(UPDATED JULY 2022) Jackson, dubbed the “City with Soul,” is the capital of the Magnolia State and a city that keeps growing and expanding. From serene state parks to a world-class Civil Rights site, delectable Southern food, to a beautiful state capitol, here are the best things to do (and see) in Jackson, Mississippi.
Visit the Civil Rights
Nestled in the heart of Jackson is the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. This impressive state-of-the-art museum attracts visitors from worldwide to see exhibits and learn about civil rights issues and how we are finally overcoming these challenges and obstacles. The museum is well done, with thought-evoking displays and subject materials that can be shared with all ages.
Eat Delicious Soul Food
Sink your teeth into mouth-watering Southern and soul food in one of Jackson’s many delectable restaurants. Plow through the steam table line and select your favorite fried chicken, collards, and mac & cheese from Sweetie Pies, or enjoy a mushroom chicken cutlet with mushroom gravy, cheese grits, and green beans from Rooster’s over in Fondren.
Mississippi is known for the Blue Plate weekday meals, with meat +2 or four servings of veggies plate. Now don’t be too worried because veggies in this state mean a few green, healthy types and an arsenal of potatoes, grits, macaroni, and rice.
Step Into Nature
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is a great place to escape busy city life and take a hike, walk, or drive through the picturesque setting. The 50-acre lake is gorgeous, often showing reflections of the stunning Cypress knees that pop out of the water at the base of the dramatic cypress tree landscape.
You can also enjoy the 9-hole golf course and driving range in the state park, or bring your tent or RV for an overnight dose of the great outdoors. Developed and primitive campsites are available.
Admission to the park for a day pass is $4 per vehicle up to six people.
Admire the Art
Admire priceless works of art at the Mississippi Museum of Art, also the largest museum in the state. Some of the most precious pieces include works from Van Gogh, Degas, and Monet. The museum’s programming is geared for all ages, so there will be plenty for the little one to do, and equally as much for parents and grandparents.
Don’t miss the Art Garden, a 1.2-acre property around the museum in downtown Jackson, with a water feature, seasonal plants and flowers, and lovely artworks to admire.
Visit the Children’s Museum
Taylor had this to say about the Children’s Museum, a place she and Scarlett frequent.
“The Mississippi Children’s Museum takes fun seriously, with seven permanent galleries (Wild About Reading, Healthy Fun, Pollinator’s Playground, The Literacy Garden, Express Yourself, Exploring MS, World At Work) and seasonal exhibits.
Through hands-on, engaging exhibits and programs focusing on literacy, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math), and health/nutrition, the Mississippi Children’s Museum hopes to create unparalleled experiences to inspire a lifelong joy of learning.”
Note: The museum is closed on Monday.
Explore Fondren: The Hipster Part of Town
Fondren District is my favorite part of Jackson proper and one of the best things to do in Jackson, Mississippi. This hipster neighborhood, 3 miles from downtown, has eclectic shops, enticing restaurants, colorful murals, and galleries. Fondren is known for its many events, with the Art Walk being the most popular. Take in a book signing, art show, or even attend a church service.
Do not miss stops are Campbell’s Bakery for petit fours, PJ’s Coffee for cold brew, and Saltine Restaurant and Oyster Bar for char-grilled oysters. Brent’s Drugs is always a great stop, for sightseeing, ice cream treats, or food.
Tour the Eudora Welty House and Garden
Mississippi is chock full of famous literary figures, and Eudora Welty is one of the highest up the food chain. The historic home in Bellhaven, Jackson’s first subdivision, is where you can learn about this incredible internationally-acclaimed novelist through artifacts, memorabilia, and a tour. The gardens are supreme, as well, at this National Historic Landmark.
Eudora Welty won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for The Optimist’s Daughter.
Learn at the Ag Museum
One of the most fascinating museums in all of Mississippi is the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Wander the grounds and learn about a 1920s cotton-economy-era town from costumed interpreters and living history exhibits.
Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for those 3-17. There is also a nature trail, heritage center, and cute general store gift shop on the property. The AG Museum is closed on Sundays.
Visit Mississippi’s State Capitol
It is apparent that Jackson, Mississippi, has one of the most gorgeous state capitals in the country. Located on High Street between President and West Streets, the MS State Capitol has a photographic dome and pristine grounds you won’t want to miss. A glimmering gold eagle sits atop the dome and is the perfect symbol of freedom, strength, and courage.
Eat at Mississippi’s Only Food Hall
Cultivation Food Hall is a Jackson gem and the only food hall in the whole state. It holds “boutique restaurant concepts,” and boy, do we love going there. You’ll find a beautiful dining room with loads of seating arrangements, both tables, and high tops. The restaurants at Cultivation Food Hall currently include:
- Ohashi Sushi
- Hash Bowls
- Gold Coast
- Birdie’s by Chef Katie Dixon
- Midland Bistro
- Uncle Ray’s
- Yo Mama’s
- Spark Confectionary
- La Brioche Patisserie
You’re sure to find something for every taste at this massive food court, including alcoholic beverages, coffee, pastries, and kid’s menus.
Check Out the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum
The Mississippi Sports HOF & Museum is an excellent place to learn about famous sports stars who hail from or have played in the Magnolia State. Collections include sports memorabilia, medals, trophies, and awards, all tied to Mississippi somehow.
A few of Mississippi’s most beloved athletes include Archie Manning, Walter Payton, Brett Favre, and Dizzy Dean. Admission is only $5 for adults and $3.50 for children 6-17.
Attend Mistletoe Marketplace
Mistletoe Marketplace may be the most anticipated event in the whole of Mississippi. This annual event sponsored by the Junior League of Jackson hosts hundreds of merchants from across the nation selling clothing, crafts, toys, gourmet food, and anything you can think of.
The incredible holiday decorations quickly put you right in the Christmas spirit as families come to browse, shop, visit, eat, and have photos made with Santa at this festive event.
Mistletoe Marketplace takes place the first weekend of November.
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