Nicknamed the Bold New City of the South, Jacksonville is our nation’s largest city by area, surpassing even New York. Between the St. Johns River, the intracoastal waterway and 22 miles of ocean beach, it’s a water lover’s paradise. It also holds the country’s third-largest seaport and military presence, trailing only Norfolk, Va., and San Diego, Calif. However, don’t let that fool you. The city regularly makes lists of top U.S. arts destinations; Google the city, and nearly every website header features its music and jazz history.

With more than 130 square miles of parks, Jacksonville has the country’s largest urban park system and repeatedly ranks in major magazine listings for top recreational cities. If you enjoy professional sports, the city has the Jaguars and Sharks for football, the Suns for baseball and the Giants for basketball. Here, culture is alive and well, with theaters, art museums, gardens, a zoo, thriving art walks and music festivals. After all, this city is home to the nationally renowned annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival and Jazz Piano Competition. The arts extend even to food and drink, with craft beers and artisan treats filling restaurant and eatery menus. Transportation downtown is easy between the Skyway monorail and downtown trolley systems. However, while the city doesn’t yet have a bike share program in place, it’s working on one.

For the serious side of life, the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University make the city sixth in the list of most affordable colleges. The major industries are aviation and aerospace, logistics, finance and insurance, information technology, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare. Major employers include Baptist Health, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Florida Blue and Mayo Clinic. Thanks to Florida’s industry-friendly tax laws — plus no state income taxes — many companies maintain headquarters or regional headquarters facilities in Jacksonville, from the CSX Corporation to Fidelity National Financial, BUBBA Burger and Firehouse Subs. 

Favorable to business and individuals, Jacksonville continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Cost of living runs near the national average; utilities and transportation push expenses slightly above it. Many residents boast of enjoying four seasons without snow to shovel. It’s a great place to work hard and play even harder, and if you need water, beach and culture to breathe, it’s a fantastic place to start.

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