Rich culture, good food and quirky places are the key to a traveler’s heart.
Especially if that traveler is popular LA-based travel blogger Morgan Yates, who recently took a trip back to her southern roots (she was born and raised in North Carolina).
Morgan soaked in all of the cultural and culinary experiences she could during her three-day excursion to the City With Soul!
Did you follow her trip via her Instagram feed and two-part vlog? Read on below to learn more about some of the local hotspots Morgan visited during her trip to Jackson.
Day 1: Popsicles, Cocktails and Music – Oh, my!
Check-In at the Hilton Garden Inn
Nestled in downtown Jackson, convenience is key at the Hilton Garden Inn, where visitors can stroll to many attractions, businesses and historic sites. The hotel is brimming with history, built in 1923 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features top-of-the-line guest rooms with amenities to boot.
The hotel features the King Edward Grill, serving up authentic southern delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Looking to wet your whistle? The King Edward Bar slings cocktails to please any palette, while the on-site Seattle’s Best Coffee offers freshly brewed coffee throughout the day.
Cool down at Deep South Pops
House-made popsicles? Check. Full coffee bar? Check. Beer on tap? Double check! Pay a visit to Jackson’s Deep South Pops, local favorite and must-do for travelers looking to enjoy a refreshing treat on a hot Mississippi day. Try unique flavors like sweet tea, Arnold Palmer and grapefruit rosemary – or keep it simple with classic flavors like chocolate and cookies and cream.
Editor’s Note: Deep South Pops closed in November 2019
Travel back in time with a visit to The Apothecary
A must-see for visitors exploring the City with Soul, The Apothecary can be easily missed – mostly because it’s hidden in the back of colorful diner Brent’s Drugs! This vibrant speakeasy brings you back to the prohibition era, with cocktails called “prescriptions” and a variety of small plates as accompaniments.
Morgan enjoyed a custom rum-based cocktail thought up by one of the establishment’s talented mixologists, which she described as “kind of fruity, yet tame, and served in a tiki-looking glass.”
Get your groove on at the Iron Horse Grill
Perhaps the most iconic Jackson destination, the Iron Horse Grill, is all about showcasing the legacy and history of “the birthplace of America’s music – Mississippi.” A favorite among locals and visitors alike, this iconic establishment has all the makings of a fun evening in the City with Soul – tasty libations, an unbeatable food menu and roaring live music.
Bonus: The Iron Horse Grill features a museum surrounding the history of Mississippi’s music scene and icons like Elvis Presley and Britney Spears.
Day 2: Discovering Jackson’s Hidden Gems
Soak in some culture – Mississippi Museum of Art
A community-supported institution for over 100 years, the Mississippi Museum of Art gives visitors a look into historic Jackson’s past, present and future through photographs, pictures, paintings and more. In addition to its rotating exhibitions and hands-on activities, the cultural center also plays host to a variety of events, from live music to art therapy.
Hop on over to the museum’s events page to find out which events are happening during your visit.
Get cheesy with Bocca Pizzeria at The Cultivation Food Hall
No visit to Jackson is complete without making the pilgrimage to Cultivation Food Hall, Mississippi’s first food hall, which features top-tier culinary talent with a focus on local, chef inspired concepts.
One of our favorite vendors in this carefully curated collection is Bocca Pizzeria. Co-owner Patrik Lazzari hails from the heel of the famous Italian boot and it shows through the authenticity and delicious simplicity of Bocca’s pizzas.
Following a hearty meal of margherita pizza, roasted brussels sprouts and charcuterie, Morgan noted, “We had so many good eats here, the food was amazing. If you stop by this food hall, if you haven’t tried Boca Pizzeria definitely do.”
Satisfy your sweet tooth at La Brioche Patisserie
Between mouthwatering French macarons, specialty cakes that are (almost) too pretty to eat and a full espresso bar, La Brioche is a dessert lover’s heaven. Brought to you by the same owners as Bocca Pizzeria, La Brioche brings the culinary cultures of Europe to Jackson at its storefront in Fondren and makes visitors feel as if they’ve been transported into another time and place when they enter the decidedly French atmosphere.
Start MissisSIPPIN’ with a Cathead Distillery Tour & Tasting
Did you know that Mississippi was the last state to end prohibition in the 1960s? The oldest distillery in the state, Cathead Distillery, became Mississippi’s first distillery following the end of the booze ban. Today, locals and visitors alike can enjoy tours, tastings and events at Cathead throughout the year, and have the chance to sample the vodka, gin, bourbon and chicory liquor that are definitive of the distillery. Feeling adventurous? Try the pecan-flavored vodka.
Morgan made it a point to sample the full range of craft liquors, from bourbon to honeysuckle vodka to hoodoo. If Cathead Distillery is a must-see on your itinerary, be sure to check out its events calendar to see what community events will be taking place during your visit.
Sway to the tunes at Hal & Mal’s
Family-friendly dining meets modern live entertainment at Hal & Mal’s, a family-owned Jackson landmark and social hub known for its delicious eats (gumbo and po’boys, anyone?!) and lively musical performances. Grab a drink and a bite and experience some of the best local music the City with Soul has to offer.
In true Southern fashion, Morgan indulged in a fried chicken sandwich and was introduced to Comeback Sauce – a local delicacy in central Mississippi that is a must-try for anyone visiting the region.
Dance like no one’s watching at Underground 119
Laid-back and loaded with personality, downtown Jackson’s Underground 119 is home to some of Mississippi’s best blues. Boasting a killer food menu and yummy drinks, Underground 119 is complete with a state-of-the-art sound system and hosts some of Jackson’s top musical artists.
Morgan enjoyed a performance by Southern Komfort Brass Band, and noted, ““The band was so good, everyone was dancing, and it was a good time.”
Check out Underground 119’s events calendar to see which local artists will be gracing the stage during your visit.
Day 3: Crank Up the Culture
Brunchin’ at Babalu Tapas & Tacos
Located in Jackson’s historic Fondren neighborhood, Babalu sits in a renovated first-grade classroom in the Duling School and is known best for its upscale Latin-inspired cuisine. The weekend brunch, served only on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., is the true star of the restaurant’s food lineup.
Featuring mouthwatering dishes like Dulce De Leche French Toast and Chicken and Waffles, Babalu is sure to please even the pickiest eaters and provides a fun and energetic ambiance for guests.
A look into the past at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
You can’t visit Jackson without soaking in the storied history of the Civil Rights movement – and what better way to lean about Mississippi’s past, present and future than exploring the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum? The colorful and interactive museum makes its mission to tell the story of slavery and segregation in Mississippi and illustrate the state’s involvement in the civil rights era.
The museum is a must-see for visitors – whether you’re a seasoned history buff or simply curious to learn about Mississippi’s progression in more modern times. The museum also offers a variety of events – including free admission on the 3rd Saturday of every month.
Shop ‘til you drop at Highland Village
Established in 1972, Highland Village is the go-to shopping destination in Jackson. Home to well-known brands like lululemon, Kendra Scott and Vineyard Vines, the shopping center also features salons, workout studios, Insta-worthy restaurants and more.
Packed to the brim with Southern charm, local eats and wow-worthy shopping, Highland Village is a crucial addition to any traveler’s itinerary – especially those who have an eye for fashion.
Eat your heart out at BRAVO!
One of Morgan’s favorite food spots during her excursion to Jackson, BRAVO! is a local favorite for hearty Italian dishes, palate-pleasing wine and a relaxed approach to fine dining. You won’t find any white tablecloths, but you will find some of the best Italian cuisine outside of Italy itself.
Proudly serving the Jackson community since 1994, the team at BRAVO! makes it their mission to work with the finest ingredients to prepare dishes by hand using original recipes and time-honored processes.
Morgan says – “Dinner was so good. I literally felt like I needed to be rolled out of there. This city’s got some good eats.”
Day 4: Brunch and Goodbyes
Try today’s fresh catch at Saltine
To wrap up her weekend in Jackson, Morgan paid a visit to Saltine for some down-home Southern brunch. Between French toast with chicken tenders and chicken biscuits, there’s no better way to dive into the art of brunch in Mississippi.
Other than its mouthwatering brunch, Saltine features local seafood and oysters on the half shell as well as impressive craft cocktails sure to appease anyone with a taste for definitive Southern cuisine.
Excited to get a jumpstart on your itinerary for your visit to Jackson? Be sure to leave your questions for Morgan in the comments below and use the hashtag #FollowMeToJackson and look for your photos on the homepage. Take a look at some of the other itineraries in Jackson, here.