Jackson, Mississippi’s capital and the most populous city is conveniently positioned at the intersection of Interstates 20 and 55. There are numerous great museums in Jackson that cover a wide range of themes, including history, civil rights, African-American culture, natural sciences, and art. There are so many things to do in Jackson MS, and the city doesn’t lack museums at all.
Families will have no trouble finding activities to do with their children, as the Children’s Museum, Jackson Zoo, and Petrified Forest will keep them busy for days. Year-round, the city holds a variety of events, including the Mississippi Blues Marathon in January, a Greek Fest in May, the Rhythm and Blues Festival in August, and the Celtic Fest in September.
Look no further if you’re on a hunt for places to eat or drink in Jackson. Read the following article to find out which restaurants and bars are a must-visit:
I’ve put together this guide to help you get to grips with some of the greatest off-the-beaten-path things to do in Jackson MS, so you can see an outstanding mix of some of the best sights the city has to offer.
In addition, I included some curveballs and leftfield spots, hidden jewels, and strange and fascinating sites that will make your vacation unique.
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- 15 Top Things To Do In Jackson MS
- Mississippi Museum Of Natural Science
- Jackson Zoological Park
- The Mississippi State Capitol and Old Capitol Museum
- Mississippi Petrified Forest
- Mississippi Children’s Museum
- Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
- Mississippi Museum of Art
- Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum
- Russell C. Davis Planetarium
- Museum of Mississippi History
- Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center
- Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum
- Mississippi Governor’s Mansion
- Eudora Welty House and Garden
- Cathead Distillery
- Wrap Up On The Top Things To Do In Jackson MS
15 Top Things To Do In Jackson MS
2148 Riverside Dr // (+1) 601-576-6000
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is a 70,000-square-foot building jam-packed with historical and educational exhibits on the state’s natural landscapes and residents. Make a point of seeing the wildlife displays and the aquarium, which houses over 200 different species.
This museum is dedicated to the preservation of Mississippi’s natural environment; therefore, it’s only natural that they have an outdoor center. Out of all the finest things to do in Jackson, MS, is visiting the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The best way to finish your journey is to take a walk around the nature paths and breathe in the fresh air.
The museum also has a one-of-a-kind greenhouse known as “The Swamp,” which is home to wetland vegetation, as well as common residents like turtles and alligators.
The exhibit rooms are a vast fossil collection, an up-close look at local white-tailed deer, and information on Mississippi’s endangered species.
2918 W Capitol St // (+1) 601-352-2580
The Jackson Zoo, which houses more than 200 kinds of animals from five continents, including endangered species, is popular with families and animal enthusiasts. Primates like chimps and colobus monkeys, birds like storks and ostriches, and even an African fat-tailed gecko may all be found in Africa.
Big cats like the Sumatran tiger and Amur Leopard and the mischievous red panda symbolize Asia, whereas a laughing kookaburra represents Australia. Spider monkeys, tropical birds like macaws, and reptiles like the powerful anaconda live in South America.
From the black bear to the red wolf, North American wildlife is well-represented. To make the experience even more enjoyable, zoo admission now includes a splash area where visitors can cool down in the midday heat, as well as hop on a carousel and train ride.
100 State St // (+1) 601-576-6920
The first state capital building, erected in 1839, and the present state capitol are both located in Jackson. The old seat of state government is now a museum, highlighting the important events that occurred here. Guided excursions are also offered for anyone interested in learning more about the architecture and restoration of this outstanding Greek Revival structure.
I went to explore the functioning Capitol Building, which was built in 1903. A 180-foot dome top with a 15-foot gold-leafed eagle is one of the building’s highlights. You can watch Senate and House sessions from the public gallery during legislative sessions. Both structures are designated as National Historic Landmarks.
124 Forest Park Rd // (+1) 601-879-8189
The Mississippi Petrified Forest, located approximately two miles outside of Jackson, is a must-visit for anybody interested in seeing an ancient forest that has been turned to stone by time.
You can access the park through numerous paths to observe these amazing fossils, and many stop to have some pictures taken at “caveman’s bench,” a conveniently located petrified wood area. The Earth Science Museum is also located here, and it shows how such a severe transformation may occur.
Dinosaur footprints, ancient whale bones, and a cast of prehistoric camel fossils are among the fossils on display at the museum. The gem-mining flume, where tourists may search for treasure, will appeal to younger visitors.
2145 Museum Boulevard // (+1) 601-981-5469
The Mississippi Children’s Museum is organized into six sections, each of which explores a different topic to pique children’s interests and motivate them to learn more.
The “World at Work” exhibition focuses on STEM ideas and how they apply to business and vocations, while the “Exploring Mississippi” exhibit has a large map of Mississippi that youngsters can climb on and explore while learning about geography, history, and culture.
There is a huge area dedicated to exploring the arts and personal expression via music, dance, and the visual arts, as well as a range of displays and activities that teach youngsters about health and nutrition in the “Healthy Fun” area.
The Literacy garden, which improves language skills and reading, and another garden that raises food plants, are both located outside. The Pollinator’s Playground Garden, which is available to the public and is free of charge, teaches about gardening and the role of pollinators in food production.
222 North St // (+1) 601-576-6800
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum houses a fascinating collection of exhibits, memorials, and videos that take visitors on a journey of battles, victories, and grief from the conclusion of the Civil War through the 1970s. Visitors may view photos and hear statements from individuals who have been impacted by slavery, as well as those who have risked all to fight for their rights.
Multiple cinemas display films on important incidents, such as the killings of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, and memorials include monoliths devoted to lynching victims. Other displays feature anecdotes of civil rights activists during the turbulent 1960s and information about the essential role of religion in community building.
380 South Lamar Street // (+1) 601-965-9932
The Mississippi Museum of Art began with a small collection in 1911 and has since expanded to over 5,500 pieces of art ranging from pre-Columbian pottery to modern paintings. The primary galleries of the museum, which are free to the public, are centered on the central theme “The Mississippi Story,” with an emphasis on local and regional artists and issues.
Prints dating back to the 16th century, as well as 19th and 20th-century American art by Andy Warhol, Robert Henri, and Georgia O’Keefe, are among the permanent collections. In addition to educational activities, the museum organizes special events such as concerts in the Art Garden.
1150 Lakeland Dr // (+1) 601-432-4500
The Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum is a 39-acre site dedicated to the history of agriculture and forestry in Mississippi, as well as its effect on the state.
The “Small Town Mississippi” part of the museum is one of the most popular, with reconstructions of how a typical town looked and felt in the 1920s, featuring businesses and public spaces such as a school, church, general store, blacksmith shop, sugarcane mill, cotton gin, and more.
The Heritage Center is a large display that examines how rail, river, and land transportation affect agriculture and forests. The National Agricultural Aviation Museum, which is situated on the grounds, analyzes the role of air travel in the sector in line with the theme.
A model train display, the “Victory Garden,” where visitors may learn about sustainable farming, a cattle exhibit, and nature walks are among the other attractions. The Fitzgerald Collection, which is almost buried near the Heritage Center, would intrigue anybody interested in Mississippi Delta Americana.
201 E. Pascagoula Street // (+1) 601-960-1552
One of the best planetariums in the South is the Russell C. Davis Planetarium. A digital cinema is included in the dome, providing viewers with a full-dome visual experience.
You can learn everything there is to know about astronomy, celestial navigation, and space travel. This is one of the country’s largest facilities of its kind, featuring the most advanced and cutting-edge devices and accessories.
This is a fantastic spot to visit with kids if you’re searching for fun things to do in Jackson, Mississippi. Other events held in the planetarium include film screenings, festivals, and fashion displays. Films on marine life or dinosaurs, for example, are shown in the cinema and are both instructive and enjoyable.
222 North Street // (+1) 601-576-6800
The Museum of Mississippi History houses a diverse collection of exhibits that cover the totality of the region’s known history.
The First Peoples exhibit spans 13,000 BCE to the arrival of the first humans, including artifacts and insights into the life of those who lived in the area long before Europeans came. Exhibits give intriguing details about the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes’ traditions and beliefs, including a 500-year-old dugout boat.
Additional areas deal with social and economic issues such as industry and natural disasters, and there is a fine exhibit that highlights significant moments in Mississippi Civil Rights history. This museum is housed in the same complex as the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
528 Bloom St // (+1) 601-960-1457
The Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center was established to commemorate and illuminate the African-American experience in the Deep South. The Treasures of Africa exhibit delves into African heritage, while the Visual and Master Collection galleries showcase a diverse range of artwork and photography.
Other themes include the Smith Robertson School’s history and Jackson’s famous Farish Street neighborhood, as well as an examination of African-American life in Mississippi. The museum is also delighted to have a Smithsonian-sponsored permanent exhibit that looks at the pattern of African Americans moving north from 1915 to 1940.
The Mississippi African American Hall of Fame recognizes Mississippians who have excelled in a variety of professions.
1152 Lakeland Dr #4701 // (+1) 601-982-8264
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is guaranteed to appeal to sports fans of all kinds. This museum displays a renowned collection of excellent Mississippi sports artifacts.
Remember, Mississippi is home to Jerry Rice, the NFL’s all-time greatest scorer and receiver, as well as Brett Favre, the league’s all-time top passer. Mississippi may even brag about its connections to Archie Manning, the father of football’s first family.
The state has many Super Bowl MVP trophies, a sizable collection of Olympic gold medals, and even NBA and World Series wins. Visit the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to see the fascinating artifacts of the many sports and their athletes, which can be located throughout the facility.
300 E Capitol St // (+1) 601-576-6850
The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion was built in the 1840s and is a superb example of Greek Revival architecture. This magnificent structure is a National Historic Landmark, and the country’s second-oldest continuously occupied governor’s home.
Due to the downturn induced by the Panic of 1837, Governor Tilghman Tucker and his family were unable to move into the mansion until a few years after it was completed.
Designed by architect William Nichols, this monument stands towering today and is one of the most magnificent specimens of Greek Revival architecture in the country.
1109 Pinehurst St // (+1) 601-353-7762
The Eudora Welty House, a National Historic Landmark, was the home of globally famous novelist Eudora Welty. Until her death in 2001, she spent much of her time in this residence, where she composed the majority of her work.
When you go in, you’ll be whisked back to 1986, when Eudora Welty left the house to Mississippi, along with many of the contents. Paintings, linens, furniture, carpets, and pictures are just a few of the items you will see during your tour of her house.
I was particularly fascinated by her extensive book collection, which numbers in the thousands. She was a voracious reader of excellent literature, as one might expect.
Visitors will see a film before commencing their tour of her house and grounds, which will provide them with vital background information. They are then free to explore the museum and observe the many displays.
422 S Farish St // (+1) 601-667-3038
Cathead Distillery is a well-known distillery in Jackson that provides delicious beverages, excursions, and other activities. Cathead Distillery is one of the greatest locations to visit in Jackson with your friends for a fun, stress-free day.
Cathead Distillery has a large selection of vodka, wine, and other beverages to pick from, as well as clothing and entertaining activities to participate in with your friends.
At Cathead Distillery, you can do more than just drink. You may also take a guided tour of the region, engage in taste testing, and attend special activities such as yoga sessions, ping pong games, and live performances.
Wrap Up On The Top Things To Do In Jackson MS
Jackson dubbed the “City of Soul,” is vibrant and home to several award-winning, world-class attractions.
Going to a museum, trying out the wonderful local food, witnessing magnificent artwork, experiencing nature and its wildlife, and much more are just a few of the exciting activities you can do here.
Keep in mind that summers in Mississippi are often hot and humid. If you think you’ll be able to handle Jackson’s heat, bring light-colored clothing, lots of sunscreens, and a refillable water bottle. If the heat of the summer isn’t your thing, visit in the fall or spring.