Blake Walsh

30 Best Things to Do in Tallahassee

  • Published 2022/07/28

Tallahassee is the seventh-largest city in Florida and the Sunshine State’s capital.

The city is known for its vibrant and vivid culture and history, with tourist sites ranging from historic museums to family-friendly attractions.

In addition, Tallahassee is abundant in natural beauty.

Its national parks and reservation areas are filled with gorgeous flora and fauna.

Moreover, the city is dotted with charming cafes and elegant restaurants where you can satisfy your hunger with the most satisfying dishes.

Tallahassee will undoubtedly spoil you with endless fantastic options to choose from.

Here are some of the best places to see and the best things to do in Tallahassee, Florida:

Trace Florida’s History at the Florida Historic State Capitol Museum

Exterior of Florida Historic State Capitol Museum

Feng Cheng /

Located on South Monroe Street, the Florida Historic State Capitol Museum is a must-visit if you are in Tallahassee.

The historic Florida State Capitol building was built in 1845 and was restored in 1982.

The museum showcases the history of the people of Florida and their political institutions.

View of Florida Historic State Capitol Museum's dome roof

Kristi Blokhin /

You can tour the museum and witness Florida’s glorious history.

As you explore the Florida Historic State Capitol Museum, you’ll see displays dedicated to distinct aspects of Florida’s political history, such as the Supreme Court, the Governor’s office, the House of Representatives, and more.

Aerial view of Florida Historic State Capitol Museum

Felix Mizioznikov /

Go Back in Time at the Knott House Museum

Exterior of Knott House Museum

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Built in 1843, Knott House is an antebellum mansion with a museum boasting original furnishings from the 1900s.

It is well known as the place where President Abraham Lincoln read the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Knott House Museum opened in 1992 when the house’s original owners, William and Luella Knott, donated it to the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board.

It showcases Tallahassee’s local history.

You can take a guided tour of the house led by informative tour guides to learn more about its exciting history.

The Knott House Museum is located along East Park Avenue.

Geek Out at Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science

Situated on Museum Road, Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science is a 52-acre lakeside science center dedicated to the environment.

It features period exhibits, nature trails, zipline tours, wildlife, plant life, and more.

The museum aims to educate and create awareness about the significance of the local area’s environment and natural history.

You will also spot several animals here, including bobcats, bears, deers, Florida Panthers, red wolves, and more.

When visiting Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science, you can also check out the exhibit on Big Ben Farm to see how farming was done in the 1800s.

Take a Self-Guided Tour of Mission San Luis de Apalachee

Exterior of a building at Mission San Luis de Apalachee

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mission San Luis de Apalachee is a Spanish Franciscan mission that was built in 1633.

It was declared a historic landmark in 1960, showcasing how life used to be in the 17th century.

A wooden door at Mission San Luis de Apalachee

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can explore the church, residential area, tribal council house, and more to see how Apalachee Indians and Spanish settlers used to live on this shared land.

In addition, you can take self-guided tours of the mission and see all the artifacts excavated in the 1980s.

Mission San Luis de Apalachee is situated on West Tennessee Street.

Enjoy Tranquil Views of Lake Ella at Fred Drake Park

Daytime view of Lake Ella and Fred Drake Park

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Located in north-central Tallahassee, Lake Ella is a charming 12-acre lake in the middle of Fred Drake Park.

Fred Drake Park is a beautiful green space with walking trails, fountains, greenery, and more.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy a charming picnic in the shaded picnic area with a picturesque view of the lake and the ducks.

You can also witness plenty of wildlife while walking or biking along the trails.

Find this Tallahassee attraction along Lake Ella Road.

Admire the Vintage Cars on Display at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum

Exterior of Tallahassee Automobile Museum

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along Mahan Drive, the Tallahassee Automobile Museum boasts one of the United States’ most extensive vintage car collections.

The vast museum covers an area of almost 100,000 square feet.

Various patrons donated all the automobiles you’ll see on display.

Land of liberty vehicle on the grounds of Tallahassee Automobile Museum

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum aims to commemorate the automobile industry and the history of the United States of America.

You can check out more than 140 automobiles on display at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.

Explore the Scenic Trails at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Scenic view of Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Joanne Dale /

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is a botanical garden and historic site on Thomasville Road.

This gorgeous attraction spans over 1,100 acres of land.

It consists of various parks and historic buildings dating back to the 1800s.

Exterior of a cottage in Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Joanne Dale /

The flora here includes several stunning plants, flowers, and trees such as camellias, azaleas, dogwoods, Japanese maples, and more.

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park has several nature and multi-use trails that visitors can explore on foot or on their bikes.

View of a lake from Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Joseph Thomas Photography /

Have a Picnic at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park

Daytime view of The Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park

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Situated on the southern shoreline of Lake Jackson, Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park is a place of great archaeological importance.

The mounds here date from 1050 to 1500 AD and are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Along with the mounds, the park also has walking trails where you can walk, bike, or hike.

Wooden steps at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park

Ken Schulze /

Visitors can also enjoy activities like birdwatching and wildlife viewing.

Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park has dedicated picnic areas, along with a pavilion that guests can reserve for events or use on a first-come, first-served basis.

Picnic tables at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Try the Space Station Simulator at the Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee

Exterior of Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee

Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking for an all-in-one attraction suitable for the whole family?

Both educational and entertaining, Florida A&M University’s Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee is a science center, planetarium, and an IMAX movie theater.

This science facility boasts exciting features that include a dome theater, space mission simulator, exhibits, galleries, and more.

After checking out the exhibits and displays, you can watch a 3D movie in the IMAX theater.

The Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee is located on South Duval Street.

Tour the Beautiful Goodwood Museum and Gardens

Goodwood Museum and Gardens consists of a plantation built in the 1800s and lovely gardens with lush foliage, including sprawling lawns and majestic oaks.

This attraction on Miccosukee Road also boasts a main house, guest house, several cottages, a skating rink, a cafe, an aviary, and a greenhouse.

The plantation house is made in the antebellum style, and you can see vintage furniture, period porcelain, glasswork, and antique artwork there.

Touring the entire Goodwood Museum and Gardens will take about an hour and a half.

Visitors can also attend on-site events like wine tastings, yoga classes, and gardening sessions.

Spot Wildlife at Lake Talquin State Forest

The waters of Lake Talquin State Forest

gadzius /

Located in the west of Tallahassee, Lake Talquin State Forest is a state park that stretches over 17,000 acres.

It is an excellent place for birdwatching and spotting various wildlife animals.

Creatures like bobcats, coyotes, turkeys, white-tailed deer, and fox squirrels call this forest home.

Welcome sign of Lake Talquin State Forest

The Bushranger, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also find pleasure in horseback riding, hiking, and biking.

At Lake Talquin State Forest, you can even camp in the forest’s primitive campsites and enjoy the serene environment.

Dirt road at Lake Talquin State Forest

Rafal Michal Gadomski /

Enjoy the Sights along the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

Signage of Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

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Stretching from Tallahassee’s former railway line to the neighboring city of St. Marks, the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail is Florida’s oldest state rail-trail.

The historic railroad first opened in 1836 and operated for 146 years.

Today, it functions the 16-mile-long paved trail allows visitors to walk, run, bike, or skate while appreciating Florida’s stunning scenery.

Paved trail of Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You will also spot picturesque places along the way, such as the gorgeous Felburn Foundation Boundless Playground.

The Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail is wheelchair-accessible, pet-friendly, and boasts several facilities like a picnic pavilion, a playground, and an equestrian trail.

Visit the Famous Florida State University Campus

A beautiful fountain at Florida State University

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Tallahassee is the home to the famous Florida State University, a public research university.

The university was founded in 1851 and is one of Florida’s oldest higher education sites.

It has also been named one of the state’s preeminent universities and among the US’ most respected research institutions.

Students walking along Florida State University Campus

Bryan Pollard /

You can walk through the university’s beautiful campus with moss-covered oaks, massive lawns, monumental fountains, and gardens home to beautiful plant life, including camellias, azaleas, and more.

Florida State University is located along West College Avenue.

A stadium in Florida State University Campus

Nagel Photography /

Get Inspired by the Colorful Railroad Square Art District

Exterior of shops at Railroad Square Art District

Felix Mizioznikov /

Located in the heart of the city, Railroad Square Art District is Tallahassee’s arts, culture, and entertainment hub.

Before becoming the art district it is today, this 10-acre space served as an industrial park during the World War II era.

Storefront at Railroad Square Art District

Felix Mizioznikov /

It is a haven for creativity and comprises several galleries, studios, and small shops, including cafes, restaurants, breweries, pinball arcades, and more.

You’ll spot a lot of murals around the square, perfect for shooting Instagram-worthy photos.

Make sure to visit the Black Dog Cafe, famous for its charming environment and delicious sweets, when visiting Railroad Square Art District.

Exterior of a gallery at Railroad Square Art District

Felix Mizioznikov /

Walk around the Florida State Capitol

New Capitol Building

Emma_Griffiths /

The New Capitol Building or Florida State Capitol was first built in 1845 and restored to its 1902 version in 1982.

The building’s neoclassical architecture is remarkable, with an ornate grill, a white-columned box, and more.

Welcome sign of Florida State Capitol

JHVEPhoto /

You can take a self-guided tour of the facility and see the art displays, legislative chambers, and gift shop.

Don’t forget to make your way to the top to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

The Florida State Capitol is located on South Monroe Street.

Daytime view of Florida State Capitol

Nagel Photography /

Stroll through the Lovely Dorothy B. Oven Park

Dorothy B. Oven Park is a charming six-acre park.

It features a stunning manor house with lovely vintage furniture and beautifully landscaped gardens.

In addition, the park is home to a wide variety of gorgeous flora, including camellias, palms, azaleas, and more.

Dorothy B. Oven Park also has beautiful trails and boardwalks in the garden from where you can cherish the beauty of this lush green space.

You can find this attraction on Thomasville Road.

Go Mountain Biking along the Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway

The Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway spans 503 acres of forest and greenery.

It also comprises 17 miles’ worth of trails for the public to enjoy.

The trails are hilly and beautifully wooded and can be used for hiking, biking, or horseback riding.

You can hear birds chirping and see their little nests all over the trails.

You can enjoy a lovely picnic at the Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway while appreciating the incredible views.

Step Back in Time at the Museum of Florida History

Exterior of the Museum of Florida History

gadzius /

Situated along South Bronough Street, the Museum of Florida History preserves and showcases Florida’s history through displays, artifacts, and much more.

Learn about the state’s history through various shows and exhibits, including grandma’s attic, walkthrough riverboat, southern farm life displays, and more.

You can also see authentic dinosaur bones along with regional art here.

Visit the museum to witness Florida’s fascinating history enjoyably and excitingly.

The Museum of Florida History is open for group tours and self-guided tours.

Order a Pint at Proof Brewing Company

Proof Brewing Company is an award-winning brewery that Byron and Angela Burroughs opened in 2012.

The brewery produces innovative beers with bold flavors with traditional artisanal methods.

In addition, they serve delicious grub that goes perfectly with their beer.

Don’t forget to try the Lala Land (a bold beer with piney hop and citrus character), Mind Your Tongue (a rich malty beer), and Mango Wit (beer with generous flavors of mango) when you visit the brewery.

Find Proof Brewing Company on South Monroe Street.

Sample the Craft Beers at Ology Brewing

Ology Brewing is a paradise for beer lovers located on East 6th Avenue.

This famous brewery produces and serves terrific craft beer.

Make sure to taste their hazy IPAs, stouts, and porters.

Grab a Bite at Kool Beanz Cafe

Kool Beanz Cafe is a popular nook in Tallahassee that serves delicious American food in a laid-back and eclectic setting.

The food served is delicious and inexpensive.

Make sure to order the seafood linguini, pecan-encrusted trout, and braised duck breast when you visit this charming eatery.

Kool Beanz Cafe is located on Thomasville Road.

Try the Mouth-Watering Cuisine at Backwoods Crossing

Backwoods Crossing is a contemporary restaurant that serves conventional American food made with fresh local ingredients.

It also offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options to cater to every customer.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is excellent, with pleasant decor and live music.

Backwoods Crossing’s most famous dishes are vegetarian chili, crab cakes, blue crab corn bisque, and grilled pork steak.

You can find this restaurant along Mahan Drive.

Book a Stay at Hotel Indigo

Located in the heart of Tallahassee on Gaines Street, Hotel Indigo is a seven-story hotel.

It is situated in a fantastic location and is surrounded by several breweries, cafes, and restaurants.

The hotel also provides various amenities such as a gym, business center, special diet menus, and more to make your stay as comfortable and worthwhile as possible.

The rooms are spotless and are tidied by the staff every day.

The service is also excellent, with friendly and helpful staff.

So make sure to stay at the Hotel Indigo when you come to Tallahassee.

Learn American History at the Grove Museum

Come to the Grove Museum to learn more about one of the most important times in American history.

Also known as the Call-Collins House, this site was constructed by enslaved African Americans.

The house, its surrounding land, and its historical treasures are preserved and interpreted by the Grove Museum in an attempt to engage the public in a conversation regarding civil rights and American history.

Viewers can wander the grounds and take in the variety of plants and fauna after visiting the nationally recognized historic residence.

The Grove Museum is located along North Monroe Street.

Feel the Ambiance at Bradfordville Blues Club

In a remote area of Tallahassee, you’ll find a one-room cinder brick structure surrounded by cornfields and old oak trees covered in Spanish moss.

Leading blues performers appear at the Bradfordville Blues Club on Moses Lane.

It’s a terrific location to check out if you’re seeking romantic date night suggestions, as a welcoming bonfire burns underneath the oak trees outside the club.

Guests take pleasure in the warm ambiance the campfire creates while waiting for acts to begin.

Head to Bradfordville Blues Club for a night of good music.

Watch the Sunset at Cascades Park

Sunset over Cascades Park

Felix Mizioznikov /

Cascades Park, which covers an area of around 9.71 hectares, is a fantastic spot to have a day of adventure or a tranquil day wandering in nature.

Along with many walking trails, the park’s facilities include the Capital City Amphitheater, which most often presents regional and local performances.

The grounds of Cascades Park

Serenethos /

The park comprises a playscape, a playground with more than 70 water jets, and The Parkview, a charming event venue.

A Memorial of the Smokey Hollow and Korean War, the Prime Meridian Marker, and other historical sites also provide tourists with an insight into Tallahassee.

Visitors are welcome to bring their pets to Cascades Park as long as they are kept on their leashes.

Aerial view of Cascades Park

Felix Mizioznikov /

Enjoy a Friendly Game of Golf at Southwood Golf Club

Southwood Golf Club, one of Florida’s top golf courses, is situated on Grove Park Drive.

The St. Joe Company built the course, which was designed by Fred Couples and Gene Bates.

This public golf course is situated in pastureland with undulating hills and Spanish moss-covered oak trees.

The beautifully renovated SouthWood House, built-in 1865, is surrounded by blossoming trees and oaks.

It is available for hire for weddings, business events, and seasonal gatherings.

Unwind with Friends at Bada Bean

Are you looking to find a coffee shop after a leisurely afternoon walk with friends?

The Bada Bean is a laid-back coffee business that offers nutritious alternatives and provides traditional breakfast foods and sandwiches.

On October 1st, 2007, Wendy Neubauer purchased a little coffee business called The Bada Bean and started the process of transforming it into her own.

The Bada Bean aims to deliver delicious food that is as fresh as possible and is prepared in a decent, homey manner.

Find this charming cafe along Apalachee Parkway.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Make Your Way to the Historic St. Marks Lighthouse

Daytime view of St. Marks Lighthouse

Steven Frame /

Situated within the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, St. Marks Lighthouse is Florida’s second-oldest lighthouse.

It was built in 1831 and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Small window of St. Marks Lighthouse

Ken Schulze /

The lighthouse is known for surviving several hurricanes, wars, and erosions.

Make sure to carry binoculars to see this attraction.

St. Marks Lighthouse is about 45 minutes away from Tallahassee.

The top of St. Marks Lighthouse

Terry Kelly /

Observe Animals in Their Natural Habitat at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

The waters of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Chongbum Thomas Park /

Established in 1931, the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the United States.

It covers about 68,000 acres and consists of estuaries, creeks, inlets, and marshlands.

A beautiful butterfly in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Denis Blofield /

The refuge is rich in flora and fauna.

You can enjoy fishing and spot various wildlife, including black bears, coyotes, bobcats, and more.

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge has nature trails where you can enjoy biking or hiking.

Trail lined with plants in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Ken Schulze /

Final Thoughts

Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee, is bustling with vacationers looking to explore historical and natural sights.

Apart from museums and nature parks, the city boasts fantastic places like a bustling arts district, a famous university, and stunning botanical gardens.

This list of the best things to do in Tallahassee, Florida will leave you and your travel companions with fantastic memories, ranging from scenic hikes to fascinating museum tours and everything in between.

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