The History Buff Itinerary
Looking to learn the history of Florida’s Capital City? We’ve got you covered with this itinerary for History Buffs.
Transport back to 1703 with a visit to Mission San Luis. A living history site, the Mission served as the principle village of the Apalachee and was the Spaniards’ westernmost military, religious and administrative capital.
Set amidst 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna, the Tallahassee Museum’s living exhibits of native wildlife, nature trails, historic exhibits and zip line and aerial adventure courses are enjoyed by visitors of all ages. For history buffs, the Museum is home to fourteen historic buildings that immerse visitors in 19th-century experiences and allow them to discover the history and lifestyles of southern communities.
Step back in time at the Tallahassee Museum’s Old Florida Exhibit as you pass through the doors of historic buildings reminiscent of southern living in years past – Bellevue plantation house, Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, Seaboard Airline Caboose, and Concord Schoolhouse. Each structure represents a community function through which the residents created a sense of purpose and sense of place for themselves and their children.
Experience the sights, sounds, and even the smells of each season as if you were living in the region’s rural 1880s at the museum’s Big Bend Farm Exhibit. Walk among authentic farm buildings typical of the region and visit the mule, sheep, cow and other farm animals that contributed to the family’s livelihood. Stroll through the garden and see the corn, cotton, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. Discover our rural industries—turpentining in the B.O. Wood Turpentine Commissary, blacksmithing, syrup-making, and milling. Discover the simple living and sleeping arrangements in the farmhouse or the cooking appliances and tools in the kitchen.
One of the newest additions to Tallahassee celebrating the culture and spirit of the Historic Frenchtown neighborhood is the Frenchtown Historic Marker Trail. Soul Voices of Frenchtown trail markers are located throughout the neighborhood and focus on a unique aspect of life in Frenchtown. The neighborhood’s story is told proudly by the residents who lived there, taking visitors back in time.
Hosted by the John G. Riley Center and Museum, and located near Cascades Park, the Smokey Hollow Commemoration remembers the businesses and families that once called the historic Smokey Hollow neighborhood home. The commemoration features metal framed houses recreating traditional shot gun homes, a plaza, and memorial fountain.
Dining / Nightlife Options:
Located in the historic Walker Library, Bar 1903 honors the history of mixology while pushing the boundaries of the cocktail experience. Featuring a cocktail menu spanning 160 years, an extensive spirits list, and small plate fare centered around our own urban farm, Bar 1903 brings the finer things to all walks of life.
Located on the north side of Tallahassee, the Bradfordville Blues Club brings decades of blues and history to life with each performance. The best blues performers from across the country perform at the historic blues club, one of only two from locations in Florida on the historic Mississippi Blues Trail.
Surrounded by 6,000 acres of pristine forest, The Lodge at Wakulla Springs is North Florida’s castle. Built in 1937 by industrialist Edward Ball, the Lodge is located in the middle of Wakulla Springs State Park overlooking one of the country’s largest springs. Whether you enjoy fine dining in the Edward Ball Dining Room or want to cool off with ice cream at the world’s longest marble soda fountain, the Lodge’s timeless beauty surrounds you. Nature, luxury, history, and comfort—all can be found at the Lodge at Wakulla Springs. Little known fact: Two special features grace the rim of the lobby. The marble and iron staircase and the original elevator are both Art Deco masterpieces. The interior of the elevator walls are walnut, with quarter sewn, face matched grain and marquetry panels—an inlay using varied colored woods. This is the only known surviving period Art Deco elevator still in use.
Museums & Archives
Built circa 1890 by local educator, activist and businessman John. G Riley, the John G. Riley Center and Museum offers a unique look at African American history made locally and across the South. Tours offer a guided look at the contributions of local African Americans such as John G. Riley during the Reconstruction Era.
Few sites in Florida have witnessed as much history as The Grove Museum. Explore civil rights, American history and the families of two governors connected with the antebellum home who figured prominently in the moments that defined Tallahassee and Florida History.
Opened in 1977 as the state’s history museum, it houses exhibits and artifacts covering Florida’s history and prehistory. The Museum of Florida History houses more than 40,000 artifacts and permanent exhibits span periods from the prehistoric mastodon to the Space Age. The newest exhibit, Phase II of Forever Changed, chronicles a dynamic period in history – from the meeting and interaction of vastly different native and European cultures to Florida’s adoption as a United States territory and eventually a state.
Showcasing one of the most extensive and important exhibitions of African-American artifacts, the Meek-Eaton Black Archives on the campus of Florida A&M University. Opened in 1908, the center is one of the largest repositories relating to African-American history and culture in the Southeast.
Restored to its 1902 grandeur with stained-glass dome and candy-striped awnings, the Historic Capitol Museum stands as an icon at the center of Florida’s Capital Complex. It houses exhibits on Florida’s political history, the former House and Senate Chambers, Supreme Court and Governor’s suite.
Where to Stay
A unique fixture on the Tallahassee landscape, Hotel Duval, Autograph Collection artfully balances contemporary comfort with historic grandeur. The property built in 1951, is located close to some of Tallahassee’s most compelling attractions, including the Florida Capitol Building, Florida State University, Museum of Florida History and Maclay Gardens.