10 ways to find entertainment, adventure and history in Florida’s capital
With art, culture, history and nightlife, Tallahassee is becoming a vibrant Southern city — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
People from all over the world flock to Florida to enjoy its beautiful beaches, often overlooking inland destinations such as Tallahassee. The state capital, with its rolling hills and Southern charm, is more than a beacon for politicians and college students. The sleepy town, close to the Georgia border, is waking up with a growing art scene, nightlife, dining and outdoor adventure.
The city is hospitable and easy to navigate, and so is the small airport. Tallahassee International Airport (TLH) offers a number of daily direct flights from cities in Florida and other southern states, along with Washington D.C.
Florida has more than beaches and it’s not all flat. Take a drive inland, cruise the area’s signature canopy roads where the moss-draped limbs of giant oak trees create picturesque tunnels, and discover the music, art, history, food and sporting adventures of Tallahassee.
Politics aside – or a side of politics
The state’s Capitol building was originally built in 1845 and is now home to the Florida Historic Capitol Museum — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
Downtown buzzes when the state legislature is in session. The Capitol building is the tallest in Tallahassee’s skyline. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, the 22nd floor offers a free, 360-degree view of the city. In its shadow below sits the original Capitol building, now a picturesque museum.
Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 is renowned for their energetic performances — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
Tallahassee is a college town, home to Florida State University (FSU) and Florida A&M University (FAMU). The energy is electric when its football game day with tailgating and street parties. Regardless of the score at halftime, fans are rarely disappointed when the bands take the field. FAMU’s Marching 100 is world-famous for high-stepping, high-energy performances.
Global cuisine, Southern twist
Tagliolini cacio e pepe at Il Lusso in downtown Tallahassee — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
The dining culture of Tallahassee is far-ranging: cafes surrounded by huge oak trees dripping with moss, pub food, chic Italian restaurants and steakhouses, modern sushi joints and creative spaces such as The Edison, found in a 1920’s era power plant.
Regardless of cuisine, almost all restaurants have at least one dish with a Southern twist. Think black-eyed peas, pimento cheese, grits, collard greens, apple butter and oysters from nearby Apalachicola.
Art and culture
Railroad Square Art District is a funky neighborhood full of creative shops, galleries and experiential businesses — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
Tallahassee’s expanding Art District is in historic Railroad Square. An old lumber yard has been transformed into a funky neighborhood fueled by creativity.
Inside the rows of tin roof warehouses painted with bright murals are galleries, art studios, vintage shops, a video lounge, yoga studio pinball parlor and more. For high-flying entertainment, FSU has its own big top, and the circus is headlined by students.
An off-the-beaten-path find, Bradfordville Blues Club is the first Florida stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
With several sophisticated rooftop bars in Tallahassee, Charlie Park and its lush living walls is spot to see and be seen. The number of distilleries and breweries is growing, led by the innovative sustainable practices of Proof Brewing Company. Behind FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium is College Town, a strip of bars frequented by college students and those wanting to relive their co-ed days.
Bradfordville Blues Club, located a bit further out, is the first Florida stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The one-room cinder block juke joint in the middle of the woods has hosted nationally-known blues artists for decades.
Shop ’til you drop
Rooms in Hearth and Soul are designed to resemble those in a typical house, only everything from floor to ceiling is for sale — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
Just north of downtown Tallahassee, shopping is abundant in both the Midtown and Uptown neighborhoods. Market Street is bustling with shops of national notoriety, as well as those locally owned, such as Hearth & Soul. This store’s floor plan is designed to feature every room in a home and everything is for sale, including display tables.
Walk on the wild side
A challenging ropes course and zipping at the 52 acre Tallahassee Museum — Photo courtesy of Gina BIrch
Located along two migratory pathways, Florida’s capital city is a top birding spot with over 300 species. The destination is also on the route of some two dozen species of migrating butterflies. Bald eagles, red wolves and other wildlife are housed at the 52-acre Tallahassee Museum.
The enormous park has historic buildings, as well as a challenging ropes course with zip lines.
Home to 700 miles of adventurous paths, Munson Hills is a popular 8-mile loop for mountain biking through Apalachicola National Forest — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
A bicycle-friendly community, Tallahassee is home to more than 700 miles of diverse trails for biking, hiking, running and riding horses. Trailahassee.com is a great resource for cyclist and mountain bike enthusiasts who want to rent bicycles and/or plan a ride, including full moon adventures through Munson Hills in Apalachicola National Forest.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park has reflecting pools, a lake for swimming and boating and miles of trails — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
Although two hours from the coast, both east and west, Tallahassee still has lots of water – lakes, rivers and springs. Wakulla Springs is the deepest freshwater springs in the world. The backdrop for numerous big screen films, and the site of mastodon remains, it’s best by boat.
Boating is also found at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, known for meandering brick walkways, reflection pools, fishing and swimming on Lake Hall. Full moon night paddles are also offered.
Rest and recharge
In the Entertainment District, the AC Hotel is one of the newest in Tallahassee’s skyline — Photo courtesy of Visit Tallahassee
New hotels have been popping up in almost every section of the city: Hotel Indigo in College Town, Hyatt House in Railroad Square Art District and SpringHill Suites in Uptown.
In the Entertainment District, AC Hotel by Marriott is perhaps the most talked about. Fronting the 24-acre Cascades Park with its water feature, amphitheater and shops, the hotel has a popular indoor/outdoor bar and is walking distance to downtown action.