Southern Living Magazine Names Tallahassee One of The South’s Best Cities for 2019

From Leon County

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the first time ever, Tallahassee has earned a coveted distinction from national magazine Southern Living. Tallahassee was named the No. 9 South’s Best City as part of the magazine’s third annual South’s Best Awards, and is the only city in Florida to be recognized in this category.

Southern Living’s South’s Best Awards represent the best of Southern culture and hospitality. And the fact that Tallahassee-Leon County is among the top cities comes as no surprise to those who call our community home,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Jimbo Jackson. “As we continue to grow and thrive, our community will retain that special blend of outdoor adventure, nightlife, and Southern charm, a combination that landed us on Southern Living’s prestigious list.”

Southern Living is a leading travel and lifestyle publication, with a reach of over 10 million through a combination of its print, online and social media platforms. The magazine launched the annual crowd-sourced awards three years ago to celebrate the people and places its readers love across the South. This year more than 65,000 readers responded to highlight their top picks for destinations, restaurants, hotels, small towns and more.

“You don’t end up on Southern Living’s Best Cities overnight,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “To be one of the nation’s premiere Southern cities takes the commitment of local leaders, businesses, and citizens in creating the special community we all share. With this recognition, we have yet another reason to be proud of Leon County and Tallahassee.”

Tallahassee was highlighted for its distinct districts and incredible variety of restaurants and nightlife, its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as being an ideal destination for paddling and outdoor adventures, being “laced with rivers and lakes.”

Southern Living Magazine “South’s Best Cities” 2019

  1. Charleston, South Carolina
  2. Savannah, Georgia
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Nashville, Tennessee
  5. Asheville, North Carolina
  6. Atlanta, Georgia
  7. Greenville, South Carolina
  8. Wilmington, North Carolina
  9. Tallahassee, Florida
  10. Austin, Texas

“We are honored to receive the prestigious designation, which will undoubtedly bring increased visibility, viability and visitation to our destination. We welcome visitors and residents alike to explore and discover for themselves why Tallahassee is one of the South’s Best,” said Kerri L. Post, Director of Leon County Tourism, also known as Visit Tallahassee.

To see the South’s Best 2019 awards rankings in their entirety – showcasing the best small towns, cities, hotels, restaurants and bars among other travel related categories – visit The April print issue, which will be dedicated to the South’s Best 2019 results, hits stands Friday, March 22.


About The Leon County Division of Tourism/Visit Tallahassee: The Leon County Division of Tourism (Visit Tallahassee) is the official destination marketing organization for Tallahassee-Leon County. Tourism is charged with marketing Tallahassee-Leon County nationally as a premier leisure, business and sports destination through direct sales, advertising, public relations, sports, and visitor services. In 2018, Tallahassee-Leon County welcomed 2.4 million visitors who contributed $910 million in economic impact and accounts for more than 14,500 people employed in our community in the tourism & hospitality industry. For more information go to or call toll free (800) 628-2688. Engage with Visit Tallahassee on social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @VisitTally, #iHeartTally,  #Trailahassee.


What others are saying about Tallahassee making Southern Living Magazine’s list of the South’s Best Cities 2019: 

  • “From the many ecotourism opportunities to our robust educational community, it’s no surprise that Tallahassee is one of Southern Living’s Top 10 Best Cities,” Mayor John Dailey said. “The people, however, are the heart of our community and they are what makes Tallahassee such a charming and special place.” – John E. Dailey, Mayor of the City of Tallahassee


  • “To receive this type of recognition from the readers of Southern Living speaks volumes on Tallahassee’s visitor experience, welcoming atmosphere and growth.”– Bo Schmitz, General Manager of the Hampton Inn & Suites Capitol – University/Chairman of Leon County’s Tourist Development Council


  • “Through smart leadership Tallahassee has created a livable, sustainable and economically vibrant community. This recognition is a testament to Tallahassee’s continued growth in our destination through strategic public planning and targeted infrastructure place-making which, in turn, has sparked significant private investment in our community.” – Ben Pingree, Director, Department of PLACE


  • “Tallahassee is indeed one of the best cities in the south. Our community has southern charm in great abundance and that’s just one of the many reasons why businesses, companies and people thrive here. Some of America’s most talented individuals choose to live in Tallahassee because of our high quality of life, stable economy, and stunning natural beauty. Tallahassee has a thriving urban center and is only minutes away from both Florida’s Forgotten Coast and the Red Hills of South Georgia. We truly are one of America’s last great places.”– Sue Dick, President/CEO, Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce


  • “Besides its beauty, history and many cultural offerings, the Tallahassee area is a mecca for outdoor recreation users. Numerous public lands and trails provide for an abundance of opportunities for hikers, bicyclists, paddlers and anglers. And an unspoiled Gulf Coast is only 20 miles from downtown.”– Doug Alderson, Assistant Bureau Chief, Florida’s Office of Greenways and Trails and author of several award-winning outdoor book


  • “Florida A&M University is committed to our motto of “Excellence with Caring.” We are very proud of our diverse student population hailing from over 30 states and 70 nations.  This diversity, along with meaningful community engagement of our faculty, staff and students, contributes to the richness of the city of Tallahassee.  This recognition by Southern Living will increase the University’s visibility and attract additional students to FAMU’s Eternal Flame and this great community dedicated to collaboration, family and consensus building.”– Larry Robinson, Ph.D., Florida A&M University President


It is no surprise that Tallahassee is recognized as one of the “South’s Best Cities” by Southern Living. As the proud home to Florida State University, our campus family both contributes to and enjoys all that the capital city has to offer.  With the support of our hometown community, FSU is nationally recognized for the broad academic, research, arts and athletic achievements of our students and faculty.” –  John Thrasher, Florida State University President