(UPDATED JULY 2022) A recent trip took me to the Mississippi Delta for the first time. This unique part of the country is a must for history lovers, foodies, music fans, and those just seeking a fantastic weekend getaway.
Visiting Cleveland, Mississippi (named after President Grover Cleveland) introduced me to the Mississippi Delta through music, food, and local stories of how this cradle of the Civil War became “The Most Southern Place on Earth” due to its unique history.
The Grammy Museum Mississippi
Did you know that the only Grammy museum outside Los Angeles is in the Mississippi Delta? It is the most popular attraction in Cleveland, Mississippi. Step into the 22 million dollars GRAMMY Museum Mississippi for a stroll down memory lane through iconic songs, artists, and songwriters.
Exhibits include timelines of music news, performer’s clothing and music memorabilia, red carpet clothing, Mississippi Music Table, and a video of exceptional Grammy performances through the years in a mini surround-sound theater, plus much more. There are stages where you can step into your own band experience (the Roland Room), and a light-up dance floor mimics the Saturday Night Fever disco explosion.
Music has always been a part of the Mississippi Delta, even bringing it the “home of the blues” tagline by B.B. King. This is a great reason to visit Dockery Farms, a cotton-producing area circa 1895. It is now a hotspot on the Mississippi Blues Trail famous for where the almighty blues performers (Robert Johnson and Charley Patton were two of the hottest) brought in droves of people to hear their foot-tapping, heart-grabbing guitar rhythms.
Near Merigold, visit the modest pottery house with collectors and fans coming from far and wide to buy the famous pieces. McCarty’s Pottery is a collection of handsome pieces using their signature fired-on glazes of nutmeg brown, jade, and cobalt blue that were developed in the 1970s.
Check out the jungle of flowers, plants, and beautiful fountains and fences. Many McCarty’s Pottery items have a signature Mississippi River wavy black line.
Shopping in Cleveland
There is plenty of shopping and things to see on downtown Cleveland’s Main Street to keep you busy for hours. The Cleveland Commons, Punkin Patch, H Squared, Mod + Proper, and Heidi’s are a few shops to check out. There is also an adorable local book store, Cotton Row Bookstore, that you won’t want to miss.
Historic Train Museum and Depot
Cleveland, Mississippi, was a railroad town and one of the reasons for its popularity in times past. At the Martin & Sue King Railroad Museum, browse a collection of railroad-related memorabilia and antiques. There is also a fun and functional model train track and a kid’s scavenger hunt. The historic 1941 caboose (built for the Illinois Central Railroad) is found on the outside property and is a great photo-op.
Mississippi Grounds is the comfy, cozy local coffee shop where everyone seems to congregate. Stop by for a coffee, tea, Italian soda, or breakfast/lunch offering. Are you looking for something unique? Try the Toffee Bar, a chocolate & English toffee latté, or a Spicy Mook, Mexican hot chocolate. Mississippi Grounds’ decor of an old gas station is fun and functional.
Late Night Drinks: Hey Joe’s
One of the things you can’t miss in Cleveland, Mississippi, is a visit to Hey Joe’s Burger + Bar. Come for the draft beer, quality bar food, live music, or evening events (trivia), but stay for “a great time will be had by all.” Joe’s Burger + Bar strives to fulfill the “Keep Cleveland Boring” motto strong. I loved the vintage arcade games.
The Cotton House Hotel
Cotton House Hotel is the best and most luxurious place to stay in Cleveland or the Mississippi Delta. Cotton House is in downtown Cleveland on Cotton Row, where farmers once brought their crops to sell in the Delta region.
This spectacular hotel is a five-story Marriott Tribute Portfolio property with impressive rooms, a photogenic lobby, and impeccable service. Comfortable and stylish seating arrangements dot the lobby floor, while rooms and suites satisfy your home-away-from-home needs.
Hotel rooms feature heavenly pillow-top beds, high-quality linens, a vintage telephone, beautiful chandeliers, and the prettiest tile of any place I’ve ever stayed. I loved the spacious bathrooms with an enormous shower and delicious-smelling Steam toiletries (including a charcoal soap bar).
The Cotton House Hotel has features like the Marriott’s Graduate Hotel chain but is grander. All the basics are covered at the Cotton House Hotel (safe, robe, hair dryer, coffee maker), but mini-fridges are not standard in hotel rooms. Adding a Victrola and albums to your room is free of charge but limited in quantity. Be sure to ask upon registration for this unique amenity.
Check out the onsite restaurants and rooftop bar for exceptional Southern cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails. The pet-friendly Cotton House Hotel is also found on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Where to Eat in Cleveland, Mississippi
When in the Mississippi Delta, indulging in fantastic food is a must. Delta Meat Market is my top choice for a memorable meal that will please your palate. James Beard Award-nominated Chef Cole Ellis shares his creative talents on McCarty Pottery plates filled with gorgeous meats, locally-sourced vegetables, and classic Southern sides.
Start your meal with the Deviled Eggs (bacon marmalade and sweet onion jam) and an Instagram-worthy charcuterie platter. Delta Meat Market has an exceptional wine, beer, and cocktail menu, too.
For dinner, the Hanger Steak Frites is freaking phenomenal, topped with Maytag blue cheese, green onions, and Mississippi-famous Hoover sauce to kick the dish up a notch. Another tasty option is the Chimichurri Chicken. Lip-smacking side dishes include Squash Gratin, Tomato Pie, Fried Corn, greens, and the best grits I’ve ever tried.
Save room for the Stone Fruit Cobbler or Buttermilk Panna Cotta for dessert.
Enjoy stellar views of downtown Cleveland as you sip sangria, wine, or local beer at Chef Cole Ellis’s second restaurant, Bar Fontaine, on the 5th floor of the Cotton House Hotel.
One of the most popular drinks is Lady Luck, with Seersucker Gin, Campari, lavender, grapefruit, and ginger simple syrup. Order the delicious meatballs (Polpette Alla Bologna), fresh tempura-style seafood, and other Italian-inspired favorites. The Tuna Crudo (fried garlic, chili oil, and lemon caper aioli) at Bar Fontaine is to die for!
Breakfast at The Cotton House
Back at Delta Meat Market, breakfast is served for locals and hotel guests of the Cotton House Cleveland. While there are only a handful of menu items to choose from, all were superb. I loved the link sausage, and the grits are a must. My eggs were cooked to perfection both days I ate there. It was refreshing to see a retro Nehi soda on the menu in many flavors.
More Cleveland, Mississippi Dining
Cleveland, Mississippi, has a large number of tasty dining options. If you desire to go off-property, you will find these. Mosquito Burrito is a famous Mexican spot in the town known for killer margaritas and burritos. Backdraft is a beautiful eatery for seafood and steakhouse favorites, while Crave serves a bistro-style lunch and specialty cupcakes.
Delta Dairy has a great selection of fro-yo, gelato, and gourmet ice cream sandwiches. You’ll find funky pizza creations at Lost Pizza, a favorite Mississippi pizzeria.
The Senator’s Place is where you go to have authentic Mississippi Delta soul food in a no-frills eatery with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Choose from a changing menu that may involve turnip greens, grits, catfish, cabbage, chicken dressing, ribs, fried chicken, cornbread, beans, rice, and peach cobbler.
Eat, Drink, and Sleep in Cleveland, The Mississippi Delta
Cleveland, Mississippi, is a cultural Mecca you won’t want to miss on your Southern travels. Experience a high-end hotel, incredible Southern cuisine, music history, unique attractions, and lots of fun as you explore the cotton-laced scenery in the Mississippi Delta.
Thanks to Visit Cleveland, MS and Green Olive PR for hosting my visit. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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