I recently visited Starkville, Mississippi, a small college town about three hours south of Memphis, Tennessee. On the way to Starkville, you will see mostly greenery and cows. There are the occasional trucks filled with chickens headed to the slaughterhouse, which are always terrifying to see, but other than that, its mostly your car on the interstate by itself. There’s not much in Starkville, but the natives sure take pride in their city.
Starkville is very much a cookie cutter, Hallmark-style town. The best way I can describe what I mean is by referencing one of my favorite Christmas movies: Snowglobe. Do you remember this movie? Christina Milian receives a snowglobe for Christmas and when she goes to sleep she gets to live in the snowglobe, which is decorated to be a small Christmas town where the same things happen every day. The buildings are attractive and everything seems interesting at first, but the longer she stays the more she realizes that there’s nothing truly special about the snowglobe town. That’s sort of the feeling I got while visiting Starkville.
Starkville consists of many districts, but the main four are The Cotton District, Midtown, Downtown, and Greensboro District. The most popular of the four is the historic Cotton District which is modeled after a Charleston and New Orleans city style. This area is a popular student hangout and consists of mostly local restaurants and housing. There’s diversity in the types of housing offered in the Cotton District (gameday housing, student housing, and residents), so the district offers an eclectic, urban aesthetic.
It can definitely be considered an “Instagram worthy” town because of the variety of modern and antebellum styled homes, but as far as entertainment, I think you’d probably be mostly dependent on events hosted by the local college, Mississippi State University (MSU). I actually attended one of the school’s major celebrations, Bulldog Fest, a few years ago. DNCE was there and this was my chance to see at least one of the Jonas Brothers live! (Yes, I’m a true 2010s teen.) You can find a signed guitar by the band along with many other artists, including B.B. King and Jack White, in the Dawg House, an on-campus hangout located in the student union.
MSU has a beautiful campus. It feels almost like Hogwarts or some castle in Scotland at night, especially in the fall, because of all of the old brick buildings. I’ve spent time on this campus over the past few years because my boyfriend attended school here. It’s a relaxing place to have lunch, walk your dogs, or just to sit outside. I’d actually never explored more of Starkville before this recent visit because the MSU campus is so fulfilling. One of the coolest features that the campus has to offer is a replica skull of a Triceratops, the three-horned dinosaur portrayed by Cera in The Land Before Time, which is featured in an exhibit at the Dunn-Seiler Museum.
Starkville’s community supports local restaurants more than franchises, so if you ever visit be sure to stop by one of the cities many local establishments including Oby’s on Academy Road or Harveys or The Mill at MSU, both located on Highway 12. Some restaurants that started in Starkville such as Sweet Peppers Deli, Little Dooey, and Harveys have even developed into regional and national chains.
For lunch and dinner, we visited Stomboli’s Italian Eatery and The Veranda, two popular local restaurants in Starkville. Stromboli’s has an inner city, hole in the wall vibe that I adore. My boyfriend is pescetarian and I’m vegetarian and there weren’t many meatless options, so we had the cheese calzone (pescetarian/vegetarian struggles). They were pretty alright. Stromboli’s atmosphere was great enough for us to enjoy our visit despite our limited options. The veggie gyro at The Veranda is really tasty. It comes with odd side options. I can’t remember them all, but I chose nachos. My boyfriend tried the catfish platter. I had a taste and we both agreed it wasn’t so great. The fish was pretty watery and plain, which was surprising because we’d heard so many good things about this restaurant, plus the menu was mostly Cajun and southern cuisine, so we assumed those would be the best options to get.
A great place for coffee is 929 Coffee Bar. This two-story coffee shop has an assortment of drinks and pastries. If you visit Starkville on a weekend, you’ll find that this is a popular spot for students to gather. The ground floor of 929 has red bricked walls and long, wooden bench tables that give the cozy feel of a library, making it an ideal place for studying and lounging.
We explored Starkville all of Sunday. We visited everything from the little shops downtown to local restaurants, and the MSU campus. We had both good and not so good food along with excellent coffee (which makes everything feel better). I’m not sure if I’ll be visiting the city again anytime soon, but if I do, I’ll make sure to give you any updates!
Thanks for reading