Tallahassee: A Cultural Canvas
Looking for a vacation spot with plenty of history and culture to explore? Tallahassee, Florida has it all! This city is home to a variety of museums, art galleries, and historical sites that are sure to keep you entertained for hours.
Tallahassee: Rich in History – Experience it For Yourself
The City of Tallahassee is Florida’s Capital City, but its history goes much further back than the state’s founding in 1845. As far back as 1500, the town was the capital of the Apalachee Native Americans.
The town was first visited by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto in 1539, who established a Spanish Franciscan mission there a century later.
Over the years, the town was influenced by Spanish settlers, Native Americans, and of course, our emerging American nation. The town later became a chief settlement in the new territory of Florida and was eventually declared the capital city.
There is so much to learn about Tallahassee’s rich history andvarious people that have called it home over the centuries.
The nearby Knott House Museum is a great place to explore, taking visitors on a journey of what Tallahassee life was like in the 1930s. The museum is currently closed for an extensive renovation, but when it reopens, it should definitely be on your history tour!
Close by, don’t miss the Florida Historic Capitol Museum. There’s a host of permanent and rotating exhibits to tell the story of Florida, one of our most historic states.
In Cascades Park, you’ll find the Smokey Hollow Commemoration. This was once the site of a thriving black community, with churches, stores, restaurants, and many people. Sadly, in the 1960s, the neighborhood was eliminated as part of an urban renewal plan. This historic site pays tribute to this bygone era.
Interesting Facts About Tallahassee’s Past You May Not Have Known Before
Did you know that Tallahassee is home to more than 70,000 college students? Many people know about the Florida State Seminoles and Florida A&M (the #1 public HBCU in the country), but not as many know about all the great things there are to do in the town that is home to these great schools.
In addition to all the great museums and historical activities listed here, there are several other things you might not know about this great city.
The Top of Florida
Not all of Florida is flat! Tallahassee has several hills and miles of rolling terrain. The highest peak is 200 feet above sea level. Not exactly the Rockies, but one of the highest points in Florida!
Capital of Convenience
Tallahassee was chosen as Florida’s capital based on its location. Before Florida had fully entered statehood, government business was conducted in alternating sessions between Pensacola and St. Augustine. While that’s a five-hour drive nowadays, back then it took about 20 days.
Tallahassee is the midpoint between those two cities, so legislators decided to make it the new capital – saving both time and lives from the dangers of excessive travel in the days of old.
The name “Tallahassee” means “Old Town” in the native language of the Apalachee’s.
The Curious Case of George Proctor
This fascinating and mysterious figure appears to have lived as a free, black man during the time of slavery. His father was a famous messenger and interpreter, and his son was instrumental in the world of Reconstructionist politics, but George himself left behind almost no documentation on his life whatsoever. Very little is known about him, but the little that has been discovered is quite intriguing indeed.
Parks, Nature, and Hiking
The residents and visitors to Tallahassee, Florida, love to get out and enjoy outdoor activities. There’s abundant park space here and miles of great hiking trails. Here are a few of the spots you are bound to love:
Fred Drake Park
Located on South Lake Ella Drive, this relaxing and tranquil spot is a great place to watch the birds and enjoy a peaceful moment next to Lake Ella. Oh, and bring your dog! Fred Drake is listed as one of the best dog-friendly parks in Tallahassee!
Lake Jackson Mounds
This state park is the state of an ancient native American temple mound. It’s located just north of the city. Here you can view these fascinating earthen temple mounds, as well as the remnants of a grist mill from the 1800s.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
This gorgeous state park is home to the Killearn plantation archeological and historic district. You’ll find acres of fascinating trees in the botanical garden, and 18 historic buildings in the historic district.
Capital Cascades Trail
This mostly flat trail winds its way through several different areas of the city and is perfect for riding a bike, running, or just going for a leisurely stroll.
Arts and Culture in Tallahassee
Tallahassee boasts a high number of art galleries for a relatively small city. The arts have been historically important here, thanks to the university and its great residents.
Check out some of the beautiful public art installations located throughout the town, as well as some of these great art museums:
Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts
Here you’ll find a rotating selection of great works of art from talented students as well as world-renowned professional artists.
Venvi Art Gallery
Come check out the best art in Florida. With events and shows every week, the Venvi Art Gallery is sure to have something going on when you visit. Venvi is home to some of the best artists in the country, so you don’t want to miss it.
Railroad Square Art District
Home to over 100 businesses including art galleries, micro museums, cafes, restaurants, and bars, this is a great place to explore the hip art scene in Tallahassee. On the first Friday of each month, there’s a variety of special events like open mic nights, festivals, and more.
Museums To Explore
Tallahassee is home to many museums that tell fascinating stories of the people and events that helped shape the Capital City.
Tallahassee Automobile Museum
This is a museum like none other. The
Riley Center and Museum
Located in downtown Tallahassee, this is one museum you won’t want to miss. Through interactive exhibits and displays, they take you to the important but often painful time of the reconstruction area, just after the civil war. The museum is housed in the historic Riley House. It was once the residence of local educator and civic leader John G Reilly.
This museum has it all. Natural science, art, and history are all geared toward the whole family. What really sets them apart is the “Tree to Tree” adventures which allow you to zip-line between trees, high over the ground, challenging yourself while you take in an amazing view.
Tallahassee, Florida: So Much to Offer
Whether it’s the Knott House, state parks, historic sites, walking trails, and more, Florida’s capital area is a top cultural destination for the whole family, not just once, but time and time again to discover everything it has to offer!
This is a museum like none other. The Tallahassee Automobile Museum houses an incredible collection of dozens of cool cars, the largest collection of Batmobiles in the world, as well as knives, boats, and Native American artifacts.