The Five Points – A Jacksonville Bohemian Experience

If you are looking for a unique and eclectic shopping experience, the Five Points in Jacksonville, Florida, is an absolute must do.  Known by several distinctions as both Jacksonville’s arts and commerce district or as their Bohemian district, there is no shortage of unique stores, restaurants and interesting characters to people watch when you visit the five points.  Located a few blocks off the river, this place is easy to find. The challenge, though? Many say it’s finding a parking spot!

The Five Points Name & History

The Five Points district got its name from the 5 way intersection that can be found at the end of the district.  This is where Park, Lomax and Margaret Street meet.  There is a marker placed that carries the visual appearance of years and years of flyers, paint, staples and stickers.  The marker is as a reminder of the Five Points area’s vibrant and long history.

In the 1920s, as the residential areas began to grow so did the need for a growing commercial district.  The transition began after World War I when several retail buildings were created. One of its most prominent claims to fame is its Five Points Theater which housed Florida’s first movie theater that had talking pictures!

Through many openings and closures, this theater was once a hot club called Club5 but is now turned back to Five Points Theater showcasing independent and art films.  Though this area had been hit quite hard for the independent merchants during the rough economy, it still holds its charm as new unique independent shops take the place of shops that could not survive.

Local’s Favorite Shops

Strolling through Five Points, you won’t find a more assorted spot of shops.  You can find anything such as shops that carry vintage clothing, independent music stores (an almost extinct concept), antiques shops, alternative lifestyle shops as well as funky coffee shops.  You can definitely channel your inner flower child or hipster very easily here.  While there are many shops to discover and see there are a few absolute must-visits:

6-pack of Broswer Beer at Bark Boutique

This store is truly for the pampered pet.  You can find almost anything and everything here to spoil you special pooch.  Not only can your favorite canine walk away with pretty polished nails and relax with a paw massage in its grooming and spa section, there are various unique goods you can purchase.  Every dog needs a dapper bow tie collar and what kind of doggie bed would be without a fashionable duvet cover.  They also have delicious, delectable treats to purchase.  Is your dog celebrating a birthday?  You can pick him up a fabulous cake here and spring for a 6 back of Browser Beer to celebrate!  Five Points is known to be dog friendly and this is a perfect spot to check out with your furry friend.

Midnight Sun, Inspired by Grateful Dead

If you are looking for unique handmade gifts, this is a place to visit.  As you step in the store, the smell of incense will take you to another world.  Inspired by a Grateful Dead concert, the owners decided to open their own store where they would sell their handmade jewelry and tie-dye shirts.

What is unique about this store is that the owners will bring lots of items to sell into their store from the exotic places they visit.  Their beautiful sterling silver jewelry is from Thailand and the unique home accessories such as lamps and mirrors are picked up from the trip to Bali, Indonesia.  The silk vibrant clothing that you’ll find are from their travels in India and their sparkling gemstone jewelry is from their adventures in Nepal.  These are truly fantastic treasures and most importantly they are reasonably priced.

They also have natural remedies for just about anything – from curing anxieties to banishing nightmares, you will find something here.  On Henna Saturdays you can walk in to get a beautiful Henna tattoo!

Violet features up-and-coming fashion lines

If you are looking for more whimsical, sweet clothing pieces, Violet is the place to stop.  Known for its Anthropologie feel, this store originally started out as a strictly vintage boutique.  As years passed, the store transformed into clothing and accessory with original beautiful designers.  In this indie boutique you will find new fashion lines that are just starting out.

Not only can you find some fashionable threads here, they also have a mix of accessories from jewelry to handbags and while they still have vintage items, there is only a limited selection focusing on jewelry, handbags and shoes.  If you stop by, you will be greeted by the store’s owner who makes you feel very welcomed while her dog will make you feel right at home.

Restaurants & Coffee Shops in The Five Points

When you are done picking up some spectacular gifts, there is a unique variety of restaurants to choose from.  You can find almost anything to satisfy that appetite you have been working on while walking around the shops.  From sushi to Italian, you can almost everything here.  A popular hot spot in the five points is Hawkers which serves Asian street fare cuisine.  Some of their best dishes are the Bulgogi steak sliders or their roast duck sliders.  Their menu offers a variety of tasty and unique entrees.

If a cup of coffee is more up your alley, break away from your Starbucks and Seattle’s Best coffee chains and take a peek into one of the Five Points locally owned coffee shops such as Bold Bean Coffee.  With its hipster flare, this coffee shop fits perfectly in the Five Points.  They are experts on coffee beans and brewing quality handcrafted coffee.  If you are a self-proclaimed foam snob, you will feel right at home here.

There are tons of great bars if you want to stop in for a night cap or dance the night away.  You can also take a stroll down to the river for one of the most beautiful space, Memorial Park which was designed by New York’s Olmsted Brothers firm.  This vibrant district is a must see.

Question of the day: Are you the kind of person who ‘shops till you drop,’ or would you rather take your time and dine? Share with us in the comments below!