What is Tallahassee Known For? (15 Things It’s Famous For)

Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida and the largest city in the Panhandle region. In the 16th century, the name Tallahassee was bestowed by the native Seminole-Creek Indian tribe that inhabited the area and means “old fields” or “old town .”Based on the 2021 census, the city has an estimated population of 197,787, making it the 9th most populated city in the Sunshine State. 

Tallahassee is known for being a quintessential College Town. It is home to the prestigious Florida State University, and the Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University. From its vibrant arts and culture scene, thriving economy, glorious year-round festivals to its casual American dining landscape, Tallahassee offers residents and tourists plenty to cheer about.

One of the Best South College Towns 

With a student population exceeding 70,000, Tallahassee lives up to its reputation as a premier college town in the South. It is home to Florida State University, which currently ranks #55 among the country’s best universities. Apart from being a preeminent research university, FSU is known for its exceptional criminal justice programs and film school. Florida A&M University, on the other hand, is one of the largest historically black universities in the United States. Florida A&M’s most popular majors include health professions, business management, marketing, homeland security, and law enforcement. 

Vibrant Arts, Culture, and Heritage Scene

The Tallahassee art scene consists of creative and talented individuals who further cultivate the city’s unique diversity, vibrancy, and warm atmosphere. The community actively promotes its rich heritage and history, as evidenced by its many galleries, museums, and historic landmarks. The funky Railroad Square Art Park is the hub of Tallahassee’s arts and culture scene. It is home to more than 50 art studios, galleries, and small artisan shops. Other equally popular galleries include the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum, Tallahassee Museum, 22nd Floor of Capitol Observatory and Gallery, Florida Historic Capitol Museum, and Anderson Brickler Gallery, to name a few. 

Florida’s Most Educated Population 

Tallahassee is the most educated city in the Sunshine State and ranks 18th among the most educated cities in the country. Almost 50% of its residents earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. From pre-K programs to higher education learning, educational excellence abounds in Tallahassee. The state capital has a small gender education gap, and many students are enrolled in the top 231 universities per capita. 

City of the Seven Hills

While Tallahassee isn’t generally associated with the beach, it is known to be one of the hillier spots in the Sunshine State. Being at the southern end of the Red Hills region, its tallest hill is a little over 200 feet above sea level. The seven hills in Tallahassee include the Goodwill Plantation, Old Fort Park, Mission San Luis, The Grove, Lee Hall at Florida A&M, and Westcott Hall at FSU. Steeped in rich history, these seven hills are popular among local bikes and runners. 

Designated Tree City 

Tallahassee has been designated a tree city by the Arbor Day Foundation. In 2016, it received its 24th recognition as it successfully met and exceeded the foundation’s benchmarks. The city implements an ongoing community forestry program. It’s a lush and vibrant community where you can see trees and plants everywhere. Adopt-a-tree planting projects also boost the number of trees in various parts of the city. 

Rich African American Heritage

Florida’s capital celebrates and reflects its African American culture and heritage all year round. It was the first city in the Sunshine State to facilitate the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on May 20, 1865, one month before the rest of the country recognized that all enslaved persons were emancipated. Some of the most popular African American heritage sites in Tallahassee include the Bradford Blues Club, Cascades Park, Frenchtown, Smokey Hollow, and the Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum. 

Bustling Employment Hub

Befitting a famous college town, Tallahassee’s significant industries are education and government. It is also a prominent trading and agricultural hub in the region. The healthcare sector is also a prosperous industry. Other vital industries that offer excellent employment opportunities to locals include information technology, finance, manufacturing, and social services. The city inarguably has the fastest growing economy per capita for any Florida city. Tallahassee’s most prominent employers include the Municipal Code Corporation, State Board of Administration, and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. 

US First Christmas Celebration 

According to historians, the first Christmas in the country was celebrated in 1539 at the Tallahassee. The Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto with 600 of his soldiers, craftsmen, and slaves, observed the holiday while encamped at Anhaica, known today as the capital of Tallahassee. The first-ever Christmas in the United States was not a very festive celebration. Hernando de Soto and his crew celebrated the occasion with a traditional Christmas mass similar to those held in a Franciscan chapel. To commemorate the state’s 500th anniversary of Spain’s arrival, Mission San Luis hosted the First Christmas in La Florida in 2013.

It Has All Four Seasons

Tallahassee is one of the few cities in the Sunshine State that has all four seasons distinct seasons, although, in some years, it can be hard to tell. It naturally has a subtropical climate with mild winters characterized by short cold waves and hot, sticky summers. It is one of the hottest places in the summer, with temperatures reaching over 100 from time to time, and one of the coldest places in Florida during the winter. 

Year-Round Festivals

The city’s social calendar is filled with concerts, festivals, and events that make it a popular destination for residents and tourists alike. In Florida, there’s nowhere else that spring celebrations are more festive than in Tallahassee. Festivals welcome the beginning of spring with large-scale events as colorful as the flowers in bloom. Some of the most popular and well-attended festivals in Tallahassee include the Springtime Tallahassee Festival, Watermelon Festival, and Annual Blue Crab Festival. 

Country’s Third-Oldest Police Force 

The Tallahassee Police Department is the third oldest in the country, founded in 1826 following the establishment of the Philadelphia Police Department and Boston Police Department. As one of the first public police forces established in colonial North America, the Tallahassee Police Department consisted of watchmen who got paid a fee by private citizens. The officers’ primary role was to prevent crime and disorder and provide a wide range of public services. Upon its establishment, the Tallahassee Police Department did not have detectives. 

Southern-Style Architecture

From historic buildings to modern structures, there’s always something beautiful to look at while walking through the streets of Tallahassee. The Brokaw-McDougall House is an impressive architectural wonder and has secured a spot on the US National Register of Historic Places. The Carnegie Library at Florida A&M University was designed by the famous architect William Augustus Edwards in 1908. The Lewis Spring House looks eternally stunning with its exquisite pod-shaped and hemicycle style. The historic building of the Woman’s Club of Tallahassee reflected both Mediterranean Revival and Colonial Revival Architecture.

Affordable Living

Compared to other Florida metropolitan cities, the cost of living in Tallahassee is affordable. It’s even 1% lower than the national average. The median home price in the city is $182,000, while its median monthly rent is $931, making it an ideal town for starter families. Despite rising property values and home sale prices, the Tallahassee local real estate is cheaper than in other cities in Florida. 

Third-Tallest Capitol Building 

Also referred to as The Old Capitol, the Florida State Capitol, built-in 1845, is the third tallest capitol building in the United States, trailing behind US Capitol in Washington and the Texas Capitol in Austin. The 22-story building reaches a height of 345 feet and is a modern interpretation of classic architecture. It holds architectural and historical significance, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The New Tower houses the executive and legislative offices and the chambers of the Florida Legislature, consisting of both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives.

World’s Largest High Field Magnet Facility

Tallahassee is home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the world’s largest magnetic research facility. The 37,000 square-foot building showcases some of the most powerful magnets. Scientists from across the globe visit the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory to conduct critical research into how magnetic fields of great strength affect various materials. The National Magnetic Field Laboratory houses impressive innovations, including the world-record Tesla hybrid magnet, two 35 Tesla resistive magnets, 50 microteslas, and more. It is also home to the only pulsed-field user facility in the United States.