Jax Riverside Arts Market, Hemming Park and The Landing provide family fun

Fernandina Beach mom Anna Battista – a great researcher and “explorer” who helps keep Mamamelia going – shares her experience after taking her children to downtown Jacksonville for a visit to the Riverside Arts Market and Hemming Park, home to the city’s newest playground. Thanks, Anna! ~ Mamamelia

Paul and Anna Battista check out the St. Johns River with their kids. / All photos courtesy of the Battistas

Paul and Anna Battista check out the St. Johns River with their kids. / All photos courtesy of the Battistas

On a recent Saturday morning, our family decided to head to downtown Jacksonville to the Riverside Arts Market, which is located in the Riverside/Avondale Historic District under the bridge.
We enjoyed a beautiful 80-degree day at the market. Located under the bridge, the market had a great breeze which made the day so much more comfortable. That breeze also carried the smells of incredible food to our noses as soon as we entered. So many things to choose from: tacos, BBQ, gyros, wood fire pizza and more. After eating some really good pizza we headed to the Waterfront Stage where a band was performing. All the kids – especially mine – enjoyed dancing around.
Behind the stage was Jacksonville’s beautiful riverfront. We went for a walk, enjoying the views along the St. Johns and capturing some photos.
Next, we headed to the many stands at the market. So many cool things to choose from: pottery, jewelry, clothes, candles, baked goods, paintings etc. I love that Riverside Arts Market – or RAM for short – is pet friendly. There were many adorable dogs wandering around with their owners. My children loved petting and seeing all the cute doggies. We even saw a man walking around with two parrots.
As we were leaving, we visited the ballon artist, who made our children a sword and dog. That made the day for our 4- and 5-year-old children.
At the Riverside Arts Market, your kids can dance to live music, eat, shop, dog watch, get their faces painted or get a fun balloon animal.

At the Riverside Arts Market, your kids can dance to live music, eat, shop, dog watch, get their faces painted or get a fun balloon animal.

As we left, we wondered what to do next. The market took up less than 2 hours of our time. We were ready for some more downtown exploring.
We chose to head over to Sweet Pete’s (we fell in love with this candy shop during our first visit, which you can read about here). Next was Hemming Park, which just launched “Imagination Playground.” The unique play place allows children to build with great, big blue blocks, tubes, etc. The children had a ball. We had to practically drag them away when it was time to go.
We had a wonderful day getting  to know downtown Jacksonville better.
Kids can build with giant blocks at Hemming Park's new "Imagination Playground."

Kids can build with giant blocks at Hemming Park’s new “Imagination Playground.”

For more information on the places we visited today:
Riverside Arts Market
Hemming Park
West Monroe Street, Jacksonville
The Landing
2 West Independent Dr, Jacksonville
Sweet Pete’s
400 N Hogan Street, Jacksonville
Would you like to write a review of your family’s local adventure for Mamamelia? Send us an email at info@mamamelia.com.
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