1. Jackson Has Serious Soul
As one of the stops along the Mississippi Blues Trail, “The City With Soul” is famous for its roots in gospel, blues, and R&B music. The city’s small juke bars and illegal nightclubs put it on the map back in the day, and remains vibrant with musicians in the scene today.
2. It’s Such A Big Deal, Johnny Cash Sang A Song About It
First recorded in 1963 by the band Wheeler, the song “Jackson” became popular after legendary Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash covered it. The song was about a married musician couple who lost their spark and begin arguing about who is going to become the bigger deal when they head down to the electrifying Jackson blues scene. “Jackson” became one of the couple’s biggest hits and is beloved in across the state of Mississippi.
3. The Town That Launched A Thousand Careers
Founded in 1962 during Jackson’s musical heyday, Malaco Records is a famous recording studio where many gospel, blues, and R&B musicians got their start. The studio received a historic marker commemorating it along the Mississippi Blues Trail for its many contributions to the state’s musical reputation including musicians Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Bland, and Z.Z. Hill among many others. Well-known artists like Art Garfunkel and Roberta Flack have recorded at Malaco, as well.
4. The Cost Of Living Beats Almost Everywhere Else
Forbes magazine recently listed Jackson as the third best “Bang For Your Buck” city among the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S., based on affordability in living costs against housing costs. Although the city has a fairly low personal income rate per capita, the low costs of living offsets it against many other cities in the country.
And despite their lower income, residents continue to rank as one of the highest metro areas in charitable contributions per capita.
5. It Sits On Top Of An Actual Volcano
No, really. Jackson is the only capital city in the country that can say they have an actual volcano underneath them. The peak of the volcano is reported to be buried 2,900 feet underground, directly below the Mississippi Coliseum.
But fear not, the volcano is considered dead and hasn’t erupted in an estimated 75 million years. So chances are you’re pretty safe.
6. Fondren Is The Place To Be
Probably the hippest neighborhood in all of Jackson, Fondren is completely preserved and considered a local treasure. Scenes from the film “The Help” were filmed right here in Fondren, because little had to be done to recreate the vintage look. As all the signs throughout the neighborhood demand: “Stay funky, Fondren!”
7. Nothing Beats A Plate Of Southern Cooking
Heart & Soul Diner for their shrimp and grits, Rooster’s for the biscuits and gravy, deep fried bread and butter pickles at Parlor Market. The list goes on and on, and you don’t want to miss any of it. And if you’re doing the cooking yourself, always get your catfish from Simmons.
Once you’ve eaten in Jackson, you’ll never want to leave the South.
8. And Nothing Beats Good Old Southern Hospitality
Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau
Sure, it’s something you’ve probably heard of, but not every Southern town has cold hard facts to back up how nice the people are. Jackson was voted number 7 on the list of the top friendliest cities in the nation by CN Traveler. So you’re pretty much guaranteed to have great neighbors here.
9. You’ll Find Incredible Views Just About Everywhere
If the outdoors is your thing, you’re in luck. You can stroll through the Azalea Trail and stop by Oriental Island in Mynelle Gardens. Swing by the Jackson State University Botanical Garden to read a book among the. Or you can go for a long Sunday drive just outside of the city on the Natchez Trace for a winding, scenic view.
10. Jackson Means State Capital Business
There are some parts of Jackson that have to stay serious. The city has been the capitol of Mississippi since 1944, and the political bigwigs have it good with the gorgeous buildings like City Hall and the Governor’s mansion. All are historic and worth the trip, but if you only have time for one, don’t miss the Governor’s Mansion. Dating back to the pre-Civil war days, this landmark embodies the true soul of Jackson.
11. But Hasn’t Lost Its Small Town Feel
Just because Jackson is the capital and largest city in Mississippi, that doesn’t mean it always acts like it. Yes, Jackson has a thriving music and art scene and the nightlife is plentiful, but it’s also family-oriented and friendly for those looking for a slower way of life.
12. Jackson Helped Change Everything
Woolworth’s Sit In
Once upon a time segregation was in full effect in Mississippi, but not all of Jackson took it lying down. The infamous Woolworth’s sit-in of 1963 helped strengthen the nonviolence movement that ultimately led to desegregation. A new marker was unveiled in 2013 along the Mississippi Freedom Trail to pay respect to those who fought for a more progressive society.
13. Pick Up Produce As Fresh As The Music
When you’re looking to cook up a good old fashioned meal full of delicious Southern comfort, make sure you get your ingredients from the Mississippi Farmer’s Market in Jackson. This covered market beats the heat in the summer and offers the freshest fruit and veggies from local vendors who are more than happy to chat if you’re willing.
14. St. Patty’s Day Parade Might Fool You Into Thinking You’re At Mardi Gras
St. Paddy’s Day is huge in Jackson, with almost everyone on a mission to eat, drink, and be merry for the whole day. The day is marked by Hal & Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade, an event that is enjoyed by 80,000 wannabe leprechauns every year. Described as “green Mardi Gras,” participants make and ride on their own parade floats and exchange beads while, of course, chugging green beer.
15. Every Day Is A Sock Hop At Brent’s Drugs
You might think that Brent’s Drugs is nothing more than a movie set from “The Help,” but it’s very real. In 1946, Brent’s opened its doors as the local drug store and soda shop, and thanks to Jackson’s love of heritage it’s still thriving more than 65 years later. Lace up your saddle shoes, order yourself a Coke float and a hamburger, and find yourself in a scene fit for “Happy Days.”
16. … And Happy Hour Is A Throw Back
Get ready to celebrate Throwback Thursday in a whole new way at The Apothecary. At night, Brent’s restaurant closes, but the Apothecary in back is open for business. With creative and inventive drinks and a retro, speakeasy atmosphere, the Apothecary is easily the most unique place to grab a drink in Jackson. It could easily compete in major metro areas like NYC and Los Angeles.
17. Mississippi State Fair Is The Perfect Place For A Date
As almost any other event in Jackson, you can most definitely expect the Mississippi State Fair to be brimming with live music. But that’s just one reason to go. Ferris wheels and rides, games and prizes, funnel cake and cotton candy, petting zoos – this fair offers all the standard and beloved events that you find at any other.
But where else can you find Elvis impersonators, pageant queens, clowns on stilts, and a massive talent show? Only in Jackson.
18. It’s A Festivus For The Rest Of Us
The state fair isn’t the only party in town.There are endless festivals and events taking place throughout Jackson. Come out for a day of river dancing at the CelticFest, catch the independent movie buzz at the Crossroads Film Festival, or eat your way through the local cuisine at Taste of Mississippi.
Then there’s the Dixie National Rodeo to check out, the Farish Street Festival, Cultural Arts Festival, Latin Festival, Gumbo Festival, Harvest Festival, the Holiday Parade… Believe it or not, the list goes on.
19. You’ll Find A Splash Of Art Everywhere
Jackson might be best known for its music scene, but the city has much more to offer for anyone willing to look a little closer. From the Jackson Museum of Art, to the city’s frequent art shows, to the crazy street art that can be found all over, Jackson is full of creativity and color.
20. Not To Mention Some Serious Culture
Since 1979, Jackson has been home to the USA Ballet Competition which brings dancers from across the globe to compete in a two-week long Olympic-style competition. The Mississippi Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the state and showcases some extraordinary exhibits. Jackson also hosts the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the largest professional performing arts organization in the state.
21. You’ll Want To Buy Some Good Running Shoes
Athletes have their pick of the running litter in the city of Jackson. Serious runners can compete in the annual Mississippi Blues Marathon. If you’re running for fun, lace your shoes with jingle bells for the 12 K’s For the Holidays run among many others.
What do you love about living in Jackson? Let us know in the comments below.