What makes us the City With Soul?

The population of Mississippi’s capital city is comprised of communities of diverse backgrounds and experiences, cultures, ethnicities, and lifestyles, all of whom collectively represent the strength and creative energy that makes us the City With Soul.

As you discover all that is Jackson, you will see community culture that is unique to the state. Here, you will experience a hospitality that is uniquely southern, combined with the embrace of diversity that is distinctly Jackson.

At a Glance...

  • The city features more than 30 interactive museums within a 10-mile radius, including museums focusing on sports, agriculture, science, history, aviation, art, music, and civil rights.
  • We can boast over 200 locally-owned restaurants serving traditional Southern dishes to international fare.
  • Jackson hosts numerous historical markers on the Freedom Trail, Blues Trail, and Writer’s Trail.
  • Jackson is home to the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, America’s first Islamic history and culture museum.
  • The City With Soul is home to more than two dozen cultural organizations and institutions.

Want to experience America’s Civil Rights story? Take a journey to Jackson.

Several southern cities have a Civil Rights Museum. But Jackson played a pivotal role in the movement that transformed America. And we want to tell our own story, in our own words, and from our own unique experiences.

At the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, you can discover and explore the inspiring stories of Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Vernon Dahmer, and many others who bravely led the fight for equality. If luck is on your side, you may find yourself on a guided tour of the museum led by one of the original Freedom Riders.

Jackson is also home to the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, the first schoolhouse in Jackson for African American children, where famed author Richard Wright once attended.

Jackson State University’s campus was the site of pivotal protests and numerous civil rights organizations during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Most recognized is the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), established in the early 1960s. Making voter registration and organization a top priority for the Mississippi movement, COFO was instrumental in organizing the 1963 Freedom Vote, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project.

And the City With Soul is where you’ll find the Farish Street Historic District, once known as a hub for Black-owned businesses up until the 1970s.

The City With Soul Makes culinary news by creating Southern classics with a Jackson twist.

Jackson restaurants – from small mom and pop eateries to James Beard award-winning, chef-driven concepts – offer some of the best authentic southern cuisines. Enjoy Cajun, Greek, Italian, and barbecue, all with a unique southern twist.

The success of Jackson as a culinary destination can be attributed to many of its most successful chefs: chefs with a vision, a goal, and award-winning recipes. Whether serving competition barbeque, creative cocktails, authentic French crepes, regional seafood, or Wagyu beef, Jackson restaurants are thriving in a supportive environment, and we are all reaping the benefits.

Jackson's got the blues. But why stop there?

With Jackson halfway between Memphis and New Orleans, headline acts regularly make the stop for a quick mid-week gig in the city. And significant annual events like Jackson Indie Music Week, Cathead Jam, Bright Lights Belhaven Nights, Farish Street Heritage Festival – and great venues in Midtown, Fondren, Downtown, or Belhaven – keep the music going.

Of course, blues writers looking for long-forgotten history or even an unforgettable show will find more than their share. The city boasts 14 Mississippi Blues Trail Markers, honoring the people and places that made their mark on Mississippi blues. And you can catch some great sounds at Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues and F. Jones Corner in the Farish Street Historic District. Don’t miss Blue Monday at Hal & Mal’s, hosted by the Central Mississippi Blues Society for an authentic blues experience.

Jackson has a long literary tradition. And the story is still being written.

The City With Soul claims writers – past and present - and wordy events for the lit-minded to experience.

Explore the works of poet and professor Margaret Walker at the writing center she founded at Jackson State University. Stroll Eudora Welty’s House and Garden, not just as a museum, but as the place she lived and wrote every day. See where acclaimed author Richard Wright went to school, now the Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center, showcasing a rich collection of African American art, literature, and culture. Attend readings by notable authors at local bookstores and coffee shops.

Eat at places like Brent’s Drugs, the Fondren diner featured in both the book and film version of Katheryn Stockett’s “The Help.” Meet established and up-and-coming authors at the Mississippi Book Festival held annually in August. There’s more, but we can’t fit it all in, word-wise.

Come experience the arts in the City With Soul. Or, the soul in the City With Arts.

For a city its size, Jackson is blessed with a fantastic array of arts. We have a world-class symphony, exceptional theater productions, and a thriving scene for ballet and dance - from the Belhaven University dance program to Ballet Magnificat, Montage Theatre of Dance to Kinetic Etchings, and more. It’s no wonder Jackson holds the distinction of being one of only four cities worldwide authorized to host the International Ballet Competition (IBC.)

And on the visual arts side, many local artists start in Jackson with support from area galleries and then go on to national acclaim. The Mississippi Museum of Art offers an exceptional collection of both domestic and international artwork.

As the popularity of public art grows, Visit Jackson has created the JXN Art Map featuring downtown, Midtown, and Fondren murals, ghost signs, and other forms of street art vibrantly coloring the City With Soul.

Did you know that approximately 2,300 acres of land in the City of Jackson is composed of nearly three-dozen city parks?

The areas include playgrounds, picnic grounds, and jogging and walking paths. Take a loop around the trails at Buddy Butts Park in South Jackson, Tougaloo Park in the Tougaloo community, Parham Bridges Park in LeFleur East, or Fondren Park in West Fondren. Most, if not all, parks offer picnic tables and benches, shade trees, and, at some, pavilions.

A highlight of getting outdoors involves the Museum Trail. The two-and-a-half-mile trail, ten years in the making, connects the Mississippi Farmers Market and downtown museums to three public parks and the Mississippi Children’s and Science museums. Constructed specifically for exercise and non-motorized transportation, the trail connects JXN to its rich history while positively impacting health and the community economic development.

While at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, you can experience a guided water tour by kayak, hike rugged trails along the banks of the Pearl River, view the many species of birds among the Cyprus trees, or visit the new LeFleur's Bluff Education and Tourism Complex featuring the state's largest - and ADA accessible - playground.

Our vast culinary offerings, museums, and historical sites - many of which help shape the culture of the United States - are only a few reflections of the soul of Jacksonians. With hundreds of restaurants to choose from, including mom-and-pop eateries to James Beard Award-winning fine dining, more than thirty award- winning museums, visual and performing arts, literature, and history, Jackson is the place you will want to visit again and again.