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Will Moore's Guide to Tallahassee

Will Moore constructed the following “Local’s Guide to Tallahassee.” He also posted a recent review of Tallahassee as a tourist destination published by the New York Times on May 13, 2005 on his website at: http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~whmoore/tallahasseenyt.html

Back in 2001 The St. Petersburg Times offered the following travel review which focused on Tallahassee's role as the epicenter of the 2000 Presidential election:


Here is a local tourist guide:


Will has divided his own take into six sections:

* Where's my coffee?
* Cuisine
* Transportation
* Nightlife
* Unique things to do
* Local flavor in books and movies

Where's My Coffee?

Tallahassee isn't a caffiene junkie's paradise, but there are some options.

Black Dog Cafe (drive): 229 Lake Ella Dr.

Cool Grindz (drive): 1700 N. Monroe St and 115 E. Park Ave (near The Doubletree).

Einstein Brothers Bagels (campus): Oglesby Union.

Java Heads (drive): 903 Railroad Ave.

Starbucks (campus and long walk): FSU bookstore, a cart in Strozier Library, and 1703 W Tennessee St.

The Sweet Shop (walk): 701 W Jefferson St.

Yianni's (walk): 646 W Tennessee St.


Soul food and cracker food define the local cuisine. If you want to explore BBQ, fried chicken and fish, collard greens and grits here are some options. In parentheses I note whether I would walk or drive. $ indicates < $10 per person; $$ ~ $10-$20 per person; $$$ ~ $20-$30 per person; $$$$ > $30 per person (source: Tallahassee Democrat).

Barnacle Bill's (10 min drive): seafood, 1830 N Monroe, $.

Calico Jacks (20 min drive): seafood, 2745 Capital Circle, $$.

Curbside BBQ & Seafood (walk): Fri & Sat afternoons and evenings, 316 Copeland, $.

Jim & Milt's Bar-b-q (10 min drive): 1923 W Pensacola, $.

JB's BBQ & Grill (35 min drive): Thomasville Rd./US 319 just across the GA state line.

New Bethel Family Restaurant (walk): soul food, lunch only, Sun - Fri; $.

Wilson's BBQ & Soul Food (long walk): 325 N. Bronough, $.

For nearby lunch options you can walk east (from campus) along Tennessee Street and find McDonald's, Subway, and several places that will charge around $7-$10 for a lunch. If you go west on Tenneessee you will find Jimmy John's (sandwiches), Qdoba's and Moe's (both southwest), and MoMo's Pizza after 3-4 blocks. Those of you staying in New Hall will walk by a diner run by FSU's Hospitality school on your way to the Oglesby Union. Finally, Southgate Dorm is willing to let anyone eat in their cafeteria for $5 (all you can eat)--it is located on the southern edge of campus (675 W Jefferson St, just to the left of The Sweet Shop, where you can also get a sandwich and coffee).

If you think that being in a red state will make you want to commune with a bohemian crowd while eating good food (esp. vegetarian options), then try:

Decent Pizza (5 min drive): 1026 N Monroe St, $-$$.

Kool Beanz Cafe (5 min drive): 921 Thomasville, $$$.

The Main Ingredient (5 min drive): 1710 West Tharpe Street, $$.

Yianni's (walk): 646 W Tennessee St, $.

In my opinion food in Tallahassee is mediocre (not great, but not bad). The following places fit that bill:

Bamboo House (5 min drive): Chinese, 112 E 6th St, $.

Carlos' Cuban Cafe (long walk): 402 E Tennessee St, $$.

MoMo's Pizza (long walk): 1416 W Tennessee St, $-$$.

North China Gourmet (25 min drive): 1415 Timberlane Rd, $$.

Reangthai (20 min drive): Thai, 3305 Capital Circle, $$.

San Miguel's (10 min drive): Mexican, 200 W Tharpe St, $.

Finally, if you want to go upscale, try one of these spots:

Albert's Provence (20 min drive): French, 1415 Timberlane, $$$$.

The Cypress (long walk): American classic, 320 E Tennessee, $$$$.

Food, Glorious Food (15 min drive): American classic, 1950-C Thomasville Rd, $$$.

Georgio's (20 min drive): American classic, 3425 Thomasville Rd, $$$$.

Mozaik (25 min drive): American classic, 1410-D Market St, $$$.


Cabs are far from plentiful in Tallahassee (you won't be able to hail one unless you are at the airport or one of a couple of hotels), but you can ring them up and get one in 10-15 minutes.

City Taxi: 850-562-4222
Red Cab: 850-425-4606
Yellowcab: 850-580-8080

TalTran is the bus service. You can find route maps here (note the links to the System Map and Campus Routes):



If your idea of a good time is a place with a large selection of ales, beers and stouts then visit B. Merrell's (15 min drive; 1433 E. Lafayette) for a place that also serves corporate-restaurant-style food or the Leon Pub (10 min drive; 215 E 6th Ave) for a small dive with over 40 selections on tap and many more in bottles. You can find pool tables at Snookers (long walk; 1861 W Tennessee Street).

Looking for a wine bar? Cafe Cabernet (10 min drive; 1019 N Monroe St) is Tallahassee's version. They serve food as well.

Believe it or not, Tallahassee has a local music scene. Parliament Funkadelic hails from here and George Clinton still calls Tallahassee home. The Christian rock group Creed formed in Tallahassee in the late 1990s. A number of clubs cater to local bands seeking to duplicate Creed's success. They also book groups making national and regional tours. If you want to catch some live music, pick up a copy of the FS View (FSU's free student newspaper) in one of the many boxes on campus. FYI, the clubs near campus are 'all ages' with hand stamps for those of drinking age. If you want to do some advance planning you can check out the websites below

Beta Bar (5 min drive): rock club (http://www.thebetabar.com/), 809 Railroad Ave.

Big Daddy's (walk): rock club (http://www.drinkfreebeer.com/SITE.HTM), 654 W Tennessee St.

Bradford Blues Club [aka Dave's CC] (30 min drive): A bona fide southern blues club that also books zydeco bands (http://www.davesccclub.com/), 7152 Moses Lane.

Bullwinkle's (walk): rock club and bar (http://www.bullwinklessaloon.net/), 620 W Tennessee St.

Floyd's Music Store (walk): rock club (http://www.floydsmusicstore.com/), 666-1 W. Tennessee St.

Yianni's (walk): counter-culture club (http://www.jambase.com/search.asp?venueID=748), 646 W Tennessee St.

If drinking and dancing with FSU, Florida A&M and Tallahassee Community College students is your idea of a good time I have listed below several of the clubs that help give FSU its reputation as a top flight party school. The bars near campus are 18+ with hand stamps for those of drinking age.

Big Daddy's (see above).

Bullwinkle's (see above).

Club Jade (5 min drive): 2122 W. Pensacola St. (http://www.jadenightclub.com/)

Late Night Library (long walk): 646 W Gaines St. (http://www.latenightlibrary.com/).

Sloppy Joe's (5 min drive, 301 S Bronough St.) is a dance club that caters more to young professionals, but in a a college town that can be a fine distinction.

Unique Things to Do

The panhandle of Florida is a forest on top of one of the world's most productive aquifers (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/swapp/Aquifer.asp and http://talgov.com/citytlh/utilities/water/localgeo.html). If you enjoy hiking in forests and experiencing unique flora/fauna and terrain (including sink holes), then you should consider a side trip. You can read about Apalachicola National forest here:


If you want to be amazed by enormous natural springs that generate cold rivers, then this is the place to do it. You can read about the springs here:


Wakulla Springs State Park is about a 30 minute drive south of town. The Florida panhandle is apparently the best place in the world for cave diving. You can do a virtual cave dive of the Wakulla spring here:


Like large reptiles? If it is a body of water in Tallahassee, you should assume alligators are in it:

"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) receives more than 15,000 alligator-related complaints annually. Most of these complaints deal with alligators occurring in places such as backyard ponds, canals, ditches and streams, but they also turn up in garages, pools and golf course water hazards" (source: website listed below).

Fortunately, they are afraid of humans and unprovoked attacks on people are extremely rare. But if you have a small dog, leave it at home. You can read about living among them here:


If you like European style gardens, then Maclay Gardens (25 min drive, Thomasville Rd) is worth a visit:


During Reconstruction Thomasville, GA, which is about 40 minutes north of Tallahassee, became a winter destination for wealthy northern socialites (e.g., Goodyear, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt). More than 50 of the 'grand homes' they built still exist and many offer tours.


Thomas county (GA) is also host to over 70 plantations and cotton remains a major crop to this day. Pebble Hill is an antebellum plantation that is open for tours:


Like the rest of the country, Thomasville has yet to confront slavery, the lynching era, and the civil rights movement, but with a little effort one can explore African American history in Thomasville:


Speaking of the civil rights movement, Tallahassee is home to the nation's longest sustained bus boycott. Two Florida A&M students, Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Paterson, refused to move to the back of the bus in May 1956 and Revered C.K. Steele, a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, mobilized a boycott of bus service that led to integration in January 1958. The Florida A&M students were the first to use the tactic of refusing bail in favor of serving their sentence (Martin Luther King famously adopted this tactic). Once their sentence was completed Jakes and Paterson found that they had become celebrities and toured the northeast and midwest to speak about civil disobedience. You can find a timeline, photos and contemporary local newspaper coverage here:


Glenda Alice Rabbby chronicles the movement in {\it The Pain and the Promise: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Tallahassee, Florida} (U Georgia Press, 1999). One of the many interesting things revealed in the book is the role played by several of the people whose names grace the buildings on the FSU campus in enforcing segregation at FSU. You can learn more by visiting the Black Archives Research Center and Museum:


Finally, the Florida State Park system is one of the nation's best and if camping on the beach or hiking in pine forest appeals to you, you may want to consider booking extra time on the front or back end of the trip to visit one. Grayton Beach is highly recommended:


Local Flavor in Books and Movies

Diane Roberts, who calls Tallahassee home when she is not at U of Alabama, offers {\it Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife} (Free Press, 2004), a sarcastic look at Florida history, largely through the prism of her family.

"Ulee's Gold" (1997, starring Peter Fonda) portrays Gulf Coast/Panhandle communities well.

Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild" (1986, starring Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels) was shot on location in New York and Tallahassee.

Finally, the academic reputation of FSU is the butt of jokes in 1981's "Body Heat" (starring Kathleen Turner and William Hurt) and more recently in an episode of "The Simpson's."

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