About Tallahassee

Located in the Florida Panhandle, Tallahassee is a place where college town meets cultural center, politics meets performing arts and history meets nature, a place where the vibrancy of what to do is matched only by the city’s inviting hospitality.


Terri Messler
Visitor Services Director
Direct: (850) 606-2331

Visitor Center

Tallahassee, named Florida’s capital in 1824, is midway between the then-largest cities in the state, St. Augustine and Pensacola. Florida’s Capitol is at its busiest each spring during the legislative session when lawmakers meet and determine the state’s business agenda and budget.

Leon County is governed by five district and two at-large commissioners who are elected to staggered terms of four years. The Chair of the County Commission rotates annually among commissioners. The Clerk of the Court, Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Tax Appraiser, and Supervisor of Elections also are elected to terms of four years.

A City Commission comprised of a leadership mayor and four at-large commissioners, all elected to staggered four-year terms, govern the City of Tallahassee. The City owns the local electric utility, which contributes substantially to the city’s revenues.

Native Americans inhabited the Tallahassee area, as they did much of Florida, since 12,000 BC. This area, then known as “Anhaica”, was the principal village of the Apalachee Indians. Evidence of ancient cultures can be found today at Lake Jackson Mounds State Archaeological Site and at the nearby Letchworth-Love Mounds State Park.

In 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his expedition arrived in “Anhaica” and camped for the winter. This encampment was the site of the first North American Christmas celebration.

More Spanish explorers arrived during the 1600s and established more than 25 missions throughout North Central Florida. Missions played an important role in the settlement of Spanish America. Tallahassee’s Mission San Luis was the western capital, located on one of the region’s highest hilltops. It is the only reconstructed mission of its type.

After Florida became a U.S. territory in 1822, both St. Augustine and Pensacola competed to become the state capital. Unable to come to an agreement, it was decided to locate the Capital at a point between the two cities. In 1824, a log cabin in Tallahassee served as the first Capitol building.

During the Civil War a small battle at Natural Bridge, south of Tallahassee, saw a makeshift army of locals defeat Union troops. Tallahassee was the only Confederate city east of the Mississippi that did not fall to Union forces.

Higher learning has long been played a key role here. Florida State University (FSU) had its early beginning in 1851, became Florida State College for Women in 1909 and finally Florida State University, again co-ed, in 1947. Established in 1887 as the Florida State Normal College for Colored Students, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is the oldest historically black public university in Florida.

The city’s African American heritage includes events such as the 1865 reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on the front steps of the Knott House and the 1956 bus boycott that resulted in the abolishment of segregated seating on public transportation.  The John G. Riley Museum of African American History & Culture and the Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center & Museums at FAMU are must-visits.

Fast Facts

  • Nestled in the Red Hills bio-region of the Florida Panhandle, Tallahassee is one of the most biologically-diverse regions in the United States.

  • Of the 497 verified species of birds that reside in or visit Florida, 372 species can be seen here.

  • The West Indian Manatee, also known as the Florida Manatee, is a year-round resident in local rivers.

  • The most recent bones found in Wakulla Springs – one of the world’s deepest fresh water springs – can be seen in the form of Herman, a 12,000-18,000 year-old mastodon, who keeps watch over the exhibits in the Museum of Florida History.

  • Tallahassee’s canopy roads, originally Indian trails, now offer scenic drives with moss-draped live oaks, hickory, gum and other trees spanning the roads. Nine designated canopy roads cover 78 miles in Tallahassee.

  • Florida Agricultural Mechanical University (FAMU) is the nation’s largest historically black universities by enrollment.

  • A plantation belt created in the 1800s still lives on as the largest collection of antebellum plantations in the country – 71 plantations and 300,000 acres – exists between Tallahassee and Thomasville, GA

  • In 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto arrived here and camped during the winter. This encampment was the site of the first North American Christmas celebration.

  • Tallahassee’s rich African American history includes events such as the 1865 reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on the front steps of the Knott House and the 1956 bus boycott that resulted in the abolishment of segregated seating on public transportation.

  • The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University is the largest and highest-powered magnet laboratory in the world, capable of producing a magnetic field 1 million times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field.

  • The meeting point midway between St. Augustine and Pensacola that designated Tallahassee as Florida’s territorial capital is located in Tallahassee’s newest attraction, Cascades Park.

Located just 25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 14 miles south of Georgia, Tallahassee is situated in the Florida Panhandle, with convenient access provided by four major highways - I-10, US 27, US 319 and US 90. The Tallahassee International Airport offers service from major airline carriers, a private charter airport and several rental car companies.

Browse Listings:

The Leon County Division of Tourism (Visit Tallahassee) is the official tourism marketing organization for Tallahassee and Leon County Florida, and operates as a department of Leon County Government. It promotes tourism to the area through direct sales, advertising, public relations, sports, film, product development and visitor services.

The Leon County Tourist Development Council (TDC) is one of Leon County’s Citizen Committees that serves in an advisory role to the County Commission.  The TDC develops plans for tourist development, makes recommendations for operation of special projects or for uses of tax revenue and reviews expenditures of revenue from the development trust fund. 

Tourist Development Council Members

Commissioner Bryan Desloge  
Leon County Commission
301 S. Monroe Street 
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Sharon Priester G.M.
Hilton Garden Inn/Hampton Inn
333 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Michelle Personette, Director 
Challenger Learning Center
200 South Duval Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Commissioner Elaine Bryant
City of Tallahassee
300 S. Adams Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Satish Patel, G.M. 
Sleep Inn Suites
816 South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Matt Thompson, Owner
Madison Social
705 South Woodward Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32304

Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox
City of Tallahassee
300 S. Adams Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Bo Schmitz, G.M.
Hampton Inn & Suites
Tallahassee Capitol University
824 Railroad Avenue

Dr. Amanda Stringer, Executive Dir.
Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra 
515 East Park Avenue 
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Dr. Amanda Thompson, Interim Director of COCA 
816 South Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard,
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Michael J. Collins, Assistant Director
FSU Campus Recreation
1001 West St. Augustine Street  
Tallahassee, FL 32306-2319


Leon County Tourist Development Council 
Phone: (850) 606-2300  
Fax:  (850) 606-2304
Kerri L. Post, Executive Director-Tourism Development

Located in the heart of Florida’s Capital City, the Visitor Information Center provides assistance and information about the many places to see and things to enjoy while in Tallahassee and the surrounding area. Whether you need information on the latest events, activities or driving directions, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily help.

Downtown Tallahassee Visitor Information Center
106 East Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850)606-2305 | (800) 628-2866 | FAX: (850) 606-2301
Email: Terri.Messler@VisitTallahassee.com
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Parking is available at Klemen Plaza, an underground parking garage located west of City Hall. Enter from Bronough Street or North Duval Street.