUR Academy.  In the heart of the Village lies the World Golf Hall of Fame, a true destination for the golf and history lover.  Combining historic artifacts, interactive exhibits and personal players’ memorabilia, the Hall of Fame celebrates the history, players and sport of golf.  The World Golf Hall of Fame will feature one of golf’s greatest ambassadors in a special exhibition this year, “Bob Hope: Shanks for the Memories.”  The exhibit offers the largest collection of Hope golf memorabilia ever available on public display.  Call (904) 940-4123 or visit their web site.
 
Locals’ Favorite Courses -
Located in Jacksonville, the Windsor Parke Golf Club was given four stars in “2002 Places to Play” and rated the 4th best new course in the nation for Golf Digest.  The publication, Golf News, rated it in the top 100 golf courses in Florida.  The National Golf Course Owners Association recognized the course as being “beginner-friendly.”  Call (904) 223-4971 or visit their web site.  .
 
Home of THE PLAYERS Championship, the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass is unique among the nation's finest golf facilities. The TPC is a semi-private resort course that offers the avid golfer the ultimate golf experience.  Be sure to try your luck at the famed 17th green island hole.  Call (904) 273-3235 or visit their web site.
 
More courses

Dining

From local eateries and fish camps to four-diamond cuisine and urban hotspots, there is a restaurant for every taste.
 
Locals’ Favorite Restaurants -
Celebrate your team’s victory or shake-off the loss with the Weekend Brunch at Culhane’s Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach.  Dig into the authentic Irish fair with the Irish Breakfast, complete with two eggs, bangers, rasher, Irish baked beans, mushrooms and black and white puddings.  There’s also the Steak & Eggs and Culhane’s Ultimate Burger.  Mimosas and Bloody Marys are two for one.  Call (904) 249-9595 or visit their web site.
 
The Outback Crab Shack is a local secret located on Six Mile Creek, just west of the World Golf Village. This is the kind of place to bring the whole gang. Order the platters, fried or boiled, each stacked high on a cafeteria tray, so dig in and get dirty in an old cypress shack. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.  Call (904) 522-0500 or visit their web site.
 
For a taste of the Mediterranean, head to Zaitoon Mediterranean Grill. This new restaurant is located right off Atlantic Boulevard, close to the beaches. Zaitoon’s extensive menu reflects the rich, regional diversity of the Mediterranean and features culinary works of art that are inspired by Spanish, French, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The impressive menu is complimented with an extensive wine list. A special tapas menu is available Tuesday through Sunday from 3-5 p.m.  Call (904) 221-7066 or visit their web site..
 
In San Marco, Bistro Aix is perfect for a great evening out.  This trendy, historic neighborhood is minutes from Downtown.  At the core of Bistro Aix is a passion for food and wine.  Seasonal Mediterranean and French-inspired fare is the star of the show with an outstanding supporting cast of appetizers, desserts, and wines.  Before dinner, enjoy an aperitif, martini or glass of wine at the sleek Onyx Bar.  Call (904) 398-1949 or visit their web site.
 
More restaurants

Attractions

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens features over 2,000 rare and exotic animals and its renowned botanical gardens containing over 1,000 species of plants. New features include Play Park, Gardens of Trout River Plaza and Giraffe Overlook. Be sure to visit the award-winning Range of the Jaguar exhibit.  Call (904) 757-4463 or visit their web site.
 
Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, located in historic Riverside, is the second largest art museum in Florida.  The Cummer has received international recognition for their Old Master and American paintings, beautiful formal
gardens and renowned collection of Meissen porcelain, as well as their art education center.  Florida Highwaymen Paintings and Prison Murals: Al Black and the Florida Highwaymen is the current featured exhibit.  Call (904) 356-
6857 or visit their web site..
 
Adventure Landing, home of the Shipwreck Island Waterpark (in season, currently closed), go-karts, miniature golf, laser tag and batting cages.  The park is also the largest amusement complex in Northeast Florida encompassing a total of 20 acres.  Try your luck in the batting cages or take to the golf course in hunt of a perfect hole in one.  Call (904) 246-4386 or visit their web site
 
Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a 450-acre nature lovers’ paradise. The park is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the city’s park system. Located along the Atlantic Ocean, the park features nature trails perfect for hiking or biking, gorgeous beaches, picnic areas, a water play area for children, the premiere spot for surfing in Northeast Florida and campgrounds.  Call (904) 249-4700 or visit their web site.
 
More attractions

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