Best Things To Do in Tallahassee
This is a terrific city to just be – outside, preferably. Top sites like the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park (located about 16 miles south of the city) or the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park will give you a chance to experience the fresh air, Tallahassee style. Head indoors for a history lesson about the roadsters and vintage cars of the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Finally, plan to swing by the Museum of Florida History to learn all kinds of fun facts about the history, from the prehistoric era to recent history, of the Sunshine State.
Updated May 26, 2020
- #1View all Photos#1 in Tallahassee4.2 miles to city centerMuseums, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND4.2 miles to city centerMuseums, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Located about 6 miles southwest of downtown Tallahassee near Lake Bradford and Cascade Lake, the Tallahassee Museum is the perfect attraction for those looking to have some fun outdoors. Moved to its current location in the 1960s, the museum has evolved to include 52 acres of nature trails, living exhibits of flora and fauna, historical buildings, and a zip line and aerial adventure course.
Prior travelers said the outdoor adventure activities and rare wildlife living throughout the property more than justify the museum's admission price. However, even though the on-site parking lot does offer handicapped spots, the absence of paved pathways and accessible ramps makes the property difficult for visitors with mobility limitations to traverse.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Tallahassee0.1 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.1 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Tucked away inside Tallahassee's old capitol building, the Florida Historic Capitol Museum aims to educate locals and tourists alike about Florida's political history while preserving one of Tallahassee's most architecturally stunning structures. This grand building sits at the heart of the state capital and is less than 2 miles from Florida State University and Florida A&M University, making it an ideal stop after touring the nearby campuses or roaming around downtown.
Originally built in 1845, right before Florida's entry into the Union as the 27th state, the old capitol was expanded and restored throughout the years to accommodate more state lawmakers. However, once the new capitol opened in 1977, threats of demolition prompted Tallahassee residents to petition to save the historic building. Their efforts paid off, which resulted in the complete restoration of the property and reopening of it as a museum.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Tallahassee21.4 miles to city centerHiking, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND21.4 miles to city centerHiking, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Although Tallahassee sits more inland compared to other popular vacation destinations in Florida, this capital city has plenty of wildlife and scenic landscapes to offer visitors. Case in point: the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Located just 23 miles south of Tallahassee, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit for anyone looking to spot some indigenous animals.
Established in 1931 as a protected habitat for migratory birds, St. Marks Refuge now acts as the home for more than 250 species of birds, 52 species of mammals, 40 species of amphibians and 66 species of reptiles. Of these species, many are rare or endangered, including the whooping crane, the flatwoods salamander and the West Indian manatee. Visitors, therefore, have plenty to look for on this sprawling 80,000-acre wildlife sanctuary.
- #4View all Photos#4 in TallahasseeCafes, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDCafes, Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Located between Florida State University and Florida A&M University, Railroad Square Art District serves as an art and entertainment hub in downtown Tallahassee. The area's unique offerings include antique stores and art galleries sandwiched between eclectic businesses like a pinball arcade, an indoor rock climbing gym and a specialty kayak shop. Not to mentions numerous quirky options for food and drinks.
Past travelers suggest taking a few hours to stroll through the various shops, claiming that Railroad Square Art Park offers something for everyone, regardless of age or interests. Black Dog Cafe earns praise from many past visitors for its quaint atmosphere and tasty pastries and coffee. Many agree that the best time to visit this area is the first Friday of the month, when live music is performed and all of the galleries and shops are open.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Tallahassee7.8 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND7.8 miles to city centerMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
This museum, which is also known as the Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum, is a must for both car and antique enthusiasts. With a wide variety of collections, including cars, knives and cash registers, the museum is a hit with history buffs. Some of the unique cars found inside include the 1911 Ford Model T Torpedo Runabout, the 1962 Amphicar and the 1966 Cherry Twister Mustang. You'll also be able to view the hearse that is believed to have transported President Abraham Lincoln, the Penguin's Duck Vehicle (from the movie "Batman Returns") and a collection of Steinway pianos, including the famous White House gold piano.
The Tallahassee Automobile Museum sits about 8 miles northeast of downtown Tallahassee. The museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission costs vary depending on age but start at $8 and go as high as $17.50 per person. Students with school and college IDs receive a discounted rate of $11.75 per person. For more information, visit the museum's website.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Tallahassee14.5 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND14.5 miles to city centerParks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
The freshwater at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is so clear in some parts that you can see some 100 feet below you (hence, the site's glass-bottom boat tours). On dry land, you'll find that plenty of wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and American alligators call the park home. In a nutshell, there's plenty to see, do and experience at this 6,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, as seen from three nature trails or while exploring the jungle-like waterways.
Past travelers recommended the boat tour but warned that it only runs periodically since proper weather and water conditions are required. Additionally, visitors said bathing suits and bug spray are a must when going to the park since ticks are common along the nature trails and the water is perfect for swimming despite its chilly, 70-degree temperature.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Tallahassee2.4 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND2.4 miles to city centerMonuments and Memorials, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, this reconstructed Spanish Franciscan mission gives travelers a peek into what life was like during the 17th century. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the site's 60 acres, exploring the tribal council house, church and residential areas of the Spanish settlers and Apalachee Indians that once shared land here while costumed interpreters share information and demonstrations. Visitors also have the opportunity to view the multitude of artifacts that were excavated from the site beginning in the 1980s. Recent travelers said visiting Mission San Luis de Apalachee feels like taking a step back in time. They also recommended visiting on a weekend so that you can opt for a ranger-led tour of the facilities since mission staff are especially knowledgeable and friendly.
For those looking to have a casual day out, the mission welcomes pets on leashes and has several picnic tables on the property for visitors to enjoy snacks and lunch. Monthly workshops (for a fee) are also available for those interested in learning more about traditional crafts and skills.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Tallahassee0.2 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND0.2 miles to city centerMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Some artifacts in the Museum of Florida History date as far back as 12,000 years ago, but others are more modern, such as the museum's various World War II memorabilia and the collections of flags, uniforms, coins and more.
Plan to budget plenty of time to wander around this downtown museum. Recent visitors recommended at least three hours to thoroughly enjoy each of the museum's three permanent exhibits and numerous additional traveling exhibits.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Tallahassee5.5 miles to city centerParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND5.5 miles to city centerParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Tallahassee is definitely a place to stop and smell the flowers. Previous travelers recommend Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. This ornamental garden is best knowns for its azaleas and camellias, but you'll also find magnolia, jasmine, gardenia and ginger in bloom. And they're all picturesquely ensconced among two nature trails, bike paths, a reflecting pool and several picnic pavilions.
Recent visitors said you'll want to linger for hours at the park to enjoy the scenery, bird-watch and relax inside of the lake's pavilion. Mountain biking, paddling, fishing and swimming are other top activities. However, there is one potential snag: There are two separate entry fees for this state park. One fee is for the actual park, while a separate fee is required to enter the gardens.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Tallahassee0.2 miles to city centerHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND0.2 miles to city centerHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The Knott House Museum has a historic distinction. On May 20, 1865, Brig. Gen. Edward McCook read the Emancipation Proclamation on the steps of this home (which served as the temporary headquarters of the Union Army). This day marked the newfound freedom of Florida Panhandle's slaves, an important day in state history. The home's ownership eventually passed from state physicians to Florida Supreme Court judges until it was acquired by its namesake, politician William Knott, and his wife, Luella, in 1928. During tours you'll see this Park Avenue property much as the Knotts left it and learn all about the home's significance in Florida Panhandle and Civil War history.
Recent visitors said that touring the museum during Emancipation Week in May is a must. During the reenactment, museum staff walk visitors through the events that took place during the famous Emancipation Proclamation reading. According to museum tour guides and some visitors, a ghost is also believed to inhabit the property, adding a unique twist to this Tallahassee institution.
Explore More of Tallahassee
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.