San Marco-Putting the Neighbor in Neighborhood

San Marco is one of Jacksonville’s older neighborhoods. Originally, most of it was known as the city of South Jacksonville. It is bordered on the north by Interstate 95; Philips Highway on the east; Greenridge Road on the south and the St. Johns River on the west. On the west side of the neighborhood is Lake Marco, with an outlet to St. John’s River. A 20-mile drive to the east takes you to the Atlantic Ocean.

The center of activities for San Marco is the San Marco Square. It was built in the 1930s and is fashioned after St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy. It is metro Jacksonville’s trendiest dining and shopping centers. In the center of the neighborhood, you will find retail and dining areas. Boutiques, bookstores, and high fashions surround the square. Wine and juice bars, casual and fine dining are also in the Square. You can enjoy outdoor dining under the old palm trees. Nightlife on the Square can feature craft cocktails and craft beer; a movie at the restored San Marco theater or seasonal activities fill the evenings. Each month includes an “Affair in the Square”. With its open-air layout, San Marco Square is a pedestrian’s paradise.

San Marco features walkable streetscapes. Accenting its bold architecture you will find Mediterranean-Revival style in the homes and buildings. There are several gated subdivisions. There is also a great variety of housing styles. Renovations have taken place in many of the two-story colonial, bungalows and Tudor-style houses found in this neighborhood.

The price range for housing in San Marco is vast. From neighborhoods including all-brick bungalows to Art Deco-styled houses, it’s easy to find your architectural style. One of the best features of San Marco is how pedestrian friendly it is. Tree-lined streets and various styles give off a small town atmosphere. Single and multi-level homes are prevalent. Many of the neighborhoods in San Marco are within walking distance to the Square.

Growing families are everywhere in San Marco! The median age is 36 and there are nine public and private schools. San Marco offers 14 public parks. The Main FEC Park consists of 15 acres of woods and multi-use fields. From softball to baseball to soccer, there’s always something happening at one of the parks.

Education

  • Hendricks Avenue Elementary
  • Spring Park Elementary
  • Academie De Montessori
  • Landon Middle School
  • Southside Middle School
  • DuPont Middle School
  • Julia Landon College Preparatory and Leadership Development School
  • Englewood High School
  • Terry Parker High School
  • San Marco Branch of Jacksonville Public Library
  • Balis Community Center: features classrooms, auditorium and conference room

The San Marco area residents formed the San Marco Preservation Society (SMPS) in 1975. Its purpose is to protect the integrity of the residential areas and to enhance the revitalization of the business district. The neighborhood has its own newsletter, The Weekly Bull.

The SMPS is active in a representation of the neighborhood to the Jacksonville city government, maintenance of the parks, an organization of family-friendly activities and organizing the community’s holiday events.

In addition to the SMPS, there is also a San Marco Merchants Association (SMMA). The Association’s goal is to help promote the area’s businesses and promote the area as a destination for both locals and visitors.

Theater Jacksonville, the Harold K. Smith Playhouse, is America’s longest-running community theater. Its first production was in 1938. The theater was placed on The National Register of Historic Places in 1991. In 2000, it was dedicated as the Harold K. Smith Playhouse. The theater offers theater education for babies to seasoned citizens along with productions. It is available for rent for special events.

Recognized as one of the ten best classic cinemas in the United States by USA Today, the San Marco theater is an Art Deco gem. Built-in 1938 on the Square, it has been operated almost continually since them. It shows current films and occasionally hosts film festivals. The theater is available for private rentals.

Your health care needs can be addressed at Baptist Medical Center, Jacksonville. Fully accredited, Baptist Jacksonville serves families with high-quality, complete care for every stage of life. There is a complete spectrum of healthcare professionals in the area to provide needed services.

If you are looking for a vibrant neighborhood, San Marco might be for you. It’s close enough to big city attractions, yet it has that small town feel. With neighbors that are actively engaged in the restoration process while also attending to the promotion and advancement of modernity, San Marco is nodding to the past as it embraces the future.