Jacksonville's Riverside district is often seen as the cultural heart of the city. Riverside is the home of many seasonal and cultural events, museums and festivals. As the Financial Times called it, Riverside is the "closest thing to Greenwich Village you'll find in Florida."
In the heart of Riverside lies the unique Five Points commercial district, an eclectic collection of shops, bars and restaurants, although the area has been hit hard by independent merchant closures recently due to a rough economy.
From March to December, Riverside is home to the Riverside Arts Market, named the best farmer's market in the city by Folio Weekly, a local publication. RAM, as it's often called, is held under the Fuller-Warren Bridge on Riverside Avenue. More than just a farmer's market, RAM includes live music, street performers, arts, crafts and local food. It takes place each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the season.
The area is also the hub of the River City Pride Festival, Jacksonville's largest annual gay-rights parade.
Riverside has a number of parks, including a couple of Jacksonville's finest: Memorial Park and Riverside Park. The latter lies on the edge of the St. John's River and features fantastic views. It also features a walking track. It's not uncommon to see residents fishing on weekends. The latter is well-known for its large pond featuring ducks and other wildlife. It's also the home of several festivals, including the Northeast Florida VegFest.
The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, as well as the Garden Club of Jacksonville, are also based in Riverside.
Compared to many of the newer sprawling neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Riverside is quite walkable. The website WalkScore.com lists the neighborhoods walkability score at 73, roughly 40 points higher than the Jacksonville average.
Riverside is one of four Jacksonville districts listed in the National Register of Historic Districts. It was added in 1985, thanks in part to the efforts of the Riverside-Avondale Preservation, a local group which aims to promote and preserve both historic neighborhoods.
Riverside is adjacent to Avondale, and many consider the neighborhoods to be one, or closely related. The area itself is often referred to as Riverside-Avondale, or with Avondale being mentioned as a sub-district of Riverside as Five Points is.
Riverside and Avondale achieved national recognition in 2010 when the areas where named one of the nation's great neighborhoods by the American Planning Association, primarily citing the area's numerous parks and historical landmarks. In 2007, it was named as one of the best neighborhoods to retire by CNN Money.
Riverside lies southwest of Jacksonville's downtown, and composes the initial part of the city's Westside.