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Tallahassee Travel Guide, Florida

Tallahassee has lived in the shadow of Miami, its brash cousin. Yet one gets the feeling that others' perceptions of their city as second-class don't matter much to Tallahassee natives. The city exudes a quiet confidence, reserve, and sense of comfort. It is a city with great history and its downtown and the historic district show it.

There is also an Old South feel to this charming city. There are nicely restored 19th-century buildings, historic plantations, ancient Native American settlement that line the streets next to the many trees that accompany them. There are few places in the city without a tree or green space, everywhere you go makes you feel like you are in the middle of nature not in the middle of a big city. The great gardens, excellent parks with picnic areas, beautiful lakes and streams gives the locals and the visitors great opportunities to unwind and relax in beautiful atmosphere.

There is a quite large historic area that combines Tallahassee’s colorful past with a contemporary freshness but there is a growing consciousness of the need to preserve natural beauty and architecture, so the blend looks quite natural without damaging the past image of the city. The best way to get a real feel of this atmosphere is by walking the streets of the three historic districts. It will take you a few good hours, but it is worth the effort.

Starting with the Park Avenue Historic District might be a good idea since it is the finest of the three. It is located along the broad Park Avenue and boasts some lovely old mansions along with live oaks and nice gardens. Some of the mansions are open to the public so you can visit the city's oldest surviving building, The Columns; the Knott House Museum and north of Park Avenue is the Lemoyne Art Gallery.

Then there’s Adams Street Commons which is a bit different. There are old, restored buildings like Gallie's Hall and the 1900s Governor's Club. The First Presbyterian Church dating 1838 is an important African-American historic site and the city's oldest church. But there are also some shops, restaurants and cafes where you can have lunch the way the locals do.

Old homes built between 1830 and 1880 can be seen at the Calhoun Street Historic District.

In the line of old buildings is the Florida's oldest surviving bank building now home to the Union Bank Museum exhibiting a small collection of artifacts. Then there’s the Georgian-style Governor's Mansion exhibiting 18th- and 19th-century antiques while the area around the house is picturesque.

Another important historic site is the Old City Cemetery where personalities like Princess Catherine Murat, George Washington's grand-niece and Napoleon’s nephew are buried.

With so much history around you might imagine the city is a big museum, but even if tradition and history are protected and treasured there are also modern elements that offer up a sense of the city's evolution to a contemporary center of commerce and government.

A good example in this sense is the Capitol Complex with its most famous building the New Capitol Building, an astonishing skyscraper that offers excellent views of the city from its 22nd-floor observatory. Opposite the new building is the old one, the Old Capitol which still has its charm as it was beautifully restored. While visiting it you can see a glimpse of Florida's political history. And it is still history you can depict at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial just across from the Old Capitol.

History is all around and the city’s peace is somehow matching the atmosphere, slow and peaceful and the only time it is disturbed is when the legislature is in session or a big sporting event is on.

Much of the city’s entertainment is sustained by the Florida State University's Flying High Circus that has great shows.

Come to Tallahassee to see history come alive as you enjoy the city’s special monuments and tributes to the men and women who have left such a rich heritage.

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