Planning a Sunshine State saunter? Book time in your itinerary to explore all the best things to do in Tallahassee, Florida. Tucked into the Florida Panhandle, Tallahassee is Florida’s vibrant capital. The city is home to a wealth of historic and cultural attractions, not to mention the renowned Florida State University.
Whether you’re up for outdoor adventure, museum tours, or festivals, you’ll find it among the top tourist attractions in Tallahassee. Explore historic landmarks, amble through art galleries, and savor Southern-infused food. “Tally” will captivate with its laid-back charm.
Ready to figure out what to do in Tallahassee? Start planning your trip with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Tallahassee, Florida.
Must-see places to visit in Tallahassee, FL
Lake Ella and Fred Drake Park
Craving a few quiet acres and a glimpse into times past? You’ll find it at Lake Ella and Fred Drake Park. This serene 12-acre gem is one of the most popular places to visit in Tallahassee.
A former cattle ranch, today the park features fountains, picnic shelters, and a walking trail that winds around the picturesque lake. The pathway is perfect for walking, biking, jogging, or roller-blading.
In the 19th century, the tranquil Lake Ella was used as a baptismal site for the local African-American community. In the Roaring Twenties, Fred Drake Park became a popular destination for newlyweds. Their “honeymoon cottages” were preserved and transformed into the park’s current array of welcoming shops and cafes.
Enjoy a stroll. Savor a snack. Catch sight of local wildlife like ducks, geese, and turtles. Fishers, grab your rods. At Lake Ella, the catfish (and other aquatic residents) are always jumpin’. You’re bound to get a bite!
Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science
Want to soak up a cocktail of natural history, science, and wildlife in one place? The Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science serves up a perfect mix. Whatever your age or interests, you’ll find plenty to satisfy your inner nerd at this unique “outdoor museum.”
Overlooking the aptly named Museum Drive, the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science is one of the top Tallahassee tourist attractions. It’s a 52-acre treasure trove of show-and-tell, bringing to life Florida’s fascinating natural and cultural heritage.
Stroll the boardwalks to observe wolves, eagles, bears, and other species in their natural settings. Explore historic buildings. Experience hands-on learning at the Environmental Science Center. Step into the past on a 19th-century farmstead or get your heart pumping with a 21st-century ziplining ride through the treetops.
Worked up an appetite? Indulge it at the Trail Break Cafe with a taste of their delicious Jamaican Jerk Chicken.
It’s all smooth sailing at Cascades Park. This green oasis is smack-dab in Tallahassee’s thriving town center. Take a break from the pavement and take in its natural delights.
An early 19th-century gathering place for hunters and travelers, the park has been carefully preserved and updated, and it’s now one of Tallahassee’s top attractions.
Hike or bike on over two miles of trails. Have family-friendly fun at “Discovery”, featuring a playscape, interactive water fountain, and habitat gardens. Be wowed by performances at the Capital City Amphitheater, all set against the park’s beautiful landscape.
Explore Smokey Hollow, Cascades Park’s unique historic district. Founded in the 1890s, the Hollow was home to a thriving African-American community. A commemorative village full of historical buildings keeps its history and stories alive.
End your day at the Edison, a repurposed power plant built 100 years ago. Savor an elegant meal while taking in the beautiful natural view. Perfect lighting guaranteed!
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
Plant lovers will find horticultural heaven in Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. In other eras, this historic site was a cotton plantation, a winery, and a quail-hunting estate. Today, these beautiful botanical gardens are the place to feed your fondness for flora.
Indulge your senses in Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park’s natural beauty and masterful floral architecture design. Stroll the picturesque brick walkway and discover the secret garden. Spend time marveling at its famed collection of azaleas and camellias dating back nearly 100 years. But don’t stop there: You’ve got over 1,000 acres to roam.
Explore the park’s many historic buildings. Feeling energetic? Hike or bike the nature trails. Or head to Lake Hall to take a dip, cast a line, or enjoy a paddle.
Worked up an appetite? Survey the selection of grills and pavilions dotting the shoreline to find your picnic sweet spot.
Wakulla Springs State Park
Are you up for a deep dive? Splash down in Wakulla Springs State Park, home to the deepest freshwater spring in the world. For nature lovers, this natural wonder top the list of what to see in Tallahassee.
Just 16 miles south of Tallahassee, the water at Wakulla Springs Park is so clear in parts that you can see 100 feet below. Hop aboard the glass-bottom Jungle Cruise to explore the riverways and catch sight of manatees and other marine life. Or pull on some fins and a snorkel mask to get aquatic at its sandy beaches.
Prefer dry land? There’s plenty to see in this 6,000-acre wildlife sanctuary. Walk or bike the hiking trails. Keep your binoculars handy for spotting wild turkeys, deer, and alligators.
Cool down at your Wakulla Springs Park adventure’s end with an ice cream treat from the site’s soda fountain cafe.
Railroad Square Art Park
Ready for some urban bustle? Keep your camera primed to capture the lively streets, galleries, and shops of Railroad Square Art Park, Tallahassee’s creative hub. Every corner here is Instagram-worthy, that making it one of the coolest places to see in Tallahassee.
Take a stroll through this haven for local artists and vendors. Browse Railroad Square Art Park’s rich selection of vintage stores and antique shops. Catch some live theatre. Catch a cult flick at Cap City Video Lounge, test your mettle at Flippin’ Great Pinball, or reach new climbing heights at the Tallahassee Rock Gym.
Get in on Railroad Square’s monthly First Friday festival and take in open shops and galleries, live music, and superb local food. Dig into a meal at the Crumbox Castgarden, housed in a railcar caboose. Then roll along to slake your thirst with craft beer or wine at the Railroad Square Craft House. All aboard!
Want to give Willy Wonka a run for his money? Indulge your inner child at Lofty Pursuits, where candy-making is a performance art. For kids and kids-at-heart, this is one of Tallahassee’s must-see places.
This tasty oasis began life as a toy store. Check out their array of board games and “interactives” like kites and yo-yos. But the shop’s real sweet spot is in Victorian-style candy-making. Watch treats—yes, even candy cane!—being crafted on equipment dating back to 1840.
Craving something creamy? Slip into Lofty Pursuit’s ice cream store for a soda fountain creation, whether a towering soda or scrumptious cone. Indulge your sweet tooth with their rainbow of ice cream flavors.
Want to satisfy your “grownup” appetite? Chow down on menu items like shrimp and grits or blueberry pancakes. All are made from locally sourced ingredients.
Then kick back, pull out a board game—and forget about the calories!
Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
Want to get a close-up view of Tallahassee’s intriguing past? Head to Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park to explore the region’s fascinating Indigenous history. Rich in artifacts, this park is the most important archeological site in Florida and one of the prime points of interest in Tallahassee.
Lake Jackson was the political and ceremonial hub of the Florida Fort Walton indigenous culture from 1050 to 1500. Its inhabitants were the ancestors of today’s Apalachee, Creek, Cherokee, and Choctaw peoples.
Take to the miles of trails for a thought-provoking journey into the past. Explore Lake Jackson’s earthwork mounds, centuries-old home sites, and the ceremonial public plaza. Along the way, you’ll also encounter more recent history in the form of a 19th-century grist mill and plantation.
Flora and fauna fans will want to keep their eyes sharp to catch sightings of the abundant native plants and roaming wildlife. Bring your binoculars!
Challenger Learning Center
On the hunt for a family-friendly adventure that’s really out of this world? Get on board to explore the final frontier at the Challenger Learning Center. Celebrating the efforts of the Challenger crew, this unique site is dedicated to the promotion of science education for learners of all ages.
Tip for families with K-12 kids: the center’s outreach program through Florida State University promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to kids in that age group with fun activities like day camps and a kids’ free day. Let them loose to learn!
Whatever your age, jump feet-first into this “hands-on, minds-on” learning experience. Learn about the Earth and beyond with high-def science documentaries, planetarium shows, and—ta-da! —a space mission simulator. Experience the challenges of space travel, work alongside fellow “astronauts,” and bring your ship safely to port.
Mission San Luis de Apalachee
Want a look at times long past? Plan a visit to Mission San Luis de Apalachee, one of the most compelling sightseeing spots in Tallahassee. Founded in 1633 as a Spanish Franciscan mission in the Apalachee Province, this National Historic Landmark bears witness to early European attempts to colonize and convert North American Indigenous peoples to Christianity.
Get a close-up view of mission life as it was lived centuries ago. Explore the settlement’s restored fort, convent, church, and Indigenous homes. Visit the exhibit gallery for an interpretive history of 17th-century Spanish Florida. View the replicated archaeological profiles, three-dimensional site maps, and a rich collection of Apalachee and Spanish artifacts that were uncovered over decades of archaeological work.
Historical footnote: The settlement was burned and abandoned by its residents in 1704, and was never repopulated by the Apalachee peoples who had lived there for centuries.
Florida Historic State Capitol Museum
History nerds: Put this one at the top of your bucket list. The Florida Historic State Capitol Museum is a not-to-be-missed Tallahassee sightseeing hotspot.
Originally built in 1845, the old capitol building was saved from demolition, restored to its original grandeur, and reincarnated as the guardian of Florida’s history. Tucked inside this historic icon, the museum sits at the very heart of Florida’s Capitol complex, the hub of state government. Under a stunning stained-glass dome, the state’s political history and traditions are brought to vivid life.
At the Florida Historic State Capitol Museum, you’ll learn about the people and events that shaped the Sunshine State. Explore the beautifully restored Governor’s suite, the chambers of the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the House of Representatives. Experience pivotal moments in Florida’s colorful history through interactive media, audiovisual displays, and photographs.
You’ve got over 20 rooms and hundreds of artifacts to explore; wear your walking shoes!
Goodwood Museum and Gardens
Lush lawns, majestic oaks, breezy front porch. Think that doesn’t sound like a museum? Think again: These are a few of the highlights of the Goodwood Museum and Gardens, one of Tallahassee’s most historically significant points of interest.
Originally inhabited by the Apalachee and other Indigenous peoples, the land was colonized by Spanish explorers in the 17th century and later sold to wealthy cotton planters. Built in the 1830s, the Goodwood mansion presided over a 2,500-acre plantation and the dozens of slaves who worked on it.
Twenty historic structures remain at Goodwood Museum and Gardens, including the original main house. Tour this carefully preserved example of antebellum architecture, including original art, furniture, porcelain, and fresco ceilings. Outside, take in a 16-acre estate graced by majestic oaks and colorful gardens.
Those beautiful flower banks and oak stands will soon shelter a permanent memorial, a site for “meeting, teaching, and healing” in acknowledgment of the site’s antebellum past.
Knott House Museum
Seeking a destination with a fascinating backstory? Set your compass for the Knott House Museum, known as “The House that Rhymes” for its 19th-century verse-loving owner. This beautiful structure is one of the most historically intriguing sites in Tallahassee.
Constructed in 1843 by George Proctor, a free black builder, the house served as the Tallahassee headquarters for the Union army during the Civil War. It was from this building’s front porch that the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was read, effectively freeing all slaves who worked on the many plantations dotting the Florida-Georgia line.
Acquired by the Knott family in 1928, the home and its Victorian-era furnishings have been beautifully preserved. Step inside Knott House Museum for a tour and discover how the house got its name. Artist Luella Knott used satin ribbon to attach pieces of her poetry (still there) to her favorite possessions.
How’s that for a quirky twist on home decor?
Tallahassee Automobile Museum
Car lovers: Get your motor running, and cruise on down to the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. This unique site is a real-life “little engine that could,” growing from its original collection of 15 to over 160 motor masterpieces. The TAM definitely tops the list of fun places to check out in Tallahassee.
Be ready to roam: You have over 100,000 square feet to explore at Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Check out the highlights. You’ll see Abraham Lincoln’s funeral hearse, a 1900 Snell, one of the oldest gas combustion automobiles ever made, and three of the Batmobiles that gained fame on film and TV.
But don’t put the brakes on yet. Browse a vast array of other collectibles, including everything from boats, to dolls, to sports memorabilia, to Steinway pianos. Athlete, artist, or auto lover: You’ll find something to pique your interest here.
Lake Talquin State Forest
Want a big gulp of fresh air? Lake Talquin State Forest is where you’ll get it. Set on the bluffs overlooking Lake Talquin, the park stretches over 17,000 acres and offers loads of outdoor activities for all ages. It’s one of the best places to go in Tallahassee for a family adventure.
Stroll the boardwalk for a beautiful view. You’ll find outstanding fishing at Lake Talquin State Forest, too. Head down to the dock to cast a line. Grab a paddle and explore the 10,000-acre lake by canoe or kayak. Then put the paddles aside and take a dip in the pristine water.
Take an easy-on-the-legs hike on the interpretive trail that winds through the upland forest. Reach the top of the bluff, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view overlooking the lake. Got binoculars? Watch for deer, bobcats, and the bald eagles and osprey that soar above the lake.
Bradfordville Blues Club
Feeling bluesy? Head for the Bradfordville Blues Club, one of the markers on the historic Mississippi Blues Trail. When you’re craving a musical shot in the arm, the club is among Tallahassee’s coolest attractions.
Set amongst cornfields and oak trees, this little one-room juke joint has a rural down-home feel. Step inside the Bradfordville Blues Club to feel the vibe as some of the best blues artists in Florida perform live. And check out the photos of the legendary blues musicians that decorate the walls. Slow down the beat between sets, step outside, and sit by a bonfire to relax.
Check your calendar to fit in special events like their Outdoor Summer Concert series, Bluegrass Sundays, and Mardi Gras festival. (Year-round blues in the Sunshine State. Who’d have thought it?)
Recommended places to stay in Tallahassee for sightseeing
Looking for excellent value accommodation in Tallahassee? Lay down your head at this popular hotel. These lodgings are a short drive from the city center. You’ll enjoy superb amenities here including an indoor pool, fitness center, and restaurant & bar.
One of the top hotels in Tallahassee, this newer accommodation option is perfect for mid-range solo travelers, couples, and families alike. Guests will love the bright & spacious modern rooms and amenities like a fitness center and free parking.
Want to get central? Dig into this fantastic mid-range luxury hotel, located steps from Florida State University and other top points of interest like the Museum of Florida History. You’ll delight in the hotel’s flashy design and extras like an outdoor swimming pool and business center.