Believe it or not, one of the most difficult parts of the home buying process is narrowing in on just the right neighborhood to call home. Some people like to let the perfect house dictate where they ultimately end up, but for most, this decision will come out of a stack full of pro/con lists and the opinions of at least twenty people they know that live in these areas… and that’s if you’re lucky enough to know people where you plan to relocate.
The worst part is – everyone has a different opinion based on their interests, needs and deal breakers. This is where your real estate agent comes in. If you find the right real estate agent they will be your unbiased opinion and expert of the area. In an effort to help out all of our favorite house hunters, we’re just going to throw it out there – our real opinion of all the little neighborhoods in Jacksonville and St. Augustine that we love (and hope you will, too). Today – it’s Riverside Jacksonville.
Wait, did I take a wrong turn in Downtown Jacksonville and end up in Brooklyn, New York or Portland, Oregon? This is one of my many thoughts as I make my way down a narrow sidewalk in the area of Riverside called “Five Points,” holding a latte-art donned cup ‘o joe dodging bearded hipsters and tatted twenty-somethings. Coming from someone who has lived in New York and spent a lot of time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Burlington, Vermont… trust me when I say I know my way around a bag of kale chips, Indie flicks, craft beer and all things “up-and-coming” neighborhoods.
Riverside Jacksonville is quaintly nestled between urban Downtown Jacksonville and the high class, high price tag of beautiful Avondale, and I would say it’s the best of both worlds. In the past few years especially, Riverside has attracted an interesting group of artists, musicians, and chefs that have turned this neighborhood of early to mid-century craftsman homes into a hipster haven. Pop into Kickbacks Gastropub for a draft beer menu of more than three pages of craft beers. Jump into 13 Gypsies for a kale empanada and braised pork belly with a brown miso glaze. Round out the evening by taking in a flick at the historic Five Points Theater and maybe a late night glass of wine on the Black Sheep rooftop. Sounds like a typical night in Brooklyn to me… yet it’s 60 degrees in March. Perhaps this truly is paradise found.
I know what you might be thinking – I am no hipster. I don’t even know what hipster means. I don’t like to eat foods that are sold out of trucks. I’m retired, what can this neighborhood offer me? Or, I have a growing family… I don’t want to have to sign my kid up for an after school program called “home brewing and tattoo artistry.” I firmly believe that this neighborhood has a little something for everyone and the demographics around here will prove that. It’s not just for post-college artists and espresso-sipping vagabonds.
First of all, the houses are gorgeous and varying. Craftsman style fixer upper? Check. All amenities included semi-retirement community high-rise condominiums? Check. Large new builds with spacious back yards? Check. Modern townhomes with grocery stores, restaurants and bars within walking distance? Check and check. It’s the neighborhood of all kinds of neighborhoods. The prices are well, decent, and quickly increasing, which means these are great investment properties especially if you’re looking to put some work into an older place. I also believe this area to be the best bang for the buck if you’re looking for the charm of a historic home in a less established neighborhood compared to its much pricier neighbor, Avondale, or even less established, Springfield.
I don’t think you need to have a particular interest in vinyl records or gearless bikes to feel at home in Riverside Jacksonville. This area is the perfect fit for anyone that appreciates a diverse environment of unique cuisines, access to festivals and events related to the arts, craft “anything,” and the perfect marriage of urban and suburban. So, trim up that handlebar mustache, slip on those skinny jeans and start calling Riverside Jacksonville home!