Hattiesburg offers big-city advantages and small-town charm in southern Mississippi’s Pine Belt region. Dubbed “Hub City” for its central location between Jackson, Gulfport/Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile, Hattiesburg is a coveted destination for travelers throughout the south. Having visited multiple times, we’ve developed a deep admiration for this premier Mississippi city. Here are the best things to do in Hattiesburg, MS, based on our firsthand experiences.
The Hattiesburg Zoo
The Hattiesburg Zoo houses nearly 100 animal species from around the globe, organized by geographical regions. These consist of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Notable residents include the two-toed sloth, as well as prairie dogs, ruffed lemurs, and raptors.
Visiting the Hattiesburg Zoo is affordable at $10 for adults and $8 for ages 2 to 12, with even lower rates if purchased online. Enhance your zoo experience with additional activities such as mining expeditions, high ropes courses, and train and carousel rides.
For a bonus, take advantage of the entertaining splash pad, a children’s favorite. Take advantage of the touch Africa Petting Zoo and the barrier-free Wallaby Walkout exhibit, where you can interact with wallabies and a Kunekune pig. Don’t miss the hedgehog and porcupine, zoo ambassadors, and my faves.
The Hattiesburg Zoo is closed on Mondays.
Hattiesburg boasts abundant shopping opportunities, offering a wide array of fascinating treasures. The Lucky Rabbit, located in two neighboring buildings connected by a greenspace with picnic tables and refreshments, offers an extensive collection of antiques, vintage items, handmade goods, furniture, and more.
It also offers excellent Hattiesburg and Mississippi souvenirs.
With its vibrant neon signs and larger-than-life decorations, including the beloved vintage Pyrex bus, chock full of retro dishes, casseroles, and cookware, the Lucky Rabbit provides a captivating experience.
Open on Saturdays from 9 AM to 6 PM and Sundays from 11 AM to 5 PM, each visit promises a fresh inventory and unique theme.
Noteworthy displays at the Lucky Rabbit have included Stranger Things, Schitt’s Creek, and Barbie, which visitors (and I) have particularly favored.
Find the latest music, retro vinyl, and diverse music genres at Hattiesburg’s trendy T-Bones Records & Cafe. There is also a great selection of books, posters, t-shirts, and music memorabilia.
T-Bones onsite restaurant offers dine-in, take-away, or delivery services, and has a great mid-morning coffee drinker business. For suggestions, try the Iced Blondie (White Chocolate and Caramel blended with cold brew) and the Funky D Muffuletta Sandwich. Note: T-Bones is closed on Sundays.
Hattiesburg Public Art Trail
Hattiesburg offers remarkable public art, including 100+ large-scale murals, sculptures, and hand-painted utility boxes. As you explore the area, use the Public Art Trail downloadable map to discover your favorite installations. Notable pieces include Hub City Smile, Love Language, and You Can Do Big Things.
Another way to enjoy artsy Hattiesburg is by admiring the architecture of its stately buildings. The historic Sanger Theater and the courthouse are two of my favorites.
Hattiesburg Pocket Museum
The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, located downtown, offers a charming and endearing experience. This vibrant alley beckons residents and tourists alike with its colorful artistic displays.
The museum is a delightful treat for visitors, from tiny art installations to word creation boards, painted rocks, and creative electrical boxes. Best of all, it is constantly changing and getting new displays.
Rain or shine, the museum welcomes all who seek to admire, play, create, and capture memorable photos.
Paul B. Johnson State Park
Get out on the water and enjoy fishing, kayaking, and more at Paul B. Johnson State Park, offering an 800-acre playground. The entrance fee is $2 per person; children five and under are free. Amenities to enjoy are a game room, playground, nature trails, splash pad, and boating or fishing on Geiger Lake.
Armed Forces Museum
The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum is the sole state-operated museum dedicated exclusively to military history. Situated at the Camp Shelby military post, a valid driver’s license is required for entry. This complimentary museum pays tribute to the servicemen and women from Mississippi and beyond who received training here during wartime.
With over 17,000 artifacts, we highly recommend a visit.
African American Military History Museum
Visit the African American Military History Museum in the old 6th Street USO Club, a significant venue for African Americans during WWII. Gain inspiration from the bravery of African-American soldiers as you explore military history. This museum was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and is open Wednesday to Saturday.
The Longleaf Trace is South Mississippi’s premier multi-use trail, spanning 44 miles from Hattiesburg to Prentiss. This beautiful linear park, converted from an old rail line, accommodates running, biking, hiking, skating, rollerblading, and equestrian activities. The 10-foot-wide paved trail offers stunning views and ranges in elevation from 220 feet to 460 feet.
Remember to yield to pedestrians and equestrians and keep your animals leashed. Need a bike? Rentals are available in Hattiesburg.
Hattiesburg’s Beer Scene
For a town this size, Hattiesburg is busting at the seams with excellent craft beer. You’ll find a taste to satisfy your IPA, stout, sour, and pilsners.
Porter Public House
The Porter Public House has great locally brewed Southern craft beer and an upscale pub grub menu featuring gourmet cheesesteaks and excellent chicken & waffles. They also offer tabletop games for families to enjoy and mug club memberships for their devout regulars.
My favorite Porter Public House beer is The Madman, a milk stout with vanilla beans. I love their colorful and artistic beer can labeling, too. Happy hour is on weekdays from 3 to 6 PM.
Keg and Barrel
You’ll have a fantastic selection of brews at Keg and Barrel, Mississippi’s premier beer emporium offering 120+ kinds of beer (and tasty burgers!). With two Hattiesburg locations, you’re never far from a great, cold beer. Check out their website for special events, like fundraisers, cook-offs, and live music.
Southern Prohibition Brewing (SoPro) aims to brew great beer. We are sure they’ve achieved this. Enjoy a flight of beer or indulge in the seasonal specialty beers and cocktails. Check out the cozy rooms inside the Taproom to take full advantage of the space, or enjoy the spacious outdoor patio.
Suzy B is probably the best seller (blonde IPA), but I prefer SPB’s Dogs Manipulating Time, a pineapple-lime sour. Pair your beer with the delicious and funky pizza roll nachos.
The University of Southern Miss
Hattiesburg is home to the esteemed public University of Southern Mississippi, or Southern Miss, established in 1910. With a student body of 15,000, the university offers a range of exciting activities. Attend a Golden Eagles football game or partake in public events, including concerts, art exhibits, and shows.
Explore the picturesque campus, where notable individuals like Brett Favre, Jimmy Buffet, Tori Bowie, Robert L Stewart, and Governor Phil Bryant (MS) once studied. Notably, Seymour serves as the beloved Southern Miss mascot.
Hattiesburg’s Best Restaurants
For an unrivaled breakfast experience, look no further than Depot Kitchen & Market. The incomparable Bru’s Breakfast Bowl stands as a testament to the art of breakfast in Mississippi.
Keg and Barrel, housed in a late 1800s home, offers elevated pub food, traditional Southern cuisine, and gourmet burgers. Not to be missed are the delightful Beignet Bites.
Hattiesburg proudly hosts renowned chefs Robert St. John and Katie Dixon. Sample Chef Robert St. John’s delectable creations at Crescent City, featuring an extensive wine list, a wide selection of whiskeys, and flavorful pasta and seafood dishes served with fresh daily catch.
Chef St. John also owns The Midtowner and Ed’s Burger Joint, among others.
At Birdie’s Cafe, Chef Katie Dixon’s culinary gem, indulge in healthy recipes that satisfy any palate and convert you to clean eating. The curry chicken salad is fantastic, and the açaí bowls are among the best we’ve ever tasted. Both chefs have authored exceptional cookbooks.
Discover more delightful dining options in Hattiesburg in this post.
Coffee and Sweets
Mulvi’s Coffee, on Hardy Street, is where we like to enjoy a tasty caffeinated beverage or a tasty iced matcha. My granddaughter is fond of their non-coffee latte choices. If you’d like to try something different, Mulvi’s Scarlet Berry Latte, with vanilla and steamed milk, is super delicious. You can also add espresso ice cubes to your coffee beverages.
They are closed on Sunday.
Hattiesburg has quite a few bakeries to choose from, so the arsenal of cookies, cakes, pastries, and such, is immense. Maddox Home Bakery, Zelaya’s Bakery, and the newly opened Loblolly Bakery are a few of the choices, but we really love Jody’s old-fashioned family-owned and operated bakery.
My eyes nearly popped out of my head seeing the wall of to-go orders awaiting pick-up. Jody’s selection of cakes is off the hook, and the gourmet cookies can’t be beat. Try the rainbow, vanilla butter, and sand tarts to get you started.
Country Tyme Fruitstand
Country Tyme Fruitstand, a lively market near downtown Hattiesburg, offers a delightful selection of produce, sandwiches, pie, banana pudding, and side dishes. Highly recommended by our RV campground, we frequented this exceptional establishment multiple times, attracted by its captivating gifts and outdoor yard art.
A Bonus Offering: Amtrak Train Travel
If you ever want to try an Amtrak train trip, Hattiesburg is an excellent place to do so. We parked our car in the Hattiesburg Train Station lot for a trip to New Orleans. The round-trip train ticket was under $50 each, offered free Wi-Fi, and dropped us within a $5 Uber ride to our downtown hotel.
My husband and I found the Hattiesburg Amtrak train station staff friendly and helpful, the facility clean, and the train trip a great value. We will definitely consider doing it again.
Fun Fact: We drive an oversized truck. Overnight parking at our hotel was $65 per space per night. Ours takes two, so you can see how much money we saved by taking the train.
Where to Stay in Hattiesburg
Choose between an abundance of hotel chains or a fantastic RV park when shopping for lodging in Hattiesburg.
Hattiesburg Okatoma River KOA
The tranquil and beautiful Hattiesburg / Okatoma River KOA is highly recommended for camping or RVing enthusiasts. You can enjoy waterfront RV spots, cabins for rent, and a multitude of amenities, such as a year-round pool, fishing lake, walking paths, dog park, playground, and more. We loved it so much we stayed for a whole month.
Courtyard by Marriott Hattiesburg
Consider staying at the conveniently located Courtyard Hattiesburg, an excellent accommodation option in Hattiesburg. This hotel boasts various amenities, including an outdoor pool, an onsite restaurant and bar, a fitness center, free parking, and Wi-Fi.
The spacious and well-appointed rooms at Courtyard Hattiesburg feature comfortable beds with luxury bedding, smart TVs with streaming capabilities, a mini-fridge, a microwave, work desk, and sitting area, providing a relaxing retreat after exploring the city.
When To Visit Hburg
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has special events all year long!
- Spring: Live at 5, Craft Beer Fest, Farm 2 Fork Ride or Run, Downtown Crawfish Jam Music Festival, HubFest
- Summer: Farmers’ Market, Summer Tunes, Star-Spangled Celebration
- Fall: Live at 5, Mobile Street Renaissance Festival, Walking Tours, Taste of the South Food Truck Fest, Brews & Bites
- Winter: Holiday Open House, Olde Time Christmas, Christmas Parade, Pine Belt Holiday Expo and Christmas Market
We were guests of Hattiesburg CVB for some of our meals and lodging on occasional visits. All opinions and reviews are our own and unbiased.
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