When it comes to travel destinations across the vibrant state of Florida, Tallahassee often takes a backseat to its more renowned counterparts like Miami, Tampa, and Orlando. Yet, the capital city has a unique charm, a plethora of exciting activities, foodie delights, and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.
You may have found yourself in Tallahassee because your recent high school graduates are checking out Florida State University (Go Noles) or FAMU. Or, if you’re in law, government, or policy – you may have needed to make the trip to the state capital. However you made it here, don’t leave without experiencing all the city has to offer.
Tallahassee doesn’t make a big deal about itself because it doesn’t have to. It’s got the confidence of a city steeped in history and evolving with grace – preserving its history with charm and elegance yet remaining effortlessly au courant. It’s cool without being contrived, laid-back and gets better the more you explore.
To help you prepare, we’ve rounded up some of our top picks to help you fill up your schedule, your belly, and your photo album during your time in Tallahassee.
Where to stay
This brand-new hotel provides sleek modern digs for any traveler. Crisp, clean and surrounded by the beautiful and picturesque Cascades Park, you’re minutes away from FSU, the Florida Supreme Court, and the airport.
Walk or bike to the Railroad Arts District and around Cascades Park in your spare time and don’t skip out on happy hour at the rooftop bar, Charlie Park, on the eighth floor. Airy, bright, and tropical, this well-appointed space is a lively spot for mixologist-crafted cocktails and small plates. Mimi’s lemon bar-tini is made with locally-distilled Ology Vodka and tastes like a lemon bar in a glass.
Where to Dine
In downtown Tallahassee, there’s no better spot for prime steak, seafood, handmade pasta and an impressive wine selection. There’s a big city feel to this elegant eatery. You’ll see many business suits and briefcases, as it’s a hotspot for folks working at and visiting the legislative offices next door. But make no mistake, the food is anything but stuffy. Cocktails lovingly garnished with edible flowers, flavorful starters, and decadent desserts (go for the baked Alaska) are all wise selections.
The Huntsman is one of Tallahasee’s best, dare I say, one of Florida’s best new dining concepts. The focus is wild game, field and stream to table, vegan and vegetarian fare. From the foie gras torchon to the wild game lasagna, the menu is divine in composition and in the chef’s execution. The elk tenderloin is worth trying, and the eponymous drink, The Huntsman, is an old-fashioned style libation fit for a huntsman indeed. If you can gather a group for the daily 5-course hunter or gatherer tasting menus with beverage pairing options, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Another excellent concept from Seven Hills Hospitality Group, Black Radish presents vegetable-forward dishes, focusing on hyper-seasonal shareable plates. Don’t worry omnivores-seafood and meats are on the menu as well. Industry veteran, chef and owner Matthew Swezey doesn’t miss a beat in the kitchen. The menu is small, approachable, and reasonably priced. Plates are paired with fun cocktails and natural wines. Not to be missed are the menu staple bubble potatoes, but if there was ever a place to try one of everything on the menu, it’s here.
What to Visit
Bradley’s Country Store
Stepping foot into Bradley’s Country Store is akin to stepping back in time, where the world moves at a slower pace, and life’s simplest pleasures take center stage. This family-owned store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has operated at the same location since 1927. It’s famous for homemade sausage (don’t leave without trying some) and country-milled grits, both of which are still made on-site. You’ll be lucky if you catch third-generation owner Janet Bradley in-store. She’ll be happy to engage you on the best technique for cooking grits.
Urban farming is experiencing a renaissance across America, but Tallahassee is certifiably the O.G. of farming and farm-to-table experiences in Florida. Shaping the city’s foodie scene core is a thriving farming culture. Orchard Pond is a diverse, family-owned, organic farm located in the Red Hills Region of Tallahassee. Visit for farm tours led by a friendly and knowledgable staff, pick up locally-grown, organic, and sustainable produce, or just sit outside and enjoy a house-made charcuterie board with mimosas in a peaceful, idyllic environment. Just minutes outside of the city, it’s a charming retreat in the heart of nature. Before you leave, buy some granola and tupelo honey.
Where to Shop
Hearth & Soul
Hearth & Soul, located in the Market Street District, is a gorgeous thoughtfully-curated boutique catering to those seeking an elegant selection of home decor, gifts, and fashion. The store is simply a visual delight, with each room designed to invite a heart-warming soul-nourishing shopping experience. The owner, Susie Busch Transou, brings her exquisite taste and passion for design to Hearth & Soul and her collection of handpicked items from artisanal jewelry and designer clothing to luxurious furniture and decor pieces exude sophistication and style.
In the vibrant Midtown area, book lovers find solace at Midtown Reader, an independent bookstore owned by former political strategist turned bookstore owner, Sally Bradshaw. Sally’s passion for literature and community engagement shines through her establishment. She frequently hosts some of the world’s most popular bestselling authors, so check the calendar for upcoming events. Upstairs, enjoy some pie and a latte at The Piebrary. The dedicated staff are all avid readers, always ready to provide recommendations and engage in stimulating conversations about literature.
What to Drink
Proof Brewing Company
For those with a penchant for craft beer, Proof Brewing Company is Tallahasee’s first and best craft brewery. Husband and wife owners, Byron & Angela Burroughs, have created a mecca of exceptional brews and community conviviality. The brewers elevate beer to an art form with IPAs, lagers, sours, wheat beers and more on tap. We suggest allowing the Mango Wit to transport your palate to a tropical oasis. This award-winning wheat beer is harmonious marriage of crisp wheat, velvety smoothness and bursts of ripe mango. Amidst lively conversations in the spacious taproom, backyard games and the sounds of live music, Proof Brewing Company is a standout brewery and gathering place.
Located in the historic Walker Library, Bar 1903 transports you to the glamorous era of the early 20th century, right in the heart of downtown Tallahassee. Bar 1903 is an intimate haven in a beautiful and historic space, inviting guests to indulge in meticulously crafted libations that ignite the senses. The cocktail menu spans 160 years and includes a wide variety of spirits. Each era is a lesson in history and mixology. From The Volstead Act Era, when speakeasies became the atheneums of cocktail culture, The Boulevardier, made with Pinhook Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica Formula and Campari beckons to be savored slowly. The perfect stop for a nightcap.
Photography Courtesy: Visit Tallahassee
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