The Jacksonville Riverwalks are located on the north and south banks of the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida. The first section of the Riverwalk opened on the Downtown Southbank on November 8, 1985. It was intended as a venue where tourists and local residents alike could view the beauty of the river and the skyline of the city. On a sunny day, the view from the walk includes shimmering water, shiny buildings, sailboats & speedboats. Today, the riverwalks are among the most popular and well-used attractions in the downtown area.
The 1.2-mile (1.9 km) walk was designed by Perkins & Perkins Architects to be a festive waterfront public space linking Friendship Fountain and Harbormasters Restaurant (now River City Brewing Co.) with hotels and office buildings east of the Main Street Bridge. The riverwalk was constructed, but never lived up to the expectations created by the project blueprints.
As of late 2011, the Northbank Riverwalk ran from the Fuller Warren Bridge to the former Shipyards property, owned by the city of Jacksonville. There are plans to extend it west to Riverside's Memorial Park, and east to Metropolitan Park across from the stadium. Free parking exists under the Fuller Warren Bridge. The center of the Northbank Riverwalk is the Landing. In 2002, the Jacksonville Track Club partnered with the city in commissioning The Runner, a statue of a sprinting man on the riverwalk.
In January, 2005, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of the latest extension of the Northbank Riverwalk. Construction took nearly two years for the 1.5-mile (2.4 km), $8.7 million project. The landscaped brick walkway connects the existing Riverwalk at the CSX building to Riverside Avenue. Its features include historical lighting, water fountains, trash receptacles, bike racks, irrigated landscaping and over 100 benches.
The Riverside Arts Market (RAM) was begun in 2008 beneath the Fuller Warren Bridge around the Northbank Riverwalk. It is open on Saturdays, 10-4 from March to December and features an eclectic mix of vendors offering arts and crafts, food and drink, fruits and vegetables and live entertainment in a family-friendly environment. Eight of the market's vendors have subsequently opened brick & mortar stores or restaurants.