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Old 11-14-2007, 08:35 PM
Location: Brandon, FL
295 posts, read 1,382,923 times
Reputation: 295


Tallahassee is a great little city/town to live and work in. There is a lot to do here, unless you are the type that requires non-stop hustle and bustle - like what Miami might provide.

Forests, parks, and wildlife areas: This is the primary reason I chose this area. There are more parks, rivers, running trails, soccer fields, biking trails, wildlife preserves, and natural areas in and around this area than almost any other place I have been. Minnesota has a lot (Eden Prairie area), but you can only go when the arctic tundra hasn't overwhelmed the place (or mosquitos). So much outdoor recreation, so little time.

Politics: The state gubbamint is located here, so tha many issues that affect the state of Florida usually wind up in the papers here. Every now and then, some tiny group of hippies will stand on the capitol lawn with their "honk if you want to end the war" signs, but that is as big as the political unrest gets. The fact it is a college town doesn't seem to generate more political upheaval.

Arts: While I could care less about the fine arts myself, Tallahasse is renowned for its arts community. There are arts festivals in the city center almost every weekend during the spring and summer, and there are theaters and performing arts centers to sate anyone's taste for high culture.

FSU/FAMU: There are two major colleges in the west-central part of town. Surges in population and traffic congestion are connected to the times when school is in session. Sometimes the city officials will block off certain streets in the downtown area when there is a big game in town, but as long as the Seminoles keep losing, it doesn't seem to happen as much.

Bars / Nightlife: Tallahassee is a relatively clean town. There are no strip clubs, and relatively few bars. The number of bars is regulated by population. There is a row of bars just off of the city center (across from FSU - fancy that) which offer live music and lots of cheap beer specials. If you don't mind hanging out with the college crowd, Bullwinkles is your place. They even bring in a couple of decent live acts from time to time, at the Beta Bar and Floyd's Record Store (Daughtry came here this past summer). This place isn't the most popular place for concerts, so the live music scene is pretty active with local talent. A lot of beatniks from Key West have made their way north to meld with the southern rock tendencies of south Alabama, so the majority of the live bands play a mix of Freebird and Margaritaville. There are several sports bars and even a few bars that offer better than the commercial cheap beers.

Employment: The State of Florida offices are the biggest employer in this town by a large percentage. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and FSU are the next biggest, and they are followed by service industry jobs. There is a small portion committed to technical service, but it is small and very niched. This is still good-ol-boy land when it comes to winning business clients. Income from local jobs can be higher than other panhandle jobs, but that is because the housing costs and property taxes in Leon County are higher than surrounding areas. The state jobs pay like most other state jobs - low enough to make you think about quitting, but high enough to live comfortably.

Traffic: The people who created the traffic design for Tallahassee are the dumbest people in the engineering profession. There are lots of three-lane roads that merge into one lane within 100 feet of passing through a stoplight. This causes a race to out-run the cars in the primary lane of traffic, and lots of road rage. There is also a bad mix of teenage/college kids, snow-birds, and redneck farmers. If the speed limit is 55mph on a two-lane road, you can bet the flow of traffic is between 45mph and 50mph. Conversely, if the road is a six-lane divided highway with a speed limit of 35mph, you can bet the flow of traffic is going 60mph. It is the wierdest place I have ever driven, and I have driven in the Congo, Naples, and Manila.

Racial tension (or lack thereof): Because Tallahassee is in the deep south (they don't call it northern Alabama for nothing), there are racial overtones on a lot of issues. The racial mix is relatively even between black and white people, and the population of hispanic people is growing. There is a low rate of crime (compared to other similar-sized cities), and gang-related violence is almost non-existent. As in every town though, you will see the pimped-out car with the deeply-tinted windows blasting the bass so loud that the plastic on the car rattles. You will also see lots of redneck trucks with lift kits, big tires, and NASCAR stickers in the windows. Overall, the only time you hear about racial tension in this area is when a national news story hits the newspapers (such as the Lena Six story), or when a white police officer shoots a black person (only once in my two years here).

Where to live if you work in Tallahassee:
1) Crawfordville or south of Tallahassee: Once again, I am biased since I live in Crawfordville. It is close enough to be in Tallahassee every day, yet I don't have to pay Leon County property taxes, or deal with Tallahassee city problems. I have access to all the ammenities I could want, and can sit in my yard without hearing the rumble of traffic.
2) North Tallahassee: The area that seems to have a big draw with the financially secure, white population, is the northeast side of Tallahassee (up into Havana). There are some schools that are supposedly the best in the area (Maclay and Chiles), but it will cost you more. A lot of the roads leading northward to these areas are beautiful canopy roads with parks along them, but they get rediculously congested during peak traffic hours (to and from work). Lake Jackson (or the big empty sink hole) has a little bit cheaper lots, and is more rural.
3) Southeastern Tallahassee: Southwood is a budding area in the southeast Tallahassee area - close to some of the state offices (DEP, DCA, and DEM). It is relatively new, and carries a hefty price tag with it as well.
4) East-central Tallahassee: Some of the communities to the east of Tallahassee (Miccosukee and further east towards Monticello) are also popular for those who want to live close to Tallahassee, but not IN Tallahassee. I don't know a lot about the area other than what I see riding around the area. There are some horse farms, housing communities around the lakes and parks, and the Leon County landfill. There is a lot of discussion about where a new garbage-recycling power plant will be located, and I would be willing to bet that it will be somewhere out in this area. The landfill is already there, and there is a big body of water, which is necessary for it to operate. Ask around BEFORE you decide to move into this area (off of hwy 90).

I hope this was somewhat helpful.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:54 PM
19 posts, read 52,789 times
Reputation: 19
Thanks for this information. I've been accepted into a Ph.D. program at FSU and have been looking for some comprehensive information about Tallahassee before I decide to move there.

Any information about the Lakewood Village, Plantation Woods, or Hartsfield Woods neighbourhoods?
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:27 AM
Location: Brandon, FL
295 posts, read 1,382,923 times
Reputation: 295
Default North Tallahassee

Positives: All of those residential neighborhoods are near the Capitol Circle beltway of north-central Tallahassee, which is a good area to live in. They have a couple of reputable schools (Chiles and Maclay). Lots of sidewalks, parks, and canopy roads, shopping, dining, jobs... It is also right next to I-10 and directly off of Thomasville Road (one of the major north-south artery through Tallahassee).

Negatives: It will take you about 20-25 minutes to get to and from FSU from there, and the homes start in the mid $300s. There are a lot of choices for where to live in this area if price is no object. A similar home in south Georgia or other areas surrounding Tallahassee would be about $50k to $100k cheaper. Plus, the rush-hour traffic is a constant stream down the major arteries, and the traffic flow in Tallahassee was not planned very well.

I guess it all depends on what you are looking for (isolation, recreation, shopping, vicinity of school, price...).
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