Life in Tallahassee

Near but far from the castles and crowds of Disney, lies another magical place in the Sunshine State - one with a fascinating past, a diverse population, a buzzing political center, and great pride. Often described as “The Other Florida” with its deep-rooted history, rolling hills, mild climate, Southern-style hospitality and canopy roads of moss-draped oaks, it is a Florida few have seen.

Best known as Florida's state capital, Tallahassee is a medium-sized city where the power of state government and a vibrant academic and artistic community are complemented by old-fashioned charm. Tallahassee is located in the central northwest panhandle region of Florida, 30 minutes north of the Gulf of Mexico and 30 minutes south of Thomasville, Georgia. This region marks the center of the eight-county “Big-Bend” area.

Location

Tallahassee is home to beautiful rolling hills, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, camellias, magnolias, dogwoods and azaleas, beautiful gardens and large lakes. Many of the city’s prominent roads meander through former plantation forests. Lined with trees on either side, these streets are known as canopy roads.

Less than two hours from the lush landscape of Tallahassee, Florida’s white sand beaches offer a completely different but equally beautiful scene. Popular coastal destinations Cape San Blas, Mexico Beach and St. George Island, which was ranked by National Geographic as one of the top ten beaches in the country, are all within a couple hours or less.

Distance to Atlanta: 273 miles
Distance to Tampa: 275 miles
Distance to Orlando: 257 miles
Distance to Jacksonville: 163 miles

Demographics

  • Leon County has a population of about 300,000 people; however, Leon County healthcare providers service the surrounding 17 rural counties.
  • The presence of the State Capital and two major universities help to shape Leon County's population as relatively young, well educated, and affluent.
  • Tallahassee has a median age of 27.5 compared to the state average of 40. 48% of individuals are below 34 years of age.
  • Our education level is the highest in the state with 41% having a bachelors degree or higher.
  • Leon County's relative wealth is depicted by a median family income of $47,318.

Climate

The climate in Tallahassee is mild and moist. Unlike the rest of Florida's subtropical year-round climate, Tallahassee, along with most of the panhandle area, has a four-season climate. The average low temperature is 55.7 degrees F and the average high temperature is 78.7 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is 64.59 inches per year.

History

Before the arrival of Spanish, French, and English colonists to the North Florida region, the Tallahassee area, then known as “Anhaica”, was the principle village of the Apalachee Indians. Evidence of this ancient culture can still be found today at a number of ancient Indian temple mounds just to the north and east of town. In addition, the City of Tallahassee actually takes its name from a Native American word thought to mean “old town" or "abandoned fields".

The name may reflect the Apalachee Indian’s abandonment of the area when Spanish explorers began to arrive in the 16th century. Hernando De Soto is believed to be the first of these explorers to have reached the Tallahassee area. In 1539, he and his troops celebrated the first Christmas in the New World in the woods not far from the present-day State Capitol.

Tallahassee’s status as the capital was established in April 1824, three years after Spain ceded Florida permanently to the United States. Tallahassee was selected as the territorial capital due in part to its central location between the state’s two major cities: Pensacola and St. Augustine.

Today, downtown Tallahassee consists of a mixture of state government buildings, historic old homes, and a growing combination of renovated historic buildings converted into banks, offices, restaurants and boutiques.

Industry

The main industry of Tallahassee is state government; however, education is an increasingly significant contributor to the local economy.  Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Community College, Lively Vocational-Technical School, Keiser University College, Flagler College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical  University, Nova University, Barry University and other specialty training centers all thrive here.

With two major hospitals, specialty clinics and treatment facilities, the medical community is just as robust. Tallahassee is home to the FSU College of Medicine. The Florida State University College of Medicine's goal is to educate and develop exemplary physicians who practice patient-centered health care, discover and advance knowledge, and are responsive to community needs, especially through service to elder, rural, minority, and underserved populations.

A highly-educated workforce also supports a rapidly growing high tech business sector.  Tallahassee houses the National High Field Magnetic Laboratory - the largest and most high-powered magnetic laboratory in the world out of only 13 such labs. In addition, Fortune 500 ranked industries, like General Dynamics and Mainline Information Systems, also call Tallahassee home.

Agriculture is also strong in North Florida, with productive tree farms, successful crops such as tomatoes, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, hay, and watermelons, and plentiful livestock, consisting mainly of cattle, as well.

Our close location to the coast means an abundance of fresh seafood, including shrimp, scallops, grouper, snapper and oysters. Ninety percent of Florida’s oysters come from nearby Apalachicola Bay. Aquaculture catfish and clams are a growing industry.

The retail sector is also very solid as Tallahassee services over 1.2 million people from 100 miles around. For shopping, entertainment and business, Tallahassee is the area hub.

Schools

Tallahassee prides itself on its public and private schools. Leon county schools are ranked among the top in Florida. Tallahassee is also home to three large colleges: Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College.

Florida State University
FSU Medical School
Florida A&M University
Tallahassee Community College
Leon County Public Schools