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Top 8 Things to Do in Dade City, Florida • The real Florida

Last updated on January 24, 2023

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One of our favorite authentic Florida destinations Dade cityhome to the annual Kumquat Festival.

This unhurried, laid-back Florida town has tremendous southern charm combined with history and great hospitality.

It also offers farm-to-table cuisine to bring visitors a delicious dose of authentic Florida.

It’s like stepping back in time, but with Wi-Fi and other modern amenities.

Whether you’re experiencing Dade during the Kumquat Festival or any other time, there are things you don’t want to miss.

1. Dade city court

Dade City Court in January 2023

The centerpiece of the town square is the beautifully restored 1909 Revival-style courthouse. Above National Register of Historic Placesthe courthouse’s neoclassical dome and clock proudly proclaim the city as the county seat.

2. Dade City Antique Shops

Picture of an antique shop in Dade
Downtown Dade City is known for its antique shops

Adjacent to the plaza, visitors can browse local antique shops, including An antique in the beginning. This charming shop specializes in folk art and primitive antique treasures. (Closed on Sundays and Mondays)

There is also Ivy Cottage Antiques and Wine Shop and Dade City Magnolia House.

3. Lunch in Limoges

Photo of lunch in Limoges
Lunch in Limoges is a delicious classic version of southern cuisine

The historic downtown Dade City is also home to a number of excellent restaurants. Consider starting your food tour with a local classic, Lunch in Limoges (14139 7th Street).

Lunch on Limoges board menu

This Southern restaurant and gift shop offers a chalkboard menu with Florida flair.

Pecan crowd at lunch in Limoges in Dade

We recommend Pecan Chicken, Pecan Grouper or their signature Chicken Salad.

A waiter holding a kumquat cake during lunch in Limoges

A gourmet display of cakes and pies, including seasonal kumquat tarts, will tempt anyone who loves old-fashioned, handmade desserts.

NOTE: Diners in Limoges are now owned by the folks at Florida Cracker Kitchen.

Diners in Limoges are courtesy of Florida Cracker Kitchen

4. Cafe Kokopelli

Kumquat Room and Cafe Kokopelli

Cafe Kokopelli (37940 Live Oak Ave) is another local favorite. Once a T Model showroom for the Florida Motor Company, the restaurant is decorated with old Florida memorabilia, photos and art.

Photo of grilled salmon
Ahi tuna coated in black and white sesame seeds and seared with seaweed salad and spicy Asian mayo. Photo: Cafe Kokopelli

Chef Stephen Quinn offers an impressive menu including local Florida favorites such as fried green tomato napoleon, fried gator, sole fish sandwich, tuna and mixed organic salads.

5. Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant

Another favorite, off the field, especially for cooking at home Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant (14519, 5th Street).

The restaurant has a fresh local menu of fried chicken, meatloaf, ribs, greens and fresh fruit desserts.

Dade City certainly yields good food.

6. Museum and Village of Pioneers

1887 Photo of Trilby Depot, Pioneer Museum and Village
1887 Trilby Depot, Pioneer Museum and Village

Head north from Dade City for some interesting history in the area Pioneer Florida Museum and Village. This walking village depicts the life of a Florida pioneer “Cracker”.

Many of the actual buildings saved from demolition were also brought to this site to create a living history exhibit.

Visitors can experience a wide range of Old Florida life through this experience while taking a walk into Florida’s past.

7. Joy Lane Drive in Theater

Photo by Joy Lan Drive in the theater
Joy-Lan Drive-In Theater in Dade City

At night, Dade City is home to one of the few remaining movie theaters in the Sunshine State. The Joy is Lan screen is the largest digital screen in Pasco County and shows first-run movies.

The recreation center is decorated with photographs of staff and guests over the years. You also don’t want to miss a night at the movies…old school style.

Joy-Lan is one of six remaining movie theaters in Florida.

8. Annual Kumkat Festival

2023 Kumquat Festival

Every January, it’s time to celebrate kumquat at the annual kumquat festival. Dade City is the epicenter of the kumquat and celebrates the little fruit in a wonderful way.

Dade City Kumquat Festival window

Read about the Kumquat Festival and make sure you put it on your calendar of events.

Just one fun little fruit, a homegrown festival, farm-to-table cuisine mixed with small-town charm, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a true Florida event in Dade City.