As if doubling as the state capital and largest city in Mississippi weren't enough, Jackson has established itself as one of the South's leading cultural destinations. Situated just south of the Yazoo River on the southern border of the Mississippi Delta, Jackson is an exciting place to visit with a vibrant nightlife, a huge selection of museums and no shortage of nationally-recognized landmarks. Whether you're looking to explore the state's rich history or relax to the sweet sound of Mississippi Blues, Jackson will not disappoint you.
The longtime home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty, this National Historic Landmark was fully restored after the writer's death in 2001. The home is one of America's most intact literary house museums. Overseen by the Department of Archives and History, the inside of the house features special exhibits exploring the work and life of one of the country's most celebrated female authors. Outside, visitors can enjoy a carefully tended garden that has been restored to reflect the author's passion for flowers and plants.
Another example of Jackson's important cultural footprint, the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA) is home to a massive collection of works from regionally, nationally and internationally renowned artists. The MMA's current facility was designed to be the centerpiece of a cohesive cultural district in Jackson's resurgent downtown area and is the largest museum in Mississippi.
Reopened in 2007, the museum's sleek, open architectural design encourages exploration. Meanwhile, its 1.2-acre Art Garden, completed in 2011, presents stunning permanent displays and a free, open-to-the public policy. Likewise, while there is typically a small fee for some rotating exhibitions, access to most of the museum's collection is free throughout the year.
Often billed as the “City with Soul,” Jackson is home to a huge selection of performance art venues and festivals. Indeed, with more than 50 nightclubs, blues “juke joints,” restaurants, state-of-the-art music halls and the bustling lounges found in many Jackson hotels, it certainly isn't hard to find a live local music performance. Moreover, thanks to the eclectic sensibilities of area residents, you'll likely have your pick of shows in any number of different musical styles. From rock to rap and classical to jazz, Jackson's musical offerings is sure to please even the most discerning listener.
Of course, if you're in town during August, the annual Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival makes it easy to take in a huge line-up of established and up-and-coming performers. The relatively new Blues Fest is a great way to explore Mississippi's vibrant role in musical history.
Although the impact of music on the local culture is undeniable, a number of other performance art styles can be found throughout the city. In addition to the small but increasingly popular theater and coffee house performance scenes, Jackson celebrates film each year with the Crossroads Film Festival. Typically held in April, this three-day event sees the screening of more than 100 independent films at the historic Malco Grandview Theatre.
Supported by Jackson's emergence as a major metropolitan hub, the festival continues to grow in size and importance. Now featuring more than just film screenings and a Sunday awards brunch, Crossroads routinely hosts everything from film workshops and gala receptions to kid-friendly programming and live musical performances.
You’ll find a collection of popular and well-established accommodations on either side of North State Street in Downtown Jackson. The Jackson Marriot is close to the Mississippi State Capitol building, and is an ideal location for business travelers looking for an elegant setting during their stay. The Hilton Garden Inn is housed in a landmark building beside the Jackson Amtrak station, and offers a blend of traditional Southern hospitality and modern room furnishings.
Whether you're planning a day trip or an extended vacation, the “Crossroads of the South” is easily accessible. Thanks to the recently renovated Jackson International Airport (JAN), visitors from Chicago, Dallas and other major cities can choose direct flights from a number of leading airlines. For regional guests, the city's location at the intersection of I-55 and I-20 also makes car and bus travel a simple and convenient option. In fact, both Greyhound and Megabus offer daily nonstop trips from New Orleans, Memphis and a host of other Southern cities. Likewise, Amtrak offers daily rail service to and from Chicago and New Orleans.