Located 45 minutes west of Jackson, Vicksburg, Mississippi, is a small city rich in history and charm. It is best known for its role in the Civil War as the site of the decisive Battle of Vicksburg. However, there is so much more to see and do in this historic gem nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River. From fascinating museums to delicious cuisine, this blog post will highlight 10 fun things to do in Vicksburg that will enrich your visit.
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1. Dine At A Rooftop Restaurant
10 South is housed in a historic brick building (First National Bank) on Washington Street in a 10th floor rooftop setting. The ambiance and friendly service make it a great choice for a special date night, not to mention exceptional views of the Mississippi River, Yahoo Canal, and Louisiana river shoreline.
Best dishes? The Fried Green Tomatoes can’t be beat, and the Fried Chicken sandwich with candied bacon, pepper Jack cheese, and a maple-chili glaze are fab!
10 South is closed on Monday.
2. Visit Vicksburg National Military Park
One of the most popular things to do in Vicksburg is to explore the Vicksburg National Military Park. This park preserves and commemorates the site of the Civil War battle that took place here in 1863.
Visitors can take a 16-mile drive self-guided tour or join a guided tour for a more in-depth experience. You’ll see well-preserved trenches, historical markers, gun emplacements, and fortified artillery positions as you explore the park. There are 1,340 monuments and markers in this powerhouse property. Entrance is $20 per vehicle, valid for seven days.
Note: If you have the time, the 20-minute film at the Visitors Center does a great job of bringing the battle to life before your tour. You can choose a self-guided tour (the only kind I’ve taken) or take a guided tour via reservations.
Originally a military battlefield, the city of Vicksburg was a turning point in the American Civil War, the battle that changed the course of the war. I’m a Ulysses S. Grant fan so climbing the hill to get photos of the statue was a must.
It was here that Grant was captured during the Battle of Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the river. The views from this plateau are amazing.
Make sure to visit the USS Cairo Museum before you leave the historic Vicksburg National Military Park. This museum houses one of the first ironclad warships ever built for the Civil War, now fully restored and looking brand new.
While you’re here, don’t forget to pay respects at the Vicksburg National Cemetery, where over 20,000 soldiers are laid to rest across 116 acres. It’s a staggering number, higher than any other national cemetery in the country. Come discover the rich history and honor the sacrifice of those who fought for our country.
3. See History Through the Riverfront Murals
As you stroll along the riverfront in downtown Vicksburg, make sure to take in the vibrant Riverfront Murals on Levee Street that tell the story of Mississippi’s history. The hand-painted murals are a beautiful art installation that was created by Robert Dafford. They showcase important events and people, including the Civil War, the blues, and the river itself.
Fun Fact: This area was a busy and prosperous harbor in the 1800s.
Looking for a fun and educational place to take your kids? Check out Catfish Row Children’s Art Park! Located right across from the Vicksburg murals, this park offers a safe and inclusive environment for kids to express their creativity with children’s art activities.
They can also cool off and have a blast at the fun splash fountain and enjoy playground equipment. Plus, the park is fully handicapped-accessible to ensure that everyone can join in on the fun!
4. Get Educated at the Old Courthouse Museum
The Old Courthouse Museum is a must-visit for history buffs and architecture lovers; also a National Historic Landmark since the late ’60s. The antebellum building was constructed in 1858 in the Greek Revival style and served as the Warren County Courthouse until 1939.
It now houses a museum that tells the story of Vicksburg’s past, including the pivotal role that the city played during the Civil War. Inside, you’ll find china, antique furniture, silver, and Confederate President Jeffersonn Davis’ inauguration tie. Being a history buff, I loved every inch of the nine rooms available.
The Old Courthouse Museum is surrounded by historic homes and much beauty. It is closed on Sundays. Admission is $7.
Fun Fact: William McKinley, Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt were guests of the Old Courthouse Museum.
5. Experience the Old Depot Museum
The historic train depot along the waterfront in Vicksburg has been transformed into a handicapped accessible museum highlighting the area’s railroad heritage. Visitors can see vintage trains and artifacts, as well as learn about the Vicksburg, Shreveport, and Pacific Railroad.
There is also a really cool 250-square-foot diorama of the Vicksburg battlefield with 2300 mini soldiers.
The Old Depot Museum features exhibits on Mississippi blues and Civil War history. It is closed on Sundays. Admission is $6.00 per person or a max of $20 per household.
FYI: If you crave more Vicksburg history, a third museum might be of interest. The Lower Mississippi River Museum has interactive exhibits that adults will enjoy, but I haven’t been there yet. Admission is free.
6. Go Gambling
A trip to a casino might not be everyone’s cup of tea, though it is mine, but the Riverwalk Casino Hotel offers more than just gambling. Located on the Mississippi River, the casino offers a gorgeous view that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your room or casino bar.
Riverwalk Casino also features live music. If you are feeling lucky, you might want to try your hand at one of the many slot machines or table games in the 25,000-square-feet of gaming space.
Fun Fact: Vicksburg has three other casino properties to check out: WaterView, Bally’s Vicksburg Casino, and Ameristar. While I like to play at Riverwalk, I prefer to stay at Ameristar Casino & Hotel, which has spacious rooms, friendly staff, and a gorgeous lobby. Ameristar also has Sportsbook for placing wagers on professional sporting events..
Note: The Ameristar Hotel and its 70,000 square-foot casino are not connected, but there is a complimentary shuttle that runs between the two.
7. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Walnut Hills
One of the oldest restaurants in Vicksburg located in a circa 1880 historic house, Walnut Hills serves Southern comfort food that is sure to make your mouth water. The menu includes classic dishes like Miss Herdcine’s fried chicken, pot roast, and black-eyed peas, as well as homemade biscuits that are a crowd favorite.
Lunch also features a round table option.
Walnut Hills is also renowned for its extensive dessert selection. My favorites are the layered strawberry or caramel cakes. Southern Living Magazine introduced me to Walnut Hills three decades ago.
The Fish Almondine and Shrimp & Grits are both excellent if you happen to be there for dinner!
Fun Fact: Walnut Hills was mentioned in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, a New York Times bestseller by our dear friend Patricia Schultz and, to me, the Holy Grail of travel.
8. Shop Local in Vicksburg
If you are a shopping fan, then you should make your way to the Outlets at Vicksburg. Over 20 brand-name outlets are scattered throughout the complex.
If you prefer a more unique shopping experience, head to Washington Street in downtown Vicksburg where you can find several antique and specialty shops. A few of my faves are Cinnamon Tree, Peterson’s, and Sassafras.
The one do-not-miss shop is Lorelei Books, a fabulous independent bookstore that has one of the most incredible selections of unique cookbooks that I’ve seen. My granddaughter loves the books I’ve brought here from the children’s area, too.
9. Eat At The Tomato Place
The Tomato Place is a quirky little farm stand/grocery store that has become something of a local institution in Vicksburg. It is known for its fresh, locally sourced tomatoes, as well as jams, preserves, and baked goods.
Stop by for a delicious tomato sandwich or a slice of homemade pie, or to pick up some locally produced honey. I appreciate that the staff at The Tomato Place goes out of their way to make you visit enjoyable.
I like the 3-veggie plate (which comes with fresh sliced tomatoes), while my husband chose a Turkey Club sandwich that passed his critique with flying colors. You can also buy breads, pies, and cookies baked daily.
10. See the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum
Did you know that Coca-Cola was first bottled in Vicksburg? You can learn all about the history of this iconic American beverage at the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum.
The museum is housed in the former home of Joseph Biedenharn, a local businessman who was the first person to bottle Coca-Cola. Visitors can see the original 1900 soda fountain and bottling equipment, as well as vintage advertisements and memorabilia. Grab a seat and sip a tasty Coke float!
Having been in the soda and snack food industry for 20+ years, even I am impressed by the sheer number and age of vending machines and bottles at this museum. Admission is $3.50 for adults; $2.50 for kids 6-12.
Vicksburg: A Town To Get Acquainted With
Whether you are a history buff, a foodie, or an adventurer, Vicksburg, Mississippi, has something for everyone. From exploring the Vicksburg National Military Park to enjoying a delicious meal at one of the city’s many restaurants, there is no shortage of fun things to do in this charming Mississippi town.
Regardless of what you choose to include in your itinerary, one thing is for sure: a trip to Vicksburg is a trip back in time that you won’t forget.
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