I love living in Florida. What’s not to love about the Sunshine State? Great weather, beautiful beaches, world-class attractions, and the most visited vacation spot in the world.
But Florida also has some lesser visited areas that are full of excitement, entertainment, and great fun. This is what I found on my travels to Tallahassee, or Tally, our state’s often overlooked capital city.
Tallahassee is a force to be reckoned with; hardly a place to just pass by on the interstate. Our travel itinerary recommendations are bound to please and surprise. Introducing, unique things to do in Tallahassee, Florida.
Historic Walks and Wilderness
The Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is a great place for a scenic walk. This 1184 acre state park, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1994, features spectacular scenery and grounds.
Nestled in the rolling hill of gardens is the lovely historic Maclay House, a New York financier’s Southern retreat. Tours run from January to April. Perhaps even more impressive than the home and retro furnishings are the little nooks and crannies on the property that offer a spot for relaxing and meditating. Don’t miss the fountains and reflecting pool that overlooks the lake in the distance. It is gorgeous!
Besides touring the Maclay House, what can you do at Maclay Gardens State Park? The usual—picnic, swim, fish, kayak, hike, bike, or take a boat ride. There is also a covered patio area with rocking chairs for gazing at the lake or wildlife.
Florida’s Most Unique Museum
A collection of all things related to the Sunshine State are on display at the Museum of Florida History. It showcases Florida’s first people, depicts the states’ part in the Civil War, educates about the Citrus Packing industry, and offers World War II exhibits and other interesting temporary exhibits.
Room after room with careful thought and meticulous detail will educate and entertain you for hours on end. Exhibits featuring early tools, hand-carved canoes, pottery recovered from AD 1350-1500, and battle flags are some of the artifacts on display. Don’t miss the giant Mastodon and the cool Tin Can Tourist camps exhibit. The classic cars were not too shabby either.
Pop culture specialties of Florida include such items as Lilly Pulitzer clothing and vintage Disney collectibles. Last but not least, the Museum of Florida History has a fantastic display of the Florida Highwaymen pictures.
An Artful Project and Center
A lovely house in downtown Tallahassee is home to the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts. Artworks consist, but are not limited to, hand-painted silks, 3D arts, pottery, jewelry, ornaments, paintings, toys, glassware, and gorgeous intricately painted furniture. This established fine art gallery is also a place for art education activities. Year-round art classes are offered onsite in the back of the property.
Stroll through the lush sculpture garden outside of LeMoyne or enjoy a glass of wine in the seating arrangements. While I often find art galleries of this nature to be snooty, the staff at LeMoyne treated us and all other visitors like family. What a lovely place to visit!
Stay in a Shabby Chic One-of-a-Kind Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Tallahassee is the most centralized and desirable hotel in downtown Tally. This is not the typical DoubleTree hotel, as the decor is unique and definitely one you will want to see for yourself. The hotel is done in weathered textures, mostly white and gold lamé, and has brightly colored accent pieces.
Dazzling ornate crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings, even in the outdoor valet parking area. Rooms are done in black/gray/white tones with pearlized leather headboards and playfully patterned chairs. I’m not going to lie, I loved it! The DoubleTree is also within walking distance of the Florida State Capitol and downtown areas.
The College Town’s Hot Brewery
Proof Brewery is obviously Tally’s favorite brewery and taproom, judging by the mass amounts of people who flock to hang out there. I get it! Proof Brewery is welcoming and has a stellar outdoor setting with plenty of seating groups, covered areas, table tennis, corn hole, and vibrant colored walls. Some of the most popular beer choices from Proof are La La Land IPA, Mango Wit, and Half Sister. They are known for a bold, big beer taste and range from pale ales to stouts and lagers.
Grab a bite from the small, but mighty menu (Mobi food truck) as you enjoy your cold brew or cider beverage. Bring your leashed pets.
Tallahassee’s Yummy Dining Options
Having gotten off of the interstate exit to cruise through Krispy Kreme Donuts one, two, or twenty times, I was excited to see that Tally is also a foodie city, offering more than donuts.
At Uptown Cafe and Catering, have a fluffy omelet or Banana Nut French Toast to start your day off right. Lunch does not get any better than the no-frills Shell Oyster Bar, where $10 will get you a tasty grilled shrimp platter with two side items.
For dinner, you’ll love Food, Glorious Food, a Southern-inspired restaurant with high-quality menu items that look as good as they taste. You can’t go wrong with Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp Salad or the Grilled Petite Filet with blue cheese ale.
Lastly, any time of day, The Edison gets high marks for Southern-inspired comfort food favorites like Chicken ‘n Waffles. Brunch is spectacular.
A Museum Worthy of High Marks
Perhaps the biggest shock of my Tallahassee visit came at the Tallahassee Museum. This is certainly not a typical museum by any means, but more of an outdoor attraction with dozens of fun things to see and do. Did I mention that it has animals? Lots of them and the way the land is organized, it feels like the visitors are in the cage as you walk along fenced pathways to see the exotic panthers, bears, and bald eagles.
The Tallahassee Museum has colorful dinosaurs on display made of salvaged auto parts. Artist Jim Gary’s creations blend in well with the landscape and add a level of playfulness to the museum.
Living history takes place at four main structures on the grounds on weekends. The Bald Cypress Trees were my favorite. I felt as if I were in a famous portrait.
Tallahassee Segway Tours Will Move You
I cannot think of a better way to cover a lot of ground in a short time than from a Segway, your own personal transporter. Operating a Segway is super easy to learn and the tour operators train you thoroughly before heading out. Tallahassee Segway does a fantastic job of easing people into being comfortable and enjoying the ride.
Tours provide a nine-mile, two-hour trip exploring the urban areas, Cascades Park, and a fun ride through Florida State University’s campus, the best way to see a college campus. We stopped for several photo-ops and the time flew by. I cannot stress how much fun this outing was and will be adding Segway tours to my itinerary as often as possible. Tim, Tallahassee Segway Tours owner, is the perfect host.
National Historic Landmark, but of Course
The Mission San Luis is a National Historic Landmark, aka Spanish Franciscan mission built in 1633. It is the only reconstructed mission in the entire state of Florida, bringing the 17th century to life through living history village interpreters and archaeological demonstrations. Special exhibits are offered throughout the year.
During my visit, I was privy to see a celebration and meet the famous leaders of two well-respected tribes. Step into a life steeped in history as represented by soldiers at the fort, a friar at the church, and cooking skills demonstrated by the tribesmen and women. Don’t miss visiting the Apalachee home structures and the old church. This is definitely something uniquely Tallahassee, Florida.
A Destination Well Worth Checking Out
Tallahassee was a pleasant place to visit with bountiful educational offerings and enjoyable cultural finds. There are plenty of uniquely Tallahassee, Florida offerings throughout. Does this sound like a city you would enjoy getting to know?
Thanks to Visit Tallahassee and Visit Florida for hosting my travels. As with all of my posts, the information above is 100% mine and unbiased.
More Tallahassee Photos
Thanks to the Tallahassee CVB for hosting my trip. As with all of my posts, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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