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Jacksonville
  • $450   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $749   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1206   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

35% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
rush hour, urban sprawl
local professional sports, nature preserves 6
successful blacks, people who speak in tongues, cruise ships and drunks, hipster hangout, Gotham City, old money, strip malls, kmart wasteland, traffic jam with a side of mall, florida state college, sailors, megachurch hell, The Ditch, more mf sailors, and here be traffic are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Jacksonville roommate rundown:

Jacksonville is a land of beaches, bridges, golf courses, and parks.

All their bridges, all seven straddling St. Johns river, are a little bit famous. "River City" bridges are an iconic Jacksonville experience.

As is Southern Rock. Many say Jacksonville is the birthplace of Southern Rock, as it's definitely the birthplace of Lynyrd Skynyrd, so it's the epicenter, so there you go.

And all that's popular with vacationers, college students, and retirees. Many are the same folks at different stages . . . so just good reviews, ultimately.

Jacksonville is a beach town that still feels like a beach town should to many . . . a little more sleepy than completely unaffordable. It's still Sunshine State for sure, but someplace with lower roommate rent.

Beach bunnies love their beaches just as much in Jacksonville as anywhere else, but they're less crowded than in south Florida, and you've got three: Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Neptune Beach. No surf breaks like Hawaii, but you can still catch a wave. Occasionally, you could even sidle right up to a waterside bar with no line ahead of you and get a drink almost immediately. Take that, Miami!

In addition to the abundance of available beachfront, did you know Jacksonville is not just the largest city in Florida by land area (over 870 square miles!), but also largest population within city limits, at almost a million?

Also, it's a serious mecca for golf tournaments. So obviously really nice courses the rest of the year too. Lots of golf and golf tourism, particularly related to the PGA Tour.

Jacksonville's NFL team is the Jaguars. Teal, black, and gold worn all together probably means someone's just a bit Jaguars-obsessed. If you want to get along with that person, you're a fan too. At the very least, you better not be rooting for Georgia.

Jacksonville also has several minor league teams, including a minor league baseball team (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp) and . . . an NHL-affiliated ice hockey team? In Florida, yes, there they are, with an enthusiastic local ice hockey fan community!

Fans of the Jacksonville Ice Men!

If you'd like to enjoy the great outdoors but less beaches or golf courses or sporting events, perhaps more something with a tree-lined shady vibe? Or something less commercial?

Jacksonville has the largest urban park system in the country, with more than 80,000 acres of parkland over more than 400 locations around the city. You can boat, fish, jetski, sail, surf, swim, or just wander around in green.

So what's the bad news? It's up there already, but in a glass half full kinda way.

All those lovely urban features spread out over all those hundreds of square miles of still affordable real estate allowing those low roommate rents near all those beaches and parks and golf courses?

Glass half empty = Jax sprawls like a suburb.

Even though Jacksonville is actually literally urban, it's still too sprawling and still too suburban.

So traffic is often an issue along major arteries. There's little public transport, and it'll be expensive to improve on that, because there's too much land to cover. You and your roommates will want to plan all your routes in advance to avoid anything resembling a freeway anywhere near rush hour. Your quality of life will rely upon avoiding the wrong traffic (all of it) at the wrong time (whenever there's traffic). It's your happiness at stake.

In addition to rush hour on the interstate, summer's flying insects also frighten many. The mosquitoes and the roaches come super sized!

But summer's air conditioning bills frighten many Jaxons more.

The rest of the Jacksonville roommate lowdown:

  • Jacksonville is in northeast Florida, about 25 miles south of Georgia and about 350 miles north of Miami, 16 miles from the Atlantic Ocean
  • largest deep water port on the southern Atlantic Coast, nicknamed, "The River City" - leading port for auto imports
  • almost a million in the city, greater metro area about 1,730,000, largest city in Florida by land area and population within city limits
  • very heavy humidity, very rainy in July and August, winters are mild, humid subtropical climate, hot and humid summers, warm but mild and more dry winters
  • home to Edward Waters College, Flagler College, Jones College, Jacksonville University, and the University of North Florida
  • 20 miles of fairly available not crowded beaches
  • 20% water, crossing bridges is an iconic experience, seven bridges over St. Johns River. In addition, Interstate 10 and Interstate 95 intersect in Jacksonville. This is the busiest interchange in the region, over 200,000 vehicles per day. Construction of new high speed interchanges and new freeways are under construction to relieve congestion, but it's an ongoing problem.
  • Jacksonville rarely gets a direct hit from a hurricane, few hurricanes have caused severe flooding and knocked out power, but some areas experience periodic flooding
  • more diversified, less based on tourism than a lot of the rest of Florida - banking, healthcare, insurance, logistics
  • military and civilian deep water port - Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, U.S. Marine Corps Blount Island Command, and the Port of Jacksonville - third largest naval complex in the country, after Norfolk and San Diego
  • sprawling over a huge geographical area, anything outside downtown, you and your roommates will need a car - over 870 square miles along both sides of the St. Johns River
  • The Trout River (a tributary of the St. Johns) is entirely within Jacksonville.
  • few bus routes, but they're not usually on time, they don't run at night - might enjoy biking or hiking the urban core, enjoy some of the architecture . . . not so much otherwise
  • college sports, especially college football, very popular, number of rivalries including the Florida-Georgia game
  • number of community theaters, including: long operating community, dinner, dedicated to arts education, and on the beach!
  • There's a free monorail operated by Skyway downtown, connecting the north and south banks of the river, and offering a great view of the city. It's fun, it's a great view, you and your roommates should go . . . but it won't take you to the rest of jacksonville, nope!



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Jacksonville's:

  • Friendship Fountain: World's largest and tallest fountain! One of Jacksonville's most popular free attractions, capable of spraying 17,000 gallons per minute, in a park with a nice view of downtown Jacksonville. Frequently lit at night, always near the Jacksonville Maritime Museum.
  • Riverwalk: Scenic walking along the shores of the St. John's River, various attractions including the Friendship Fountain, jogging, biking, socializing, exercise equipment along the trail
  • Riverside Arts Market: outdoor arts-and-crafts right on the Riverwalk, every Saturday from March to December under the Fuller Warren Bridge
  • Jacksonville Public Library: The largest public library in Florida, circulating over 6 million items
  • Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens: Art museum and formal garden along the Jacksonville waterfront - European, American, and Japanese paintings as well as porcelain - free to you and your roommates on the first Saturday of the month
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville: Downtown in the historic Western Union Telegraph Building across from Hemming Park - free to you and your roommates the first Wednesday evening of the month
  • Ritz Theatre and Museum: On the site of the 1929 Ritz Theater movie house in Jacksonville's historic African American community, number of exhibits, events, and shows, part of a "scene" known as "Harlem of the South"
  • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens: > 2000 animals and > 1000 plants!
  • Jacksonville Jazz Festival: second largest jazz festival in the country, more than 40 years, over Memorial Day Weekend
  • Springing the Blues: Free outdoor blues festival, downtown Jacksonville Beach, in April - national, regional, and local blues artists
  • Jacksonville Farmers' Market: Established in 1938, oldest in the state, unique local stuff!
  • Lewis Ansbacher Map Collection: Do you love maps? Would you like to see hundreds of them? Now in the Jacksonville Public Library.
  • Chamblin Bookmine: 23,000 square feet of floor to ceiling books, over 3 million "gently used" books in stock. Since 1976.


Here's the city of Jacksonville's official city website for community services, including animals and pets, garbage and recycling, driver's licensing, traffic information, and local maps.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.