Headed to the City With Soul for a long weekend in Jackson? The beautiful capital city of Mississippi is a charming place with important history, a towering literary legacy, and an unbeatable food scene. There’s something for everyone here!
This weekend in Jackson itinerary combines the best of Jackson’s history, art, and cultural institutions, plus fantastic restaurant recommendations to make planning your trip to Jackson a breeze!
I think three days in Jackson is a great amount of time to get introduced to the city, though there’s a lot to do here, especially if you consider all of the amazing day trip options.
I have included a few of these great day trips and additional Jackson attractions to turn this 3-Day Jackson itinerary into a 4-Day Jackson itinerary, should you get inspired to stay a little longer! There are also ideas for if you only have one day in Jackson or if you’ll get two days in Jackson.
At the end, there are travel tips and a short travel guide.
Note: We were guests of Visit Jackson, who I reached out to after deciding we wanted to see Jackson on our Big Southern USA Road Trip. As always, all opinions are my own.
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Where to Stay for a Long Weekend in Jackson
We stayed at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, which is located in Fondren, a really fun and colorful neighborhood that touts itself as Jackson’s Arts District.
Because it has this artistic vibe, the neighborhood is vibrant and full of some of the best hidden gems in Jackson (some of which I’ll talk about below).
We found Fondren to be the perfect base during our weekend in Jackson. Beyond the great street art and the wonderful food scene, there’s an ambiance in Fondren that I can’t quite put my finger on. It has a secret sauce that you don’t want to miss out on.
The Homewood Suites themselves were really lovely. The hotel is new, and you could feel the love poured into the decor. All the art has been inspired by the city (and a lot of it has been inspired by the neighborhood).
Because they are suites and not typical hotel rooms, you get the best of both worlds. It feels like staying in a hotel, but you get the amenities of a vacation rental.
The stove and refrigerator made it one of my husband’s favorite hotels from our trip (he’s a chef). For me, it’s one of the only hotels I’ve ever stayed at where I’ve literally added an activity to my trip after seeing a hotel painting of it.
In a word, we found the hotel inspiring, which is exactly what you want in a hotel on a vacation!
Address: 2815 N State St, Jackson, MS 39216
How to Get to Jackson, Mississippi
We drove to Jackson as part of a big road trip around the South. Driving is the easiest way to get to Jackson since you will really want to have a car here during your trip. While you can get around without a car, we found having our own wheels made our stay here very easy.
If you want to drive to Jackson but don’t have your own wheels, I use Discover Cars when I rent cars on my travels.
If you don’t want to drive to Jackson, you have other options.
You can fly into Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN). Flights here are relatively inexpensive, and the airport is serviced by American Airlines, among others.
Another option is to take the train! And if you are a Eudora Welty fan (which you will be by the time you leave!), you might find that traveling to Jackson by train is an exhilarating experience.
Jackson is on the “City of New Orleans” line, which goes from Chicago to New Orleans. You can be in Jackson in under four hours if you are coming from New Orleans, or in about four-and-a-half hours if you are coming from Memphis.
Other cities that are even closer to Jackson by train include Marks, Greenwood, Yazoo, Hazelhurst, Brookhaven, and McComb in Mississippi and Hammond in Louisiana.
Alternatively, you can reach Jackson by bus. Keep in mind that Greyhound Bus trips can be excruciatingly long compared to the time it takes to travel by car, plane, or even train. Further, it may not be less expensive than driving (provided you have a car) or taking a train).
How to Get Around During Your Jackson Weekend Getaway
Since we drove to Jackson, we used our car to get around the city. It’s a very driveable city. We never needed to pay for parking during our time here (though always lookout for paid parking signs anywhere you travel in the US!).
If you decided to take public transportation into Jackson, you can still get around easily.
Your first option is to rent a car. As I mentioned earlier, I use Discover Cars when I rent cars on my travels. You can pick up your rental and drop your rental off at the airport, so it isn’t a hassle.
Another option is to use a mix of taxis and rideshares. Both Uber and Lyft operate in Jackson. I briefly looked at estimates for destinations, and it looks like Lyft might be slightly less expensive, though not significantly so.
Taxis look like the most expensive option in Jackson (by nearly double).
The Perfect 3 Day Weekend in Jackson Itinerary
Ready for good eats with a side of culture? Here we go!
Day 1 in Jackson: The LeFleur Museum District, Civil Rights History, & Live Music
Today is about getting some good food and settling in before pulling the curtain back on Jackson’s history – both the good and the dark. It’s a powerful and fulfilling day that will show you a bit of the beating heart of the city.
But since your weekend trip to Jackson shouldn’t be all museums and history, there’s a lot of good food and great music to enjoy on your journey.
9:00 AM: Start with a Local Breakfast
Wake up and start your day at a Jackson institution! A breakfast at Brent’s Drugs in Fondren is a can’t-miss destination for history lovers coming to Jackson as it has been open since 1946!
Of course, it didn’t start as a retro-themed restaurant with classic diner fare. Rather it was a pharmacy!
The soda fountain is original from when you headed down to your local chemist for an Ice Cream Float. In fact, the entire strip is historic, since this is Mississippi’s first shopping center!
Enjoy the beautiful 1940s and 50s interior. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time or are starring in Grease, so bring your camera (or cell phone), because you will want to take pics!
The food is really great, too. You can order fluffy pancakes, cheesy grits, or even try a Root Beer Float for breakfast.
Fun Fact: Brent’s Drugs was one of the filming locations of the movie The Help.
Pro Tip: If you find yourself one night looking to keep going into the wee hours, the Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs is an after-dinner cocktail bar open from Wednesdays – Saturdays from 5 PM until 1 AM. As it is just a short Uber or walk back to the Homewood Suites, it’s the perfect last stop of the night if you’re on a Jackson couples trip.
Address: 655 Duling Ave, Jackson, MS 39216
10:30 AM: Enjoy the LeFleur Museum District
This Jackson weekend itinerary is packed, so while there are FOUR great museums in the LeFleur Museum District, you will have to choose which one looks the most enticing for you.
The four museums here to choose from:
- The Mississippi Children’s Museum
- The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
- Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum
- Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum
We went to the Mississippi Children’s Museum because we were traveling with our toddler. He absolutely loved it!
There’s a real car for them to “drive,” tons of great interactive exhibits focused on learning “how things work,” and a splash pad out front (so it’s perfect if you’re in town for a hot Jackson summer getaway).
Of course, our son’s favorite thing ended up being the giant staircase covered in lights.
If we weren’t on a Jackson family trip and were there for a couple’s getaway, I probably would have suggested the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame for my husband. The museum honors Mississippi sports legends like Brett Favre and Jerry Rice.
12:30 PM: Lunch (or Brunch) on Updated Southern Cuisine & Burgers
Leave LeFleur and head to LeFleur East for lunch at Fine & Dandy.
While it is known for “Grandma-Chic” decor and a Golden Girls-meets-Madmen aesthetic, the restaurant has a surprisingly modern vibe! Betty White might adorn the walls, but the cocktail menu and goat cheese fritters are all from this decade.
Perfect for the history lover who wants contemporary cuisine. Looking for a new take on classic Southern food? Don’t skip the Luxury Grits!
If you happen to be there when the Brunch menu is being served, my husband ordered the Notorious Benedict and could not stop talking about it. As a chef, that’s the highest compliment he can give.
If you happen to be coming on a Jackson girls’ trip, note that Fine and Dandy offers their bottomless mimosas on Sundays from 10 am-3 pm for $15 with the purchase of entrée.
It gets busy, so it is a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time.
Address: 100 District Blvd E, Jackson, MS 39211
2:30 PM: Dig Into Jackson’s Past at the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
After enjoying the best of LeFleur and LeFleur East, it’s time to head to Downtown Jackson.
The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are located in opposite wings of the same (massive) building. Tickets include entry to both, as well as any special exhibits being held at the time.
Truthfully, you can spend way more than two-and-a-half hours here (the museums close at 5 pm), so if you happen to be running ahead of schedule, make your way over early!
Museum of Mississippi History
Start with a quick trip through the Museum of Mississippi History, which focuses on history as far back as 15,000 years.
If you are unfamiliar with the history of the First Peoples (sometimes referred to as the Mississippian Culture or the Mount Builders), this is a great place to start.
We have experienced seeing their Earthworks for ourselves in Illinois at Cahokia, in Oklahoma at Spiro Mounds, and in Louisiana at Poverty Point.
If learning about this culture sparks your own interest, you can see if any of the sites on the Mississippi Mound Trail can fit into your Jackson getaway.
The history museum also gives a great introduction to the history of the Choctaw people. The tribe was forcibly removed from Mississippi to a new home in Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears.
If you thought the heavy stuff was going to start once you got to the Civil Rights Museum, you were mistaken. Being a history lover often means trying to learn about the overwhelming majesty of people that history has treated terribly.
Address: 222 North St #1206, Jackson, MS 39201
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Don’t spend too long on the history museum side, because the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is an extremely emotional experience. I’ve been to many civil rights museums, from Memphis, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia, to Birmingham, Alabama, and the stories are all important to hear.
This museum does a fantastic job of telling the story of the Civil Rights Movement within Missisissppi while connecting it to the larger struggle for African American liberation in the US.
Starting with the introduction of enslaved Africans on the continent in 1619, the museum leads the visitor through slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The stories are intimate, about real people who lived in Mississippi and worked to make a difference. You learn about Black Americans who took risks that lead to martyrdom, White allies who risked and lost everything, and White Americans who perpetuated violence at every turn.
The museum tells a story of triumph, but it is not a sugar-coated one. A good museum changes you. This museum is a great one.
Pro Tip: The museums are free on Sundays if you’re looking for free things to do in Jackson.
Address: 222 North St #2205, Jackson, MS 39201
5:00 PM: Snap a Pic at the JXN Icons Mural
The city of Jackson is blessed with many amazing murals and street art installations (more on that on Day 3). One of the most famous is right across the street from the museums, so don’t skip snapping a picture while you’re here!
Featuring four towering Jackson figures (towering both literally and figuratively), the JXN Icons mural showcases Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty, Civil Rights icon Medgar Evers, prima ballerina Thalia Mara, and rapper and activist David Banner.
The mural is by Artist Reshonda Perryman and was funded by Visit Jackson.
Address: Across the street from the front entrance of 222 North St #2205, Jackson, MS 39201
5:15 PM: Head Out on the Mississippi Freedom Trail
Truthfully, you could spend an entire afternoon seeing the Freedom Trail, but with only three days in Jackson, two hours will have to do.
You can find the entire list of spots on the Freedom Trail Map. Below are my top four can’t-miss sites, which are all located near each other to make it easy to see all of them in the time allotted.
Of course, if you have more time, venture out further on the trail!
Old Greyhound Bus Station
Site of the arrival of the Freedom Riders in Jackson. Riders were removed and arrested. The building itself is stunning and has undergone an impressive restoration. Now a private office, but a stop outside is a must.
Address: 219 N. Lamar St., Jackson, Mississippi
Farish Street Historic District
Like Fourth Avenue in Nashville or Sweet Auburn in Atlanta, Farish Street was once a thriving African American community and business hub. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
While many things are closed today, a walk down this street is a walk back in time.
Address: Roughly bounded by Amite, Mill, Fortification, and Lamar Sts.
Built on Farish Street in 1949, this African American theater was a place for Black Jacksonians to enjoy cinema and live music during the era of Jim Crow. The building has been restored to its art deco glory.
If you are interested in attending a performance here during your Jackson vacation, check out the Alamo’s Facebook page for their schedule.
Address: 333 N Farish St, Jackson, MS 39202
Big Apple Inn
While you may not have time to head up to the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, which is on the outskirts of town, you can pay homage to slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers.
The Big Apple Inn, located on Farish Street since 1952, was an institution in its own right as well as the former office of Medgar Evers and a meeting site for the Freedom Riders.
Today it’s a sandwich shop. While we have another option listed for dinner, if you find yourself with extra meal times while in Jackson, circle back and get a bite to eat here.
Address: 509 N Farish St, Jackson, MS 39202
Pro Tip: If you have time, keep going! A lot of the sites on the trail are just placards where former sites stood, which can be very powerful.
7:15 PM: Dinner and Live Music in the Farish Street Historic District
Dine at Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues, one of the city’s most iconic spots located right in the historic African American Farish District. Named after Johnny T, a famous Blues musician, the restaurant is a perfect way to end your day learning all about local history and culture.
The restaurant and upstairs 540 Ultra Lounge are perfect for those in town on a romantic weekend in Jackson. There is a dress code and an age limit. A placard out front reads:
- No White T-Shirts
- No Athletic Apparel
- No Baseball Caps
- Must Have ID
- Gentlemen Must Be at Least 25
Alternate Option: If you are here on a Jackson family vacation, opt for the Iron Horse Grill instead. Located in downtown Jackson, it’s also close to the Farish District. While the music and the food are just as good, children are allowed here (and men under twenty-five).
Both get very busy on the weekends, so call ahead to make reservations.
Enjoy the music, food, and drinks as long as you like. If you find yourself wanting another stop after, circle back to the Apothecary at Brent’s Drugs.
Address: 538 N Farish St, Jackson, MS 39202
Day 2 in Jackson: Eudora Welty House, the Mississippi State Capitol District, & More Live Music
Today is all about art and culture. You’ll spend the morning learning about one of the most powerful women authors in US history, who did it on her terms.
You’ll also see some of Jackson’s most iconic sites, eat more amazing food, and learn a bit about the language and culture of the Deep South.
9:00 AM: Enjoy Breakfast in Belhaven Heights at Urban Foxes
The Belhaven and Belhaven Heights neighborhoods are charming, full of beautiful historic homes.
You can enjoy breakfast on the lawn of Urban Foxes, or eat inside and enjoy the architecture of the 1937 Craftsman house that is now the headquarters of this mainstay Jackson eatery.
Urban Foxes specializes in small-batch baked goods, coffee, and beer. They are known first and foremost as a family-owned pie shop, so I HIGHLY recommend taking some pie to go (or enjoying some pie with your breakfast).
We love this restaurant. Every bite was delicious. The ambiance was perfect. The setting is lovely. Everything about this place is exactly why we love Jackson, a city that strives to preserve its history while keeping an eye towards making today comfortable and enjoyable for its people.
Pro Tip: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Yes, it’s breakfast, but DO NOT SKIP THE PIE. Individual slices can be taken to go or have some key lime with your coffee. You can thank me later.
Address: 826 North St, Jackson, MS 39202
11:00 AM: Tour the Eudora Welty House & Garden
Make your way from breakfast to another one of the most important stops in Belhaven: the Eudora Welty House, which is located across the street from Belhaven University.
If you don’t know much about Eudora Welty, buckle your seatbelt, because you are in for a wild ride.
One of the most decorated women writer’s in the US, this Pulitzer Prize winner serves as one of the most important voices of Mississippi in the twentieth century.
To tour the house, you need to make a reservation on their website. Groups are limited, and they book up in advance.
Welty lived here from 1925 until she passed away in 2001. That’s over seventy-five years of American literary history!
The home itself is a beautiful, deceptively large house built in the Tudor style. It was made into a National Historic Landmark in 2004.
If you are an aspiring writer or creative, I think you’ll be as enamored as I was with knowing that one of the most prolific short story authors in US history wrote almost everything she published in this house!
You’ll get to see the desk she worked from as well as the piles (and piles and piles and piles) of books that comprised her book collection.
The historians who maintain the house believe she read all (or nearly all) of the books you’ll see! I loved perusing the titles to see what sparked her interest.
Pro Tip: Tours are available Tuesday-Friday at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, AND 3:00 PM, and on Saturdays at 1:00 PM or 3:00 pm.
This itinerary is set up for you to go to the 11:00 am tour, but you must make the reservations yourself ahead of time.
If you get a later or earlier tour time, you may need to move around some of the items on today’s itinerary. Urban Foxes opens at 7:30 AM and would also make a great lunch option if you find yourself with a different tour time.
If your Jackson vacation is only on a Sunday or Monday, you won’t be able to tour the house. However, the Eudora Welty Garden is always open and is free.
You can listen to the audio tour while you are there, or listen to it ahead of time!
Good to Know: If you find yourself with extra time in the area, nearby Laurel Street Park and Belhaven University are both beautiful!
Read Ahead: If you want to get familiar with Eudora Welty’s works before your trip, read (or listen to) The Optimist’s Daughter, which is her novel that won her the Pulitzer.
Alternatively, I devoured her short memoir One Writer’s Beginnings, which touches on her writing career but also her childhood growing up in Jackson.
Address: 1109 Pinehurst St, Jackson, MS 39202
1:00 PM Get Fired Up at The Manship
Located just three minutes from the Eudora Welty House on North State Street, The Manship is a great option for lunch. Specializing in wood-fired cuisine and Southern Food with a Mediterranean twist, there’s something for everyone here!
The dress code is casual, but this does feel like one of the nicer restaurants in town, which I always enjoy!
Address: 1200 N State St #100, Jackson, MS 39202
Alternate Option: The Mayflower Cafe specializes in Greek food and seafood, is a stop on the afternoon self-guided tour.
It’s only open for lunch Monday-Friday, but it’s both one of the oldest eateries in town and a place Eudora Welty frequented (hence, why it’s on the afternoon tour).
Address: 123 W Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39201
2:30 PM: Go on a Self-Driving Tour of Eudora Welty’s Life in Jackson
Jackson and Mississippi play an important role in Eudora Welty’s works, so getting out and seeing the city from her perspective is a rewarding way to see more of downtown and the city’s historic center.
I received a brochure with the sites on this self-guided tour at the Eudora Welty House. However, I cannot find the pamphlet anywhere and it seems to have been taken down off the website of the Mississippi Department of Archives & History.
If you can tour the house, ask for the pamphlet before you leave. However, if you aren’t able to get one, here are the most important sites and how to see them.
Eudora Welty House
If you are going to eat a late lunch, then start your tour from here. Otherwise, pick up at the next stop.
Address: 1109 Pinehurst St, Jackson, MS 39202
Corner Market (Jitney 14)
The local Jitney Jungle (Jitney #14) was the market that Eudora shopped at most of her life. Beyond the interesting Tudor style of the building, snap a pic of the full-size Eudora Welty Mural out around the back.
While the owners of the store have changed over the years (it was called McDade’s until recently), the architecture and historic value have not.
Address: 904 E Fortification St, Jackson, MS 39202
Eudora Welty’s Birth Home
The house that you tour where she lived until the end of her life was actually the second Welty House in town. The family spent their first years in Jackson on North Congress Street.
Eudora Welty was born in this house in 1909. The family moved across town when she was sixteen.
While you can’t go inside, it’s worth a drive-by since so many scenes from One Writer’s Beginnings took place here.
Address: 741 North Congress Street
Barack Obama Magnet School (Jefferson Davis Elementary)
The old school where Eudora Welty attended elementary is just across the street from her birth home, so it’s an easy place to pass through.
Originally named after the president of the Confederacy, this predominantly Black school has been thankfully renamed after President Obama in 2018.
Many of Eudora’s humorous stories from her childhood in One Writer’s Beginnings took place here.
Address: 750 N Congress St, Jackson, MS 39202
Mississippi State Capitol Building
As soon as you turn onto North Congress Street, you’ll notice the rotunda of the Mississippi State Capitol Building rising above you. Eudora used to rollerskate through the rotunda on her way to the public library – can you imagine!?
Good to Know: Mississippi was the last state to remove the Confederate emblem from their state flag. The people of the state of Mississippi voted to remove it in the 2020 November election.
Today the state flag in front of the capitol proudly displays a white magnolia blossom since Mississippi is the Magnolia State.
Address: 400 High St, Jackson, MS 39201
Ole Tavern on George Street
Just around the corner from the house on North Congress, this historic building is now a tavern. However, during Eudora’s childhood, it was a market known as George Street Grocery where she would come on quick errands for her mother.
Address: 416 George St, Jackson, MS 39202
Eudora Welty’s Grave at Greenwood Cemetery
Until now, this self-driving tour has been truly a driving tour, since you don’t have to get out of the car to appreciate any of these spots. At Greenwood Cemetery, you have the option of driving nearly straight to her grave, or you can park and walk around the cemetery and see more of the local history beyond Welty.
If you do read One Writer’s Beginnings, the forward tells a beautiful story of Eudora’s funeral and how the rain seemed to weep for her passing.
Beside her grave is the grave of her older brother who died after he was born, the story which also appears in the memoir.
The cemetery has served the city since 1823, so there are two hundred years of stories here, both inspiring and terrifying.
Here is a list of notable figures buried in the cemetery. While it doesn’t list Eudora Welty (which is shocking), it does list Confederate Generals (yikes). She is listed last on the General Tour, either due to location or how much more recently she died than some of the other prominent figures in the cemetery.
You can seek out important African Americans buried here on this free self-guided African American Tour.
Address: North West Street at George Street Jackson
Pro Tip: Use the map on the General Tour to navigate your way to her grave.
To be honest, I’m not sure if this was listed on the official tour or if it was a recommendation from the staff at the Eudora Welty House.
However, this 1935 Greek restaurant is a Jackson institution and a place that Eudora used to frequent as it is near the Lamar Life Building where her father, and subsequently she, both worked.
Address: 123 W Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39201
Standard Life Building (Lamar Life Building)
Jackson’s first skyscraper (and current twelfth-tallest building) is a towering icon in the city. It was the passion project of Welty’s father, and the architect who designed it also designed the Eudora Welty House. (Obviously that moniker came later).
Welty’s father labored and loved this building and its legacy was taken on by Welty, who worked there after his untimely passing, and her brother who became an architect.
It was built in the Gothic Revival style. While many of the original embellishments are gone, you can’t miss this landmark while in Jackson.
Address: 317 E Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39201
Good to Know: There are other stops on the official tour, but these are the ones that I found to be the most interesting and accessible as a tourist who was only in town for a weekend getaway in Jackson Mississippi. The top attractions, if you will.
Seeing these sites can be accomplished in two hours. Serious literary scholars or Eudora stans will want to follow the official tour more closely.
4:30 PM Explore Mississippi’s Literary Legacy Beyond Eudora Welty at Lemuria Books
Another wonderful recommendation from the staff at the Eudora Welty House, Lemuria was a Jackson hidden gem that I needed in my life.
A timeless bookstore that will delight any literature lover, Lemuria Books has shelves upon shelves of books about Mississippi and books written by Mississippi authors along with dozens (hundreds?) of framed photographs of authors who have passed through.
It also has comfy couches to sink into. This is a true old-school bookstore that’s hard to come by these days.
While they specialize in signed first editions, there is something for everyone here.
Address: 4465 I-55 STE 202, Jackson, MS 39206
7:00 PM: Dine on Italian with a Twist at Bravo! Italian Restaurant & Bar
No Jackson romantic weekend is complete without a fancy night out, and if you’re on a family vacation (like we were) Bravo! also welcomes children so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
I had the pecan-crusted brie as a starter and linguine with crawfish tails, while my husband had an Angus Ribeye. Our toddler loved the breadbasket and eating off our plates, but older kids will probably find the wood-fired pizzas on the kids’ menu more appetizing.
We enjoyed the food, so much so that we carted the leftovers all the way to Louisiana so that not one bite would go to waste.
We did not have reservations, but it never hurts to make reservations ahead of time.
Pro Tip: We had a hard time finding it, so give yourself an extra ten minutes or so if you are meeting someone or have a hard schedule.
Address: 4500 I-55 N, Highland Village, Suite 244, Jackson, MS 39211
Alternate Option: If you want to up the romance or don’t want Italian food, 1908 Provisions at the Fairview Inn is a romantic farm-to-table restaurant in Belhaven.
The Fairview Inn is a popular boutique hotel in Jackson that is also home to the Library Lounge. It is a beautiful place for couples to stay who are looking for a romantic Jackson Mississippi weekend getaway.
Address: 734 Fairview St, Jackson, MS 39202
Day 3 in Jackson: Mississippi Museum of Art, Downtown Jackson, Public Art Tour, & Fine Dining
By now, you’ve learned about two of the most important parts of Jackson’s legacy: its Civil Rights history and its literary history. Day 3 is about enjoying Jackson’s artistic side in Fondren and beyond. And there will be tacos!
9:00 AM: Enjoy Pastries and Coffee at Cups Espresso Cafe in Fondren
With great coffee and delicious pastries, Cups is the perfect place for a quick bite before starting your day. Lunch will be on the early side here, so get enough to fuel you for a few hours, but don’t worry about having to go too long!
If you are ready to get your sightseeing started for the day, this is the perfect spot to take your breakfast to go.
They have really cute merch on sale, so this is a great stop if you haven’t found the perfect Jackson souvenir yet!
Pro Tip: While there are several Cups locations, this itinerary starts at the one in the Fondren neighborhood (where the Homewood Suites is located), since that’s where much of the art we’ll be seeing during the morning is located.
Of course, you’re welcome to go to one closer to you if you’re staying somewhere else! Find a location near you here.
Address: 2757 Old Canton Rd, Jackson, MS 39216
10:00 AM: See Jackson’s Whimsical Side Public Art Tour
One of the highlights of a Jackson MS vacation is exploring the Public Art in JXNMS map, which you can find online here.
I suggest leaving Cups and seeing all the great murals around Fondren. Make sure to drive up to the Birdhouse Gardens, which might be one of my favorite art installations in the US.
Lunch is in Fondren, so see what you can nearby before heading to lunch. We will pick up the tour again towards the end of the day.
11:30 Green Ghost Tacos
Located across the street from the Homewood Suites, Fondren’s Green Ghost Tacos is the perfect place to stop for lunch before leaving the neighborhood for the day.
They boast Authentic Mexican food made in small batches from quality fresh ingredients, with tons of Gluten-Free and Vegan and Vegetarian options.
The portions are on the larger size, so order accordingly! Of course, if you’re staying across the street, it’s easy to save your leftovers.
Our son slept through the entire meal (yay for us!), but he liked the leftovers.
Address: 2820 N State St, Jackson, MS 39216
1:00 PM: Get Inspired at the Mississippi Museum of Art
The Mississippi Museum of Art had its beginnings in 1911 as the Mississippi Art Association. What was once a small collection of paintings has turned into nearly six thousand works of art, so there is something for every kind of art lover here.
The museum is only open Thursday through Sunday, so it is the perfect thing to do during the weekend in Jackson.
Highlights include works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol.
Address: 380 S Lamar St, Jackson, MS 39201
3:00 PM: Be Enchanted by the Mississippi Museum of Art Art Garden
After spending a few hours appreciating “high art,” head outside to enjoy the Art Garden. Full of beautiful and colorful art installations, you can sit back and relax, taking in the beautiful surroundings.
Pro Tip: The Art Garden is free, so if you aren’t in town during one of the days the museum is open, you should still pop by for a pop of color.
Address: 380 S Lamar St, Jackson, MS 39201
3:30 PM: Pick Up Where you Left Off on the Public Art Trail
You may have noticed that the Public Art in JXNMS map, which you can find online here, was a massive list. It is so long that you really can’t see all the best Jackson murals in a day (or even two).
After you enjoy the art museum and garden, head back onto the public art trail for more amazing Jackson murals. Following the map will help you branch out and see some of the best Jackson hidden gems and neighborhoods that are typically off the beaten path.
Alternate: If you’ve had your fill of art (which is not an emotion I’ve experienced, but I’m sure it exists), you can schedule a Cathead Distillery Tour or plan a Cathead Bottleshop Visit.
The first legal distillery in Mississippi opened in 2010 and specializes in vodka and bourbon.
Tours need to be arranged ahead of time. Check their website for details. The bottleshop closes at 4 PM, so head over promptly if that’s your plan.
Address: 422 S Farish St Jackson, MS 39201
6:00 PM: Enjoy the Gumbo at Hal & Mal’s
A verifiable Jackson institution, Hal & Mal’s is a diner that features live music and spotlights the cuisine of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Don’t skip the gumbo – it’s the star here!
The kitchen closes at eight on most nights, so come down a bit early so you can enjoy the food and not just the bar.
Address: 200 Commerce St, Jackson, MS 39201
Alternate: If you come down and you find Hal & Mal’s closed, walk across the street to Martin’s Downtown. Featuring a bit more of a raucous crowd, this is another famous restaurant in Jackson that has good eats and good music.
Address: 214 State St, Jackson, MS 39201
If you want to eat dinner but are looking for something a bit more upscale, head to Walker’s Drive-In in Fondren, which has a refined menu and a great reputation.
Address: 3016 N State St, Jackson, MS 39216
What to Do if You Have 4 Days in Jackson?
So far, I’ve listed the best things to do in Jackson in 3 days. But, if you have more time here, then lucky you! You have a few options for enjoying your last day.
Go on a Day Trip from Jackson
While there are many great options for Jackson day trips, here are my top two!
One of the National Park Service Sites in Mississippi, Vicksburg National Military Park is the protected area where the Battle of Vicksburg was fought during the US Civil War.
The Siege of Vicksburg was a major turning point on the war’s western front, and it was also one of the most brutal parts of the war for civilians.
This small town (or maybe a very small city) of Natchez near Jackson is the perfect escape if you want to drive some of the Natchez Trace and then get out and see a bit of the oldest town in Mississippi.
Enjoy a Few More Jackson Activities
If you’ve enjoyed all the self-guided tours on this itinerary so far, there’s one more you may want to check out! Fans of the movie The Help can set out on a tour of the movie’s filming locations.
If you want to see a Jackson attraction rather than a tour, here are some of the city’s most famous landmarks, museums, and parks that aren’t already on this list.
-The Boyd House – Greek Revival Historic House turned into the Oaks House Museum
-The Manship House Museum
-The Russell C. Davis Planetarium
-The International Museum of Muslim Cultures on Pascagoula near the Mississippi Museum of Art
-Jackson Art Galleries
-The Jackson Zoo – Great for Kids
-LeFleur’s Bluff State Park – Enjoy the Nature Trails and Views
-The Old Capitol Museum
-The Mississippi Farmers Market – Open on Saturday Mornings until 1 PM
-The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion
-The Convention Center
Circle Back to Anything You Missed During Your First 3 Days
Sometimes I like to go slow when I travel. If you decided to slow down during your time and missed something on this itinerary, this is the perfect opportunity to go back and experience it!
Many of the best Jackson restaurants and things to do are closed on days you might not expect, so the more time you have to squeeze them all in, the better!
Look for Special Jackson MS Events
Sometimes you luck out when you travel and there’s a special event or festival that makes your time in a place even more special!
You can look for special events that are not available year-round and add them to your itinerary since you will have the luxury of extra time!
Simply search for “what to do in Jackson this weekend” to see if there are any unique or fun things to do in Jackson this weekend.
Maybe the stars will align and you’ll get to see a special side of the city that not everyone gets to see!
Pro Tip: You can’t see everything here in one weekend. Even if you get to experience Jackson in 4 days instead of 3, prepare to leave wanting more! Feel free to go ahead and book your return trip now, because I promise you’ll want to come back.
What to Do If You Only Have 2 Days in Jackson?
So this Jackson travel blog is obviously set up to help you plan your own Jackson 3 day itinerary, but it can easily be modified if you need to see Jackson in 2 days instead.
While you can see a LOT in 48 hours in Jackson, you will have to cut out a lot.
I recommend following Day 1 of this itinerary and then choosing either Day 2 or Day 3. This will be the most time-efficient way to use this itinerary since the days are set up to flow geographically.
However, if you want to mix and match items from above, just pay attention to where things are located so you don’t miss any reservations or tour times.
I absolutely would make sure to see the Civil Rights Museum, the Eudora Welty House, and the Freedom Trail.
These were the most impactful to me, and the things that I think about the most when I reflect on our time in Jackson. This will make the most of your forty-eight hours in Jackson.
What to Do if You Only Have One Day in Jackson?
Okay, now this is getting really difficult! If you need to see Jackson in one day, note that you just can’t see everything worth seeing in twenty-four hours in Jackson. However, you can still have a great day!
I would personally follow Day 1 above from start to finish, but I would swap out the LeFleur District and instead schedule a tour of the Eudora Welty House. Then I would follow the rest of Day 1, including making a live performance if you can.
If you will only be in town for the day and don’t need a place to stay, then that makes things simple. Make sure to be cognizant of not having visible valuables out in your car since you’ll be parking it and won’t have a hotel room to stow your stuff.
If you’ll be spending 24 or 36 hours in Jackson and need a place to stay, I still recommend the Homewood Suites by Hilton.
Jackson Travel Tips
First, don’t skip the hard stuff! Don’t come to Jackson to just enjoy the fun restaurants and sports without engaging a bit in the history. If you can only do one emotionally hard thing, go to the Civil Rights Museum!
Enjoy Jackson’s beautiful parks, public art, and outdoor spaces! This is a city that is more fun to experience if you balance indoor and outdoor activities. Honestly, just driving around and finding art in the residential neighborhoods is so fun because the city is so great outside.
Drop your preconceived notions about Mississippi. You don’t really know what it will be like until you get here. I’m sure it will blow you away if you give it the chance!
Finally, always add MS or Mississippi when looking for information about Jackson! I Googled Jackson Blog before our trip to get tips, and I was ALWAYS redirected to information about Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
This could be a disaster if you’re looking for specific information about places in Jackson. Luckily I realized it quickly and searched for Jackson Mississippi Blog instead and the info I needed popped right up!
When is the Best Time to Go to Jackson Mississippi?
Let me start by stating that we planned our road trip around the South in May for a reason – to avoid the high summer heat.
We ended up in Jackson for Memorial Day Weekend. And it was hot! But not as hot as it would have been if we’d waited until July or August for our trip.
The best months to visit Jackson Mississippi are April, May, September, and October. You will still get warm weather (and perhaps rain), but you’ll get the best weather for sightseeing.
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Mississippi
Whether you’re going on a Mississippi honeymoon or a family vacation, there are a few things that everyone will want to bring with them.
A local guidebook. It’s very difficult to find guidebooks once you are already on the ground. Pick up a copy of Lonely Planet Louisiana & the Deep South to help you plan ahead of time and keep with you once you’re here.
A camera. While it’s great to have a cell phone with you for quick pics, if you want to do more serious photography or take more videos, I find it nice to travel with a separate dedicated camera as well.
If I will be wrestling with my toddler on the trip, I’ll grab my Sony ZV-1, which is a powerful compact camera with great video capabilities as well. If it’s just me, I’ll take my Nikon (though if you’re buying a new camera I have my eye on this Sony).
A Backup Charging Bank. This is for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie. The mountains can drain your battery since it will take more power to continually check for signal where the signal gets spotty.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc).
My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for tourist destinations because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets plus RFID technology to keep your credit card digits safe.
It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
A Pair of Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes. I use boots like these or like these. Pack hiking shoes if you’re planning on hiking. Otherwise, any closed-toed shoes will work. This itinerary is packed and you’ll be on your feet a lot. Make sure to take care of them!
More Mississippi Travel Resources
Heading to Mississippi? Here are all the Mississippi travel resources on my blog!
A guide to Mississippi’s National Parks.
Included in these Round-Ups
Guidebooks I Used to Plan My Trip Around the South
These are the travel guidebooks that I used to plan my entire 5-week Southern USA road trip. I highly recommend each of them!
Lonely Planet Florida & the South’s Best Trips – this book was essential for me when I was trying to plan our road trip and understanding what was near each other and what absolutely not to miss.
Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events that Made the Movement – we did a lot of Civil Rights and Civil War historic sites on our trip, and if you’ll be doing any of this kind of travel, make sure to get this.
It was invaluable for finding off-the-beaten-path sites and can’t miss Black-owned historic businesses.
More Mississippi Travel Resources
Heading to Mississippi? Here are all the Mississippi travel resources on my blog!
A guide to Mississippi’s National Parks.
Included in these Round-Ups
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance
It’s especially important to get travel insurance whenever you are more than one hundred miles from home.