200 Years, 200 Things to Love About Jxn

Jackson, oh, Jackson, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 200 of them to be exact.

In celebration of the city's Bicentennial, we've found 200 things we (and you) should love about the City With Soul!

Credit: Stephen Little
Eudora Welty Writer's Trail marker at her historic home in Belhaven

Culture & Arts

1. Eudora Welty House & Gardens (arts/culture)
Jackson's beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning author called this house home. Today, restored as a museum, it pays homage to one of the South's great writers, including the garden where Welty spent much of her time.

2. Mississippi Music Experience (music)
The Mississippi Music Experience is the Iron Horse Grill's tribute to American music's deep roots in our state. Lifelike wax statues of famous Mississippi (Elvis and Darth Vader in the same space? Yep.) and an expansive collection of memorabilia create an engaging exploration of musical history on the restaurant's second floor

3.
Hal & Mal's (music/food)
More than just food and live music, Hal & Mal's is a family-run institution in Jackson. Inspired by their time in New Orleans, the brothers who opened it in 1985 brought something unique to the city. It's the place for everything from singer-songwriter and jazz nights in the dining room to regional and national acts who play the "Big Room," Snoop Dog among them!

4.
Mississippi Museum of Art (art)
Dive into art and artifacts from across the centuries at this bastion of 19th and 20th century art. Home to more than 600 pieces, it's been a center of culture in Jackson since 1911. Check in for special programs, including a ground-breaking exhibition this year on the Great Migration.

5.
JXN Planetarium (arts/culture)
It's awaiting a full reopening in April 2023 after a much-needed renovation. Still, it'll be hard to miss this domed landmark while wandering downtown through Jackson. When it reopens, look for a state-of-the-art scientific and educational center unlike any in the southeast.

6.
The Capri (Jackson's only movie theater)
In the Fondren District, a brand new urban playground includes a Southern American restaurant with a boutique bowling alley, a tiki bar and The Capri. This Jackson landmark is ready to play its second act. The 178-seat theater sold out on its first night, so come be part of the action.

7.
A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration (exhibit)
This year Jackson is unveiling a brand new exhibit by 12 African Americans. "A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration" will open at the Mississippi Museum of Art in April. It's one of the most exciting parts of the city's big bicentennial celebration.

8.
Space: A Journey to Our Future (exhibit)
Blast off at the MS Museum of Natural Science. This exhibit lands in May and runs through December. It features discoveries and explorations from the past of human space flight and introduces future astronauts to today's explorers shaping our future destiny in the galaxy.

9.
Arts Center of Mississippi (community space)
Check out what's happening at this downtown cultural complex shared with the JXN Planetarium. Look for exhibits and performances from its members, including Ballet Mississippi, Opera Mississippi, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, International Museum of Muslim Cultures, International Ballet Competition, Greater Jackson Arts Council, and Arts for All.

10.
Highland Village Shopping Center (shopping)
Treat yourself in Jackson with some shopping. Local artisans and retailers are sprinkled in among more familiar names, offering multiple modes of retail therapy. Pair an afternoon shopping with a bit of fine dining afterward, and you'll feel like Jackson spoiled you so right.

11.
Offbeat (cultural/eclectic shop)
Jackson is full of surprises, like the vast array of clothes, toys, records, and other quirky gifts that will make you smile at Offbeat. Pop in expecting nothing and leave with a bag full of reminders that Jackson is, dare we say it, pretty cool.

12.
Lemuria (bookstore)
It's a bookworm's dream! The written word is alive and thriving at Lemuria, Jackson's most beloved bookstore. Browse the shelves for some local author you never heard of or for one of the most iconic titles penned right here in Jackson. Their First Editions collection is a huge draw, too.

13.
AND Gallery (art gallery)
This artist-run gallery is the place to see what's new and upcoming in Jackson. It's run on donations, and volunteers seek to springboard emerging artists into success. Pop in and see if the next Basquiat or Banksy is on display – hey, you never know!

14.
The Beacon (consciously curated shop)
Do you like the sound of a "consciously curated" store? The Beacon knows it and stocks only the most beautiful handmade or local or ethical items, including sketchbooks and jewelry. This is the place to shop Jackson at its most, well, Jackson.

15.
Fischer Galleries (art gallery)
A taste for the local is served up at Fischer Galleries. It's fine art that highlights local and regional artists, both emerging and established, offering art lovers the chance to splurge on something they won't likely find at home.

16.
Fondren Art Gallery (art gallery)
Moving to a new location near downtown this year, Fondren Art Gallery is still showcasing the best local painting and sculptures, spanning an array of styles and media. It's a fun place to browse interpretations of Jackson and to see it through the eyes of locals.

17.
Genuine Mississippi Store (local goods)
Are you looking to discover the authentic tastes of Mississippi? Check out the Genuine Mississippi Store at the Mississippi Farmers Market to learn all about produce and products created right here in the state. Seasonal, fresh, artisanal – sounds pretty good, right?

18.
The Alamo (theater)
Since 1942, the Alamo Theatre has evolved from a western and African American film establishment to a place that hosted artists such as B.B. King, Nat King Cole and Dorothy Moore. Today, thanks to the community, the restored theater and landmark continues to entertain proudly in the Historic Farish Street District.

19.
Thimblepress (shop)
A vibrant and inspirational brand founded by Jackson native Kristen Ley Allen, Thimblepress has spread nationally and internationally, with collaborations with Target and Staples, among others, and featured on the Today Show. Products feature notecards, shirts, notebooks and other merchandise adorned with Ley's original art and writings.

20.
Pearl River Glass (art studio)
Pearl River Glass Studio began in 1975 as the dream of Andrew Young to establish a professional studio providing state-of-the-art stained glass to clients across the country. Today, Young and his talented team create original glassworks and restore those that played a part in history, including windows that are part of Clayborn Temple in Memphis - the church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped sanitation workers organize their 1968 strike.

21.
N.U.T.S. (pre-owned store)
You'll go – yes, we're doing it – nuts for the variety of pre-owned goods on sale at this shop. Vintage items, antiques, decor, and other odds and ends are all seeking a new forever home, letting you take a piece of Jackson's history back with you, all while helping a good cause.

22.
General Store (old-timey shop in the agriculture museum)
This old-fashioned general story within the Ag Museum gives visitors a sense of 1920s Jackson. Rock candy and Moon Pies are just some of the throwback items lining the shelves for kids and adults looking to reminisce about the good old days.

23.
Wolfe Studio (art gallery)
Once a rural artist retreat, the Wolfe Studio is now an oasis within Jackson where visitors can learn about the Wolfe family and their art. Purchase one of their famous bird sculptures while browsing paintings and other works of art on display.

24.
New Stage Theatre (regional theater)
A professional, regional theater in the City With Soul, New Stage Theatre in Belhaven allows patrons to experience popular Broadway shows in their own backyard. Plus, local stories get the star treatment while budding performers young and old can participate in workshops, camps and special conferences led by industry pros.

25.
Public art (public art map)
Street art and public murals around Jackson celebrate the community's diversity in significant, bold ways. Check out our map of the murals, ghost signs, sculptures and yard art we've identified and treat yourself to a walking tour of these colorful testaments to Jackson's people.

26.
Duling Hall (music)
Located in the Fondren District, Duling Hall is a music scene staple. Spacious yet intimate, the concert venue welcomes just about any musical genre. Music enthusiasts have no choice but to check out who's playing when they visit Jackson.

27.
Mississippi Coliseum (venue/concerts/events)
Looking for the big shows in Jackson? With 6,500 permanent seats, this venue is a mainstay for everything from rodeos to basketball games. Check in to see what musical acts are playing to Jackson's concert-loving locals when you're in town.

28.
International Museum of Muslim Cultures (culture)
A stunning collection of artifacts and exhibits line the walls of this engaging cultural center and museum. Jackson's Muslim community is small but proud, and a trip to the museum will explore the fascinating stories of Muslims living in the South.

The Fairview Inn
Credit: Ben Hon

Accommodations & Venues

29. The Fairview Inn (boutique hotel)
Stay in Jackson at the Fairview Inn, where modern comfort meets old-world charm. This boutique hotel’s 18 luxury rooms are always a good choice for a getaway. The hotel itself is also a splendid backdrop for events and weddings, in case you’re scouting locations!

30. The Westin Jackson (hotel and meeting)

One of the most stylish accommodations downtown, the Westin Jackson provides elegant rooms and an unbeatable location. It’s the perfect way to keep everyone happy when planning a get-together in Jackson. Oh, and book the gorgeous meeting room to plan an event that none of your attendees will forget.

31. Homewood Suites by Hilton Jackson Fondren Medical District (hotel and meeting)

Need to gather? The Homewood Suites in Fondren does it with panache. The best part is that it’s located in the trendy Fondren district, ensuring there’s plenty to do before and after your meetings.

32. Hilton Garden Inn Jackson (full service)

Sumptuous meeting spaces and charm make this a top choice for significant events and gatherings. Choices abound! Located downtown, the location is as ideal as the building itself, and the King Edward Grille provides a bit of southern flare for diners and guests alike.

33. Jackson Convention Complex (convention center)

This 330,000-square-foot structure features a crystalline folding glass façade, and includes a 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 25,000-square-foot carpeted ballroom, ten meeting rooms, 33,000 square feet of carpeted pre-function lobby and registration space, and an outdoor patio overlooking downtown Jackson. If you're hosting a meeting in Jackson, this is the place.

34. Old Capitol Inn (boutique hotel)

Built in 1952, The Old Capitol Inn was home to the YWCA (Young Womens Christian Association) which rented dorm style rooms to young women who had relocated to Jackson from small rural Mississippi towns to work. These days, savvy travelers stay in this boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Jackson, blocks from museums, restaurants and nightlife.

35. Providence Hill Farms (meetings)
On the northwestern edge of Jackson, this gorgeous property welcomes travelers and conferences alike with its manicured grounds and decorated rooms. Plan a wedding or simply get away with some clay shooting along the rolling hills of this estate. A short drive from downtown, it’s a wise choice for creating memorable events.

36. The Faulkner (meetings)

Meeting spaces in downtown Jackson don’t get much better than the Faulkner. The historic six-story building offers sweeping views of The Old Capitol, the Pearl River basin, and the signature buildings of the city skyline. Its three unique event spaces include a rooftop terrace, making it as Instagrammable as memorable.

37. JXN Welcome Center (tourism)

Ask questions, meet the locals, and grab your JXN Passport at this downtown welcome center. It’s the best place to start any excursion to Jackson to find the most up-to-date information. It’s also the best place to ask about restaurants and bars that no one else is talking about yet; the local staff will be sure to indulge your curiosity!

A sign says Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with buildings and trees in the background
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Civil Rights & History

38. Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (civil rights)
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is a preeminent institution that shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the nation. Visitors pass through eight interactive galleries highlighting the systematic oppression of Black Mississippians as they fought for equality. No trip to Jackson is complete with a visit to this ground-breaking museum.

39. Greenwood Cemetery (history)

City leaders and notable figures, including Eudora Welty, rest forever in Greenwood Cemetery. Dating back to 1821, the leafy parcel of land downtown features bits of history and unique tombs that memorialize many of Jackson's residents. Stroll its paths for a bit of calm during your next visit to the city.

40. Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument (civil rights)

A leader of the civil rights movement, Medgar & Myrlie Evers, called this house home. He was a World War II vet and a secretary for the NAACP who believed in change, beliefs which unfortunately led to his assassination in his home by those who did not share them. Learn about his story and celebrate his legacy while touring his home, reopening soon as a museum dedicated to this trailblazer.

41. Medgar Evers Library (education)

Jackson is a city of literary prowess, and its many libraries are a testament to the written word. The Medgar Evers Library pays homage to this civil rights activist, featuring a statue to his honor on the grounds. Events including family-friendly movie matinees make this particular library worth checking out when visiting.

42. Historic Farish Street District (civil rights)
Once the economic heart of Jackson's Black community, the Farish Street District bears many memories of its history. The stories it keeps are just part of its allure. With multiple projects to revitalize the neighborhood, it's an exciting place to visit to witness the city's evolution in real-time.

43. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (museum)

Think "natural wonders." They're all on display at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Kids and adults alike appreciate wandering the state's most extensive natural history collection as they learn all about its unique environments and living creatures through the ages.

44. Old Capitol Museum (museum)

The Old Capitol is Mississippi's most historic building. Built in 1839, it was the site of the passage of the 1839 Married Women's Property Act, Mississippi's secession from the Union in 1861, and the crafting of the 1868 and 1890 state constitutions. The inside may be closed for renovation, but the outside is still worth a peek as if you could miss it!

45. Mississippi Ag and Forestry Museum & National Aviation Museum (history)

Get to Jackson's history from the ground up – literally. The history of the state's farming and other natural resources is displayed at this unique museum and research center. Visit a working farm or the old-world general store to get a glimpse at what farm life was like in Jackson over the decades. The museum is also home to the National Agricultural Aviation Museum, covering more than 5,000 square feet with displays of planes that once flew over southern farms.

46. Museum of Mississippi History (history)

Where else can you visit 15,000 years of Mississippi history under one roof? With artifacts and galleries dedicated to First Nations, the colonial period, the cotton era, the Great Depression leading up to today, this museum gives the most comprehensive look possible at the state's history. Good luck not being captivated by the extensive collection you won't find elsewhere.

47. Tougaloo College (education)

The name Tougaloo is fundamental to understanding the civil rights movement in Jackson. Visit the college campus where leaders and activists met and organized in the 1960s. Its picturesque Woodworth Chapel hosted state and national leaders of the movement, such as Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Students known as the "Tougaloo Nine." They were instrumental in organizing sit-ins that pushed Jackson toward change.

48. Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center (art/culture)

Yet another staple of Jackson's civil rights commitment is the Smith Robertson Museum. Its art, artifacts, and photography celebrate the contributions of Black Mississippians through both their struggles and achievements. Learn about the African experience in the deep south through the stories of those who lived it while experiencing exhibits such as From Slavery to America, 1670-1864 and in the Hall of Fame, which includes personalities from the state who are pioneers in their respective positions.

49. Margaret Walker Alexander Center (culture)

Learn all about Dr. Alexander, who received the National Education Association Senior Fellowship Award for Lifetime Achievement and Contributions to American Literature in 1991. With more than 50 years of writing, her numerous books received national acclaim. A teacher at JSU, her workplace renamed itself in her honor, and the institute now addresses all aspects of civil rights from the Great Migration to gospel music.

50. COFO Civil Rights Education Center (education)

Voting rights continue to make headlines, and the COFO Civil Rights Education Center has been part of the battle for decades. Making voter registration and education a top priority since 1961, COFO was instrumental in organizing the 1963 Freedom Vote, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. Pop in to meet its members and check for programs or talks when you're in town.

51. Hill Holly Building (history/culture)

Established in 1983, members of the Holly family formed The Holly Foundation in honor of Kermit W. Holly Sr., music's ambassador to Mississippi, who committed his life to educating students in music. The foundation continues bringing opportunities to underprivileged communities today. The Historic Hill-Holly Building on Farish Street continues to be the epicenter for the foundation's events and programs.

52. Freedom Trail (history)

The Mississippi Freedom Trail is part of the larger Civil Rights Trail in the U.S., and Jackson features several stops. From the home of Medgar Evers to the Greyhound Bus Station and the Mississippi State Capitol to Tougaloo College, there's much history to seek while learning about Jackson's role in augmenting civil rights for the city, state and nation.

A neon sign on the front of a building reads Mayflower Cafe. There's lightning in the dark sky in the distance.
The Mayflower Cafe in Downtown Jackson.

Cuisine

53. Mayflower Café (iconic)
This is one of the places that guidebooks want you to know about. Known for its famed "comeback sauce," Mayflower Café is a veritable institution of Jackson's dining scene. Devoted to seafood, it has been serving Jackson's best dishes since 1935 and is a stop for regular visitors and celebrities alike.

54. Cultivation Food Hall

With multiple dining options highlighting the chefs' creativity within this incubator, Cultivation Food Hall is the first and only of its kind in Mississippi. Its boutique restaurant concepts, specialty coffees, and craft cocktails offer a taste of what's fresh and new in Jackson. The food hall features the best culinary talent, emphasizing a variety of local, chef-inspired concepts – all under one roof.

55. Hattie's Chicken and Waffles (new)

The name says it all, but there's a heartwarming story driving Hattie's. A newcomer to Jackson by a Canton-born local, Hattie's is an homage to the owner's grandmother, lost to the pandemic. He celebrates her life through food that brought the family together, including, of course, some of the best fried chicken and waffles in the city.

56. Bully's Restaurant (a classic for soul)

Jackson is the City With Soul, not least for its delicious and authentic soul food. Bully's is a casual hotspot, and its red trays of fried chicken and cornbread are some of the locals' favorites. A trip to Jackson demands - requires - and begs you to stop in for a taste of something you won't find when you head home.

57. Cathead Distillery (first legal one in MS)

Its claim to fame is the first legal distillery in Mississippi since Prohibition – but everyone knows it simply as a place to get great local spirits. Opened in 2010, implanted in Downtown Jackson in 2015, its award-winning spirits include Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur and Cathead Vodka, among others. Pay a visit to the tasting room to see what Jackson's beverage scene is all about.

58. MS Farmers Market (arts/culture)

Spend a Saturday morning browsing the stalls of the city's farmers market to sample the regional produce. Smell the fresh flowers, see what's in season, and pick up a baked good or two to hold you over until lunch. There's no better way to get a taste of daily life in Jackson than to shop with the locals.

59. The Manship (dining)

It's all about the fire at the Manship Wood Fired Kitchen. Located in the historic Belhaven district, the restaurant boasts a menu that plays with Mediterranean and Southern classics, combining them in new, innovative ways. It's a chic dining experience with a rustic feel that brings a little bit of Europe to Jackson, wowing locals and visitors alike.

60. La Cour Kitchen & Bar (new)

With a decidedly Parisian feel, La Cour is a welcomed addition to Jackson's dining scene. Bringing French fusion to the table, it boasts beautiful interiors and its signature courtyard – or cour – to envelop diners in a bit of European charm. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just drinks, you can't go wrong.

61. Ole Tavern on George Street (history)
Dining in Jackson takes all forms, but it doesn't always come with a dose of history. However, the Old Tavern on George Street is a historical landmark not to miss. It once housed a grocery store frequented by local writer Eudora Welty, and today it serves up the best of Southern cuisine set within the cozy brick walls that have stood for over a century.

62. Char Restaurant (steak)

One of the best steakhouses in Jackson, Char Restaurant will feed you right. Its selection of seafood and steak dishes will keep you wondering how you'll ever eat anything else in Jackson. More than just meat, Char does a solid brunch, in case you don't have time to reserve for dinner!

63. Crazy Cat Eat Up (southern comfort)

With redfish and catfish on the menu, you know you're in the south. Crazy Cat Eat Up serves homemade but southern comfort food inspired by the owners' grandmother's recipes framed on the wall if you want to test the authenticity. It's a neighborhood favorite, with a bakery as well to ensure every meal ends on a sweet note.

64. 1908 Provisions (restaurant)

Jackson has the solution for any special occasion. Inside the historic Fairview Inn, 1908 Provisions takes a fresh, California-inspired menu and applies all the local southern flare it can to its dishes. Look for classic dishes featuring regional seafood and sit back to enjoy something elegant and refined to celebrate anything – or nothing! Good dining never needs an excuse.

65. The Pig & Pint (BBQ)

Our BBQ is something to be experienced here in Jackson, and the Pig & Pint doesn't hold back. From boudin balls to its BBQ brisket sandwiches, this local favorite will do its best to ruin you to BBQ back home. Don't worry – you can always come back to Jackson for more.

66. Green Ghost Tacos (Mexican)

Gluten-free tortillas and freshly made fillings make Green Ghost dishes a must for anyone hungry for Mexican food. Tacos, burritos, and a selection of slow-cooked sauces are packed with flavor. Since 2015, this eatery has been feeding Jacksonians with the freshest ingredients, showcasing Mama Yolanda's recipes from San Luis, Mexico.

67. Spice Avenue (Indian)

Visitors may not come to Jackson looking for goat curry and tandoori prawns, but no one is upset about finding them. Spice Avenue is the city's go-to for Indian cuisine, bringing a bit of south Asian cuisine. Come hungry, but most of all, come prepared to embrace the spice.

68. Cups (coffee)

Founded in Fondren in 1993, Dennis and Janice Cameron's love of art and people created a coffee shop whose aim was to help patrons "find a place to belong." Through locally roasted coffee, local art hanging in their shops and consistently knowledgeable staff, the word to describe Cups that comes up most often is community.

69. 4th Avenue Lounge (bar and nightlife)

Night falls in Jackson, and life pulses on at 4th Avenue Lounge. Head to this cocktail bar for an expertly shaken or stirred drink alongside a plate of crab claws or some gulf shore oysters. It's part restaurant, part lounge, but fully energetic and vibing for those 21 and over, of course!

70. Club Metro 2.0 (bar)

Jackson's queer nightlife scene is not always prominent, but finding it at Metro 2.0 is easy. Whether it's a raucous night out on the town or a sassy drag brunch to cure you of the night before, this is the best spot in Jackson to be with family. When you need endless mimosas and a solid read, this is the place to be.

71. Johnny T's Bistro & Blues (music)

Johnny T's is where to gather, dine, and enjoy the best local artists. Legend has it that the original Jonny T was a blues player in the early 1900s who would show up in his shiny new Cadillac for one-night-only performances at local juke joints, vanishing by morning but leaving behind a lone instrument signed. We can't promise any signed guitars, but a good time is guaranteed for those who visit!

72. F. Jones Corner (music/blues)

A little music. A little beer. Some fried cheese grits. What's not to love? F. Jones Corner brings the blues – and other genres – to the stage for patrons who want to kick back and relax. Located in the Farish Street district, this historically landmarked building has seen a lot in its years. Still, it creates an exciting place for locals and visitors to mingle over the things that bring us all together.

73. Campbell's Bakery (sweets)

Louis Campell was an army cook who opened this shop in 1962. While the owners changed over the years, the current team still uses Campbell's original teacake recipe, keeping the founder's traditions alive. Pop in for a range of brownies, cookies, and other unabashedly American baked goods while wandering the Fondren district.

74. Tuk Tuk Boom (Thai)

The Jackson dining scene isn't all southern comfort food. A mix of authentic Thai and sushi make Tuk Tuk Boom one of the city's tastiest restaurants to feature international fare. If you can't make that trip overseas this year, enjoy the tastes of Asia right here in Jackson instead. It's a happy compromise – plus, it's way easier to get here!

75. Fenian's Pub (bar)

While the St. Paddy's parade is once a year, each day is a celebration of the Irish at Fenian's Pub. The interior is full of dark wood accents, and the stained-glass windows let in just the right amount of dimly filtered light to keep the bar feeling like a permanent evening in Dublin. Share a pint or two and a plate of shepherd's pie whether you're Irish or not!

76. Library Lounge (literary-themed drinks)

Looking for the most "Jackson" place to enjoy a cocktail? While writers have used the city as an inspiration for their takes, Library Lounge uses their tales for inspiration in their drinks. Cozy up with a novel and a cocktail at the charming Library Lounge in the historic Fairview Inn and write yourself into the history of the city's literary tradition.

77. Ecoshed (urban farming)

Jackson is looking to the future of work – and food – at Ecoshed. This chic event and coworking space takes a sustainable approach to all it does, including engaging in urban farming practices.

78. Bicentennial Beer Company (brewery)

An upstart microbrewery culture in Jackson makes discovering local beers exciting and easy. A stop at Bicentennial Beer Company inside LD's Beer Run is the best place to start. With a good selection of stouts, IPAs, sours, and other beers brewed on the premises, it offers a genuinely unique Jackson experience. Raise a glass to the tastes of Jackson!

79. Blue crab

Seafood reigns supreme in Mississippi, and countless restaurants feature local products like the regional blue crab. Baked, boiled, fried, or steamed, blue crab is a year-round delicacy in seafood restaurants in Jackson. Indulge in this local favorite, freshly fished from the Gulf, and savor its sweet, delicate flavors.

80. Po'Boys

Everyone looks to Louisiana for a good po'boy sandwich, but Jackson's not that far from the Gulf of Mexico. Great seafood is a few hours' drive away, which means battered shrimp or fish piled high on a crispy roll is as much a part of Mississippi as its neighbor to the west. See for yourself in Jackson.

81. Soul Food

As Black-owned businesses boomed in Jackson in the second half of the 20th century, the soul food prepared largely by those of African descent gained widespread appeal in newly opened restaurants. Cornbread, steamed greens, fried fish and other specialties are on the menu in restaurants across the city that highlight this vibrant cultural component of Jackson's culinary scene.

82. Gulf Shrimp

Jackson loves its seafood, and the tender sweet shrimp plucked from the Gulf are an excellent go-to when sampling local fare. Look for them at some of the city's best seafood restaurants and try them fried or with a bit of cocktail sauce.

83. Gulf Oysters

Being so close to the Gulf of Mexico has its advantages for Jackson's food scene. It means getting fresh Gulf oysters quickly. Cooked or raw, it's up to you. Just be sure to enjoy them at some point while planning your dining in Jackson. Unless you live on the coast, they'll never be quite as fresh.

84. Comeback (a Jxn original)

If you've ever visited a restaurant in Jackson and throughout Mississippi, chances are you've come across the savory, tangy, teasingly spicy catchall sauce known as "comeback dressing." A magical finishing touch for everything from leafy greens to chicken to fish and beyond, legend has the sauce deriving its name from patrons wanting to "come back" for more. With its critical notes of garlic and mayonnaise, another theory revolves around its potent scent "coming back" to linger after the main course is finished.

85. BBQ

Regional battles for the best BBQ rage across the U.S. Mississippi has its own secrets and tricks. How do they compare to others around the nation? Pop into one of Jackson's BBQ restaurants to find out. It's way more interesting than reading about it!

86. Catfish

Catfish are a familiar favorite in Jackson's restaurants, pulled from nearby waters. Often fried, it's one of the quintessential local specialties that visitors will want to keep on their radar during their trip to the city.

87. Gumbo

When you're in Jackson, make sure you try every local dish – even those you didn't know were part of the local culture. A southern specialty often associated with Louisiana, visitors to Jackson will see this meat and seafood stew on menus across the city. Indulge because it'll be better than anything you'll get outside of the region.

88. E&L Barbeque (restaurant)

A trip to Jackson means trying as many local specialties as possible, and BBQ is right up there near the top of the list. For nearly 30 years, E&L Restaurant has been serving up some of the best BBQ in the city. Need some hot links or smoked tips? Of course, you do, and E&L is your spot in Belhaven. Fried fish and pulled pork sandwiches will ensure you get the full Jackson BBQ experience.

89. Brent's Drugs (diner/soda fountain)

The original soda fountain in Fondren, this restaurant is a throwback to its 1940s roots and continues to serve locals looking for a relaxed meal. Come for burgers and shakes, but stay for the warm and lively atmosphere. Its retro vibe makes it a favorite for friends to gather and indulge in the diner comfort food so quintessentially American.

90. Big Apple Inn (food and history)

A Mexican immigrant bought this tiny storefront in 1939, creating Big Apple Inn, named after his favorite swing dance. Today it's the place for signature tamales, as well as its signature pig ear sandwiches. The building and restaurant served as the meeting place for many civil rights leaders, including Medgar Evers. The owner has two locations, but the Farish Street restaurant is the original.

91. Nandy's Candy (store)

Relive those fond memories of going to the candy store as a child – or create those memories in Jackson if you never did – at Nandy's Candy. Stock up on fresh chocolate truffles, salted caramels, pecan clusters and any other treats to take back for loved ones. Buy a bit extra because you're sure to nibble on a few when you leave the shop!

A crowd of parade revelers, many dressed in green
Hal's St. Paddy's Parade and Festival is March 26 in Downtown Jackson
Credit: Tate Nations

Events/Outdoor/Family

92. Hal's St. Paddy's Parade & Festival (event)
More than just a reason to order a few beers, the annual St. Paddy's Parade & Festival is a chance for Jacksonians to come together each March for a good cause. The event raises thousands of dollars for Children's of Mississippi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. So if you're here in March, you can feel good partaking in this celebration of the Emerald Isle, even if you're not Irish.

93. LeFleur's Bluff State Park (outdoors)

Camping, fishing, and golfing all within Jackson? At LeFleur's Bluff State Park, that's just the start. This delightfully green public recreation area on the banks of the Pearl River boasts a 50-acre lake and is also home to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Enjoy a breath of fresh air, quite literally, without having to leave Jackson's city limits.

94. Mississippi Children's Museum (family)

Jackson takes learning seriously – but having fun is also a top priority. At the Mississippi Children's Museum, kids and families can do both. With galleries dedicated to everything from reading and health to local environments and nature, parents will be struggling to get their kids to leave by the end of the day. Of course, that's not a bad thing, is it?

95. JXN Indie Music Week (festival)

Every January for eight years, Jackson Indie Music Week has been a celebration of Central Mississippi’s independent music scene. It is a week-long series of concerts, showcases, panels, and parties, spotlighting creatives from ALL genres including Rock, Hip Hop, EDM, Blues, Singer-Songwriter, and Independent Film & Video.

96. Museum Trail (new outdoor space)
Jackson is constantly carving new paths for people to enjoy, and this year, the city will inaugurate its new Museum Trail. This 5-mile multi-use path will connect the farmers market to the Agriculture Museum, linking three parks and six other museums along the way. By foot or by bike, it's a brand new way to experience Jackson that visitors will absolutely want to explore.

97. Discover Japan Festival (arts/culture)

Drum shows? Calligraphy? Cup after cup of delicious tea? It's all part of this annual event sponsored by Jackson State University that brings the sights and sounds of Japan to Jackson for one day. If you're visiting in July, be sure to check out this year's event.

98. MS Capital City Pride (LGBTQ)

Wave that rainbow flag. Jackson sees you! The state's most significant Pride events happen in Jackson, and the group called MS Capital City Pride makes sure that LGBTQ+ events take place all year in the city. Check out their calendar for events, including Mardi Gras, Pride Month celebrations, and the city's big Pride weekend in September.

99. Jackson Zoo (arts/culture)

Dating back to 1919, this institution houses some 250 animals that have delighted children for generations. Undergoing updates and changes, the Jackson Zoo is part of the city's fabric. The animals await you to educate and engage!

100. The Mississippi Trade Mart (arts/culture)

Jackson welcomes events of all kinds. With some 110,000 square feet of event space, the new Mississippi Trade Mart is twice as large as the previous one. Opened in 2020, the state-of-the-art facility is located on the Mississippi State Fairgrounds.

101. Ignite the Night (arts/culture)

The Mississippi Children's Museum invites adults to Ignite the Night each February. Grown-ups take over the museum, donning their best outfits to enjoy entertainment by street performers and musicians and savor various culinary offerings.

102. Mississippi Makers Fest (arts/culture)

Visit Jackson and leave with a memory that can only be made here in the city. Join the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) at the first-ever Mississippi Makers Fest on Entergy Plaza of the Two Mississippi Museums this May. With live music, food trucks, and artisans selling local goods, it's a first – and certainly not a last – for Jackson.

103. Park After Dark (family)

A favorite every October for kids and families, Park After Dark is the chance to enjoy spooky science and family at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Children's Museum. Bring some costumes for the kids and prepare for an evening of discovery and engagement in Jackson.

104. Capital City Lights (holiday/family)

Offered first in 2021, Capital City Lights brings together a myriad of holiday activities in downtown Jackson. The event joins the forces of the City of Jackson, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and their museum properties, along with artistic and culinary partners to create a winter wonderland. With year one under their belt, this year's interaction is sure to bring more festive fun!

105. Mynelle Gardens (botanical hub in Jackson)

Jacksonians love their green space. From a simple garden started over a half-century ago, Mynelle Gardens stands as a botanical wonderland, wildlife sanctuary and haven for songbirds. The gardens feature azalea and camellia trails and daylily displays, and hundreds of perennials and annuals in natural landscape settings. Stop and smell the roses, literally, in Jackson.

106. South Pacific (Broadway in Jackson)

Jackson is staging the Pulitzer Prize-winning tale set on a tropical island during World War II as part of its Broadway in Jackson series. This March, South Pacific will wow audiences with timeless music and lyrics, romancing audiences since 1949.

107. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Broadway in Jackson)

Visiting Jackson is like finding the Golden Ticket, we think. The March staging of this beloved musical makes a visit to Jackson all that much sweeter. Join the Oompa-Loompas and Willy Wonka himself on this musical adaptation of the beloved film. It's fun for all ages, guaranteed.

108. The British Invasion (Jackson Live)

Have a penchant for British music? Satisfy the craving with this performance in May as part of the Broadway in Jackson series. A live band will be joined by projections of some of the UK's most significant contributions to pop culture. It's part history, part fandom, part concert, and entirely worth checking out this year.

109. Juneteenth (Federal Holiday)

The City With Soul celebrates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War - Juneteenth - with a slate of citywide events June 17-19. In previous years, the schedule has been light, but in 2022, expect more than a half dozen concerts, festivals, markets and other observances.

110. Spring Farm Days (at the Ag Museum)
Celebrate spring at this three-day event where you can see the Ag Museum come to life. Enjoy cooking demonstrations by the MS Egg Marketing Board, learn about Farmstead life and gardening, and make sure to see the large farm and forestry equipment display. We will also have baby chicks, chickens, and other farm animals. Watch the season spring to life in Jackson.

111. Easter at the Ag Museum (April)

Hop over to the Ag Museum this April to celebrate Easter. Leave the bonnet at home and instead let the kids follow the bunny trail to collect candy and toy-filled eggs for their baskets. There will be chances for photo ops with the Easter Bunny and visits to the new Children's Barnyard throughout the site. Dye eggs, play games and enjoy snacks while ushering in the springtime in Jackson.

112. Fossil Road Show (education/events)

Jackson has its share of prehistoric history carved into the rocks – but it's not always obvious. The Mississippi Museum of Natural history invites fossil collectors of all skills to bring their rocks and findings this March to learn more about what they are. In addition to the Museum's fossil collection, there will be displays from collectors and exhibitors, hands-on activities, "fossil digs," and a scavenger hunt.

113. Capital City Kayak Adventures (outdoor adventure)

Convene with nature and paddle along the Pearl River with the trails and itineraries set out by Capital City Kayak's Chris Lockhart. With various vessels available, you can find the best fit for your excursion. Glide across the water and see Jackson from a whole new perspective while navigating the river's bends through its verdant banks. Sounds delightful, right?

114. LeFleur's Bluff Playground (family)
Families will rejoice at having a state-of-the-art playground to blow off some steam while exploring Jackson. LeFleur's Bluff Playground opened in late 2021 with ADA-accessible, engaging equipment and safe materials, making it a no-brainer for parents. Near some of the city's best museums, it's just one of many examples of Jackson's commitment to family travel.

115. MS Book Festival (event)

Jackson takes its literary reputation seriously. More than 150 authors join for the annual Mississippi Book Festival in August. More than a giant book sale, it's also the chance for signings, talks, and meeting your favorite author or finding a bit of inspiration for that next novel you're working on.

An Art Deco building in blue with a blue sky in the background.
The former Greyhound Bus Station in Downtown Jackson
Credit: Drew Dempsey

LANDMARKS

116. Old Greyhound Bus Station (Art Deco landmark)
History lives on at this Greyhound Bus Station where many arrests were made during the May 1961 Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement. The Art Deco building has been preserved and revived, standing the test of time in the Farish Street District.

117. Mississippi State Capitol (landmark)

Brimming with Beaux Arts décor and classical revival architecture that marked the early 20th century, the Mississippi State Capitol dazzles visitors. Sumptuous marble features and a stunning rotunda are just some of the highlights. Designated as a Mississippi Landmark in 1986 and a National Historic Landmark in 2016, it’s been the home to the state’s government since 1903.

118. Old Central Fire Station (landmark)

Jackson is proud of its Old Central Fire Station, an early 20th century landmark that’s worth checking out. It’s a look back at time, since it was the city’s first official fire station and operated for some 75 years. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

119. Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle (landmark)

Its roots date back to 1846, but the wood-frame church was burned during the Civil War by General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1862. The current structure was finished in 1900 and features modified Gothic design and a 119 ft spire atop its tower. It’s the seat of the Bishop of Jackson, and as a working church, offers daily services to all.

120. Mississippi War Memorial Building (landmark)

The Mississippi War Memorial Building stands as a monument to the memory of Mississippi men and women who sacrificed their lives for the nation. The building features unique cast-aluminum doors and panels depicting battle scenes starting from the Battle of Ackia in 1736. The classic Art Deco building showcases displays of uniforms, weapons, maps, photographs, medals of honor and other artifacts from the battlefields of the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict.

121. Original First Baptist Jackson (landmark)

The Original First Baptist Church dates back to 1837-40, when Jackson was just a teenager of a village with 600 people. The original 1844 structure stands facing Smith Park, surviving thanks to its role as a hospital during the Civil War. Today’s church is a masterpiece of architecture, a result of multiple construction projects dating back to 1924.

122. Lamar Life Building (landmark)
Look up! The Lamar Life Building is one of the most noticeable buildings in Jackson. Its Gothic Revival architectural style was all the rage in 1924 when it was completed. Today it’s just the twelfth tallest building in the city, but it was the very first skyscraper to tower over Jackson.

123. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (landmark)

Begun as a mission in 1839, St. Andrew’s became a parish of the Diocese of Mississippi in 1843. Burned by the Union Army during the American Civil War in 1863, the second church was completed in 1903. The church grew as did its congregation, and today stands tall as a landmark in Jackson.

124. Mt. Helm Baptist Church (oldest Black congregation)

It was in 1835 that the oldest Black church in Jackson opened. Mt Helm began with several enslaved blacks worshiping in the basement of First Baptist Church. After emancipation, members secured land donated by the Helm family, to which it owes its name. It has grown over the years, serving the community, even housing at one point, classes for Jackson State University.

125. Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church (landmark)

Dating back to 1836, just a few years after the City of Jackson was founded, five faithful people founded the city's first Methodist church, opening the doors in 1939. The plot of land on which the much-expanded Galloway Memorial United Method Church stands was purchased for just fifty dollars and today is prime real estate in the heart of Jackson.

126. Plaza Building (Art Deco landmark)

Jackson has some stunning architecture including this 1929 Art Deco building. It’s just across from the Governor’s Mansion – a treat for architecture lovers. It’s mostly apartment units today but still stands tall in Jackson as one of its many architectural marvels. Step back and take it all in while strolling downtown.

127. Standard Life Building (Art Deco landmark)

You can’t miss the fourth tallest building in Jackson if you tried. The Standard Life Building is a historic high-rise building in Jackson designed in the Art Deco architectural style. It dates back to 1929 and today includes office space and apartments. It was also the site of the first home of the Southeastern Conference (yes, that SEC).

128. Governor’s Mansion (2nd oldest in US)

Tour the second oldest occupied governor’s mansion in the United States (second only to Virginia) to learn about its history and the stories of those who once lived inside it. The Governor’s Mansion, built in the Greek Revival style, has been the residence of Mississippi governors and their families since 1842. In 1975, it was designated a National Historic Landmark and is a favorite stop for history buffs.

129. Jackson City Hall (landmark)

You may not need to pop in for any municipal needs, but if you pass its stunning white facade, take a moment to check out Jackson City Hall. Constructed from 1846–47 at a cost of $8,000, the building was spared by Union troops during the Civil War because of its use as a hospital and Masonic temple. Today, it’s the seat of local government, all these years later.

130. Union Station (Georgian Revival)

All aboard! Visit the beautifully restored Union Station. Train service first arrived in Jackson in 1840 but this modern Georgian Revival station appeared in 1927. Today, it still serves Amtrak lines and you can hop a Greyhound here since it doubles as the city’s main bus station..

131. Frank Lloyd Wright house (Usonian)

Known for his unique style of “organic” architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 structures in his lifetime. One of those is the J. Willis Hughes house, also known as “Fountainhead on Glen Way Drive in the Fondren neighborhood, built in the early 1950s. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, it was designed in Wright’s Usonian style, said to be a “T’ or “Y” design. The home is the private residence of JXN architect Robert Parker Adams and has never been open to the public. Fun fact: the house has no 90-degree angles inside.

132. Belhaven Neighborhood (historic place)

Interested in architecture? The Belhaven Neighborhood is the oldest residential historic district in the state and one of Jackson's oldest neighborhoods and cultural centers as well as home to many of the city's oldest houses and buildings. After the destruction wrought by the Civil War, many residents built new homes here, with plenty of restaurants, shops, and inns catering to visitors. Belhaven is considered to be one of the most architecturally diverse neighborhoods in the nation.

133. Midtown (arts/industrial neighborhood)

Looking for what’s going on in Jackson’s art scene? Head to Midtown, a diverse and vibrant neighborhood located just north of downtown Jackson. The neighborhood is home to the Midtown Arts District, a thriving artist community including welders, carpenters, painters, sculptors, glass artists, seamstresses, and industrial designers.

134. Fondren District (arts/culture)

Explore one of the trendiest parts of Jackson is the Fondren District. Its shops, great restaurants, notable art galleries, eclectic architecture, charming homes and wonderful people make it a standout. For shopping during the day, and dining and drinking at night, it’s the one-stop-shop for a cultural immersion into what’s making Jackson tick these days.

135. The District at Eastover (arts/culture)

Mississippi developers and residents envisioned a mixed-use city center that would bring better living to Jackson. By carefully designing the district for both commerce and living, the District of Eastover was born, and is one of the must-visit neighborhoods for any trip to Jackson to shop and dine.

A statue of a baseball player winding up to pitch
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

SPORTS

136. Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Museum (sports)
Established in 1961, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Museum celebrates all of the achievements of the state’s athletes. It opened in 1996 and includes exhibits dedicated to everything from PGA tournaments to high school competitions. Its Hall of Fame is dedicated to keeping memories alive and sharing stories of the state’s countless athletes of all levels.

137. MS Blues Marathon (sporting event)

No, it’s not a marathon concert per se. Runners join for the full 26.2 miles around Jackson each February, set to the soundtrack of the city’s iconic blues music. With shorter races available, everyone can enjoy the race day festivities while pounding the pavement to the rhythm of live music along the route.

138. Dixie National Rodeo (sporting event)

It’s the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi and this year it’s celebrating 57 years in 2022. The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo is a true local experience that also generates millions of dollars for Mississippi’s economy each year. From the agricultural exposition and livestock shows to the renowned rodeo entertainment, this event continues to flourish as a tradition treasured by locals and visitors alike.

139. Mississippi Raiders (arena football)

This year marks the return of Arena Football in Jackson as the Mississippi Raiders take up residence at the Mississippi Coliseum. The city is excited to welcome the team and to have another exhilarating sporting event to rally behind. The kick-off game is March 26, 2022, and will surely be a day that all Jacksonians will be excited to celebrate.

140. Hank Aaron Sports Academy (stadium/training facility)

Formerly the Smith WIlls Stadium, Hank Aaron Sports Academy boasts 5,200 seats for audiences to enjoy America’s greatest pastime. The baseball stadium in Jackson is the first stadium to host professional baseball in Mississippi, and serves as a multi-purpose arena which hosts games, concerts, community events and more.

141. Keith Haring Fitness Court (sports/fitness)

Art and wellness collide at the soon-to-come Keith Haring Fitness Court. Jackson was one of ten nationally-chosen location sites for this creative project, showing how Jackson is always looking to innovate. The eye-popping colorful fitness court is to promote wellness, movement and engagement within the community.

142. Jackson State Tigers (Division 1 college football)

The city’s pride is the Jackson State Tigers, its Division 1 college football team. Walter Payton, one of the sport’s greats, once played for the team, which enjoys a strong fan base by Jacksonians. The team boasts winning 26% of the SWAC championships, making it a perennial contender for the next big win.

A Black male in a white top
Chef Nick Wallace
Credit: Drew Dempsey

People

143. Nick Wallace (chef)
Jackson is the home of Nick Wallace, a local chef and entrepreneur. Voted Best Chef for Jackson, MS the last four years, he earned the title of Best Chef of Mississippi 2020 and has remained on the list of Best Chef America. He’s doing something right! Taste his culinary creations at the Nissan Café inside the Two Mississippi Museums and watch for him on Bravo’s Top Chef this spring.

144. Cindy Ayers-Elliott (urban farmer)
Jackson is the home of Cindy Ayers-Elliot, an investment banker who turned to farming more than ten years ago. She created a 68-acre farm in Jackson to help refocus the conversation about healthy eating, farming, and food security. She demonstrates how Jackson provides opportunities for everyone to help make an impact on local communities.

145. Enrika Williams (chef)

Jackson is home to Enrika Williams, a local chef. She launched Fauna Foodworks, a culinary food lab that produces thoughtful, ingredient-driven, bohemian-chic cuisine. Williams was also instrumental in launching the Magnolia Market, a monthly urban artisan marketplace highlighting the work of Black creators..

146. Louis LaRose (chef)

Jackson is home to Louis LaRose, the brainchild behind Lou’s Full-Serv. A native Jacksonian, he grew up watching his mother cook and then worked at other local restaurants. After learning the ins-and-outs of these establishments and earning his degree, LaRose became Executive Chef at the Mississippi Museum Of Art. From there, it was on to his own restaurant, Lou’s Full- Serv.

147. Brian Myrick (chef)

Jackson is now home to Brian Myrick, a transplant from Chicago who is making headlines behind the scenes at Johnny T’s Bistro. He fell in love with Jackson and its food scene, something he calls “modern Southern” cuisine. Myrick made the rounds but is now cooling at Johnny T’s where the live music isn’t the only thing keeping locals and visitors coming back.

148. Eddie Wright (chef)

Jackson is home to Eddie Wright, a lover of all things smoked and meaty. This pitmaster is one of Jackson’s best BBQ restaurateurs, with an onsite truck for bringing the BBQ flavor where it’s needed. He’s a lover of the craft and hopes to convey that love to anyone who gets a taste of his dishes. Wright recently won a Kingsford Charcoal “Preserving the Pit” grant to further the craft of Black pitmasters.

149. Malcolm White (arts/culture)

Jackson is home to Malcolm White, the past executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission and longtime cultural provocateur. Along with his late brother Hal, Malcolm opened Hal & Mal’s in the former GM&O Train Depot downtown and the pair founded the annual Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade and Festival, held each March.

150. Jill Conner Browne (arts/culture)

Jackson is the birthplace of THE Sweet Potato Queen®. Yes, that’s right, Jill Conner Browne is Jackson’s darling, an author and entrepreneur who, on nothing short of a whim, managed to carve out a role for herself as the Sweet Potato Queen, including a weekend of popular events and a parade honoring the queendom. Curious to learn more? Come on down to Jackson and see for yourself.

151. Chokwe Antar Lumumba (mayor)

Jackson is home to Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the second-term mayor of Jackson. As the 53rd mayor, this self-described progressive is shaking things up in Mississippi’s capital. Whether it’s strengthening community oversight, fixing infrastructure, or creating a dignity economy, he’s working for the people of Jackson, and a happy community means a better place for visitors!

152. Deion Sanders (sports)

Jackson is home to Deion Sanders, the American former professional football player and athlete, and sports analyst. After playing for 14 seasons in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and other teams, he has brought his talents to Jackson. He is currently the head football coach at Jackson State University, helping guide the next generation of NFL players.

153. Salam Rida (sustainability)

Jackson is home to Salam Rida, a Detroit, MI native and Urban Designer. Rida helped launch The Ecoshed, a mixed-use incubator space in the Industry Park neighborhood that aims to be a demonstration space for sustainable infrastructure, culinary arts, and cultural hub. It’s just one step in defining the future of urban living in Jackson.

154. Nashlie Sephus (technology)

Jackson is home to Nashlie Sephus, a computer engineer and entrepreneur specialized in machine learning and algorithmic bias identification. This technology evangelist at Amazon Web Services is also cofounder of Bean Path, a nonprofit startup company. She’s behind the push for the Jackson Tech District, a planned community and business incubator that will ensure Jackson’s future is tech-driven.

155. Angie Thomas (arts/culture)

Jackson is home to Angie Thomas, the writer and teen rapper who made it big in the former with her debut novel, THE HATE YOU GIVE. This senior project turned into a phenomenon picked up by HarperCollins and rocketed to the top of New York Times bestseller list. She still calls Jackson home while working on her next big project.

156. Shellie Brown Kemp (arts/culture)

Jackson is home to Shellie Brown Kemp, the violinist named Concertmistress of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. She’s bringing her years of experience to the yearlong role, helping lead the symphony in whatever way is needed. Hear her in action this year in Jackson playing at concerts throughout the 2021-2022 season that she is excited to play.

157. Courtney Cruise (LGBTQ)

Jackson is home to Courtney Cruise, an engaged drag performer who is an icon of Jackson’s LGBTQ+ scene. Courtney can be found hosting parties and drag brunches around town, especially during Capital City Pride events. Look for her at Metro 2.0 and any other events where rainbow flags are waving proudly in Jackson.

158. Bobby Rush (arts/culture)

Jackson is home to Bobby Rush, a blues musician who earned the title “king of the chitlin circuit” after moving to Jackson in the early 1980s. His “folk funk” style bridged the blues and modern soul music. His upbeat and often provocative live shows established him as a favorite among southern soul and blues audiences, earning him two Grammys and a street in Jackson named after him.

159. Thalia Mara (ballet)

Jackson was home to Thalia Mara, the ballerina and educator who put Jackson on the map for the dance form. She moved from New York to help found the USA International Ballet Competition, which takes place in Jackson. Her work extended beyond the state and she authored eleven books on ballet and founded the Thalia Mara Arts International Foundation. Her legacy lives on at the Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.

160. Reshonda Perryman (public art)

Jackson is home to Reshonda Perryman, Visit Jackson’s Creative Design Manager and mural artist. Her public art entitled “JXN Icons” embraces bold colors, illuminating the back wall of the Old Capitol Inn. She rendered icons like civil rights leader Medgar Evers, writer and photographer Eudora Welty, American ballet dancer, educator, and author Thalia Mara, and rapper and philanthropist David Banner.

161. Elizabeth Bruening (bartender at Apothecary)

Jackson is home to Elizabeth Bruening, a bartender at The Apothecary at Brent's Drugs in the Fondren District. She’s bringing innovative and creative cocktail recipes to help spice up Jackson’s drinking scene. Pop in to say high and see what sorts of crafty or seasonal drinks she can snake up for you at Apothecary.

162. Ryan Dennis (Chief Curator MS. Museum of Art)

Jackson is home to Ryan N. Dennis, an American curator and writer acting as the Chief Curator and Artistic Director at the Mississippi Museum of Art's Center for Art and Public Exchange. She was named to the role in 2020 and is bringing fresh ideas to the museum, which simply requires a visit to the galleries on your next trip to experience!

163. Maisie Brown (20 year-old activist)

Jackson is home to Maisie Brown, a young activist who is making big waves. At the age of 15, Brown unleashed change when she published an article critiquing the controversial Mississippi flag. Since then, the Jackson native has had a podium that’s helped her work for further change, inspiring young activists who are still finding their voices.

164. Shelli Poe (head of Jackson PFLAG chapter)

Jackson is home to Shelli Poe, an activist and religious leader who is creating an inclusive space in Jackson. Through the Safe Harbor Family Church, Poe serves as the pastor to a congregation that openly accepts and embraces members of the LGBTQ+ community. She’s just another example of how Jackson opens its arms to all visitors.

165. Eudora Welty (writer)

Jackson is home to the late Eudora Welty, perhaps Jackson’s most famous writer. Her writings about the American South won her numerous accolades, including the coveted Pulitzer Prize in 1973. She went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the South on top of that. Her legacy is all over Jackson, most notably in her home, now serving as a museum.

166. Richard Ford (writer)

Jackson is the birthplace of Richard Ford, an American novelist and short story writer. His best-known works are the novel The Sportswriter and its sequels. He has done his hometown proud, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1996. Ford's novel Wildlife even got the big screen treatment in 2018.

167. Richard Wright (writer)

Jackson was home to Richard Wright, a writer born in 1908. He was the grandson of a slave and the son of a sharecropper. He spent his childhood with his grandmother in Jackson, attending the Smith Robertson School, using writing as a means to escape. He eventually published while living in New York, and even had his novel Native Son adapted to Broadway before he moved to Paris where he died in 1960.

168. Tig Notaro (comedian)

Jackson is the birthplace of Tig Notaro, a comedian and actress known for, well, just making us all laugh. She grew up on the Gulf Coast, which inspired her popular TV show, but she first saw the light of day right here in Jackson. We’re sure she’d have something more clever to say about it, but we’ll leave it to Tig to deliver the jokes.

169. Cat Cora (celebrity chef)

Jackson is the birthplace of Cat Cora, the first female Iron Chef, who has risen to become one of the most popular faces in the food industry. A cookbook writer, TV personality, and international restaurateur, she’s no stranger to her hometown. She even once acted as Grand Marshall at the St. Paddy’s Day Parade.

170. David Banner (rapper and producer)

Jackson is the birthplace of David Banner, a rapper and producer. Raised in Jackson, he started his music career after college as a member of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz before starting his solo career in 2000. Since then he scored a record deal with Universal Records, where he released four albums including the ho Mississippi: The Album, which includes nods to his roots.

171. Hollis Watkins

Jackson is home to Hollis Watkins. A transplant from Lincoln County, Mississippi, Watkins attended Tougaloo College and was drawn into the Civil Rights Movement in 1961 when he met Bob Moses and became involved in voter registration drives. Possessed of a powerful will and a sense of fearlessness, he sought to imbue that fight in others. In 1989 he founded Southern Echo, a Jackson based organization that trained Civil Rights activists. Find his voice in the “This Little Light of Mine” sculpture inside the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

172. Amos Brown (20-21st century activist)

Jackson was home to Amos Brown, a pastor and civil rights activist. Today he is the president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP. A West Coast transplant who physically drove to California with another Jackson native, Medgar Evers, he has been the pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco since 1976. Among his claims to fame, Brown was one of only eight students who took the one and only college class taught by Martin Luther King, Jr.

173. Percy Greene (20th century activist)

Jackson was home to Percy Greene. His name isn’t one you probably know, but he left a big impact on the city throughout the 20th century, until his death in 1977. As an activist, he traveled across the country spreading awareness of the mistreatment Black voters faced. He also founded the Jackson Advocate, Mississippi's first and oldest Black-owned newspaper.

174. Melanie Person (dance)

Jackson is home to Melanie Person, an American dancer, choreographer, and educator who is co-director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Ailey School. She began to dance very young, as a 14-year-old "baby ballerina" with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She’s just one testament to the performing arts that define Jackson.

175. Joseph Scott Smith (activist)

Jackson was home to Joseph Scott Smith, better known by his relationship with gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Smith grew up in Jackson before moving around the country, to New York and San Francisco, working with Milk to gain equality and managing his political campaign. He was instrumental in this period of the gay rights movement.

176. Dorothy Moore (singer)

Jackson is home to singer Dorothy Moore, born and raised in the Farish Street district. An American blues, gospel, and R&B singer best known for her 1976 hit song, "Misty Blue,” Moore also started Farish Street Records in 2002. She was nominated for Grammy awards and is just one of many examples of brilliant musicians that have come out of Jackson.

177. James Meredith (activist)

Jackson is home to James Meredith, a civil rights activist known as the first African-American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi. Inspired by JFK’s inaugural address, Meredith applied and entered the university to exercise his right, which did not sit well with segregationists. He continued to write and publish about his experiences.

178. Hezekiah Watkins (activist)

Jackson is home to Hezekiah Watkins, the youngest Freedom Rider to be arrested and put on death row at just 13. Decades later, he shares his story as a docent at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. He continues to be an activist all these years, fighting for equality just as he did in the 1960s.

179. Walter Payton (sports)

Jackson was home to Walter Payton, one of the greatest football players the U.S. has ever known. This running back for the Chicago Bears in the NFL cut his teeth at Jackson State University where he played All-American. His legacy lives on as a member of multiple sports hall of fames including the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

180. HC Speir (blues)

Jackson was the home of HC Speir. He may not be a name you know, but his legacy lives on as the man who helped tap much of Jackson’s artistic potential. The “godfather of Delta Blues,” Speir, a white businessman in the 1920s, realized the potential of Jackson’s musical talent and scouted some of the city’s top musicians, nabbing him a spot in the Blues Hall of Fame in 2005.

181. Cassandra Wilson (jazz)

Jackson is home to Grammy-award winner Cassandra Wilson, a contemporary recording artist and jazz singer. She writes and produces, incorporating blues, folk, and country into her work, drawing inspiration from Miles Davis among others.

182. Ishmon Bracey (blues)

Jackson was home to Ishmon Bracey, a 20th century singer and guitarist who contributed immensely to Jackson’s blues scene. He was one of the earliest recording artists, with songs like “Trouble Hearted Blues” and “Left Alone Blues” likely familiar to fans of the genre.

Merci Train at the old GM&O Depot, downtown Jackson

Local Lore and History

183. Merci Train (history/culture)
This quirky boxcar was one of 49 such gifts sent from France to the U.S. states after World War II. It contained numerous gifts and works of art from French citizens now housed in local museums. Once in near disrepair, the boxcar has been restored and today acts as a reminder of the camaraderie between the two nations.

184. Jackson Volcano

When dinosaurs roamed Mississippi, a volcano erupted, the remains of which can be seen today. The raised area of the “Jackson Volcano” created the Jackson Dome and the heights of LeFleur's Bluff and Belhaven. Imagine all that history just under your feet!

185. The Cedars (gallery/event venue)

Constructed around 1840, The Cedars in Fondren is the oldest surviving residential structure in the city. At the time, the location was outside of town, making The Cedars the last stage coach stop after leaving the city of Jackson before Canton. Today, the house and grounds serve as an event and arts venue operated by Fondren Renaissance Foundation.

186. Mississippi Federation of Women’s Clubs headquarters

Jackson celebrates everyone, and the MS Federation of Women’s Club headquarters is part of that celebration. Built in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project, the Georgian-Revival structure became a historical landmark in the 1980s, and still operates as the club’s headquarters on the southern edge of Fondren.

187. Carter Jewelers (one of the nation’s oldest)

Shopping and history collide in Jackson at Carter Jewelers downtown. Its origins date back to 1849 when one of the nation’s oldest continually operating jewelry businesses opened in Jackson. Today, in a location established in 1946, the purveyors of fine bijoux and diamonds still wows shoppers looking for something truly unique.

188. Boyd House (Civil War-era)

This Greek Revival building may seem insignificant, but it’s one of the oldest buildings in Jackson. It was home to James Boyd, mayor of Jackson, and wife Eliza Ellis Boyd. The building served the burnings during the Civil War and has been restored to its 19th century splendor, offering a glimpse into a period of time that few other buildings in Jackson can.

189. Smith Park (last remaining part of original city planning)

Sometime the traces of history are less obvious, but Smith Park is a remnant of Jackson’s earliest city planning. This tiny green oasis in the heart of downtown Jackson - the only original square remaining from the Peter Van Dorn drawn plan - is one of the oldest antebellum parks in America. It dates back to 1838 when it was given to the city by the state for the sole purpose of being enjoyed by its citizens – something that has been the case ever since. Come enjoy it for yourself.

190. Trumpet Records

Look for the market on Farish Street that remembers Trumpet Record, part of the Mississippi Blues Trail. It was the first record company in Mississippi to achieve national recognition. Started as a small endeavor in 1950, its owners added a recording studio and released their songs by blues legends SonnyBoy Willamson.

191. Mississippi Basin Model at Buddy Butts Park (roadside attraction)

Jackson holds its share of oddities, and this model at Buddy Butts Park is a roadside attraction that will surprise visitors. Started in the 1940s, the model of the Mississippi River basin was used to study flooding patterns and was the world’s largest such model. Today it lies in disuse but volunteers are seeking to restore it for future generations.

192. Belhaven and Fondren Districts used in “The Help” (culture/film)

See literary history come alive as you stroll the streets of the Belhaven and Fondren Districts. Though Jackson native Kathryn Stockett created a fictional story that went on to inspire an award-winning film, many settings were based on real places in the city and fans will recognize them quickly.

193. Jitney 14 (History through a supermarket)
Engage with history – all of it! The Belhaven supermarket, Jitney Jungle - now Corner Market - started at number 14 of this Tudor revival building. It was once a favorite shopping place of local writer Eudora Welty and still retains its original number 14 despite modifications over the last century.

A man plays guitar and sings
Blues artist Dexter Allen and bassist Jonah Nelson perform during the Blue Monday Blues Jam at Hal and Mal's
Credit: Bill Steber Photography

Intangible

194. Celebrate its literary traditions…
Jackson is a city of writers with a lengthy literary history woven through its attractions and historic sites, Learn about locals like Eudora Welty and others as you retrace their steps. Experience Jackson and get to know how it inspired so many literary greats.

195. Celebrate its music and blues scene…
Jackson is the City With Soul, not least because of its musical legacy. One of the nation’s biggest blues scenes took over the city and today live music is woven through Jackson’s fabric. Come learn about the musical history or experience it all live with any number of performances each day. And, Jackson is home to Malaco Records, America’s oldest operating soul music label.

196. Celebrate its civil rights movement…
The civil rights movement took over Jackson in the 1960s and the push for equality hasn’t stopped. The fight is memorialized all over the city, which is part of the US Civil Rights Trail, as well as in its multiple museums and cultural institutions.

197. Celebrate its cuisine…

Southern food is a way of life, and Jackson is no exception. Soul food and southern classics are just part of what’s in the menu in Jackson’s restaurants and eateries. A vibrant dining scene offers choice and quality, making sure a visit to the city tickles your tongue as much as your other senses.

198. Celebrate its diverse history…

A walk down the streets of Jackson is a walk through history. From museums and architecture to memorials and legacy establishments, Jackson is a city that lives its history. Learn and engage with what makes this city so unique from its earliest days up until today.

199. Celebrate its architecture…

Examples of Art Deco and Neoclassicism are just a few of the architectural surprises that await in Jackson. Historical residences and imposing municipal buildings exchant and impress, reflecting different periods of the city’s evolution. Remember to look up from time to time or you may miss something marvelous.

200. Celebrate the Bicentennial Together

Calling all Jacksonians! The Bicentennial “Homecoming” celebrations are a call to you wherever you are to come home, pay a visit, check in on the places and people who made you what you are – even if just virtually! Jackson has been around for 200 years thanks to its community, so let’s keep the relationships tight no matter how many miles apart we are.