Meridian, Mississippi, is a great destination for travelers of all kinds. Whether you’re road tripping with your family or on a solo adventure, Meridian offers unique experiences that are perfect for adventurous souls and rich in arts and entertainment. Get ready to delve into an exciting journey as we detail some of the most fun things to do in Meridian!
Updated Feb 2023.
Here, you can dine at Mississippi’s oldest restaurant, ride the only two-row stationary Dentzel menagerie carousel in the world, and really get know arts and entertainment greats, like Oprah, Jimmie Rodgers, and Kermit the Frog.
1. See a Show at the MSU Riley Center
Get ready to have an unforgettable time at the MSU Riley Center! This one-of-a kind venue specializes in offering cultural, artistic and educational experiences that make for a truly enriching experience.
Sit back and enjoy your choice of entertainment with 950 seats restored from a 1889 grand opera house. Whether you’re into contemporary sounds or classic hits; drama performances or upbeat shows – this place has it all.
Fun Fact: The MSU Riley Center is on the National Register of Historic Places.
2. Explore the Mississippi Children’s Museum
If you bring the kids along, they’ll love exploring The Mississippi Children’s Museum-Meridian, where creative spaces like Our Lady’s Playhouse (cultures around the globe), WonderBox Laboratory, and Fantastic Flying Books Library (navigate an airplane’s cockpit) will keep them entertained for hours. My granddaughter is crazy for the classic Goodnight Moon book-themed space.
With 9,500 square feet of indoor and 25,000 square feet of outdoor experiences, there’s plenty to do at this very well done children’s museum.
Note: Admission is $10 for adults and children (over the age of one).
3. Dine at the Oldest Restaurant in Mississippi
Meridian is home to the iconic restaurant, Weidmann’s, which has been serving exquisite comfort food since 1870. Step into a time-capsule of old-world charm as you peruse traditional recipes like Chicken and Waffles or Redfish 1870 while seated at tables stocked with handmade peanut butter crocks – an homage to when WWII caused shortages in the 1940s.
Enjoy lunch staples, such as Bleu Cheese Bacon Burgers, Grilled Pork Loin, and Catfish Belvedere. For brunch, consider the Strawberry Stuffed French Toast or Steak & Eggs. Of course Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp & Grits are always perfect choices for a southern restaurant.
Need another place to enjoy lunch or dinner in Meridian? We have six tasty choices in this post.
4. Shop in Downtown Meridian
Take a trip to Downtown Meridian for a grand shopping experience! From quality goods made in Mississippi at Crooked Letter, incredible kids clothing and accessories from Over The Moon, fine men’s garments from Loeb’s, and beautiful women’s apparel from Uptown Girl – you won’t be disappointed.
Downtown Meridian is home to some very unique small businesses. No matter if you’re shopping for yourself or looking for a gift, you can find what you need in here.
5. Ride the Historic Dentzel Carousel
Don’t forget about experiencing history with an exciting ride on one of most storied wooden carousels worldwide: located right here in downtown Meridian. The two-row stationary Dentzel Menagerie Carousel, originally designed for the St Louis World Fair in 1904, will only set you back $1 per spin!
Come and explore the vibrant, one-of-a-kind outdoor art exhibit of stunning painted carousel horses in Meridian: Around Town Carousels Abound.
6. Choose Your Own Adventure at HYPE!
When you’re done taking it all in, let your adventurers run free at HYPE! Adventures – a 93K square foot playground designed to make kids and adults alike jump for joy. From trampolines to ninja courses; from axe throwing to virtual reality booths; zip around on go karts or take flight with their zipline experience. This is an outing like no other (just don’t forget those closed toe shoes)!
7. Meet Mississippi’s Stars at The MAX
Experience Mississippi’s remarkable arts and entertainment legacy firsthand at The MAX (Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience)! Take a journey through immersive exhibits honoring its legendary icons, including a Hollywood-style Hall of Fame that links downtown Meridian to its entrance.
From larger-than-life displays, you can explore how Mississippians have made an impact on these industries worldwide – since this is where many stars were born! A few of these include Elvis Presley, Oprah, Tennessee Wiliams, James Earl Jones, Britney Spears, and Robert Johnson.
8. Spend Time Outdoors
Meridian is a great place to get outdoors. The city encompasses the 3300-acre Bonita Lakes Park–a peaceful, lightly developed space that’s perfect for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching. Both dogs and horses (20 miles of equestrian trails) are welcome here.
Another great outdoor space is Okatibbee Lake. Public boat ramps with courtesy docks provide quick and easy access to the water, while swings and picnic tables overlook the tranquil scenery. This lake is home to some of the area’s best white-tailed deer hunting and largemouth bass fishing.
And, if you’re up for a short drive, Dunn’s Falls (15 miles southwest of Meridian) is home to a 65-foot waterfall that was once a power source for a gristmill and the manufacturer of Stetson Hats.
9. Explore Meridian’s History
Explore Meridian, a city that played an integral role in shaping US history. At the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, take your pick of guided tours to witness first-hand America’s last steam engine factory.
At the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, discover more about the country music innovator and Father of Blues music himself. Follow his footsteps on either one or both state trails – Mississippi Blues Trail or Country Music Trail – while journeying through Civil War sites (Civil War Trail).
10. Attend a Festival in Meridian
Meridian has several annual events that make for a great time to visit:
- Ralph Morgan Rodeo (April and August)
- Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival (May)
- Chunky River Raft Race & Festival (June)
- Meridian Craft Beer Festival (October)
- Brickhaus Brewtique (October)
- Soulé Live Steam Festival (November)
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