Florida is famous for tropical weather, tourist traps, and weird people. These are all great reasons to move there, but what else is going on in the Sunshine State’s city of Tallahassee?
1. The Weather
You’re probably expecting this section to say something along the lines of “Tallahassee is too hot”, and you’re right, Tallahassee’s average daytime temperatures only dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the three coldest months of the year. Summers are boiling, with spikes easily surpassing 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the average temperature sitting at a hot 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combined with the humidity, this makes Tallahassee an AC salesperson’s paradise. However, the high temperatures actually aren’t the primary thing that makes the weather difficult to handle. No, that honor goes to its unpredictability. Tallahassee gets 48.3 inches of rain yearly, and unlike places like Seattle where high rainfall rates are caused by a consistent drizzle, rainfall in Florida tends to dump rain for a couple of hours and then stop.
And it’s hard to figure out when this will happen, with most Tallahassee citizens agreeing that attempts to predict the weather there are ineffective at best. This combines to produce a frustrating environment for anyone who wants to live their life without getting drenched with absolutely no warning.
On the bright side, the heavy rainfall keeps all those cool swamps wet. I’m sure the alligators are absolutely psyched about that.
Maybe you fear these big guys, maybe you don’t. The fact is that Florida belongs to the alligators, and everyone living there now lives there only by their mercy. You can’t move to Florida and expect them to respect mankind, for we have done nothing to earn their respect.
Alligators are everywhere in Florida, on the roads, on golf courses, in every lake and river, and even in swimming pools. There is not one body of water that they do not claim as their own property by right.
Of course, humanity is for the most part beneath the interest of the great reptilians of the ancient swamp. That being said, it’s best to avoid getting within striking range of a body of water that cannot be easily determined to not contain an alligator and to keep pets carefully in line so they don’t become lunch.
3. Tiny Airport
Tallahassee does have an airport, but there aren’t a lot of flights in or out of the city, and the ones that do exist are small and expensive. This matches the airport’s small terminal and limited access to food and belies its location ways out from the actual city, where you’d think they could have made use of more space.
If you move to Tallahassee, most people will probably recommend that you make use of the Jacksonville airport for domestic flights or the Atlanta or Orlando airports for international ones.
Considering the density of airports within driving distance of the city, it seems kind of strange that the city of Tallahassee even bothered to build one. If you need to travel by air frequently, then moving to a city with a higher quality airport might be worth the investment.
Tallahassee is a primarily Democratic city in Florida, one of the country’s biggest Republican strongholds. This means that pretty much no one is going to be happy with the way things are run there, as Democrats will chafe under the Republican state legislature’s rules while Republicans will likely find Tallahassee’s city ordinances frustrating.
Of course, Tallahassee is not unique in this, as many cities and towns across the United States find themselves in states where they don’t agree with the majority. In Oregon, there was recently a big push from five eastern counties to move to Idaho because the division was so strong.
Such are the difficulties that come with this kind of frustrating political situation. If you want to move here, whatever your place on the political spectrum, you’ll need to have a thick skin and a high tolerance for disagreements.
5. College Town
Tallahassee is a college town, which can be a pretty mixed bag. The city is home to Florida State University, which is one of the biggest universities in Florida and attracts a lot of students. These students drive a portion of the economy during the time they’re in the city, but also cause a lot of traffic accidents and can certainly be a nuisance for their frequent parties.
If you’re looking for a city with great education options, then Tallahassee is a fantastic place. If you’re looking for somewhere that will be quiet for most of the year, then Tallahassee will certainly disappoint you.
There are two primary traffic issues in Tallahassee. The first is that the stretch of I-10 that goes from Tallahassee to Jacksonville is infamous for having a high quantity of accidents each year. For obvious reasons, this can cause significant difficulties when leaving the city and going south.
The second big problem is that FSU’s football team, the Seminoles, are so popular in the city that whenever they have a home game the entire district that the stadium is in pretty much shuts down. Parking disappears, the roads are congested, and the streets are filled before and after the game.
If either of these things sounds like they’d significantly inconvenience you, you’ll need to keep them in mind when deciding whether to move to the city.
Tallahassee doesn’t have a lot of jobs open outside of its universities and the Florida State Government. This means that most people moving to the city will struggle to find jobs that fit their skill set. That being said, the city boasts a 3.0% unemployment rate, which is much higher than a lot of cities in the US.
This suggests that if you are in the right field to move to Tallahassee, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find and keep working. While this could change at a moment’s notice, if you don’t already have employment lined up in the city you might want to evaluate whether you’re in a field that the city actually supports.
8. Lots of Nature
Some people love being outdoors and experiencing nature, but others want to have nice indoor environments. Well, if you are outdoorsy then you are going to love moving here. If you like to do activities indoors then you are going to be about 2 hours away from what you think is fun.
So, aside from the activities (or lack thereof), there are other reasons why Tallahassee is not fun for many. Also, some people prefer a city that looks and feels like a busy city with lots of life in it. This city is not like that and is a blend of country and city vibes. So, the comfort you get from the way your city looks and feels to you is present here for some folks and non-existent for others.
The city of Tallahassee is, ironically for a state so focused on tourism, utterly boring. The only thing in the city to do is really football, and other than that there are almost no outdoor activities or entertainment options. This extends to a painful lack of mountains, which people from more geographically interesting parts of the country will miss.
10. No Spring Breakers
For most people, this will actually be a benefit. Every year during the week in which American schools give breaks for Easter, thousands of students from across the country travel to the Florida beaches to party like there is no tomorrow. For everyone but them, this is generally considered to be a bad thing.
They don’t come to Tallahassee because Tallahassee has no beaches or big entertainment centers like Disney World. While convenient for people actually living in town, this also contributes to the city’s boringness. Without the yearly influx of cash, it’s hard to open any kind of fun activities in the area, especially considering that they’d be a lot more profitable just a few miles closer to the coast.
Tallahassee is far, far away from any kind of coastline. It’s several hours of driving to get to a beach, although if you just want to go to a marsh, you can get to the Gulf of Mexico much faster. This means that unlike other parts of the state, it’s actually pretty tough to spend time on the shore.
If you’re moving to Florida for its beautiful coastline, then Tallahassee is definitely the wrong place for you to go. If you don’t care about the beach, you’ll like Tallahassee just fine.
The Tallahassee police department has a surveillance helicopter which they fly every night at a cost of $10,000 per flight. There are certainly some uses for a police helicopter, but in a city with less than 200,000 people, it seems like they wouldn’t need to use it so often.
If you don’t want the police watching you from a helicopter at night, even though there’s no guarantee it won’t happen in other cities as well, you will be out of luck while living in Tallahassee, Florida.
13. K-12 School System
Florida’s recent emphasis on school choice has left many public schools high and dry in terms of public information coverage, which makes it difficult to research public schools in the area. However, even Tallahassee’s best high schools are not really all that good according to students and parents alike.
The elementary schools and middle schools aren’t nearly as bad, although they still have significant problems. Private schools in the area meanwhile are expensive and sometimes exclusive as well, which means that mediocre public high schools are still going to be the only choice for many teens. Families may want to consider living in a different city.
Tallahassee being the center of government for Florida means that whenever the state passes a controversial law, this is where the protests are going to be. Regardless of what you feel is political, it can be pretty inconvenient to live with protests happening in your city all the time.
And the state of Florida being what it is, it frequently makes decisions that are controversial among certain subsets of the population. This means that new protests in the capital neighborhood can be expected at least once per year, if not more often.
Taxes aren’t awful in Tallahassee, with only a 1.50% increase on the state sales tax of 6.00%. However, this is offset by Leon County’s property tax rate, which is 20 mills in the city and 17 outside. This means that homeowners in Tallahassee proper will be paying $20 in tax for every $1,000 in the property they own.
This isn’t all due to the city’s tax rate. The school board and the City Commission both add a significant amount to this for their own continued operation. This is a fairly high property tax rate compared to other cities, which can be a pretty big burden for middle-earners whose wealth primarily comes from the ownership of their home.
Tallahassee gets hit by a hurricane once every eight years or so, which seems a lot worse than it is. Hurricanes and other tropical storms do usually cause damage, but they aren’t always the destructive forces that we see every year or two in the news. These storms usually cause a blackout and knock down a few trees, but the worst damage that your home is likely to suffer is a few lost shingles. Sure, that’s a pain, but it won’t ruin your life.
That being said, there’s always a risk that the next hurricane will be worse, and it’s always important to take care not to get hurt during a tropical storm. High winds can easily blow waste and debris into a pedestrian and cause serious harm, even during relatively low-power storms.
Tallahassee has one of the highest crime rates in the country, although this is somewhat skewed by the presence of FSU, where a lot of those crimes take place. While violent crimes are only a bit more common than average, the property crime rate in the city is very high, with about twenty-two thefts taking place for every one-thousand people each year.
While away from FSU rates are much lower, it’s still pretty hard to call Tallahassee a terribly safe city. While you’re unlikely to get murdered, you’ll have to keep a close eye on your wallet.
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