Travel to Tallahassee for southern sophistication

Tallahassee, the name might evoke visions of football tailgating, college touring, or Florida state politics. Yes, FSU and FAMU bring students and their families to the state capital, but Tallahassee is much more than these parts.

Plan a visit to this landlocked city and you’ll find a dose of southern sophistication in its bustling city life, lush parks and thriving arts district.

Cascades Park Tallahassee, Florida (Photo via Susan Young)

Accommodation

Located in the center of town, the newly built AC Hotel, by Marriott, overlooks historic Tallahassee Cascades Park. Florida home Principal meridian marker, this space is referred to as the place where the beginnings of city and state were discussed and centered.

You will find jogging tracks, an outdoor concert hall and a paddling pool for children. The hotel has a rooftop bar and an observation deck with stunning views.

The Edison Restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida
The Edison Restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida (Photo via Susan Young)

To eat

The hotel also gives The Edison restaurant, housed in a power station from the 1920s. The menu offers regional dishes, prepared with basic ingredients. Despite its varied menu, it’s also a great place for a burger and a beer, inside or outside on the porch. The building also houses the Power Plant Café downstairs for breakfast and lunch.

More dining choices throughout town include Madison Social, located in CollegeTown, across from FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium; Dao, Asian Japanese fusion cuisine in the family neighborhood of Bradfordville; Jeri city center cafe a cozy, patio garden known for “love on a plate”; Il Lusso, the trendy place to see and be seen, just steps from the Capitol; and Table 23, a south porch under mossy oak trees, a great place for brunch.

Night life

If you fancy a cocktail and a bite to eat before dinner or after a delicious dessert, Charlie Park is the place to go. Located on the roof of the AC Hotel, this stylish bar offers sharing platters of bites freshly prepared by talented chefs. Instagrammable drinks are creatively concocted with fresh ingredients and quality liquors. Another late night stop around the corner sit Eve and Adams, on the 17th floor of Doubletree by HIlton. Here you’ll find spectacular views of the city and beyond, plus live music to add to the mix of drinks and glitter.

Bradfordville Blues Club in Tallahassee, Florida
Bradfordville Blues Club in Tallahassee, Florida (Photo via Susan Young)

Don’t let dirt roads keep you from falling into the Bradfordville Blues Club, a remnant of the “chitlin circuit” of southern blues halls. Under the stars, this joint juke is the real deal for blues and rock ‘n roll. The BBC, as locals call it, is a cinder-block, one-room historic venue that welcomes a diverse group of groups and audiences. Out back, a bonfire rages on as catfish and hushpuppies are cooked to perfection, accompanied by a local beer. This hidden gem is a back in time experience not to be missed.

Museums

the Tallahassee Museum offers hours of outdoor exploration and fun. Something for all ages, including the Tree-to-Tree Zipline. If you want a quieter experience, take a stroll through the gardens, living exhibits, and animal sanctuaries. Whichever you choose, you will have a learning experience while enjoying the fresh air and the beauty of nature.

Tallahassee Historical Museum and Capital Building
Tallahassee Historical Museum and Capital Building (Photo via Susan Young)

the Historic Florida Capitol Museum is housed in the original Capitol building, built in 1902. A new structure was built in the late 1970s with a planned demolition of the original. However, the local citizens gave up on this idea and managed to save it. The old architecture remains with the new tower rising next to it. This is an informative stop for those interested in the history and politics of the state.

Railroad Square Craft House in Tallahassee, FL
Railroad Square Craft House in Tallahassee, Florida (Photo via Susan Young)

Outdoor activities and shopping

the Crafts house on the railway square sits in the center of Tallahassee’s arts and creation district. Surrounded by more than 70 trendy boutiques and galleries, this space is home to festivals, shows and art classes. You will find creative artists eager to teach their techniques such as Quia Z. Atkinson, whose fluid resin painting encompasses free forms, abstract creations.

Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee, Florida
Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee, Florida (Photo via Susan Young)

For a dose of floral architecture and secret gardens, discover the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. With over 1,000 acres, the gardens surround Hall Lake, offering canoeing, hiking, biking and even a horse trail. It’s a magical place with quaint brick walkways showcasing Florida’s lush flora.

Tallahassee is also home to a plethora of eco-adventures, including biking, hiking, and paddling trails. So much so that the neighborhood was nicknamed “Trailahassee.“If you like cycling, check out the Munson Hills Mountain Bike Trail with a guided hike for the beginner to expert rider. Over 700 miles of trails ensure that you will find your search for adventure.

Want to shop? Go to Market Street for Home and soul. The shop is divided into distinct “rooms” typical of a house … living room, dining room, cupboards for women and men. The feeling is one of relaxation and comfort. There is so much to look at that you may have to wade through this aesthetic space twice.

Proof Brewing Co. in Tallahassee, Florida
Proof Brewing Co. in Tallahassee, Florida (Photo via Susan Young)

After exploring the city, relax and unwind at a local brewery. The first and largest independently produced brewery in the city, Proof Brewing Company, houses an urban tasting room and a family-friendly beer garden. In addition to several varieties of beers, Proof has just launched its own refreshing drink CBD spritzer.

Whether you’re traveling to please your foodie, find your zen, dance the night away, or take a nature walk, you’ll find it in Tallahassee … a charming and trendy Southern destination for all ages.

Corina C. Butler

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