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Depending on where you’re from, Tallahassee can be seen as a small town or a big one. Growing up in South Florida, I came to Tallahassee for college and couldn’t wait to get out of here and move back home. I felt like there was nothing to ever do here; that it was small, too far from the beach (this is still true), and lackluster. Fast forward seven years and Tallahassee has managed to dig its roots into me and I have no plans of ever leaving.

For those who think there isn’t anything to do in town, you just haven’t gotten out and experienced all that Tallahassee has to offer. Yes, Tallahassee is a much smaller town than South Florida, and it is farther away from the beach, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do here. So for anyone searching for new experiences, I’ve listed events, places to go, and things to do below. *I’m positive I’m leaving some other great things off the list, so if you know of any the public should be aware of, please feel free to list them in the comments!

Let’s start with the outdoors.

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Carrabelle Beach. My personal favorite spot. One, it is a shorter drive (about 1 hour) than the drive to St. George Island (the peoples’ choice, 1 ½ – 2 hours), and two, there is a 98% chance of seeing dolphin. Seriously, almost every time I go I see dolphin. Maybe I’m just a dolphin whisperer – and in that case, feel free to tag along with me one day – but your chances are pretty good. You can also try your luck at Bald Point State Park, about an hour away. Farther beaches include: Cape San Blas (2-ish hours), Panama City Beach (2+ hours), or Destin-Fort Walton Beach (2 ½ hours).

The Tallahassee Museum. If you haven’t been yet, go! It’s part zoo and part zip lining. You come for the zip lining and stay for the adorable animals and dinosaur sculptures. $11.50 to get in or $28-45 (depending on the course you choose) for zip lining and entrance. Make a day trip out of it! **Bonus, they have albino squirrels running around here.

1,000 parks. Just kidding. But if you’re interested in hiking, trails, bike riding, or just walking around and being in awe of nature, here’s a list of beautiful parks to check out: J. R. Alford Greenway/Lafayette Heritage Trail Park (my favorite), Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park (a close second), Leon Sinks Geological Area, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (you also have beach access here!), Tom Brown Park, Wakulla Springs State Park (a bit of a drive, but worth it!), Dorothy B. Oven Park, San Luis Mission Park, Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, Cascades Park, and Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail (great for a bike ride and make sure to stop half-way for a bite at Riverside Café Inc).

Canoeing/Kayaking. Check out Wacissa River Canoe and Kayak Rentals or T-n-T Hide-A-Way. You can rent canoes and kayaks at both places for a reasonable price. Guaranteed to see turtles, alligators, birds, and sometimes manatees!

Florida Caverns State Park. A little over an hour’s drive away, but I highly suggest checking this place out. The caves are beautiful, but they also have a great hiking/bike trail and you can camp out there and spend the night if you’re into that kind of thing.

Seacrest Wolf Preserve Inc. An hour and a half outside of Tallahassee. $25/person. YOU GET TO INTERACT WITH WOLVES. No explanation necessary.

 

Now, if you’re not an outdoorsy person, that’s fine. There’s still a lot to do around town.

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Museums. If you haven’t checked out the Florida Historic Capitol Muesum yet, you should. It’s pretty cool and filled with Florida history. To sweeten the deal, walk over to the “new” Capitol building and head up to the 22nd Floor. From up here, you have a clear panoramic view of all of Tallahassee and the surrounding landscape.

The Tallahassee Antique Car Museum is another museum to check out. Truth: I’ve never been here. But it’s listed as the 7th best thing to do in Tallahassee on Trip Advisor so I did some research. Apparently it’s not just a car museum. They have antique cars, motorcycles, telephones, typewriters, trains, pianos, jewelry, trading cars, etc.

Other notable museums to explore: Black Archives Research Center and Museum, Museum of Florida History, and the John G. Riley House and Museum.

Art. Obviously the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts. The work that students are doing on campus is seriously amazing. Another wonderful art museum right downtown is the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts. Something all art lovers MUST check out is the annual Lemoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival. This event draws tens of thousands of people to Tallahassee to see 150+ artists and their work. There’s also a ton of food trucks and live music if art doesn’t get you going. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention First Fridays at Railroad Square Art Park. Wander through the galleries and shops, grab a bite to eat, listen to music, and watch the performers do their thing.

Music. Like I mentioned, there is usually live music at First Friday in Railroad Square Art Park. There is also live music frequently at Fifth and Thomas in Midtown. My personal favorite place to listen to music though is Bradfordville Blues Club. It is a bit of a drive, but it’s a really cool little place showcasing talented musicians and artists. Catching other live bands in town is going to require some research, but if you check out http://www.tallahasseearts.org/categories/music/, you’ll be able to see who’s playing where and on what days.

Events. Believe it or not, something is always going on in this town. Whether it be a 5k, a Farmers Market, or theater production, Tallahassee is full of ongoing and annual events. A list of my favorite events that you can check out every year: ArtiGras in February, the Tallahassee Jewish Food & Culture Festival in April, the Latin Dance Festival in June, the Greek Food Festival in October, Brewfest in November, and Winter Festival in December. You can check out http://www.visittallahassee.com/events/ for even more events happening on a weekly or monthly basis that might meet your fancy. Additionally, the Civic Center is constantly hosting events ranging from comedy shows to music stars to monster trucks. Just make sure to snag tickets to your favorite event before they’re sold out!

Hopefully this has been helpful for those of you new to the area or those who have been here and haven’t gotten to explore yet! Tallahassee is a “happening” place a lot of the time. You just have to get out there under the canopy roads and discover it for yourself!

Article authored by Zoey Zeitlin, Advisor in FSU’s College of Social Work.