What's the Big News

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What makes Jackson, MS 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. Jackson is home to vibrant Indian, East Asian, Native American, Latin, and Muslim cultures, among others. Visitors from across the world will experience both the hospitality that is uniquely southern, combined with the embrace of diversity that is distinctly Jackson. As you discover all that is Jackson, you will see community culture that is unique to the state. Visit Jackson works with our industry and community partners to further educate and encourage inclusion in both attitude and practice. With a Municipal Equality Index grade ranking Jackson the highest in the state and 15 points above the national average, we are proud of the great strides taken to purposefully promote equality, and we will remain a fierce supporter of expanding those policies.


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 awardwinning museums, visual and performing arts, literature, and history, Jackson is the place you will want to visit again and again.


Civil Rights






Visual & Performing Arts





Jackson is home to six outstanding colleges and universities. Belhaven University, Jackson State University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College School of Law, Tougaloo College and University of Mississippi School of Medicine

• •


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. 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.

You'll find an impressive creative scene for music, dance, theater, and the visual arts.

“One of the things I love about Jackson is the city’s ability to make me feel tiny. Whether that’s through the big buildings, the incredible humility of the people, or the giant portions of food. Few places in the world make me feel this way and I’m happy to report Jackson is definitely one of them.” Anshula Varma – Travel Blogger/Passport to Eden

Here in the City With Soul, we know how to – no matter the occasion!

The Mississippi Blues Marathon, Celticfest Mississippi, Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade & Festival, Cathead Jam, The Mississippi Book Festival, Sanderson Farms PGA Championship, International Gumbo Festival, Jackson Indie Music Week, Farish Street Heritage Festival, Greekfest, and the Dixie National Livestock Show & Rodeo, are among many events held throughout the year.



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. Throughout the museum, eight interactive galleries lead you on a journey of the Civil Rights movement. 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. The now historical museum displays a showcase of African American art, artifacts, and photography. 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.




In the fall of 2017, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (along with the Museum of MS History) opened in celebration of the state’s bicentennial, becoming the first civil rights museum to be sponsored with state funding. The museum’s annual attendance during the first year exceeded 200,000 visitors. The home of NAACP Field Officer Medgar Evers is now a museum and dedicated National Historic Landmark. The museum features original crime photographs of Evers’ assassination. Jackson is the location of two historically black universities. Jackson State University, dating back to 1903, and Tougaloo College established in 1869. Both universities share a history of monumental events that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. Jackson is home to the most Freedom Trail Markers in the state.

Jackson Freedom Trail Markers • • • • • • • • •

COFO Office Greyhound Bus Station Jackson State University (shootings) Medgar Evers’ House Mississippi State Capitol Building Municipal Library Tougaloo College WLBT television studios Woolworth’s Sit-in



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 District at Eastover is home to the state’s first food hall. Cultivation Food Hall offers patrons a variety of culinary options all in one location. From curated cocktails to coffee and French pastries to poke bowls, the food hall serves as an incubator for new restaurants. The vendors may change throughout the year, but the variety of choices remains. 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.


Bully’s Soul Food Restaurant named a James Beard American Classic.

Hometown chef, Alex Eaton of The Manship and Aplos, crowned 2016 King of Seafood.

Several Jackson chefs have appeared on numerous Food-network competitions, including Chef Nick Wallace.

Brent’s Drugs appeared in the film The Help along with other Fondren neighborhood businesses.

Cathead Distillery is the first and oldest distillery in the state of Mississippi.

Come see what we’re serving in the City With Soul. •

Jackson is home to some unique southern fare, including the pig ear sandwich, comeback sauce, and tamales.

“It’s not all about

in Jackson, Mississippi. The food has depth and soul with delicious contemporary twists. It was

Other Notable Jxn Eateries Walker’s Drive-In, Mayflower Café, Hal & Mal’s, Char, BRAVO!, CS’s, The Iron Horse Grill, Fine & Dandy, Big Apple Inn, La Brioche, Sugar’s Place, The Pig & Pint, Lou’s Full Serv, and Johnny T’s Bistro and Blues.

fantastic.” Caroline Makepeace - Makepeace Family. Ytravelblog.com




There is no argument that you can find authentic blues shows here in

The Museum of Mississippi History features a replica of an authentic Mississippi juke joint.

F. Jones Corner, located in the

the City With Soul, but you’ll also

Historic Farish Street District,

find fantastic funk, hip-hop, jazz,

all-night blues clubs in the state.

operates as one of only a few, •

to Jackson to attend the Central

R&B, gospel, indie, country, folk,

Mississippi Blues Society’s Blue Monday event held at Hal & Mal’s.

and rap artists mixing it up on a nightly basis.

Visitors from all over the world come

This open-mic event features a house band and regional entertainers. •

Mississippi’s Blues Trail markers recognize not only the famous

With Jackson located halfway between Memphis

musicians, but also the recording

and New Orleans, headline acts regularly make

studios and entertainment

the stop for a quick mid-week gig in the city. And

venues behind the city’s most

significant annual events like Jackson Indie Music

recognizable attributes.

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’s, for an authentic blues experience.

Blues Trail Markers •

Ace Records

Alamo Theatre and Dorothy Moore

Bobby Rush

Cassandra Wilson

Edwards Hotel (renamed King Edward Hotel)

Gold Coast

H.C. Speir

Ishmon Bracey

Malaco Records

Otis Spann & Little Johnny Jones

Queen of Hearts

Scotts Radio Service Company

Subway Lounge/Summers Hotel

Trumpet Records


Jackson has a long literary tradition. And it’s still going strong. 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.


Eudora Welty & Margaret Walker Alexander

LITERARY FACTS • The Mississippi Children’s Museum features both a literacy gallery and outdoor learning garden and play space designed to encourage language and reading skills development in young children. • Locally owned Lemuria Bookstore typically hosts readings by the author, book signings, and social gatherings weekly. Notable authors such as John Grisham, Angie Thomas, and Eudora Welty have all held book signings here. •

The Mississippi Book Festival takes place in Jackson every August, welcoming dozens of nationally recognized authors and panelists along with more than 9,500 visitors.

Mississippi Writers Trail Markers Based on Mississippi’s successful effort to share the state’s history of Blues and Civil Rights through designated trail markers, Mississippi organizations felt the time had come to honor Mississippi’s rich literary history. The first location of the Mississippi Writers Trail began with the unveiling of the inaugural marker honoring Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Eudora Welty in her hometown of Jackson. There are currently four markers composing the trail, two of which are in Jackson. • •

Eudora Welty House and Garden Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University

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

Either way, you have a multitude of choices. 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, visitjackson.com/ publicartmap featuring downtown, Midtown, and Fondren murals, ghost signs, and other forms of street art vibrantly coloring the City With Soul.



Jackson is the only state in the USA and the entire Western Hemisphere to host the IBC. It rotates every year between Jackson, Mississippi; Moscow, Russia; Varna, Bulgaria; and Helinski, Finland. •

Thalia Mara Hall, named after the American ballet dancer and cofounder of the IBC, hosts numerous events throughout the year by a variety of performers - including ballet, opera, and symphony performances. Along with traditional concerts, the theatre hosts worldclass Broadway shows. The Mississippi Museum of Art received the National Medal for Museum Service from the Institute of Museum of Library Services. The medal is the highest national honor awarded annually to five museums and five libraries. In 2010, the Mississippi Museum of Art was the only art museum to be recognized with this distinction. Jackson is home to Pearl River Glass Studios, one of the nation’s leading stained glass studios. Throughout the year, Jackson hosts many arts and crafts festivals featuring local artisans that specialize in woodworking, glass sculpture, ceramics, and more.


“Growing up in the south makes you appreciate the smaller things in life like southern hospitality, amazing food, and stories that would blow your mind!” Terrell & Jarius – Family Influencers

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. Soon you’ll be able to get out on the Museum Trail. The two-and-a-half-mile trail, ten years in the making, will connect the Mississippi Farmers Market and downtown museums to three public parks and the Mississippi Children’s Museum. The trail follows the abandoned GM&O Railroad, which travels through Greater Belhaven and along the eastern border of LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. Constructed specifically for exercise and non-motorized transportation, the trail hopes to connect JXN to its rich history while positively impacting citizens’ health and the community’s 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 Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.


FAMILY FACTS Jackson is home to thirty museums for you and your family to explore. Each focuses on a unique visitor experience, art, science, agriculture, sports, and history, to name a few.

• The LeFleur Museum District consists of four separate museums and the outdoor recreational area known as LeFleur’s Bluff. Within a five minute drive, you can visit the Mississippi Children’s Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Inside the Heritage Center located at the MS Agriculture & Forestry Museum, you will find nearly 200 scale miles of model railroads along with the National Agricultural Aviation Museum. The Jackson Zoo is over 100 years old, and what once began as a small collection of backyard animals housed at the Central Fire Station now covers 110 acres. The zoo features over 120 species of animals from across the world and continues to be one of only a few licensed and equipped organizations to care for orphaned or injured birds.


Visit Jackson’s primary goal is to promote Jackson as a tourism

VisitJackson.com for an events calendar and general

brand and a legitimate destination market. Visit Jackson oversees

visitor and meeting planner information

the development of marketing tools and assets such as the Visit Jackson website, branded advertising campaigns, and paid and

DiscoverJXN.com Jackson itineraries and stories from

earned media opportunities. Visit Jackson also produces new media


and non-traditional marketing assets, including documentaries, music videos, original music tracks, and branded merchandise, as

SippJackson.com uniquely focuses on the award

well as travel influencer and micro-influencer campaigns.

winning chefs, restaurants, mom and pop staples and signature dishes found in the City With Soul. Soul Sessions conversations on culture from Jackson, Mississippi, is a podcast hosted by Kim Lewis and Visit Jackson’s Content Marketing Manager, Paul Wolf.

308 E. Pearl Street, Suite 301 Jackson, MS 39201 1.800.354.7695 | media@visitjackson.com visitjackson.com