The capital of Mississippi, Jackson is a modern city with a small-town charm. With its historic buildings, fabulous museums, and rich cultural background, Mississippi’s most populous city is a perfect destination for all you culture vultures. The city also boasts a lively hipster scene, quirky art galleries, and numerous small craft beer bars, making it a perfect getaway spot for millennials.
Families visiting Jackson with children can look forward to enjoying attractions like the Jackson Zoological Park and Russell C Davis Planetarium, while nature lovers can explore open green spaces such as the LeFleur’s Bluff State Park and the picturesque Mynelle Gardens. Here is our guide to the best things to do in Jackson, MS.
1. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Kick-off your Jackson travel itinerary with a visit to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Located within LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, this 70,000 square foot complex is home educational exhibits, interactive habitats, and specimen collections. With a 100,000-gallon aquarium network, the Swamp greenhouse, and the family-friendly Discovery Room, this beautiful natural science museum is an ideal place for travelers who wish to learn more about the natural history of Mississippi.
2. The Jackson Zoological Park
The ultimate family-friendly attraction for animal lovers, the Jackson Zoological Park features more than 300 species of animals from all over the world. Take your kids to see numerous animals from Africa including colobus monkeys and fat-tailed geckos, Asian amur leopards, and spider monkeys and a bunch of tropical birds from South America. The Jackson Zoological Park also houses many endangered animals, as well as a nice carousel and train ride.
3. Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
There are many amazing things to do in Mississippi and a visit to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is one of them. Opened in 2017, this colorful museum boasts several exhibitions and galleries where visitors can learn a thing or two about the history of Mississippi. From stories of slavery at the Mississippi Freedom Struggle gallery to the famous murders of Emmitt Till and Medgar Evers, the museum helps us understand the civil right we have today.
4. Old Capitol Museum
Situated in a beautiful historic building that once served as a governor’s house, the Old Capitol Museum is one of the must-visit cultural attractions in Jackson. The museum is nicely restored and houses dozens of multimedia exhibits that focus on the legacy in the history of the state of Mississippi. If you wish to hear more about the roles of legislation and enjoy informative and exhilarating stories about governmental processes, a visit to the Old Capitol Museum should be included on your list of things to do in Jackson.
5. LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
A visit to LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is one of the best things to do in Jackson, MS for couples on vacation. Within the state park’s 305 acres, you will find many trails, leafy paths, picnic areas, and playgrounds for the little ones. It’s a nice place to go on a romantic walk with your partner and get away from Jackson’s urban environment. Some of the other popular activities here include fishing and boating. Nature lovers who wish to spend the night here will be happy to hear that LeFleur’s Bluff State Park offers a wide range of campsites ranging from rustic accommodation options to fully-equipped sites with modern facilities.
6. Eudora Welty House & Garden
Jackson is not short on beautiful homes and the Eudora Welty House & Garden is one of the most picturesque buildings in the region. The famous writer, Eudora Welty lived for nearly 80 years in Jackson and it’s where she wrote most of her essays and letters. Nowadays, her house and garden are an extraordinary museum where visitors can admire the beauty of her vintage furniture, see thousands of books and letters, and check out dozens of art pieces hanging on the walls. Apart from classic tours of the house, virtual tours are also possible.
7. Fondren District
Like every other city in the US, Jackson also has that hip neighborhood that everyone talks about. Welcome to the Fondren District Jackson, MS, a vibrant neighborhood famed for its entertainment venues, awesome restaurants, cute bakeries, and art galleries. You will come across many locally-owned boutiques, cocktail bars, and coffee shops here in the Fondren District. Not to be missed is the Apothecary, one of the best cocktail bars in this part of Mississippi.
8. Mississippi Governor’s Mansion
A lovely example of Greek revival architecture, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is a stunning building and a second governor’s residence in Mississippi. This national historic landmark was designed by the famous architect William Nichols and dates back to the 19th century. Travelers who want to discover one of the most beautiful mansions in the region should definitely pay a visit to this charming building.
9. Old Greyhound Bus Station
History buffs exploring the streets of Jackson should make their way to the Greyhound Bus Station which is located at 219 N. Lamar St., Jackson, Mississippi. What makes this site so special and important? Well, the Old Greyhound Bus Station is a site where many arrests took place during the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement in 1961. Today, this art deco building is actually an architect’s office. For those who don’t know, Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who used interstate buses to get to the segregated southern United States.
10. Mynelle Gardens
A lovely botanical garden fitted with shaded walking paths, Mynelle Gardens is an ideal place to enjoy nature and admire a wide array of plants. Spanning 7 acres, the garden is home to a variety of colorful blooms that are labeled for easy identification. There is also a picturesque pond, as well as a bridge and several sitting areas. Whether you wish to admire the beauty of the gardens’ statues and bronze works, see rare flowers and exotic plants such as Camellias and Azaleas, or just stroll down the winding paths, a visit to Mynelle Gardens is truly a magical experience.
11. Historic Jackson downtown area
To mingle with the locals and experience Jackson from a unique perspective, make your way to the Historic Jackson downtown area. From admiring art at the Mississippi Museum of Art and visiting some of the city’s most famous parks like the Battlefield Park and Parham Bridge’s Park to going on a tour of the Governor’s Mansion, there is plenty to look forward to when visiting the historic downtown area. You can also enjoy the city’s wonderful nightlife, attend many annual events, and relax at one of the spa centers.
12. Russell C Davis Planetarium
If you wish to enjoy educational spaces that focus on arts, travel, and astronomy, a visit to the Russell C Davis Planetarium in Jackson is simply a must. This 40-years old institution hosts educational and entertaining programs including everything from views of the Solar System to the McNair Space Theater where you can watch movies and documentaries associated with astronomy. Your kids will definitely fall in love with this place.
13. Oaks Museum House
Built in the 19th century as a Greek revival cottage, the Oaks Museum House is one of Jackson’s oldest properties. Now a national and state landmark, the house actually survived the Civil War when many houses in the city were burned to the ground. During the tour of the Oaks Museum House, expect to see dozens of original artifacts that belonged to the Boyd family who lived here for three generations.
14. Mississippi War Memorial Building
No visit to Jackson is complete without paying respect to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives while fighting for the freedom of the American people. Head out to the Mississippi War Memorial Building is home to dozens of historic monuments, as well as panels where recreated scenes from many of the famous battles can be found. Many Mississippians fought hard for this nation and this memorial building honors those who lost their lives while defending the freedom of the United States.
15. Alamo Theater
In the 1950s, the Alamo Theater hosted musical acts, organized blues concerts, and screened many movies. From westerns and African-American movies to popular music acts like B.B. King and Elmore James, this theatre has seen it all. Unfortunately, Alamo Theater shut its doors in 1983 and remained closed until 1992 when major renovations took place. Today, Alamo Theater is one of the most beautiful entertainment venues in the city and hosts all forms of theatre, music, and art.
16. Old Capitol Inn
One of the best accommodation options in the center of Jackson, the Old Capitol Inn is a charming 3-star property famed for its historical redbrick building and a lush serenity garden. There are 24 individually furnished and decorated rooms at the property, as well as amenities like concierge services, a business center, and a health club. The rooftop terrace is amazing and many guests say how the breakfast at the Capitol Inn is delicious.