From historical landmarks to entertainment hubs, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Jackson, Mississippi. Visitors can enjoy everything from hiking at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park to grabbing an out-of-this-world milkshake at Brent’s Drugs.
While often overlooked compared to the more populous cities in the south, I’m a huge proponent of Jackson. In fact, my home state is Mississippi and I once lived in Jackson. In this guide, I’m going to spill all the interesting activities in Jackson you need to know about. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 22 Best Things to Do in Jackson Mississippi
- Eudora Welty House & Garden
- Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
- Mississippi Children’s Museum
- Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
- Brent’s Drugs
- Mississippi State Capitol
- Mississippi Book Festival
- Mississippi Museum of Art
- Old Capitol Museum
- Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center
- Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum
- Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum
- LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
- Mississippi Governor’s Mansion
- Mississippi Petrified Forest
- The International Museum of Muslim Cultures
- The Oaks House Museum
- Natchez Trace Parkway
- Duling Hall
- Library Lounge
- Roosevelt State Park
- Big Apple Inn
- FAQs about What to Do in Jackson Mississippi
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22 Best Things to Do in Jackson Mississippi
Eudora Welty House & Garden
Step inside the home where one of Mississippi’s most celebrated authors lived for over 80 years.
The Eudora Welty House is a must-visit for literary fans while in Jackson. Welty’s parents built the home in 1925, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author lived there for nearly 80 years. The house is staged as it would have been in 1986 when Welty was still actively writing, and you feel as if the author might walk in at any moment. The home is a National Historic Landmark.
The Eudora Welty House is also worth visiting to see the garden. Welty and her mother were avid gardeners, and there are many heirloom varieties you won’t see in many other places. It’s not a show garden, but instead reflects the labor of love that the garden was for the family.
Be sure to check if there are any special events going on during your visit. I’ve never been disappointed by any event I’ve attended at the Eudora Welty House.
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Get an up-close look at the plants and animals that make Mississippi their home at this award-winning museum.
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is the best place to learn about the state’s wildlife and plants. Learn about the diverse landscape in Mississippi, marvel at the fossils on display, and take a look at the alligators in the greenhouse swamp.
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is interesting for visitors of all ages. There’s even a hands-on Preschool Discovery Room for children ages 3-5.
Be sure to check out the nature trails around the museum. When the weather is nice, the trails are fun to explore. The newest addition to the museum is the outdoor Dinosaur Trail featuring six giant dinosaur models with interesting facts about each dinosaur.
Mississippi Children’s Museum
Tinker with robots, explore a dormant volcano, and crawl through the digestive system at this hands-on museum.
The Mississippi Children’s Museum is the perfect place in Jackson to go on a family trip. All of the exhibits are educational, but more importantly, from a kid’s perspective, everything is fun! Kids can explore a giant map of Mississippi complete with a dormant volcano underneath, get creative in the maker space, and even learn how food moves through the digestive system.
One of my favorite spaces in the Mississippi Children’s Museum is the literacy garden, which encourages kids to build a love for nature as well as for reading.
The Mississippi Children’s Museum has a gift shop full of really cool kid’s toys. It’s a good place to check out for birthday gifts and other special occasions.
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Learn about the history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum tells the stories of the men and women who were pivotal in the civil rights movement in Mississippi and around the nation. The exhibits are packed with information, and there’s a lot to see at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Admission is free on Sundays allowing the museum to be more accessible to everyone. Plan to spend between 1-3 hours at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum depending on how much you want to take in at once.
Enjoy a milkshake and fries at this retro soda fountain in Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood.
The soda fountain at Brent’s Drugs has been serving up treats since it was opened by Dr. Alvin Brent in 1946. The pharmacy portion moved to another location in 2009, and now only the diner remains. The inside still looks like a retro diner without feeling like something that belongs in a museum.
The milkshakes are delicious! I suggest trying out a Nutella milkshake. While the menu is small, the burgers, fries, and everything else on it are good.
You’ll find a lot of cool things to explore around Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood, but Brent’s Drugs is worth stopping in.
Mississippi State Capitol
Admire the architecture and details at the Beaux Arts building in the middle of Downtown Jackson.
Sometimes called the “new Capitol,” the beautiful Beaux Arts building in downtown is actually the third state capitol built in Jackson. The architecture alone makes visiting the Mississippi State Capitol worth the time. The building was named a National Historic Landmark in 2016.
Guided tours are given at the Mississippi State Capitol on a daily basis. Visitors can also choose to take a self-guided tour instead. The rotunda and the grand staircase are especially impressive as are the stained glass windows.
Mississippi Book Festival
Listen to your favorite authors read from their new books and speak on panels at this fun annual festival.
🌐 Website | Entrance: Free
Each year, hundreds of authors show up to this event to meet with their fans, promote their new books, and speak on panels. The event takes place mainly on the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol with a few panels and discussions taking place in nearby locations.
Book lovers will especially enjoy this festival. Of course, with so many authors from all kinds of genres and subjects attending, there really is something for everyone. The festival is open for free to the public.
Besides the author panels, there are food trucks outside as well as family-friendly activities taking place during the festival. Now that I no longer live in Jackson, I usually try to plan a trip there during the festival. The Mississippi Book Festival is worth making special plans for.
Mississippi Museum of Art
See the exhibits at the largest art museum in Mississippi and stop to enjoy the outdoor Art Garden.
The Mississippi Museum of Art is an underrated attraction in Downtown Jackson. It’s the largest art museum in Mississippi. Temporary national and international exhibits are on display, so there’s always something new to see each time you visit. At least one exhibit from the permanent collection is on display for visitors to see free of charge.
While at the Mississippi Museum of Art, make sure to visit the Art Garden. The outdoor space has a beautiful lawn, art installations, and water features. It’s a great way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon.
Old Capitol Museum
Learn about the significant legislative acts that took place in one of the most historic buildings in Mississippi.
History buffs will enjoy visiting the Old Capitol Museum. Also known as the Old State Capitol, the building that houses the Old Capitol Museum was the state capitol from 1839 through 1903. The Old Capitol Museum has been restored to showcase its original Greek Revival style.
Today, visitors can go to the free museum to learn about the historic laws and acts that were passed when the legislature was housed there. Interactive exhibits also explain the roles of the Mississippi legislature, governor, and courts.
Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center
Walk through the halls of a former elementary school converted into a museum dedicated to African-American history and culture.
The Smith Robertson Museum is located in the former Smith Robertson Elementary School. The school was the first school for African-American students in Jackson. The building has been turned into a museum with art and artifacts about African-American culture in Mississippi and across the South.
One of the most notable exhibits follows the life of Medgar Evers from his childhood to his days as a WWII veteran and his death in 1963. The museum also has a Hall of Fame that highlights African-Americans who were outstanding in their respective fields.
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum
Get a look at trophies, jerseys, and other memorabilia from top Mississippi athletes.
Sports fans of all ages will enjoy the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum. You’ll be surprised by how many names you recognize while visiting the museum. Watch the archival videos and interviews and see the memorabilia donated by athletes and their families.
The museum is relatively small, so it’s just the right size for a short visit and isn’t overwhelming. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is interesting even for those who aren’t huge sports enthusiasts.
Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum
Step back in time at this living history museum.
The Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum is one of the most unique museums in Jackson. The museum consists of a heritage center, an agricultural aviation museum, a living history town and farm, and a nature trail. The entire complex takes up about 40 acres.
There’s a lot to do at the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum. You could easily spend several hours here. Visit the Children’s Barnyard to see the goats, chickens, rabbits, and other animals if you’re visiting with children. It’s also nice to stop by the General Store to get a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle that you can enjoy while sitting on one of the porch rocking chairs.
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
Get outdoors at a state park located right in the heart of the city.
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is a fun outdoor spot to visit right in the middle of Jackson. Visitors can go fishing in the 50-acre lake, have a picnic, or go hiking on one of the few trails located within the city limits.
The Mississippi Museum of Natural History is located within LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. There’s also a nice playground for kids to enjoy. The primitive camping and RV camping areas are popular with both locals and visitors alike.
Mississippi Governor’s Mansion
Learn about Mississippi history and its leaders at one of the oldest occupied governor’s residences in the United States.
Completed in 1862, this Greek Revival mansion has been the official residence of the Mississippi governor ever since. The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is the second oldest governor’s residence that’s been continuously occupied. The residence is a National Historic Landmark.
Free guided tours are offered several times a week, and it’s an interesting way to spend an hour. Reservations have to be made at least 3 days in advance, so you’ll need to plan ahead for your trip to Jackson. The inside is especially beautiful when it’s decorated for Christmas.
Mississippi Petrified Forest
See giant logs that have turned into fossils at one of only two petrified forests in the United States.
Make the short drive to Flora to visit the Mississippi Petrified Forest. It is one of only two petrified forests in the United States. Researchers believed the forest formed about 36 million years ago. The giant logs on the side of the nature trail may look normal, but they’re actually fossils.
At the Mississippi Petrified Forest, you’ll also find a museum with a piece of petrified wood from every state. Kids will enjoy trying out the gem mining flume.
The forest is great to visit if you’re interested in rocks, but there’s enough information presented to make a visit enjoyable for anyone. There is an RV campground for those who want to relax in a peaceful setting for longer.
The International Museum of Muslim Cultures
Visit one of the exhibits at the first Islamic museum in the United States.
The International Museum of Muslim Cultures is the first museum in the United States dedicated to presenting Islamic culture and history. The museum has two exhibits at a time, which change periodically.
One of the exhibits that has been on display for a while is the The Legacy of Timbuktu created in partnership with the Mamma Haidara Memorial Library in Timbuktu. Visitors are able to see 35 rare African manuscripts while learning how Timbuktu was once a celebrated city of culture and knowledge.
Make sure to check which exhibits will be on display during your visit before going.
The Oaks House Museum
Discover one of the few pre-Civil War homes in Jackson that remained standing after the war ended.
Also known as the Boyd House, the Oaks House is one of the oldest homes in Jackson. Unlike many homes in the area, the Oaks House made it through the burning of Jackson during the Civil War.
The house was owned by James Hervey Boyd, who was the mayor of Jackson for four terms. Built in 1853, many of the features like the pine floors are still original today. Guests are able to see how a middle-class family would have lived during the middle and end of the 19th century.
The Oaks House is a great stop for history lovers and for those interested in period architecture and furniture.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Spend an afternoon driving along this historic route and admiring the scenery.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile road going all the way from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. The parkway roughly follows the historic “Old Natchez Trace” used by Native Americans and is also one of the best places to visit in Tennessee.
There are two access points to the Natchez Trace in the Jackson area. One on I-20 near Clinton and one on I-55 in Jackson. Stop by the Visitors Center in Clinton if you have time to admire the murals and pick up a piece of local artwork from the gift shop.
Driving along the Natchez Trace is a fun way to enjoy the nearby scenery. There are stops and points of interest along the way. You don’t have to go all the way to Nashville or Natchez. The scenery is especially beautiful towards late fall when the leaves change colors.
Listen to live music at this intimate venue located in a historic building dating back to the 1920s.
Duling Hall is the place to go in Jackson’s Fondren neighborhood to enjoy live music. The historic building dates back to 1927 when it opened as Lorena Duling School. Duling Hall is now used for concerts and other events. Due to the venue’s small size, concerts here have an intimate feel and the acoustics are excellent.
You’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and other attractions near Duling Hall. It’s a great venue to go to for a date night or for a fun night out with friends.
Have cocktails and dinner in a restaurant with a cool literary atmosphere.
The Library Lounge at the Fairview Inn is one of the best places to go in Jackson for dinner and drinks. The lounge is located where the original library was in the Fairview Mansion, and the decor in the small restaurant is designed to celebrate well-known Mississippi authors like Eudora Welty and William Faulkner.
The menu changes seasonally, but the food and drinks are always delicious. Happy Hour is offered every weekday.
You don’t have to be a guest at the Fairview Inn to visit the Library Lounge (although it is one of my favorite places to stay in Jackson). The Library Lounge is perfect for a date night or for meeting up with friends.
Roosevelt State Park
Play disc golf, swim, fish, boat, water ski, and more at this state park located in Morton.
Roosevelt State Park is located about 30 minutes away from Jackson Mississippi in Morton. The state park is a popular place for many outdoor activities including disc golf, boating, water skiing, and hiking. Visitors can also enjoy the swimming pool and water slide during the summer months.
Roosevelt State Park has campsites, cabins, and a motel for those who want to have a quick weekend getaway from Jackson. Platform tents are also available The landscape at the park is beautiful all year, but it’s especially nice during the fall months.
Big Apple Inn
Try the pig ear sandwiches at this unique little diner on Farish Street.
Big Apple Inn is one of the oldest restaurants in Jackson. It is owned today by Geno Lee, the great-grandson of founder Juan Mora. The spot has a lot of history. Civil rights leaders used to gather here to discuss their ideas and plans in the 1950s and 1960s.
The history isn’t the only draw for Big Apple Inn. The restaurant’s most popular dish is pig ears served on a slider bun alongside mustard, slaw, and chili sauce. Mexican hot tamales are also on the menu, one of the few places you’ll find them in Jackson.
FAQs about What to Do in Jackson Mississippi
What is Jackson MS known for?
What food is Jackson Mississippi known for?
Jackson Mississippi is known for soul food and for its restaurants owned by multiple generations of the same family like the Big Apple Inn.
Hopefully, you now have plenty of ideas for things to do in Jackson! See which Jackson attractions made our guide for the best things to do in the USA.
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