This gracious shopping corridor on St. Johns Avenue forms the core of historic Avondale, an elegant tree-lined neighborhood boasting riverside mansions, attractive mediterranean and prairie-style homes, and stylish bungalows sporting well-tended lawns. The neighborhood’s diversity is echoed in the surprising number of refined restaurant and retail options clustered within the many colorful, small-scale 1920s-era commercial buildings that form the Shoppes of Avondale.
Recently, Avondale has emerged as a major dining destination, with wonderful French, Seafood, Bistro, Brazilian and New American restaurants, as well as a kickin’ barbecue joint. However, there’s so much more to the Shoppes than just food.
We suspect there’s no other place in Jacksonville where you can 1) start your day at an authentic 1950s diner, 2) get in an hour of Pilates, 3) step next door for a hair cut and facial, 4) head across the street to pick out an original oil painting and 5) a century-old Oriental rug for your dining room, 6) break for lunch and a sinfully good Kobe beef burger, 7) purchase a setting of fine china for a wedding gift, 8) select some custom spice rubs for your Sunday roast, 9) snag a great dress and 10) find the perfect pair of designer shoes and 11) sunglasses to match it, 12) treat yourself to an artisan cupcake and 13) handmade chocolates as an afternoon snack–and remember to 14) buy your dog some, too–then 15) try to shed some calories by test-driving a new bike, 16) while remembering to stop and smell the flowers at the charming garden shop. After you’ve returned the bike, 17) bought your daughter some hair bows and 18) a hand-smocked dress, 19) found some terrific toys for you son, and 20) met your friends for an afternoon margarita at the local neighborhood watering hole, 21) cross the street to enjoy some of the city’s best “farm to table” fare, and then 22) finish the evening enjoying live music and belly dancers at a hip hookah lounge–all without ever getting into your car!
And we’d be remiss (even though it’s technically just outside the historic district) if we didn’t mention that just a little further down St. Johns Avenue, in the area known as Fairfax, you’ll find even more great LOLO stores, including several galleries, a terrific garden shop, and the city’s premier sources for home furnishings, Mrs. Howard and Max and Company.