Planning a trip to Dixie? Be sure to carve out some time to explore all the fun things to do in Jackson, MS, the heart and soul of the Magnolia State! This vibrant capital city of Mississippi is bursting with Southern charm, rich history, and a cutting-edge culinary scene. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in Jackson.
Admire the beautiful architecture in the historic district of Fondren, catch a performance at the Mississippi Museum of Art, or take a tour of the Mississippi Arts Center. Learn about the struggle for civil rights at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Hike, bike, or paddle through some of Mississippi’s most beautiful natural scenery at the Ross Barnett Reservoir or LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.
No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something to love in Jackson. Ready to go? Read on to learn more about the best places to visit in Jackson, Mississippi!
Got more travel plans on the horizon? Check out all our other attractions guides and our United States Travel Guide for more tips & ideas on where to go, when to visit & what to do on your vacation!
Must-see places to visit in Jackson, MS
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
For a truly immersive and enlightening experience, make your first stop in Jackson at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Housed in a modern and sleek building, the museum is an incredible journey through the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is a must-visit if you’re interested in learning about the struggle for civil rights in America. Explore exhibits, memorials, and films that tell the stories of those who fought for human rights and the atrocities they endured. Wander through the galleries featuring artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the stories of Mississippi’s civil rights heroes to life.
Take time to reflect on powerful exhibits like the Freedom Rides exhibit, which details the efforts of civil rights activists who rode buses through the South in the early 1960s to challenge segregation.
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
Take a break from the urban buzz in the heart of the city at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. This incredible park offers a ton for visitors, from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science to various activities and amenities. With over 300 acres to explore, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.
If you’re a golfer, you’ll love the nine-hole golf course with a driving range. There’s also disc golf, playgrounds, and picnic areas at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. And if you need to grab a bite to eat or do a little shopping, there are places for that, too.
One of the coolest things about LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is that despite being located in the heart of the city, you’ll feel like you’re miles away from everything. Take a hike on one of the nature trails and be surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife. If you’re looking to get out on the water, Mayes Lake is a popular spot for fishing and boating.
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
Explore the natural wonders of Mississippi at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The museum celebrates the natural history of the state of Mississippi through a wide range of educational exhibits, specimen collections, and interactive habitats.
One of the highlights of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is the 100,000-gallon aquarium. With over 200 species of marine animals, you can get up close and personal with Mississippi’s fascinating underwater world.
The museum’s unique greenhouse, ‘The Swamp,’ is also worth checking out. Home to various wetland flora and fauna, including alligators and turtles, it’s the perfect place to learn about Mississippi’s native ecosystem.
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science also has an extensive fossil collection and exhibits featuring native white-tailed deer and Mississippi’s endangered species. And for the little ones, there’s a Discovery Room with giant treehouses to explore.
Mississippi Children’s Museum
Traveling with the kids? Head to the Mississippi Children’s Museum, one of Jackson’s most popular family-friendly attractions, for a fun and educational experience with the little ones.
Located in the heart of Jackson, the Mississippi Children’s Museum is a haven for children to learn, play, and explore. With over 30,000 square feet of exhibits and interactive activities, there’s something for every child to enjoy.
Kids can learn about the Mississippi River and its impact on the state through the ‘Wild About Water’ exhibit. They can get hands-on with science and technology in the ‘Health and Nutrition’ and ‘Innovation Hub’ exhibits. The ‘World at Work’ exhibit lets kids explore different careers and professions, and the ‘Literacy Garden’ encourages a love for reading and storytelling.
Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum
Another fun and educational experience to enjoy is the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, where you can discover farming life in the early 1900s.
Wander through the museum and get a firsthand look at what life was like for farmers and foresters in Mississippi during that time. Explore an array of interesting artifacts, from antique tractors and plows to vintage logging equipment and even old-fashioned canning jars.
The Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum also features several historic buildings that have been moved to the site, including a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a one-room schoolhouse. See the old farm equipment in action during live demonstrations throughout the day.
Watch as farmers plow fields with mules or see how syrup was made back in the day. Pop into the gift shop, where you’ll find all sorts of unique souvenirs and gifts, including handmade crafts, jams, jellies, and locally-grown produce.
Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument
If you’re a history buff or want to learn more about civil rights, visit the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument. This incredible monument is a tribute to two remarkable individuals, Medgar and Myrlie Evers, who fought tirelessly for equality and justice.
The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument includes the couple’s former home, which has been beautifully restored to its original condition. You can tour the house and learn about the lives of Medgar and Myrlie Evers and the history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi.
Head to the visitor center to explore the exhibits and multimedia displays that show the courage and dedication of these remarkable individuals. Stroll around the grounds on a walking trail and enjoy a picnic lunch.
The Jackson Zoo
Home to a wide variety of exotic animals worldwide, the Jackson Zoo is a treat for wildlife lovers! From playful primates to majestic big cats, the Jackson Zoo has over 200 species of animals to meet and greet.
One of the things that makes the Jackson Zoo so special is its commitment to animal conservation and education. The zoo is actively involved in several conservation programs that protect endangered species and their habitats.
There are also loads of activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy at the Jackson Zoo. You can ride a train ride around the zoo, the kids can burn off energy at a playground, and there’s a splash pad to cool off on hot summer days.
Mississippi Museum of Art
Let your creative spirit out of the bag at the Mississippi Museum of Art. With its impressive collection of over 5,000 works of art from Mississippi, the United States, and beyond, you can explore various artistic styles and mediums at this incredible art museum.
The Mississippi Museum of Art is home to an array of incredible works, from classic paintings to contemporary sculptures. Admire works by famous artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollock and pieces by talented local artists.
The art museum also has a beautiful outdoor space, the Art Garden, where you can relax and enjoy the sculptures and plants. If you’re feeling hungry, be sure to stop by the museum’s cafe, which features a delicious selection of sandwiches, salads, and pastries.
Mynelle Gardens Arboretum & Botanical Center
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a quiet stroll around the Mynelle Gardens Arboretum & Botanical Center. Home to over 1,500 species of plants, including many rare and exotic specimens, the garden is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Jackson, MS.
Nature lovers and garden gurus alike will delight in this beautiful garden. Meander through the garden’s different areas, each with its own unique character and charm. Explore the exquisitely manicured Japanese garden, blooming a butterfly garden, and fragrant rose gardens.
The Mynelle Gardens Arboretum & Botanical Center also offers a range of classes and workshops throughout the year, covering topics like gardening, plant care, and nature photography.
Sample some of Jackson’s finest craft spirits and locally made products at the Cathead Distillery. The award-winning distillery produces an array of spirits, including vodka, gin, and whiskey, all made from the finest local ingredients.
Take a guided tour of the facility and see firsthand how their spirits are made. Learn about the history of the distillery, the production process, and the unique flavors and ingredients that make their spirits so special. Enjoy tasting their spirits, including some exclusive small-batch offerings you won’t find anywhere else.
Experience the vibrant culture of Jackson at live music performances, art shows, and food festivals held throughout the year at Cathead Distillery.
Smith Robertson Museum
Soak up the rich African American history and culture of African Americans in Mississippi at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center. The museum documents the struggles and triumphs of African Americans in the Deep South, with a particular focus on the Jackson area.
Explore the museum’s fascinating exhibits and artifacts, including artwork, documents, and photographs. The Treasures of Africa exhibition highlights African heritage, and the Visual and Master Collection galleries showcase painting and photography.
Delve into exhibits focusing on the history of the Smith Robertson School, the Farish Street district in Jackson, and the northward movement of African Americans from 1915 to 1940. Wander through the Hall of Fame, where you can learn about African Americans from Mississippi who have been recognized in various fields.
Mississippi State Capitol
One of the most symbolic buildings in Jackson, the Mississippi State Capitol has been the seat of government for the state of Mississippi since 1903.
What makes the Mississippi State Capitol so unique is its striking design. Built in the Greek Revival style, the building is topped by a distinctive and eye-catching copper dome. The interior boasts beautiful marble floors and grand staircases that are truly awe-inspiring.
Explore the Mississippi State Capitol on a guided tour and learn about the history and significance of the building. Venture into the House and Senate chambers, see the Governor’s Office, and discover more about the art and architecture of the building.
If you’re interested in politics and government, keep an eye on what’s happening at the Capitol and consider attending a session of the Mississippi Legislature to see democracy in action.
The Pig & Pint
Head to the Pig & Pint on North State Street for the tastiest barbecue and craft beer in town. Exuding a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy good food and drinks with friends.
The Southern BBQ at The Pig & Pint is truly exceptional. The meats are smoked to perfection, and the sauces are expertly crafted to bring out the best flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for brisket, pulled pork, or ribs, you’ll find something on the menu that will satisfy your craving for delicious barbecue.
Pair your barbecue with delicious craft beer from an impressive selection of beers on tap, ranging from local brews to international favorites. Whether you’re a hophead or prefer something lighter, you’re sure to find a beer that ticks the box.
Museum of Mississippi History
You’re in for a treat if you’re interested in Mississippi’s rich history and culture: The Museum of Mississippi History is a must-visit Jackson destination that’ll leave a lasting impression.
As soon as you step into the Museum of Mississippi History, you’ll be transported back in time to experience the state’s history like never before. The exhibits are thoughtfully curated and presented in an engaging and interactive way, with multimedia displays, artifacts, and presentations that bring the past to life.
The museum covers many topics, from prehistoric Mississippi to the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Learn about the state’s Native American tribes, its role in the Civil War, and the impact of the blues on American music. Discover some famous Mississippians who have left their mark on history, such as Elvis Presley, Eudora Welty, and Medgar Evers.
Eudora Welty House & Garden
Experience the magic of literature at the Eudora Welty House & Garden. Whether you’re a literary aficionado, a lover of history and culture, or someone who appreciates beauty and tranquility, you won’t miss this gem!
Eudora Welty was one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century, and her former home has been preserved as a tribute to her life and work. The house is filled with original artwork and furniture from the mid-20th century. Get a glimpse into the life of one of Mississippi’s most famous writers.
The Eudora Welty House & Garden also features a beautifully manicured garden that’s a delight to explore. You’ll feel like you’re in a secret oasis as you wander the winding paths, take in the sights and smells of the plants and flowers, and admire the tranquil fountain at the center of it all.
Old Capitol Museum
Dive into the politics and history of Mississippi at the Old Capitol Museum. Located in the heart of Downtown Jackson, the Old Capitol Museum is a beautifully restored building that served as the state capitol from 1839 to 1903.
Inspired by Greek culture, the Old Capitol Museum has a beautiful rotunda and soaring dome. Admire the magnificent ceiling and the attention to detail that went into creating this masterpiece of architecture and design.
Wander through the haloed halls that house original artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring Mississippi’s rich history to life. Learn about Mississippi’s role in the Civil War, the state’s struggles with segregation and civil rights, and the many notable figures who have shaped Mississippi’s political landscape over the years.
As the official residence of the Governor of Mississippi, the Governor’s Mansion has been a centerpiece of the state’s political and social scene since it was built in 1842. Constructed in the Greek Revival style, the mansion exudes elegance and charm.
Take a guided tour of the Governor’s Mansion and admire the grand hallways and beautifully decorated rooms adorned with antique furnishings, beautiful artwork, and intricate details. Learn about the building’s important place in Mississippi’s history.
The current Governor and First Lady still use the Governor’s Mansion for official state functions.