Top 10 things to do in Tallahassee

The capital city of Florida, and the area around it, is still reminiscent of the old South. It's a friendly town. Many may not realize that per square mile, Tallahassee has more trees than any other city in the United States, and so it's also home to many different types of birds. Outdoor patios and lush parks abound, and like many other U.S. capitals, Tallahassee is a college town. Just cruising along the streets is a treat, as Tallahassee boasts 78 miles of scenic drives on its nine official canopy roads. Get ready to get your fill of Southern hospitality mixed with just enough modern to feel at home no matter your age, or your mood. Here are some fun things to do in Tallahassee:

1. Lake Ella

38Lake Ellla! Lake Ella!39

2. Museum of Florida History

In addition to learning about the native Americans who've inhabited the state for more than 12,000 years, at this special museum you'll get a inside peek into the varied cultures that give Florida its eclectic, wild feel. In fact, flags of five nations have flown over Florida, including Spain, France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and of course, the United States. You'll see one of the most striking aspects of the Museum before you're even inside: the life size bronze statues of the Seminole Indians who call Florida home.

3. Florida State Capitol Building

Tallahassee was selected as Florida's capital in 1824. The current Capitol Building is the fourth building to serve as Florida's capitol building. The first Capitol was actually in a log cabin. The current complex consists of three structures - a high-rise tower with two Legislative office buildings. Don't miss the view from the 22nd Floor Observatory. Open to the public, on a clear day, you can see the Gulf of Mexico 22 miles away, and within six miles, the shores of Lake Jackson.

4. Bird-watching at one of Tallahassee's Beautiful Parks

One need not be a professional birder to enjoy the many birds that frequent Tallahassee. Just last year, Tallahassee ranked 7th in the nation with 148 species counted. Some of the best spots to catch birds in action include Lake Elberta on Lake Bradford Road, Koucky Park in Indianhead Acres, Lake Lafayette Heritage Trail Park, and Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park. Some of the birds spotted in Tallahassee include the Great Blue Heron, the Bald Eagle, the Osprey, the Belted Kingfisher, the Red-bellied Woodpecker, the Blue Jay, the Carolina Chickadee, the American Robin, the Cardinal, and many more.

5. All Saints Neighborhood

131epicenter of hipster culture

6. Tallahassee Downtown Marketplace

Open from 9am until 2pm every Saturday from March through November, the Downtown Marketplace features fresh Florida homegrown produce and organic items. Tourists and locals alike also head down to Monroe and Park Avenue for the farmers' fresh eggs, bread, honey, flowers and native plants. Catch one of the city's local musicians playing tunes and talk with artists from all across Northern Florida as they present their special creations. The children also can get into the act with hands-on art activities.

7. Mainstage at Florida State University

No visit to Tallahassee should exclude a play at one of the University's two theaters - Fallon Theatre or Lab Theatre. Last year's bill included a mix of modern and classic performances including, All Shook Up, Cloud 9, How I Became a Pirate, The Servant of Two Masters, and of course, Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Some of the most famous F.S.U. School of Theater Alumni include Academy Award-winner Alan Ball; Broadway stars Leslie Flesner, Montego Glover, Davis Gaines; television producer Steven Sears; Emmy award-winner John Papsidera; and Broadway producers Amanda Watkins, Dan Markley, Darren Bagert and Heather Provost.

8. Clydes & Costello's

Be seen in all the right places. This year, the Florida House and Senate meet from March 7 until May 5. When the Legislature is in session, it's fun to head down to some of the bars near the Capitol where many of the Florida lobbyists gather for refreshments. One of the oldest and most popular is Clydes & Costellos on Adams Street. It's a classic political hangout that the students from F.S.U. frequent as well. Order yourself a cocktail and pull up to the bar for some lively conversation.

9. Mission San Luis

In the late 1600s, Mission San Luis de Apalachee was the western capital of the Spanish Mission system in Florida. This National Historic Landmark is the only reconstructed Spanish Mission in Florida. Young and old alike can check out the original site, artifacts, costumed living history interpreters, and hands-on exhibits. On 60 acres, the Mission's church is an exact replica of the mission church in St. Augustine. During excavation, archaeologists had to avoid digging up the remains of 900 mission residents who are buried beneath the church floor. The Mission also chronicles the lives of the Apalachee Indians, who lived in Northern Florida and were one of the most powerful tribes when the early explorers arrived.

10. Wakulla Springs

Just 15 miles from the center of Tallahassee, in Crawfordville, is Wakulla Springs, an outdoor wonderland. It's not just the largest and deepest freshwater spring in the whole United States, but the largest and deepest on Earth. Open 365 days a year, the 6,800 acre State Park features swimming, snorkeling, guided Wakulla River boat tours, bird watching, picnicking and concessions, horse trails, nature trails, interpretive exhibits, and of course, many sinkholes. Many people, especially those with young kids, come to see the abundant wildlife.

All in all, Tallahassee is surprisingly different from what you might expect from the typical Florida tourism hype; it offers a cultural mixture of what makes the South known for its laid back, welcoming ways. Yet, for those who like to be on the go all the time, especially in the Fall when the F.S.U. Seminoles play SEC football, the capital city is bustling, as students, visitors, and locals mingle together on the street and in dining and drink establishments enjoying a warm night out on the town. Other interesting places to go in Tallahassee include the Tallahassee Museum, the National High Magnetic Field Lab, and Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park.

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