In Jackson, “The City with Soul,” you can trace Mississippi’s evolution from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, to the hub of music and culture it is today. The capital city offers world-class arts and entertainment at Thalia Mara Hall and the Mississippi Museum of Art, as well as a large variety of dining options ranging from down-home to upscale. Jackson also has a growing craft beer and spirits scene fueled by Lucky Town Brewery and Cathead Distillery.
For more than 30 years, Hal & Mal’s has been a downtown institution for authentic Southern cooking and live music. Grab a drink at the bar, admire the eclectic music memorabilia lining the walls, and catch a performance in the restaurant while you eat. Make sure to try the gumbo!
Located on historic Farish Street, Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues has a laid-back lounge atmosphere. The live music space upstairs is the former Crystal Palace Ballroom, which hosted the likes of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in the 1930s and 1940s. Have a cocktail on the patio and enjoy house specialties like shrimp toast and Cajun chicken pasta.
The Iron Horse Grill, a landmark Jackson restaurant, has a storied history. In 1999, two mysterious fires left the building in shambles, but in 2013 it was beautifully renovated and reopened. The 12,000 square foot space is full of reclaimed wood and exposed brick, a welcoming space for live music. Seasoned housemade tortilla chips, served with fresh salsa, are famous around town. Go upstairs to the Mississippi Music Experience, whose exhibits and life-sized wax statues illustrate the state’s many contributions to America’s music.
The King Edward Hotel in downtown Jackson was a prominent center for political and society events before it closed in 1967 and sat vacant for more than 40 years. After a $90 million renovation, it reopened as a Hilton Garden Inn.
Jackson’s only designer boutique hotel, the Old Capitol Inn, offers rooms with garden patio and city views. Relax on the rooftop bar, which features live music and light menu options several afternoons a week.
Treat yourself to a stay at the historic Fairview Inn, Jackson’s only AAA four-diamond small luxury hotel. In the Library Lounge, order drinks named for Mississippi’s literary greats, and enjoy a seasonal menu at 1908 Provisions restaurant.
Music lovers will enjoy visiting the Jackson markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail, with markers dedicated to locally based artists like Bobby Rush and Dorothy Moore, along with the sites of the notable Ace Records and Malaco Records. See the complete list of Mississippi Blues Trail markers.
Take in some authentic Mississippi blues at F. Jones Corner on Farish Street, every Thursday through Saturday night until 4 a.m. Jesse Robinson, as well as Sherman Lee Dillon and the Mississippi Sound, are regulars.
Visit the Eudora Welty House, a literary museum located in the historic Belhaven neighborhood and former home of Eudora Welty. The house is where the Pulitzer Prize winning author created her novels and short stories of international acclaim. The home, where Welty lived until her death in 2001, still contains her stacks of books, which cover almost every surface. The garden at the house is beautifully reconstructed to the 1925-1945 period.
This post was written by the staff of Visit Mississippi and highlights some of our favorite destinations. To learn about other top Jackson visitor attractions and to plan your trip, see www.visitjackson.com.