Whether you’re just visiting or consider yourself a local Oregonian, there are always new and exciting things happening in the southwestern part of the state. Historic Jacksonville, OR, located in the heart of the Rogue Valley, was one of the many settlements to form out of the gold rush in the 1860s. Built around the tumbling waters of Jackson Creek, where gold deposits were first discovered in 1851, Jacksonville has since become a precious element of Southern Oregon for many reasons beyond its natural minerals.
In fact, the city’s motto is “Always a good time”, so let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Jacksonville OR to enjoy your visit to this historically rich destination.
Things to Do in Jacksonville OR
Jacksonville, OR may be a small community, but it has big city amenities when it comes to high quality restaurants, shops, and other local attractions. Downtown Jacksonville follows along the main thoroughfare, California Street, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants, boutiques, bars, cafés, and parks in the area. Here’s just a taste of some of the best things to do in Jacksonville OR for shopping, eating, and exploring.
Jacksonville OR Attractions
Exploring Jacksonville OR is like stepping back in time. The entire area was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962, which includes more than 100 buildings preserved from its heyday as a 19th-century mining town. The classic brick commercial district contains excellent examples of Greek and Gothic Revival which was popular during that time. Jacksonville is also home to the oldest brick Italianate-style home in the state, now Bybee’s Historic Inn.
In addition to exploring its architectural wonders, other things to do in Jacksonville OR include wandering the trails at Britt Gardens and sampling the vineyards in the valley, including one of the region’s most famous, DANCIN Vineyards.
This natural area features hiking trails, beautiful plants and flowers, maintained green spaces, a performance garden that regularly hosts huge community events and concerts with national headliners, and is registered as a National Historic Place in Jacksonville OR. Although no events are planned right now, Britt Gardens is still open for visitors to explore trails, view the manicured plots, and enjoy a bit of nature right in Jacksonville OR. Stop by to get a quick winter hike in, then head a few blocks into town to warm up with a meal or cup of coffee at Good Bean Cafe.
DANCIN Vineyards is an internationally-recognized wine producer located in Jacksonville’s backyard. It’s one of the best wineries to visit in the Rogue Valley, and has been recognized by Oregon Magazine for three years running as Oregon’s Very Best Winery (in 2017, 2018, and 2019). Whether you’re an avid wine drinker or just starting out as a sommelier, DANCIN is a great place to spend an afternoon, tasting different varietals of wine, sampling their italian-inspired menu, or just sitting back and enjoying the views of the stunning Rogue Valley.
Shopping in Jacksonville OR
Despite a small local population, Jacksonville OR draws visitors from all over Jackson County, even from the larger city of Medford just five miles away. With unique shops and boutiques featuring local wares, handmade goods, and antiques, there’s a little something for everyone to discover in Jacksonville OR.
Two great examples of the variety and distinctive nature of the city’s shopping scene are Rebel Heart Books and Farmhouse Treasures. Perusing the wares of these establishments is one of the great things to do in Jacksonville OR.
Rebel Heart Books
Rebel Heart Books, located on California Street, is an independent bookstore that joined Jacksonville, OR in 2017. Known for being “eclectic, intentional, and lovingly curated,” Rebel Heart Books believes in categorizing its volumes without genre labels, so each customer has a chance to discover something new, rather than stick to their comfort zone. Of course, if you’re looking for a good recommendation, creative and knowledgeable staff are always eager to share their favorites.
Farmhouse Treasures is a local landmark known to be a great spot to find gifts for everyone on your list. Shop here for antiques, furniture, home decór, jewelry, clothing, and much more. The inventory changes regularly due to rotating vendors, so be sure to see what’s new when you’re next in town. Also, you can’t leave without trying their homemade fudge! This sweet treat makes a great holiday or housewarming gift and draws people from neighboring counties.
Restaurants in Jacksonville OR
While staying true to its rich history, Jacksonville’s restaurants have modernized with the times, showcasing a great variety in ingredients, flavors, and origins. Featuring styles of food from all over the world, this city has a surprisingly comprehensive food scene that consistently delights and inspires.
One of the best things to do in Jacksonville OR is dine with friends and family in beautiful, historic spaces. While in-person dining options are temporarily limited due to COVID 19 protocols, visitors are still welcome to stop in and order delicious meals to take away or enjoy out of doors.
As one of the oldest dining establishments in Jacksonville OR, this Italian eatery is a local family favorite. Although known across Jackson County for having the best homemade pizza and pastas, Bella Union also has many healthy menu options, including a zucchini twist on a classic pasta dish. The Sunday Champagne Brunch is such a popular weekly event, it can be difficult to secure a spot, so be sure to check ahead if you’re planning to stop in on the weekend.
School House Grill
Located on the Bigham Knoll Crossing campus, this restaurant and brewery is a lively spot to gather with friends. Situated in a former schoolhouse, the expansive dining area features outdoor seating, bocce ball and mini golf, with plenty of room to spread out. Under temporary restrictions during the pandemic, they offer takeout and delivery.
Finally, if you’re looking for delicious, Southern-Oregon-style BBQ, Backporch BBQ is beloved by most of the Rogue Valley. This family-owned, casual eatery is the perfect place to hang out with friends. There’s plenty of patio and porch seating, or you can ask for your meal to be wrapped to-go.
There are so many historic places and things to do in Jacksonville, OR, it’s impossible to explore and see everything in one day. Plan a weekend, stay for a month, or move to Jacksonville and you’ll still be constantly amazed by all that’s happening here.
If you’d love to call this corner of the world your home, reach out to the team at Stage Pass. With beautiful homesites overlooking the Rogue Valley and just minutes away from Jacksonville OR, this could be the ideal place to start your next chapter.