16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN JACKSON MS

Jackson, Mississippi is a small city that is especially popular for its incredibly rich culture, history, and greenery. Often referred to as the City of Soul, Jackson has plenty of attractions that will make your trip worthwhile.

From looking at incredibly beautiful artwork at the local museums to trying mouthwatering local cuisine at many popular restaurants, there are plenty of fun activities for every traveler in Jackson, Mississippi.

Ready to learn more? Here are 16 things to do in Jackson MS that you just can’t miss.

16 OUTSTANDING THINGS TO DO IN JACKSON MS
Courtesy of Visit Jackson

MISSISSIPPI MUSEUM OF ART

The Mississippi Museum of Art is a highlight attraction in the city, since it remains the largest public museum in the state. It opened its doors to the public in 1978, and since then has gathered a multitude of beautiful art pieces from both British and American artists.

Explore the various exhibits throughout the massive, 54,000 square feet compound. Both temporary and permanent exhibits make for a very beautiful place to visit. The museum is also a cultural epicenter, with artwork from local artists proudly displayed. Finally, you can also step outside of the venue and enjoy the locale’s famous food truck.

MISSISSIPPI CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

In downtown Jackson, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is one of the biggest museums in the United States dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement. It has preserved various artifacts from that specific era, and helps visitors understand the importance of the Civil War. If you want to learn more about how the Civil Rights Movement came to be, this is the perfect place.

You can take a guided tour throughout the multitude of permanent and temporary exhibits focusing on the events that led to the Civil War and its aftermath. The best part is that entrance to the museum is free on Sundays, and you can explore the eight major galleries at a slow pace, or you can take a guided tour.

MEDGAR EVERS HOME

The Medgar Evers Home is one of the most popular historic sites in the country, as it was the home of the prominent Civil Rights activist, Medgar Evers. Evers was a prominent voice against the oppression that African Americans faced daily. After coming home from one of his Civil Rights meetings, Byron De La Beckwith gunned down the Civil Rights leader while entering his home on June 11, 1963.

Following his assassination, Medgar Evers’ wife, Myrlie Evers, soon moved to California and would soon rent out the house. In 2017, the home became a National Monument.

FREEDOM RIDERS BUS STATION

The Freedom Riders were one of the most effective ways Civil Rights activists could fight against needless segregation throughout the country. Activists would take Freedom Rides throughout bus terminals with blatantly racist signs like “whites-only.”

The bus terminal that most Civil Rights activists would take was the Old Greyhound Bus Station. It was also where several high-profile arrests occurred in 1961, which became another major stepping stone for the entire Civil Rights Movement.

The building currently belongs to Robert Parker Adams, who bought the location in 1988, and has since restored its interiors and exterior. The city has also added an explanatory marker at sight, which makes it one of the more notable landmarks in the city.

MISSISSIPPI CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

If you came to the city with your family, then a fun attraction worth visiting is the Mississippi Children’s Museum. The compound has six major sections, focusing on a specific field of study or interest. One of the highlights of any visit is the “Exploring Mississippi” exhibit, which has a massive city map. Kids can climb around the exhibit, learning about the state’s unique geography and culture.

Besides the indoor exhibits, the compound also has two gardens that offer many fun activities. The Literacy Garden focuses on communication and language skills. In contrast, the Pollinator’s Playground Garden is open to the public and goes over the role that pollinators play in helping people grow food.

MISSISSIPPI PETRIFIED FOREST

Of course, if you want to look at some of the geographical wonders that Jackson has to offer, The Mississippi Petrified Forest is an important attraction to see. This ancient forest stands out from anything most people have seen, since the trees and surroundings have turned to stone. Multiple hikes take you through the petrified forest, showing you all the unique fossils.

The Mississippi Petrified Forest is also home to the Earth Science Museum, which goes over the details of the land and how it came to be this way. You can also find various other fossils like dinosaur footprints or the bones of a whale. And don’t forget to take a picture with the “Caveman’s bench,” a conveniently placed petrified tree that took the shape of a bench. 

SMITH ROBERTSON MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER

The Smith Robertson Museum is an incredible attraction to visit in the city, since it was the city’s first African American school. The school has now become a museum, with a renovated building that teaches visitors about the school and African-American culture.

Permanent exhibits throughout the museum are especially impressive, since they focus on the hardships surrounding daily African American life. On special occasions, like Juneteenth and the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the museum will also host temporary exhibits dedicated to the many contributors to the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter protests.

If you want to inform yourself about the intricacies of the African American experience, a visit the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center is a great way to start.

MISSISSIPPI MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE

As one of the biggest attractions in the entire state, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is a fun place for the entire family. Established in 1932, the museum has various exhibits that can pique people’s interests, regardless of age. From teens to kids, everyone can have a fun time looking through the museum and its many exhibits.

The museum includes a massive aquarium with many species of fish, as well as full-scale replicas of dinosaurs. You can even get a guided tour of the entire facility, where a tour guide can show you all of the fun exhibits that they have in store for you.  

Children can also go out and explore the outdoor maze, as well as various fun exhibits outside. It also hosts multiple temporary exhibits on special days of the year, so you want to mark your calendars for those events.

THE JACKSON ZOO

The Jackson Zoo is possibly one of the most fun places to visit in the city, specifically for its sheer size and variety of animals. Witness up to 202 species of animals throughout the massive 101-acre compound. With a total of 380 animals in the zoo, visitors get a chance to see many of these unique animals interact with their habitat makes for a fun and often thrilling experience.

Furthermore, the zoo is also home to 10 different species of endangered animals. Some of these species include lemurs, spider monkeys, and leopards. Jackson Zoo opened back in 1919, and has since made many conservation efforts for its endangered species.

You can even get a guided tour of the zoo, where a tour guide can show you all of the animals in the zoo while offering interesting facts about each of them. Kids even get to play in the splash pad for free, after paying for admission, but it is only open until 4.

CATHEAD DISTILLERY

Are you looking to try some of the city’s finest spirits? The Cathead Distillery is the perfect place to visit, as it stands as one of the best distilleries in the entire city. Choose from their wide selection of wines, vodkas, and plenty of other spirits you can enjoy. Even if you’re looking for something special to buy for someone special, you might be making multiple trips to try each of the flavors they have on tap.

As fun as it is to drink with your friends and experience new flavors, there are many other activities for you to try. You can take a tour of the entire distillery, with the tour guide going over the process of making these spirits and the ingredients involved.

The venue also hosts live events and small table tennis tournaments, making it a great place to visit even if you don’t want to try their selection of spirits.

BLUE FRONT CAFÉ

While this stretches the definition of something to do in Jackson, since it’s about 30 miles northwest of the city, the Blue Front Café on Highway 49 is well worth the visit. The location itself is a very popular juke joint, which was instrumental in developing Mississippi’s unique blend of Blues music.

The café is so important to the state’s identity, that it even has an informational marker near it, with its corresponding road called the Mississippi Blues Trail. It is the perfect place to sit down and relax while listening to the signature Bentonia Blues and Delta Blues.

The café offers a fine selection of whiskeys, wines, beer, and other drinks that will perfectly match the unique blend of songs. If you’re looking to listen to a new and smooth genre of music, head down to the Blue Front Café.

BRENT’S DRUGS MALT SHOP

Jackson is a city that cherishes its history and renovates them to bring them to its former glory. And one of the best examples of this cherished history is Brent’s Drugs Malt Shop. Originally opened to the public in 1946, the diner features plenty of classic diner comfort food, with recipes older than most of its visitors.

They have a wide selection of fun and tasty milkshakes, smoothies, and slushies, as well as some of the best burgers and pancakes you can find in the city. They even keep that 40s diner aesthetic alive, giving fun and authentic dining experience to visitors.

You can check their website for different times and their specials. Overall, Brent’s Drugs Malt Shop is one of the best things to do in Jackson MS.

LAFLEUR’S BLUFF STATE PARK

Jackson offers visitors an authentic camping experience, without stepping outside the city, at Lafleur’s Bluff State Park. Covering over 305 acres of land, this park offers all the fun outdoor activities you could ask for. From boating and fishing to camping and hiking, you can do activities throughout this massive forest.

Of course, you don’t have to do something too exciting when visiting the park, and you can just relax by the lakeside surrounded by nature. Hiking trails take you around all of the best attractions in the park, and are the best way to even catch some of the local wildlife in their natural habitat.

MISSISSIPPI STATE CAPITOL & CAPITOL MUSEUM

Like most other capitol buildings in other states, the Mississippi State Capitol building is open to the public through various tours. These guided tours take you around the building, showing you all of the best parts of the capitol building. It is a historic landmark in the state, relentlessly preserved and brought to its original glory.

Visitors can awe the beautiful architecture, visit the public gallery, and learn about the historical significance of the building itself. Finally, you can cap off your journey with a visit to the gift shop, which features accessories and clothing.  

MISSISSIPPI AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY MUSEUM

The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum is one of the more unique attractions in the city. The entire museum is a recreation of a 1920s era town that focused on farming cotton. You can find many historical artifacts, such as century-old farming tools. You can also learn more about how the town functioned and how it harvested its crops.

The museum also features a heritage center, which goes over the state’s agricultural history. Finally, you can even visit a barn, which features plenty of farm animals like cows and horses for you to get familiar with.

RUSSELL C. DAVIS PLANETARIUM

Jackson is home to one of the south’s largest and best equipped planetariums — the Russell C. Davis Planetarium.

Catch a show in their giant hemispheric theater, where you will not only learn about space, but also dinosaurs, oceans, and everything in between.

In addition to the many amazing educational programs offered here, you’ll also find other events here — such as film screenings, festivals, and more. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Jackson!

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