Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” Jackson? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in Jackson, Mississippi?”
People mistake Jackson for a drive-by city. It is literally the crossroads of the South, located in the crosshairs of I-55 and I-20. Drive six hours to the west and you’ll end up in Dallas; six hours to the east, Atlanta. Travel south three hours and you’ll drive across Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans; and only three hours north, you’re in Memphis. While it’s true that the city has easy access to other major Southern cities, there is a reason Jacksonians choose to stay in Mississippi’s capital. Jackson is the City with Soul.
Founded on the banks of the Pearl River as a trading post, Jackson developed into the largest city in the state. It’s the center of government, as both the county seat for Hinds County and the capital of the state. One thing you’ll notice about being here is that all the senses are engaged. With a plethora of locally owned restaurants, it is easy to find exceptional food, coupled with a lively music scene and interesting things to see and do. The people in Jackson are friendly, and they welcome visitors with open arms. It’s where true Southern hospitality is found, and that’s something Jacksonians take quite seriously.
There’s also a kind of grit to Jackson. It is a city with problems — constant boil-water notices, potholes that have become the butt of jokes, and, like other cities, there is crime. But there are good things, too. A sense of history. A nod to the past. And there is a creative spirit that sees what can be, and the future looks bright. People believe in Jackson. They are investing in Jackson. And Jackson is all the better for it. So go on. Go to Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans or Memphis. But before you do, or on your way to somewhere else, stop in Jackson.