When people think of romantic proposals in and around Jackonsville, conversation invariably turns to the beach. While long shoreline walks can be perfectly punctuated with diamond engagement rings, we came up with five of our favorite places to propose in Jacksonville:
Museum of Contemporary Art
Situated inside the former Western Union Telegraph Building at Hemming Plaza, the six-floor Museum of Contemporary Art provides plenty of space for pondering big questions. Most weekday afternoons provide plenty of solitude among the eclectic and intriguing art. The only exception is the first Wednesday of every month. This is the Free Art Walk, when admission is free and Café Nola serves up popular specials. While this appeals to bargain hunters, the crowd swallows up the quiet corners throughout the museum, so try to choose a weekday if you are planning an intimate proposal.
Botanical Garden at the Jacksonville Zoo
Few people would expect a romantic proposal at the zoo, but that is because few people know about the attached botanical garden. While the zoo has train rides, splash parks, and other kid-friendly attractions, the botanical garden is an oasis of peace and quiet. The twenty-one-acre garden is smaller than gardens found in many other cities, but the high foliage defines pathways and isolates areas, making the spaces seem remote and removed from other public spaces. The elegant Trout River Plaza features a walled design with plenty of bench seating and Grecian-style pillars topped with flowers. This remains a prime spot for uninterrupted proposals, but you can also find smaller “pocket-garden” spaces for better privacy on weekends.
Located on Park Street, the award-winning Orsay offers French cuisine with contemporary southern influences. Much of the food is locally sourced and the restaurant’s ambiance lacks the pretentiousness often associated with traditional French fine dining establishments. If you and your significant other are foodies, and you want to propose in nice place that isn’t stuffy, Orsay is one of the best places to propose in Jacksonville. The staff also has a solid reputation for personalized touches, so do not hesitate to let them in on your plans when you call to make a reservation. Keep in mind that it gets loud here on Friday and Saturday nights, especially during the cocktail hour. Dinner service hours run later, so arrive around 8:00 PM and things should have quieted down enough for intimate discussions.
The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
If you both have bicycles, a picnic pairs well with any diamond engagement ring. Normally summer and cycling do not go together in the Florida heat, but the extensive tree canopy that stretches along the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail east of the city makes this shady 14-mile paved pathway a comfortable exception. The Imeson Road Trailhead is a short distance from I-295 and downtown. Take the Commonwealth Avenue exit west, then turn on Imeson and the trailhead is on your left. Parking fills up here on weekends, so consider an early start. It can also be difficult to find unoccupied picnic tables. The two best picnic area options are Camp Milton, which is roughly halfway along the length of the trail, and Baldwin Park Station, a fairly new covered picnic area north near the western end of this relatively flat rail trail.
If you are intent on going the full 28 miles, pack water for hydration and choose a light road bike or a hybrid bike for speed and comfort. Mountain bikes handle fine on this paved trail, but you’ll appreciate a lighter bike for an out-and-back excursion on a warm day, especially if you are eager to get back and tell everyone the happy engagement news.
Hilltop Restaurant in Orange Park
Perfect for anyone seeking a unique restaurant for a memorable proposal, the Hilltop Restaurant south of Jacksonville in Orange Park is not associated with a national chain. The lush gardens and spacious dining rooms in this one-of-a-kind establishment offer privacy and a charming atmosphere to guests. Locals frequently associate this establishment with private parties and wedding receptions, but a portion of the refurbished manor is available for dining. Restaurant hours extend to 10:00 PM on Friday and Saturday to accommodate more guests, but you will still be able to find intimacy during these late night dinner hours.
In the spring and summer months, the dining room above the garden is a guest favorite. However, outdoor dining on the porch is also popular. If you are not into overly trendy restaurant fare, the cuisine here is perfect. Menus are varied but familiar, and online guest reviews emphasize ambiance more than anything served on plates.
Are you still seeking the perfect ring for your Jacksonville engagement? In Jacksonville, engagement rings with a halo setting are the hottest trend. Halo engagement rings are sought after for their antique style and extra sparkle, due to the border of brilliant diamonds or gemstones surrounding the ring’s center stone.
If you are in the Jacksonville area and you are searching for an engagement ring, you are eligible for Ritani’s free in-store preview. The free in-store preview allows you to reserve a ring and then have it shipped to a local Jacksonville jeweler. There, you can inspect the ring, in your partner’s ring size, and ask the jeweler any questions you may have before you make this important purchase.