What to do, and where to meet people, in Tallahassee Florida?
June 9, 2009 5:17 PM   Subscribe

What's good in and around Tallahassee, Florida? And where do the good thirtysomething people hang out?

Asking for a friend. She's been there almost a year and is having a hard time getting plugged in to the town, meeting people, etc.

She's a thirtysomething professor, single, no kids, not a native southerner, not a churchgoer. (She's not a snob, I just mentioned those things because I think it's a little harder given that she doesn't have a church group or parents' group as a home base.)

She lives in town within walking distance of FSU. Vegetarian, enjoys sports, a good bar or coffeeshop or music/dance venue. In past lives she has played tennis, rowed, and generally enjoys physical activities, but hasn't connected with any people who do that stuff in Tallahassee yet.

So: suggestions for good hangouts (bar/coffeeshop/etc), active amateur sports groups, good bike shop, friendly people meeting places, etc? Websites for local events? Fun local cultural things? Neat day trips?
posted by LobsterMitten to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Tallahassee kind of sucks (I just moved away from there) but I'll try and offer a few suggestions. Music venues: Beta Bar, Downunder (on campus--gets pretty good shows during the school year). There are a couple of coffee shops--All Saint's gets a big student/grad student crowd, and there's a place called the Coffee Pub that's a little more upscale. There are also a few bars near that place (Waterworks is a pretty fun tiki bar, though gets loud and dance-y later at night). There's a good bike shop at Lake Ella but I forget its name. Day trips are plentiful--lots of great beaches are an hour or two away, and then there's Wakulla Springs.

Good luck to your friend. I found Tallahassee to be a hard place to meet adults and there weren't really a lot of cool places to go that weren't in strip malls. Feel free to me-mail me with any questions or whatever.
posted by leesh at 5:30 PM on June 9, 2009

Best answer: Oh jeez, I could have written that, I'm in almost the same situation. I've been here in Tally for almost 2 years, and it's really tough to meet other non-student, non-married adults. There's a few Meetup.com groups that are somewhat active, so that may be worth checking out.

I wish I had some more constructive ideas, but I haven't had the best luck myself. That said, feel free to pass my info along to your friend if they want another contact here in town!
posted by dicaxpuella at 6:48 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Waterworks? I know many of my former classmates (now late twenties-early thirties) hang out there. There's actually some decent jazz musicians at the university, if she's interested in that, they play gigs around town that you can look for in the Democrat.
There's definitely a bunch of people that do physical things in town, and if she's a prof at FSU a lot of the departments will field "teams" for various events around town. It's a tough town to meet people I think. I would really try to work the angles through her colleagues at work, and find cultural events attached to the university. FSU does have a good music school and there's plenty of opportunities to attend stuff there that will at least get you out of the house.
As for day trips? Well, beaches, wakulla, havana, marianna caverns, st. marks? Go hiking by the sinks?
posted by ch1x0r at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2009

Best answer: Oh Tallahassee. Everyone there hates it until they leave, and then they realize it's not quite as bad as they thought. I lived there for a long time and only distance has helped me to see its charms. There are also many other people just like her, especially in her geographic area. Young professors, lawyers, state workers, grad students, and others who share the young hip ethic that is beginning to thrive in T-town are all looking to meet people... so with that said...

For food, her options are limited but generally high-quality. Monk Brothers' Restaurant is decidedly young, but the veggie burgers are good (shameless plug for a FOAF). Kool Beanz cafe always has vegetarian options, has great bar-style seating overlooking the kitchen (great for chatting people up!) and the chefs are well-trained and generally happy to experiment for dietary restrictions. Chez Pierre has a fast-growing 30-something crowd and good food, but be sure to ask if an item is vegetarian.

After dinner, Cafe Cabernet (aka "Cafe Divorcee") is an older-crowd hangout that's singles-friendly - much more of a bar scene than a club scene, I'm told. Paradise Grill and Bar has a nice outdoor patio with live music and an older crowd, too. Chez Pierre also has a burgeoning night scene on its outdoor patio. Waterworks is an older but slightly more discerning clientele if you want loud music and good drinks. I've never been to the Silver Slipper, but I understand that they have a nice ladies' night. There are also several jazz nights all over town that might be fun, but the schedules change often enough that I don't know what they are any more.

For an afternoon, Black Dog Cafe on Lake Ella is a bit less (a very small bit less) student-y than All Saints, but I love both of them. There are also several intramural sports leagues, but most are populated with younger (early 20s) people - check TPRD - and they're lots of fun. Also, don't discount the College Dems, as they're a very fun group and it's a great way to met people. For that matter, there are lots of political campaigns happening, and it's a great way to network.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:11 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far - I'm passing on this link and will be eagerly reading any other suggestions.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:46 PM on June 9, 2009

Response by poster: TheNewWazoo, if you're checking back, what would you say are Tallahassee's charms, that you're starting to see now that you've left?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:47 PM on June 9, 2009

Best answer: There's also the art fair type thing that goes on every Saturday. The first time I went there, I was utterly impressed by the scale of it. I'm sure it'd be a great place to meet some interesting people
posted by Geppp at 11:22 PM on June 9, 2009

The art fair thing, downtown, that is.
posted by Geppp at 11:22 PM on June 9, 2009

Best answer: nthing Waterworks and Beta Bar.

Also New Leaf Market, and Cabos Tacos nearby used to do a lot of veggie options circa 98-ish. Soul Vegetarian, if they're the same people who used to run the vegan soul food cart near the capitol, are good.

If she likes music she could volunteer with V89, a lot of the staff are non-students, particularly the weekend DJs.
posted by methylsalicylate at 3:04 AM on June 10, 2009

Best answer: Another mention of Black Dog coffeehouse; I more or less lived there. While you're there, check out Joe's bike shop, just down the street from them. If she's into beer and prefers a louder venue, Leon pub is just a little further south and is pretty nice (especially on liter night).

Clusters and Hops has fantastic food, a stunning wine selection, and a pretty amazing beer list; the two truffle oil mac and cheese is exquisite.

The first Saturday of every month Railroad Square has an open gallery night; they're mostly student galleries, but it's worth going at least once.

Also, see the website http://www.morethanyouthought.com/ for upcoming events in Tallahassee and Leon county.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 3:53 AM on June 10, 2009

Best answer: I grew up in Tallahassee but left when I was 18 for college and I have lived in Atlanta ever since. Personally I think it is much easier to meet people in Tallahassee because it is small enough that you can run into the same people over and over again at multiple places. Once you find a scene you like you can kind of count on finding the same people around and striking up casual friendships with them and then getting introduced to their friends. To me, this is Tallahassee’s biggest charm—it’s big enough to have things to do but small enough that once you have an in with some people you are likely to meet lots more.

While Black Dog and All Saints do have large student populations, they also have a lot of older people that visit and the people at both locations tend to be pretty friendly. I would definitely suggest both of them as starting off points.

I love Waterworks, and the Leon Pub is great if you like beer and don’t mind smoke. If your friend goes early or on off nights I think they would both be good places to strike up conversations with the bartenders and maybe get them to introduce you to friendly regulars. Another suggestion that hasn’t come up yet is the Fermentation Lounge. It’s a beer bar that just opened up in the last few months and already has its own set of regulars and some very friendly bartenders that are eager to get you to come back and support their new business.

Many people have suggested the Beta Bar. It’s actually now called The Engine Room. If they are still holding 80’s night on Sunday that would be a good place to meet locals but I haven’t been personally so I’m not sure how young the crowd will be.

Another idea is the First Friday Gallery Hop that happens in Railroad Square. I haven’t been in years but I think it attracts people of all ages.

Tallahassee is also an awesome place for outdoor day trips. She can go to St. George Island and Mexico Beach for beaches, Wakulla Springs for swimming, the Ichetuknee River for tubing, the Wakulla River (and many others) for canoeing, Torreya State Park (and many others) for hiking…I could go on, but those are some of the big highlights. Unfortunately many of these things would probably be more fun with other people but these should give her some ideas.

I personally don’t know anything about sports but I do know that there is at least one tennis league that meets weekly or bi-weekly. My aunt and uncle have played for years. She can probably call some of the city parks that have tennis courts for info but if she is interested and has trouble finding information let me know and I can get in touch with my aunt and uncle.

I am happy to try to answer any more questions that either of you have and I will try to get TheNewWazoo (my fiance) back here too. He has lived there more recently than me. Good luck!
posted by horses, of courses at 11:33 AM on June 10, 2009

Best answer: horses, of courses, laid out most of the reasons I like Tallahassee. People are friendly and it's just small enough that you can reliably run into the same people if you become a regular somewhere that you like. It's also got enough of a transient population, too, that things always kind of feel "fresh". You're not necessarily really going anywhere, but new faces help.

Mostly, I miss how laid-back Tallahassee is. It's got at least one of everything going on pretty much all the time, and though that one option might not be great, there's enough variety that so long as you avoid ruts you can keep experiences from getting stale. It's centrally-located, too, which is nice. It's pretty enough, it's got low crime (I never locked my doors when I lived there), the weather's nice (and seasonal enough to avoid a sense of sameness - detecting a theme?), there's no smog or traffic to speak of, either. Tallahassee, especially as of late, has really taken pride in how it is continually reinventing itself. There are no "institutions" there but there's enough history to enjoy, and there's enough sense of entrepreneurship that it's easy to get excited about the (admittedly meager) opportunities available.

All in all, the recommendations for meeting people I've made can be summed up in one task: walk around town and visit every billboard you can find. Take note of the interesting things you see and get involved. That, in a nutshell, is the Tallahassee experience.

nota bene: I prefer big bustling cities and could write just as much about all the things that I don't like about Tallahassee, too. But especially for a young, single professional, there are worse places.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 1:17 PM on June 10, 2009

I got most of my people meeting through RPGs (D&D and Werewolf primarily) so if she likes nerd pursuits, there's a good place to start.

Oh, also, my husband is looking for new friends...
posted by subbes at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2009

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