There are a lot of negative stereotypes associated with Jackson, Mississippi. Many of my friends and old classmates from small towns or from outside of the state have told me they’re fearful of visiting Jackson and I laugh. It is the capital of Mississippi, so naturally, there’s more crime than smaller areas. Regardless, I feel safer in Jackson than most other cities in Mississippi, possibly because it’s the least homogenous city. It’s also the most entertaining place to visit in the state in my opinion.
Surrounding cities are Flowood, Madison, Ridgeland, Pearl, Brandon, and Clinton, all about 15 minutes outside of Jackson. Brandon, Pearl, and Clinton feel like small country towns and Flowood, Madison, and Ridgeland are where you can find traditional entertainment such as shopping, theater, and dining. Jackson is filled with chain restaurants, but most local places can be found in downtown Jackson and the Fondren District. These two areas feel authentic and bring a sense of nostalgia, even if you haven’t visited the shops before. Downtown Jackson and Fondren are both filled with old structures and local businesses that bring a burst of vintage quirkiness.
Sal & Mookie’s is my favorite restaurant in Fondren. Other great spots to eat in Fondren are Rooster’s burger shop and Brent’s Drugs Diner, which you can find featured in the movie, The Help. You can also find cute consignment and coffee shops like The Orange Peel, Studio Chain T-Shirt Lab, and Sneaky Beans in the area.
The Mayflower Cafe is a must visit restaurant in downtown Jackson. It started off as a hamburger stand in 1935 but has become a full-service restaurant, serving mainly soul food. Another local spot to visit downtown is The King Edward Hotel. The hotel was built in 1923 but was recently renovated into apartments. They’re now attached to a Hilton Inn, but there is a downstairs cafe and it’s a nice spot to sit outside and enjoy downtown Jackson. It’s right across the street from the train station, so it’s an ideal spot to people watch.
Downtown Jackson is full of Mississippi history, including the Governor’s Mansion, the Mississippi State Capitol, and the Mississippi Museum of History and Civil Rights Museum. The museums are full of artifacts, videos, and displays portraying the history of Native American and African enslavement in the south along with the struggle for racial equality during the Civil Rights Movement. The museum is a thought-provoking, sensational visit.
If you decide to visit Jackson, stop by my favorite spots:
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
This area is great for camping or just taking your dogs for a mini hike. It feels separate from the city once you’re inside and surrounded by trees and the lake, but once you exit the park you’re on Lakeland Dr., which will lead you to malls and restaurants.
Eudora Welty’s Home
If you’re a literary junkie, visit Eudora Welty’s house in Belhaven. Welty wrote all of her books in this house that was constructed by her parents when she was a teenager. My favorite Eudora Welty books are The Ponder Heart and The Robberbride Groom. What’s yours?
The Mississippi Museum of Art
The Mississippi Museum of Art always has something cool going on. There’s usually a line of food trucks Thursday evenings or some after-hours event to spark joy and creativity in your night. I love stopping by the museum during the evening for a boost after a long day. There’s also a lovely garden outside, perfect for sunbathing or picnics.
I’m learning that there’s a lot more to Jackson through my journey of exploring Mississippi for this blog. There are plenty more places I could mention and loads of experiences that I can’t wait to share with you. I will save those for later for the sake of not making this a never-ending blog post!
Are you interested in visiting Jackson? If you’ve already visited, what’s your favorite spot?