Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in Jacksonville

by  Darren Murph | Mar 26, 2013
Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville, FL / Susanne Neumann/iStock

Venturing down to the sunshine state for a business conference? While I'll pretend that I'm not envious, I must say that spring tends to show its face earliest in the south, and there's certainly no reason to stay indoors any longer than you have to when in Florida. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into the real Jacksonville, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

Burrito Gallery is about as fancy as the name implies. In other words, feel free to loosen your tie before waltzing in to this establishment, and while you're at it, you may want to loosen your belt a notch. It's just a short walk from the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, but you'll enjoy every step of it when returning. This place is home to huge, scrumptious burritos and Mexican fare, and it'll be hard to leave without feeling satisfied.

Koja Sushi is one of the more highly-regarded eateries in "The Landing," and if it's raw fish you're after, you won't go home disappointed. This one's a good option for either lunch or dinner, and it can be used to treat clients or just celebrate a job well done with your own colleagues. For a sushi place, the menu is fairly varied, which always goes a long way in convincing the timid folks in the group to give it a try.

If you've got a few spare hours and a rental car (preferably a convertible), I'd recommend a quick spin over to Little Talbot Island State Park. That'll put you on 1A, a road that's revered in the area for being both beautiful and perfect for cruising. In fact, a motorcycle is recommended, but even if you're stuck in a conventional automobile, prepare to pull over often and work out the shutter button on your camera. Driving north to Amelia Island provides a quick and gorgeous drive up the Florida coast.

If you're fortunate enough to have a solid half-day to spend as you wish, and you're even remotely interested in fishing, Jacksonville is the ideal spot to get yourself onto a group charter. You don't have to motor far from the coastline in order to catch some pretty impressive fish, and both Backwater Fishing Adventures as well as Crazy Fish offer an array of options. Just be sure to bring your sunscreen.

The Grotto isn't exactly next door to the convention hall, but it's worth the quick cab ride. The San Marco area is great to explore on foot, giving you a solid excuse to visit this fantastic wine bar and eatery. The tapas menu is actually underrated, so be sure to arrive hungry and thirsty.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

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