Jacksonville is the largest city in the continental United States by land mass at over 800 square miles. It's also the 14th largest city by in the US by population and the largest city in Florida.
The city of Jacksonville operates the largest urban park system in the US with over 80,000 acres devoted to parks and community areas.
Jacksonville was known as Cowford until 1822 because cattle were transported across the St. John's River.
Although the Great Fire of 1901 was the most destructive event in Jacksonville history, it was not the deadliest. Seven people died in the Great Fire. The most deadly event in Jacksonville history was the Roosevelt Hotel fire in 1961, which killed 22 people.
Bestselling author John Grisham stays in Jacksonville frequently, usually in the Old Sea Turtle Inn in Jacksonville Beach (now renamed One Ocean Resort). The inn was featured in his novel The Brethren, along with Pete's Bar, a local establishment.
The annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the second-largest jazz festival in the US. The festival began in 1980. Over the years, performers such as Miles Davis and Tony Bennett have highlighted the event. In 2011, the headliner is Natalie Cole, daughter of Nat King Cole.
Jacksonville was once a haven for filmmakers. It was known as the Winter Film Capital of the World. The city featured more than 30 movie studios and thousands of silent films were made. Due to political pressure, most of them migrated to California.
Elvis Presley performed his first indoor concert at the historic Florida Theatre in 1957. Presley's show was monitored by a judge to ensure his hip shaking didn't get too racy. The King stayed in the Crowne Plaza while in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is home to the US's oldest skate park, Kona Skatepark in Arlington. Before becoming famous, Tony Hawk competed at the venue.
The Dames Point Bridge, which connects Downtown to the Arlington area, is the largest concrete cable-supported bridge in the world.
Jacksonville is well-known as the birthplace of the Southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, but it's also produced several other notable performers, including Limp Bizkit, Cold and Red Jump Suit Apparatus
Several notable movies have been filmed in Jacksonville, including The Creature from the Black Lagoon, GI Jane, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, The Manurichan Candidate (2004 remake) and The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.
The historic Riverside-Avondale area was named one of the 10 greatest neighborhoods in the United States in 2010.
Although Jacksonville has a large population, the surrounding areas are sparse. The city is the smallest television market in the US to host an NFL team.