A Look at the Hill: Past and Present

By Visit Tallahassee

Homecoming for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) alumni is the time of the year to connect with old friends and create new memories at their alma mater. While this year’s Homecoming went virtual to keep students and alumni safe, lovers of FAMU still got a taste of Homecoming through the online events hosted by the University, and BET’s 2020 HBCU Homecoming: Meet Me on The Yard. Still, there’s nothing like returning to campus to capture the unity, pride, and culture only FAMU knows how to put on display. While much has changed in recent years, there are plenty of places on and around campus guaranteed to take you down memory lane.

Visitors can also expect a variety of recently opened attractions and restaurants to make new memories with family and friends. For all those Rattlers that just can’t stay away, here are just a few of the things you can look forward to, both old and new­, on your next trip back to the Hill.

Local Food

Supporting local black-owned businesses has never been easier, and Tallahassee has no shortage of delicious restaurants to support. Rattlers everywhere know that the best place to get a plate of soul food is none other than Olean’s. Olean’s Café has been serving up southern cooking to Rattlers of all ages since they moved to the current location by campus in 1997. Their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are sure to bring back memories for lovers of Southern comfort food.

New to Tallahassee’s lemonade business is Agapé’s Lemonade Company. Created by FAMU graduates Jontae and Vermetra Jackson in 2019, the roadside lemonade company provides healthy yet flavorful lemonade options throughout Tallahassee each week. The family named the company after their son Agapé, who has autism, as a way to empower him. This business gives him and the community something to be proud of, all while embracing what they call “Awe-tism.”

FAMU’s Campus

Rattlers everywhere know that FAMU has one of the best-looking campuses in America. So much so, it was recently named one of the Top 25 Most Beautiful Campuses. Be sure to capture the beauty of campus with FAMU’s campus as the backdrop. Fixtures like the Eternal Flame at the heart of campus continue to be the perfect spot to reflect on the history of the University. A walk through campus will reveal new murals and artwork paying homage to the Divine 9 organizations and Rattlers that made FAMU great.

The latest and greatest addition to campus is a nearly 42-foot long bronze Rattler statue. Proudly ready to strike in front of the new Center for Access and Student Success Building on Wahnish Way, the 1,500-pound rattlesnake won’t be officially open to the public until the ribbon cutting in January 2021. Once open, this will surely become the most Instagrammable spot on campus to show your Rattler pride! Whether you’re a future Rattler or alumni, share your photos online using the #iHeartTally.

Black History and Culture

As the nation’s top public HBCU, FAMU carries a rich black history that students and alumni both can enjoy while on campus. The Meek-Eaton Black Archives first opened to the public in 1976, and the Carnegie Library building where its located has been on campus since 1908. The living testament to history has been a key part of the remembrance and retelling of history for FAMU students and the greater Tallahassee community. That history continues to be told, and one of the safest ways to explore that while in town is through the Soul Voices of Frenchtown Historic Trail Markers.

Presented by the John G. Riley House & Museum, the outdoor trail guides visitors through the historic Frenchtown neighborhood with the voices of its residents. Select markers have pre-recorded audio to bring to life the businesses, culture, and moments that defined life in Tallahassee. Just this November, four additional markers were added to highlight the festivals, commerce, and impact of the historic Old Lincoln High School in Greater Frenchtown. These additional markers shed new light on the cultural and educational significance of the community. Many notable FAMU graduates called Frenchtown home, and their legacy is remembered with this walk through time. You can find the full map here.

John Riley Museum


Florida’s bars and nightclubs have been given the green light to safely reopen, and Tallahassee nightlife is active once again. For Rattlers returning to Tallahassee, that means the chance to spend a night at the popular Top Flite nightclub and bar. Just down the street from FAMU’s campus, Top Flite is a top destination for students past and present. With themed Southern Soul Fridays and Karaoke nights, Top Flite is the perfect place to enjoy a night on the town. Some things never change, including a fun night at the Flite.

If you’re a FAMU alumni looking to return to the Hill, Tallahassee is waiting with all the attractions you love, and the unexpected adventures waiting to be explored.


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