Labor Day Weekend in the City With Soul
On a day that honors the hard work of those who keep the wheels of America turning, the City With Soul says, you deserve a break!
Why not spend a bit of free time in a city brimming with history, public art, family fun and – to no one’s surprise – some of the best culinary delights you’ll ever put in your mouth.
Here are suggestions for where to eat, stay and play this Labor Day weekend in Jackson, Mississippi. Take it a day at a time, or plan for the whole experience!
Choices abound for your first day’s most important meal. If you are getting in late – or prefer to sleep in – let’s call it brunch.
LeFleur Museum District
The LeFleur Museum District in LeFleur East is home to four of our city’s state-of-the-art museums, perfect for a family adventure. You could spend the entire weekend here. And with kids, you just might!
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum explores the state’s rich sports history.
Step back in time and discover our rich agricultural legacy at the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum.
Let your imagination run wild at the Mississippi Children’s Museum, where children of all ages learn that education can be fun.
Mississippi’s natural landscape and its inhabitants are on full display at the Mississippi Natural Science Museum.
Fire and food come together at Aplos at Highland Village, a modern Mediterranean eatery where the kitchen revolves around an Italian pizza oven and a rotisserie where meats cook slowly to lock in flavors. The menu features salads, wraps and rice bowls made using shawarma-style chicken or beef, souvlaki pork or lamb or falafel for a vegetarian option, and, of course, pizzas.
Also for lunch at Highland Village: Beagle Bagel | Tuk Tuk Boom
Eudora Welty House & Garden
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty is the darling daughter of Jackson’s literary scene. The Eudora Welty House in Jackson’s Belhaven neighborhood, noted as the most-intact literary home in the country, is interpreted to 1986 when Eudora was still actively writing. She lived here for 76 years – until she died in 2001. Tours are available at 1 and 3 pm, but due to COVID-19 limitations, only four people are allowed at once. The garden is open during daytime hours and free.
Welty Self-Guided Driving Tour
More Welty, you say? Experience the writer’s version of Jackson with a self-driving tour, from her childhood home to where she was laid to rest. Stops in between include her favorite grocery, the state capitol (where she would roller skate – inside!), and a city park featured in one of her short stories. We have the entire tour (and a Google Map) linked here.
Head to the Fondren neighborhood for dinner at The Pig & Pint. This shack-style picnic-table-appointed downhome pork joint puts smiles on faces with its famous Fondren fries before the BBQ even begins. Throw in brisket nachos, smoked wings, pork/chicken/brisket sandwich, and some favorite Southern sides for the full experience. The craft beer selection is stellar, too.
Nightcap: Spirits & Brews in JXN
Revered as “Fondren’s original neighborhood soda fountain since 1946,” Brent’s Drugs has expanded its offerings to include more than just sodas and shakes. You can still order those treats, but don’t miss out on the rest of the classic diner cuisine: pancakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy and breakfast tacos are all the menu. Sleep in: Brent’s opens at 10 am.
The Two Mississippi Museums
In the shared space that is the Two Museums, deep time and more recent moments combine at the Museum of Mississippi History. Spanning thousands of years, museum exhibits include Native American artifacts from 13,000 BC and slave shackles and a functioning, automated cotton gin.
It is recommended you make your way through this museum before heading across the grand foyer to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. This state-of-the-art space features eight distinct galleries and interactive exhibits that invite visitors of all ages to learn with both body and mind, as the stories of those lost to time come alive again.
So that you can maximize your time at the Two Museums (open 11 am – 5 pm and free on Sundays), stay on campus for “eclectic Southern cuisine” from Chef Nick Wallace at the Nissan Café. The menu includes Mississippi Gumbo, Southern-style ramen and brisket wraps from one of the Jackson culinary scene’s favorite sons, a Food Network star and community philanthropist.
Explore the Creative Side of the City
The City With Soul is home to an abundance of public art, showcasing the creative community that calls Jackson home. There’s creative inspiration around every corner, from Shon Perryman’s “JXN Icons” across from the Two Mississippi Museums to Downtown Jackson’s vibrant traffic signal boxes to Midtown, Fondren and beyond. Check out our public art map to find murals, sculptures, and other public art (and the best Instagram-worthy photo ops!) at bit.ly/jxnpublicart.
While you’re feeling inspired, see the Mississippi Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art downtown, open Noon – 5 pm. The exhibition is a survey of recent works created by 42 contemporary visual artists living and working in the state. The Museum’s Art Garden will be open, too, with a chance for reflection or running off some steam over a game of catch.
Johnny T’s occupies a beloved spot on historic Farish St., the former home of the iconic Crystal Palace which was the hub of entertainment in the middle of the 20th century. Murals of some of the entertainers who performed there like Lena Horne, Muddy Waters and Redd Foxx show up in murals that decorate the interior and exterior of this stylish cafe. The bar offers premium spirits, and the food menu takes inspiration from classic Southern dishes with a real focus on seafood. A hip lounge upstairs showcases diverse musical acts in a classy showroom with floor-to-ceiling mirrors to make it easier to see and be seen.
A family-owned pie shop located in a cozy restored Craftsman-style bungalow, Urban Foxes in Belhaven Heights, features daily flavors for pies, cookies, and scones alongside every kind of coffee imaginable (plus kombucha and even beer). The homey feel makes it a perfect place to idle, whether for work or play (don’t feel the temptation to pull out a laptop. Not Labor Day weekend anyway).
An urban oasis in our backyard, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in LeFleur East “sits at the crux of present and past; of urban development and beckoning wild.” In the park’s 305 picturesque acres of trails, forest, lakes, museums, and fairways, LeFleur’s Bluff is “a cloistered refuge from the chaos of modern existence.” While away your morning by the lake or, choose a more adventurous path: a trail system, around a mile in length each direction, takes you out and back with scenic views of the Pearl River along the way.
Are you feeling even more adventurous? Explore one of the oxbow lakes that surround the Pearl River with Capital City Kayak Adventures. The company offers guided water tours and fun on the water for beginners to the most advanced paddlers. The average excursion is an hour and a half to two hours. It’s $30 a person, and everything you need is included, but you must make reservations days in advance.
WHERE TO STAY
For an all-suite experience in the heart of the Fondren District, the new Homewood Suites Jackson Fondren Medical District features spacious and well-appointed rooms, an indoor pool and free parking.
Downtown, The Westin Jackson is a stellar place to lay your head. With a Mississippi music theme (you can even borrow a guitar to strum in your room), room service and an on-site spa, find The Westin steps from the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Looking for a bed & breakfast? The Fairview Inn in Belhaven is housed in a historic mansion that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests enjoy a special access pantry with snacks, and on-site spa and masseuse and a complimentary southern breakfast.
Closer to Downtown, find The Old Capitol Inn, the 1952-built former YWCA, offering a rooftop bar, complimentary gated parking and a southern breakfast, not to mention beautifully appointed rooms and suites.