12 Things To Do in Tallahassee, Florida

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled in the rolling hills of North Florida, Tallahassee is the capital and one of the most vibrant cities in the Sunshine State. As the home of Florida State University and Florida A&M University, Tallahassee has a youthful, energetic vibe with plenty to see and do.

From exploring the state’s political history to enjoying the great outdoors, Tallahassee offers visitors an array of attractions. Its mild winters and warm summers provide near-perfect weather for year-round activities too.

This article covers the 12 top things to do in Tallahassee, from museums and parks to restaurants and entertainment. It provides detailed information on each attraction, including location, hours, ticket prices, and highlights. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended stay, use this guide to make the most of your time in the Capital City.

Explore the History of Florida’s Capital at the Museum of Florida History

As Florida’s capital city, Tallahassee has a rich political history that is documented at the Museum of Florida History. Located in the R.A. Gray Building adjacent to the capitol complex downtown, this museum offers rotating exhibits on various aspects of the state’s past. Visitors can learn about Native American cultures, Spanish colonization, statehood, the Civil War era, and more.

Highlights include historic flags from the early 1800s, brightly colored tourism posters from the 1930s onward, artifacts related to Walt Disney World’s opening in 1971, and a replica of the Florida governor’s office. Interactive displays keep both kids and adults engaged as they wind through different periods of the state’s development.

The Museum of Florida History also hosts a variety of special events and programs throughout the year. General admission is free of charge, making this one of the top things to do in Tallahassee for travelers on any budget.

Location: 500 S. Bronough St, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Hours: Monday through Friday from 9am-4:30pm, Saturday 10am-4:30pm, Sunday and Holidays 12pm-4:30pm

Tour the Historic Florida State Capitol

At the heart of downtown Tallahassee lies the Historic Florida State Capitol building, an impressive replica of the original 1845 structure. Free guided tours provide an in-depth look at the ornate interior as well as the role this landmark has played in Florida’s government over the past 200 years. Costumed interpreters and multimedia displays enrich the experience for visitors of all ages.

The capitol’s distinctive dome rises nearly 20 stories above the city center, topped by a stained glass seal illuminated from within. This dome, along with the building’s red and white striped awnings, ionic columns, and spacious porticoes, hearkens back to classical Greek architecture. Surrounded by the lush 22-acre capitol complex, complete with memorials and monuments, the Historic Florida State Capitol immerses visitors in the state’s rich political legacy.

Inside, the rotunda features stained glass skylights, hand-painted murals depicting scenes from Florida history, terrazzo floors, and impressive chandeliers. The doors of the legislative chambers are made from bronze and glass for transparency. The Supreme Court chamber contains the bench used by State Supreme Court justices dating back to 1845.

This National Historic Landmark stands as an iconic backdrop for understanding Florida’s state government, past and present. Guided tours run every 30 minutes, Monday through Friday, from 10am to 4:30pm.

Location: 400 S. Monroe St, Tallahassee, FL 32399

Cheer on the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium

As the only Power 5 football program in the state, Florida State University and their legendary team, the Seminoles, inspire passion across Tallahassee every fall Saturday. Fans pack the stands of Doak Campbell Stadium, created to resemble a turtle shell, to cheer on the garnet and gold. With a capacity of over 79,000, Doak Campbell Stadium creates a roar louder than a Seminole warrior chant.

Before home games, fans gather at Langford Green for ESPN’s pre-game College GameDay show broadcast live on campus. Marching chiefs lead the crowd in the iconic War Chant fight song outside the stadium gates. The buzzing atmosphere kicks off several hours before kickoff with food trucks, school bands, face painting and more.

Once inside “Doak”, the crowd watches Chief Osceola and Renegade, the Appaloosa horse, charge down the field waving a flaming spear to plant at midfield, recreating the tribal Seminole tradition. Fireworks burst above as the team rushes onto the field through the Smoke at the gaping jaws of the horse head entrance. Throughout the game, the crowd does the Tomahawk Chop cheer along to intense play punctuated by the band’s rallying melodies.

Attending a Florida State home game promises excitement and school spirit for all ages, whether diehard fans or casual spectators. Single game tickets range from $35 to over $200 per seat, depending on the opponent and seat location. Advance purchase recommended.

Wander through Jungle Trails at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Just 6 miles from downtown lies one of Tallahassee’s hidden gems, Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. Meandering along the shores of Lake Hall, this 1,176 acre oasis transports visitors into a pristine floral and garden landscape surrounded by lush native forests and wetlands. Developed in the 1920s, the gardens feature blooming camellias, azaleas, and plenty of Old Florida charm.

The highlights of Maclay lie within its Jungle Trails, 6 miles of hiking and biking paths with access to secluded spots for picnics, birdwatching from wood footbridges, and observing woodland creatures in their natural habitats. The dense forest includes southern magnolias, sweet gums, wild azaleas and over 200 fern species. The park’s Disc Golf course incorporates obstacles like cypress knees and Spanish moss-draped oaks into 18 challenging holes.

Canoes, kayaks and pedal boats are available to rent for exploring the lake’s cypress-lined shores. Guided tours provide background on the garden’s history and ecology, included with park admission. Pack a lunch to enjoy on the Garden House patio overlooking Lake Hall. Escape busy city life and wander into serenity at this scenic state park.

Location: 3540 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee, FL 32309

Tour the Florida Governor’s Mansion

The Florida Governor’s Mansion provides a glimpse into the state’s first families, past and present, as well as the American presidents hosted within its elegant rooms. Free tours run Tuesday through Thursday on the half hour from 10am to 11:30am. Groups of 10 or more can reserve additional tour times in advance. Knowledgeable docents share stories and trivia while guiding visitors through the two-story home filled with Floridian themes and treasures.

Completed in 1956, the Governor’s Mansion was designed by Marion Sims Wyeth, fusing Georgian, Classical and Spanish architectural elements. Ornate ironwork, arched colonnades, and red barrel tile roofing create a distinctly Floridian exterior. Inside, the home contains a public living room and ballroom along with private family quarters upstairs.

Many furnishings originated at the previous Governor’s residence in St. Augustine, including a carved partner’s desk used by territorial and early statehood governors. Oil paintings, antique rugs and chandeliers fill the elegant space with historic charm.

Perhaps the most famous event held there was the 1983 dinner between Governors Bob Graham of Florida and Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas, along with Graham’s daughter and Clinton’s future wife, Hillary. Outside, visitors can explore the terraced gardens and swimming pool on the mansion’s 2.5 acres of grounds. To experience Florida history firsthand, a tour of the Governor’s Mansion offers an insider’s look at this prestigious residence and office through the decades.

Location: 700 N. Adams St, Tallahassee, FL 32303

Catch a Show at the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra or Theatre Tallahassee

As a flourishing capital city, Tallahassee provides top-notch performing arts and cultural entertainment for visitors and residents alike. The Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra performs masterfully executed seasons at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall on the Florida State campus. Nationally acclaimed guest artists join the orchestra to present crowd-pleasing pops programs of light classics along with full orchestral works.

Theater lovers can enjoy locally produced musicals, dramas and comedies at Theatre Tallahassee downtown. This volunteer non-profit community theater has offered quality shows for over 70 years, ranging from Broadway hits like “Mamma Mia” to thought-provoking Pulitzer Prize winning scripts. Patrons can bring wine to enjoy during curtained intermissions as well as mingle with cast members after the show.

For classical music, the Tallahassee Bach Parley performs Baroque compositions on period instruments inside historic churches and the Capitol building rotunda. Frequent guest artists provide ballet, modern dance, and multi-cultural performances through Florida State University’s Opening Nights arts series.

With student rush ticket discounts and free weekday concerts on campus, experiencing the arts in Tallahassee can fit into any visitor’s budget for a refined cultural experience.

Indulge at Locally Owned Restaurants and Cafes

Beyond the typical chain eateries, Tallahassee’s locally owned restaurants dish up regional fare with fresh innovative flavors. Downtown’s Bar 1903 specializes in unique wood-fired pizzas and handcrafted cocktails inside a converted early 20th century warehouse. Their sweet and spicy General’s Daughter pizza offers a fiery kick. Creative sandwiches and salads at The Egg Cafe and Eatery incorporate local ingredients like pecans, watermelon, and Florida blue crab. Brunch comfort foods always satisfy especially paired with their cinnamon pecan coffee.

For fine dining, Andrew’s Capital Grill & Bar renovated an historic 1928 bank into an elegant steak and seafood house, complete with the original vault room. Shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, oyster shooters and their 28-ounce cowboy ribeye headline the menu. Save room for their signature white chocolate bread pudding laced with bourbon caramel sauce.

No visit is complete without Southern homemade desserts from Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery. Red velvet, birthday cake, chocolate chip cookie dough, and carrot cake flavors top their melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes daily. Chow down on a warm Nutella-stuffed brownie, cake balls or a giant slice of layer cake if cupcakes aren’t your thing. Close the meal with a boozy shake spiked with vodka, whiskey or rum.

With so many tempting tastes, Tallahassee’s distinctive dining scene offers new flavors around every corner.

Paddle the Wakulla River

For outdoor adventurers, Wakulla Springs State Park offers crystal clear springs, verdant wetlands, and rich wildlife perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding day trips. Gentle current along the Wakulla River makes for relaxing paddling even for beginners. Rent gear from the nearby Wakulla Diving Center to launch across Highway 61 from the park entrance.

Paddlers gently float downstream admiring lush vegetation and cypress knees lining the banks. Bright pink blooms of wild azaleas contrast against the dark river during spring. Iridescent dragonflies zip just above the glassy water as turtles sunbathe on half-submerged logs. Oversized ferns cascade down limestone outcroppings dotted with bromeliads drinking in the moisture. The four mile paddle feels enveloped within a jungle oasis.

While drifting through tunnels of arching oak branches draped in Spanish moss, keep eyes peeled for native wildlife camouflaged in their surroundings. Alligators, river otters, white tail deer, herons, osprey and even manatees inhabit the first magnitude spring basin feeding 722 million gallons of water into the river daily. Listen for splashes of large bass snatching smaller fish disturbing the water’s surface.

The cool constant 72 degree water tempers Florida’s heat during paddling adventures along the Wakulla. Its concealed charms running through secluded wilderness make this a top natural attraction near Tallahassee year-round.

Location: Wakulla Springs State Park, 550 Wakulla Park Dr, Wakulla Springs, FL 32327

Shop Local at Railroad Square Art Park

Called “Tallahassee’s original arts district”, Railroad Square Art Park has fostered creativity in the Capital City for over 35 years. What once operated as a busy train depot now houses working studios, small business boutiques, craft shops, galleries and cafes gathered around sprawling courtyard gardens. Handmade jewelry, pottery, photography, paintings, glasswork, woodcrafts and more create a vibrant artistic community to explore and support.

Every first Friday brings special exhibitions, open studios for meeting artists, and evening receptions known as First Friday Gallery Hop. Food trucks dish up everything from poke bowls to giant pretzels to keep shoppers fueled while browsing. Occasional Songwriters Showcase events in the evenings provide free live music by local musicians in an intimate cafe setting.

Beyond retail therapy, Railroad Square offers creative workshops like painting classes, pottery wheel throwing lessons, jewelry metal-smithing, and plant terrarium building. For thirsty visitors, there’s no shortage of coffee houses, breweries and wine bars tucked around the edges of the park. Watch acrobatic goats play on towering structures at Lucky Goat Coffee or catch live music and comedy shows next door at The Moon nightclub most evenings.

Railroad Square’s laid back bohemian vibe makes for the perfect place to pick up locally made souvenirs after supporting the regional artisan community. Open daily from 10am to 9pm, visitors can easily spend an entire afternoon exploring over 50 shops and dining establishments.

Location: 567 Industrial Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32310

Find Fossils at the Tallahassee Museum

The Tallahassee Museum offers a unique experience among other attractions in town as both an indoor/outdoor natural history and science museum spread across 52 acres. The museum’s main draw lies in its living history exhibits demonstrating artifacts in action through ongoing demonstrations by costumed interpreters. Kids can help pump water, grind corn, churn butter, spin wool, pan for gold, and practice other pioneer tasks hands-on to understand early Floridian life.

Visitors enter the museum by crossing a swinging bridge over a creek with ducks into the historic 1884 Connaughton House and gardens. Nearby replicas of a one-room schoolhouse filled with antique desks and general stores stocked to the rafters provide glimpses into the past. Interpreters answer questions about their trades like printing presses, tinsmithing and medical practices. Outdoor exhibits feature native wildlife rescues like panthers, bald eagles, black bears, white tail deer, otters and red wolves in large enclosures ideal for observing natural behaviors.

The onsite Big Bend Farmstead also demonstrates heritage breed farm animals and crops grown using traditional methods without electricity. Special events like Annual Fall Farm Days and summer Saturdays on the Farm encourage getting involved in homesteading activities like cow milking, sheep shearing, riding in hay wagons and old-fashioned kids’ games.

The most unique museum attraction lies in its fossil pits where visitors can sift through leftover sediment from Florida’s ancient sea beds containing over 40 species of marine fossils each day. Museum staff assist in identifying shark teeth, whale bones, sea urchins, coral pieces and other relics found onsite estimated 35 million years old. Buckets are available for collecting personal treasures uncovered to take home. With interactive activities and cultural exhibits for all interests, the Tallahassee Museum makes for a full day of family fun.

Location: 3945 Museum Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32310

Tee Off on Championship Golf Courses

With an average 300 days of sunshine annually, Tallahassee entices both amateurs and pros to hit the lush greens year-round. Nine renowned golf courses within a short drive provide ample variety and challenges to satisfys any golfer’s wish list. Most offer discounted rates after 2pm and range in fees from $15 for 9 holes to $89 for 18 holes with a cart during peak seasons.

Just two miles from downtown, Southwood Golf Club charms players with its rolling terrain, elevated tees and greens, scenic lakes and fine-trimmed TifEagle fairways. Hilaman Golf Course adjacent to the Tallahassee airport suits beginners with more open driving holes leading into trickier pin placements that appeal to more advanced golfers.

Serious players test their skills at Governors Club, an Audubon-certified course blending natural woodlands with beautifully maintained Bermuda fairways for tournament-level play. The signature 12th hole drives over sparkling Lake Bradford with challenge in both distance and placement. Gentler terrain at Jake Gaither Golf Course welcomes seniors while still presenting unique contours on each green to keep things interesting.

No matter which course strikes your fancy, Tallahassee delivers world-class golf along with signature Southern hospitality for an unforgettable getaway. Just remember to pack your sunscreen!

Sample Florida’s Best Craft Beers

Home to eight local breweries and taprooms, Tallahassee tantalizes taste buds with expertly crafted Florida beers to satisfy any palette. The proof pours daily straight from the source at favorite hotspots like Proof Brewing Company, Deep Brewing Co. and Ology Brewing Co., open for tours and tastings in their spacious tasting rooms. Food trucks often park onsite filling the air with mouthwatering aromas to accompany pint glasses filled with golden brews or fruity sours. Live musicians liven up weekends or Sunday brunches.

Beer fanatics can join the Red Hills Brewery Trail to explore the region’s best brewhouses for discounts and other perks across its “ale trails”. Challenge friends to cornhole, pool, darts or Jenga between flights of specialty stouts, IPAs, lagers and experimental infusions on tap.

Those seeking educational experiences can build their own six-pack at Grasslands Brewery’s DIY beer blending sessions or learn step-by-step homebrewing basics at Lake Tribe Brewing’s Brew U crash courses. No prior experience needed!

Conclusion

From the halls of the state capitol to the lively college town atmosphere, Tallahassee offers visitors endless sights to explore and experiences to enjoy year-round. Nature lovers can hike lush gardens and cypress-lined trails, paddle pristine springs, or golf on championship courses surrounded by natural beauty. Foodies indulge in tempting local eateries, while culture vultures take in museums, theater and music.

Kids stay engaged through hands-on history lessons and close wildlife encounters at area attractions. And there’s always a craft beer calling your name at the end of an adventure-filled day! With this insider’s guide detailing the top things to do, visitors can now make the most out of a trip to Florida’s lively capital city.

Whether planning a quick weekend escape or relaxing sun-filled vacation, Tallahassee’s blend of small town charm, college spirit, and modern luxuries offers an authentic taste of Florida for all interests. Its central location also makes an ideal home base for discovering more of the surrounding Panhandle region. From secluded natural springs and sugar sand beaches to historic antebellum towns, classic Southern hospitality welcomes happy explorers.

So come unwind in the shade of mossy oaks, dive into local culture, enjoy 5-star cuisine and craft beverages, stay in cozy bed and breakfasts or trendy hotels, cheer amongst true fans and make lasting memories experiencing the real Florida. Tallahassee eagerly awaits your next visit!

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