As Mississippi's largest city and state capital, Jackson is home to nearly 200,000 people, although its slow pace and wide population distribution make it seem smaller. Exploring the city requires some forethought, however, as well as (in most cases) a car, as many of Jackson's tourist attractions, shopping opportunities and business concerns are spread over a large geographic area.
Downtown is where the action is, at least during business hours. At the center sits the Mississippi State Capitol. Built in 1903, this stunning structure was modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington and cuts a commanding figure against the downtown skyline. Two blocks to the south, you will find the Mississippi Governor's Mansion , a fine example of Greek Revival architecture and one of the few lucky buildings to survive the Civil War. Two other antebellum buildings are located nearby: the Old State Capitol and Jackson City Hall. In addition to its own historical value, the Old Capitol building harbors the country's most comprehensive museum on Mississippi history and culture.
Downtown is home to most of Jackson's cultural outlets. Two blocks from City Hall rests the Russell C. Davis Planetarium , one of the largest in the Southeast; it stands right next door to the Mississippi Museum of Art , which boasts the world's largest collection of folk art and crafts by regional artisans. Performances by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra , the Ballet Magnificat! and the Mississippi Opera Association are regularly scheduled at Thalia Mara Hall , a state-of-the-art auditorium directly across the street.
Situated just a few miles from the city center, Ridgeland comprises an enormous mass of shopping, eating and lodging opportunities, along with a bit of nightlife. At the core of it all is the Northpark Mall , which provides Jackson shoppers with everything from large national department stores to the finest in local specialty shops.
While in the area, be sure to pay a visit to Tougaloo College . Of historical significance is the Natchez Trace Parkway , which bypasses Jackson through Ridgeland and neighboring Madison. One of America's oldest and most beautiful thoroughfares, the Trace was originally a trading route for American Indians and today operates under the protection of the National Park Service. Ridgeland is also home to one of Jackson's most popular recreational facilities, the Ross Barnett Reservoir . This 33,000-acre expanse of water was created by the damming of the Pearl River and serves as a summertime playground for boaters, swimmers, fishermen and picnic-goers.
North of the downtown business district is a comfortable neighborhood of residences, small businesses and large medical facilities. In the middle of it all is scenic Millsaps College . Across the road is the towering Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium , a venue for concerts and major sporting events. This area also contains Jackson's thriving medical community, anchored by the enormous Mississippi Baptist Medical Center and the University of Mississippi Medical School.
Mid North is home to many museums and recreational outlets, perhaps none more utilized than the verdant expanse of LeFleur's Bluff State Park . Offering fishing, camping and even a nine-hole public golf course, the park also houses one of the city's most cherished shrines, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science . Across the street, a large, state-owned complex is home to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame , the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum . And while you're in the neighborhood, be sure to catch a minor league baseball game at Smith-Wills Stadium .
Historically significant but financially depressed in recent years, the Farish Street Historical District comprises roughly 60 square blocks just to the west of downtown Jackson. In the years of racial segregation that followed the Civil War, this neighborhood became a center of black culture, politics, religion and business. At its peak, Farish Street was a thriving and vibrant community, and landmarks such as the Alamo Theater regularly hosted such greats as Louis Armstrong. With nearly 700 historical landmarks inside its boundaries, including churches, buildings and Civil Rights shrines, this neighborhood is worth seeing. If you visit Jackson during September, be sure to check out the Farish Street Heritage Festival .
Outside the City
Much of the Jackson area's interest actually lies outside the city. Amid the lower middle-class neighborhoods that stretch away to the southwest of downtown, for example, is Jackson State University . One of the nation's premier historically black colleges, Jackson State is home to the newly renovated H.T. Sampson Library and historic Ayer Hall. Similarly positioned to the near northwest of downtown, the Medgar Evers Home , a fittingly subtle tribute to the soft-spoken Civil Rights martyr, sits on a quiet residential street.
Due west of the Old State Capitol, you will find the sprawling greens of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds , the regular site for many exhibitions, livestock shows and, of course, the State Fair.
This moderate hotel is located conveniently close to Millsaps College and the hub of Jackson's medical community. It also offers easy access to all of downtown's attractions and business ...
The centerpiece of local shopping and one of the largest outlets in the state, this mammoth mall is located on the north side of the city, near Ridgeland. Anchored by McRae ...
Since it's opening in 1980, Rick Olson and Paula Coe have hooked the masses on hummus, gyros and their famous feta dressing. A quick check on Facebook is a testament to the cult following with the fan page Feta dressing from Keifer's makes anything taste good showing about 1,300 fans from all over the state to California, New York, Florida and even Australia. While living in Atlanta and working in the food service industry in the 1970s, Rick had convinced Paula to move to the Caribbean to open a restaurant. Recipes had been developed, a location had been picked, and they had boarded a plane to seal the de4al. A bizarre incident that led to a fire on the plane's wing changed their fate and brought them to Jackson.