Frequent Tallahassee Tourist recs
July 23, 2021 2:29 PM   Subscribe

It looks like I will soon be visiting the Tallahassee area about once per month for work. As long as I have to pass through, I'd like to spend some time seeing some local sights, eating some good food, etc. I have seen the previous Tallahassee questions, but they are quite old at this point. I am hoping for some more recent recommendations of places to visit.

Points to consider:
- I'll be flying in, and my final destination will be about an hourish north, in Georgia. Any suggestions for food/drink/museums in that are area would also be great.
-I see that there are some beaches not too far south - I will carve out time to visit those occasionally. Beach recommendations are very welcome.
-I like art, food, beer/wine, shopping, and have recently gotten into light hiking (think more "nature walk" than "hike") and a little bird-watching. If there are some nice parks to take a walk in, that'd be great.
- All of this will most likely be by myself, and will be every month year-round, so if there are seasonal things, please list them.
- If there's any regional dishes I need to try, please let me know.
-Shrimp and Grits are one of my favorite foods, if there's a place that does them well, I'd love to know about that too.

posted by Sparky Buttons to Travel & Transportation around Tallahassee, FL (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For shrimp and grits: Crystal River seafood
posted by ch1x0r at 3:03 PM on July 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

A couple weeks ago, T-Pain said don't miss out on Lindy's.
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:05 PM on July 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Lofty Pursuits--restaurant, homemade ice cream, handmade candy. They have a great you tube channel too.

Waterworks tiki bar

We did a day trip to Thomasville, GA, which everyone recommended. It is a cute downtown with odd little shops, but it's mostly a town with a LOT of plantation houses & tours. That was not something we were into, but literally everyone recommended going to this town so in case someone mentions it!

I haven't been but was also recommended Food Glorious Food. And if you don't have a Publix near you, I recommend going! :D
posted by jennybento at 3:46 PM on July 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Tallahassee is only a short drive away from the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most beautiful spots on the entire gulf coast in my opinion. We visited in August a couple of years ago and fully intend to go back and try the longer loop trails, one of which inspired Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation.
posted by jquinby at 5:05 PM on July 23, 2021 [2 favorites] add: St Marks NWR is an absolutely stellar birdwatching and wildlife-watching spot.
posted by jquinby at 5:06 PM on July 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

For nature walks, there are three parks that are all kind of in the same area with some good trails. Maclay Gardens is a state park with trails and historic sites. The beautiful garden section mostly blooms in the Spring iirc. Not far from there is Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park and Lake Jackson Mounds (also an important archaeological site). Down the road from Lake Jackson Mounds there's Fred George Greenway Park. If you like to cycle the Tallahassee-St Marks Railroad Trail connects Tallahassee with St. Marks NWR, recommended above. You might be able to walk on it as well but as I recall most trail users are cyclists.

A really special spot I recommend is the Lichgate and its ancient oak. Not much in the way of trails but a beautiful place to meditate.

For shopping, Railroad Square has an eclectic mix of small shops and artists' studios. Every first Friday there's an open house event with music and tours of the artists' studios.

There are a ton of great coffee shops in Tallahassee but my favorite is The Lucky Goat, which has several locations around town.

There's also a cute coffee shop called the Black Dog which is a neat spot in a public park. The park has a small lake with a trail and a collection of little stone buildings that are now shops but which used to be holiday cottages in the mid-20th century.

I second the recommendation of Waterworks tiki bar. Such a neat kitschy place, clientele is students and locals.

If you're going to be an hour north of Tallahassee you'll be very close to Thomasville GA which is a neat little town with an historic downtown area packed with restaurants and boutiques. There is another ancient oak there, and Jonah's fish and grits specializes in the dish you mentioned above. Some of the Victorian houses in Thomasville are museums. It was a retreat for wealthy northerners in that era who believed the pine-rich air was salubrious or something like that.

For beaches the best bet is St. George Island, a nice, mostly undeveloped beach which is a little less than 2 hours away.

Tallahassee is a bit lean in the museum department but Mission San Luis is worth a visit. It's a living history museum with reconstructions of the 17th-century Apalachee-Spanish settlement that was located in Tallahassee. There are usually some excavations going on there in coordination with FSU. There are some house museums if that's your thing including Riley House, Knothouse, and Goodwood. The FSU art museum occasionally has some interesting exhibits. Otherwise there's the Gadsden in Quincy, FL, about 30 minutes from Tallahassee.
posted by microscopiclifeform at 7:01 PM on July 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

Florida Caverns State Park is about an hour away in Marianna, FL.
posted by gatorae at 7:05 AM on July 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

There's also Wakulla springs, about 30 min south of Tallahassee. It has (or at least used to) have glass bottom boat tours so you could see manatees and other cool views of the water. Although sometimes the water isn't clear enough for that. It's a freshwater spring, with a lot of deep underwater caves.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:38 AM on July 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

I was also going to suggest Wakulla Springs and the boat tours. There are also trails there you can hike. Nearby is the Leon Sinks trail. That Florida Nature Coast site has info on other hiking spots as well.

The Tallahassee Natural History Museum has a boardwalk trail and native animal exhibits, and occasional night walks where you can see nocturnal critters.

A couple of places I have been meaning to visit but haven't yet are Birdsong Nature Center and Tall Timbers Research Station. Birdsong is -sort of- on the way between Tallahassee and Thomasville, and has trails. If you take Meridian Road out toward Birdsong/the state line, it's a very pretty drive, as it becomes a "canopy road," where old live oaks on either side form a canopy with their branches. Just drive safely as the road is narrow and wind-y. Tall Timbers is a private nature preserve, but I think you can visit sometimes by appointment and their site says there's a birding trail.

There is a lot of good canoeing and river exploring in the area. Best bet there is to find locals to go with or join a tour or meetup group.

In terms of season, October to May is your best window for hiking. I'm not the most outdoorsy person, but there's a lot of cool stuff to see in the area in that vein.
posted by secretary bird at 1:42 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh also, Dream State by D.K. Roberts is a combination of memoir and family history and history of the area that you may enjoy.
posted by secretary bird at 1:53 PM on July 25, 2021

Many good suggestions already. I live here and will add a few, of course these are personal opinions.

For somewhat eclectic good food Kool Beanz Cafe is really good.
For casual seafood (dinner), burgers, tacos, burritos, Cabo's is great.

There are several great art galleries and museums, The Museum of Fine Arts at FSU and Lemoyne Arts are good bets, as is the Gadsden Arts Center in Quincy, a small town about 15-20 miles west

Due to two excellent schools of music - FAMU, home of the famous Marching 100, and FSU - we have no end of talented musicians and we have many music venues, too many to enumerate here. One in particular you should not miss: The Bradfordville Blues Club, a little "juke joint" outside of town "in the country". The only Florida club on the Mississippi Blues Trail. Many famous musicians have played here, some memorialized by paintings on tabletops (some on the tables, some on the walls) and they continue to have great music. Probably best to ask a local to go out there with you, since it takes a little bit to find it; it's on a graded road off a two lane road several miles outside of town.
posted by TimHare at 5:38 PM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add Sakura for sushi and other Japanese. We have more than one good sushi place in town, but Sakura is the one I go to more often.
posted by TimHare at 12:23 PM on July 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

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