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10 Fun Things To Do In Meridian, MS

10 Fun Things To Do In Meridian, MS

(UPDATED OCTOBER 2022) Known as Mississippi’s Queen City, Meridian has a lot to offer. Its thriving downtown with numerous educational and entertainment facilities, rich history in arts and entertainment, and prime location make Meridian the center of it all. 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.

Whether you’re visiting with family, friends, or solo, here are 10 fun things to do in Meridian, Mississippi.

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1. See A Show At The MSU Riley Center

The Mississippi State University Riley Center offers cultural, artistic, and educational experiences like no other in the region. The crown jewel of the Riley Center is a fully restored 1889 grand opera house theater that seats 950 people.

If you love legendary music or contemporary sounds, drama or want to bring the whole family to a lighthearted show, you will find a wide range of exciting entertainment at Meridian’s MSU Riley Center.

Fun Fact: The Riley Center is on the National Register of Historic Places.

mississippi-state-university-riley-center

2. Visit The New Mississippi Children’s Museum

The Mississippi Children’s Museum-Meridian takes fun seriously! Children can get creative in the WonderBox laboratory, put on a show at Our Lady’s Playhouse, learn about cultures around the globe, explore the Fantastic Flying Books Library, navigate an airplane’s cockpit, and step into the classic Goodnight Moon book.

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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).

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3. Dine At The Oldest Restaurant In Mississippi

No trip to Meridian is complete without having a meal at Weidmann’s. Since 1870, Weidmann’s has been serving high quality comfort food using the freshest ingredients and tried and true recipes. Each table is set with a handmade peanut butter crock and assortment of crackers, a tradition dating back to the 1940’s when WWII caused a shortage of peanut butter.

sunday-brunch-from-weidmanns

Whether you visit Weidmann’s for lunch (Bleu Cheese and Bacon Burger, Grilled Pork Loin, Catfish Belvedere), brunch (Chicken and Waffle, Strawberry Stuffed French Toast, Steak and Eggs), or dinner (Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, Redfish 1870), you are sure to have a fabulous meal.

weidmanns-restaurant

4. Shop In Downtown Meridian

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 Downtown Meridian.

Be sure to stop in Crooked Letter (quality goods, MS made), Over the Moon (infant and children’s boutique), Loeb’s (fine clothing for men), and Uptown Girl (women’s boutique). I found gorgeous decorative pillows, gourmet foods, Mississippi souvenirs, and great kids clothing and accessories on my visit.

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Meridian is home to the only two-row stationary Dentzel menagerie carousel in the world. Originally designed for the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, this wooden carousel, circa 1896, is truly a national treasure. Rides are only $1, and it is well worth a visit and spin.

meridian-carousel

In honoring the carousel tradition, Meridian has a one-of-a-kind outdoor public art exhibit called Around Town Carousels Abound. Stop and admire the beautifully painted carousel horses around Meridian while you’re in town.

wooden-carousel-horse

6. Choose Your Own Adventure At HYPE!

All ages can jump, race, climb, and throw at HYPE! Adventures. Here, you will find trampolines, climbing walls, axe throwing, laser tag, foam pits, batting cages, virtual reality booths, go-karts, a rope and ninja course, bubble ball, arcade, and even a zipline.

With more than 93,000 square feet of fun, this is an experience like any other.

Know Before You Go: You must wear closed-toe athletic-style shoes.

hype-adventures-meridian

Need a place to enjoy lunch or dinner in Meridian? We have six tasty choices in this post.

7. Meet Mississippi’s Stars At The MAX

When it comes to arts and entertainment, Mississippi is a land of legends. The Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (MAX) showcases Mississippi’s global legacy in every area of the arts, honors the state’s legends, and inspires tomorrow’s artists.

Mississippi-arts-and-entertainment-museum

The immersive exhibits at The MAX take you behind the scenes at the birthplace of the stars, while the Hall of Fame surrounds you with larger-than-life displays showcasing the impact of Mississippians in the arts and entertainment industries.

max-museum-mississippi-celebrities

Tip: If you’re exploring Downtown Meridian, follow The MAX’s Hollywood-style Walk of Fame from the MSU Riley Center to the entrance of The MAX.

meridian-max-museum

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.

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Photo from Visit Meridian.

9. Explore Meridian’s History

History buffs will thoroughly enjoy Meridian. Take a guided tour through America’s last intact steam engine factory at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum, or learn all about the Father of Country Music at the Jimmie Rodgers Museum.

Educate yourself on Meridian’s part in the Civil War on the Civil War Trail, or explore the Meridian Civil Rights Trail and acknowledge America’s painful past and celebrate those who fought for a brighter future.

jimmie-rodgers-museum

Note: Meridian also has ties to two statewide music trails (Mississippi Blues Trail and Country Music Trail), celebrating this city’s contribution to music.

mississippi-blues-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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