The Vibrant Culture of Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi is the capital and most populous city of the state of Mississippi. Located along the Pearl River, Jackson has a rich history and culture that makes it a unique Southern destination. Here is an in-depth look at the culture of Jackson, MS.

Music Scene

Music is deeply ingrained in Jackson’s identity. As home to the “birthplace of America’s music”—the blues—Jackson has been instrumental in shaping the history of blues, gospel, jazz, and rock and roll.


As the Delta blues emerged in the early 20th century, Jackson served as a hub where rural bluesmen could come to perform and record.

Legendary blues musicians like Robert Johnson, Son House, and Willie Dixon all spent time in Jackson. Key locations like Farish Street Historic District fostered a thriving blues culture.

Today, Jackson pays homage to its blues heritage through museums like the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. Annual events like the Jackson Blues & Heritage Festival draw devoted blues fans from around the world.


Jackson has also made major contributions to gospel music. It was home to pioneering gospel artists like the Jackson Southernaires, whose distinctive quartet harmonies influenced gospel groups for generations.

The best place to experience Jackson’s gospel heritage is at a service at one of its many African American churches. Congregations here carry on the ecstatic worship traditions that infused the early gospel sound.

Other Genres

Beyond blues and gospel, Jackson has made its mark on jazz, rock, hip hop, and other genres. Notable musicians who got their start in Jackson include jazz trumpeter David “Fathead” Newman and avant-garde saxophonist David Murray.

More recently, rappers like Big K.R.I.T. have risen out of Jackson’s hip hop scene. The city now hosts an annual Mississippi Hip Hop Day to celebrate homegrown talent.

No matter the genre, Jackson continues to foster a music culture that respects tradition while pushing boundaries. Live music venues and record stores around town provide platforms for both local artists and touring acts.

Literature Scene

Jackson has been home to a number of influential writers, especially during the Civil Rights Movement. The city’s unique Southern history has inspired works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Margaret Walker

One of the most famous writers to emerge from Jackson was Margaret Walker, an African American poet and novelist associated with the Chicago Black Renaissance.

Her best known work, the novel Jubilee (1966), tells the dramatic story of a biracial slave girl striving for freedom prior to and during the Civil War.

Walker drew inspiration from her own family history and experiences growing up in Mississippi. She later founded the Institute for the Study of History, Life, and Culture of Black People at Jackson State University.

Eudora Welty

Jackson was also home to distinguished white Southern author Eudora Welty. While Walker exposed racial injustice, Welty captured the complexities of white Southern life in her lyrical short stories.

Works like The Optimist’s Daughter (1972) examined shifting generational dynamics in Mississippi during the 20th century.

Today, visitors can tour Welty’s former Jackson residence, now a museum containing her manuscripts and photographs. The city also hosts the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium to promote emerging local writers.

Other Writers

Jackson writers like playwright Tom Dent, novelist Ellen Douglas, and the late poet Margaret Walker Alexander have all explored issues of race, gender, and Southern identity.

The University of Mississippi Press in Jackson continues to publish works by Mississippi authors that provide insight into the area’s unique culture.

Bookstores like Lemuria Books and literary events like the Mississippi Book Festival nurture Jackson’s contemporary writing community. For anyone interested in Southern literature, Jackson offers a wealth of inspiration.

Food Scene

Jackson’s culinary scene reflects the city’s diverse cultural influences. From hearty Southern comfort food to international flavors, Jackson has plenty of mouthwatering options.

Southern Soul Food

Like any true Southern city, Jackson loves its soul food. Locals flock to no-frills spots like Bully’s Restaurant for crispy fried chicken, fall-off-the-bone ribs, thick catfish fillets, and all the fixings.

Homestyle favorites like fried okra, black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread are abundant. Sweet potato pie and other decadent desserts provide the perfect finale.

For a taste of Jackson soul food history, stop by Big Apple Inn. This historic hot spot serves their trademark pig ear sandwiches doused in Comeback Sauce—a zesty house dressing locals swear by.


BBQ is also huge in Jackson. Traditional Southern barbecue joints slow smoke juicy pulled pork, brisket, and homemade sausage served with a range of sauces.

Local favorites include Pig & Pint and The Pig Shack. Newer spots like Fine & Dandy put creative twists on BBQ by adding global flavors.

Throughout the summer, Jacksonians flock to festivals like RibbonFest and the Mississippi State Championship BBQ Showdown to sample competition-worthy BBQ. The smoky aroma of grills and smokers fills the air.

International Influences

In recent years, Jackson has experienced an influx of immigrants and refugees from Asia, Latin America, and Africa. This has led to culinary diversity you don’t typically find in the Deep South.

Authentic Mexican restaurants like Tacos La Villa serve sizzling fajitas and huge burritos. Asian options range from pho noodle shops to sushi bars. hole-in-the-wall spots such as Babylon Market sell Iraqi kafta sandwiches and kebabs.

Global flavors reflect Jackson’s changing population and enrich the food scene. From Ethiopian to Brazilian to Salvadoran, just about every type of cuisine has now made its way to Jackson.

Arts and Culture

When it comes to the arts, Jackson offers Southern charm combined with contemporary creativity. Music, visual arts, festivals, and historic sites give visitors a taste of Jackson culture.

Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience

This interactive museum spotlights arts and entertainment pioneers from Mississippi. Permanent exhibits profile creative legends like Morgan Freeman, Sela Ward, and Jimmy Buffett using engaging videos and memorabilia.

Temporary exhibits cover topics like Mississippi’s rock n’ roll heritage. Fun hands-on stations let visitors try activities like songwriting.

Mississippi Museum of Art

Located downtown, this world-class art museum houses an impressive permanent collection. See elaborate stained glass creations by Jackson native Walter Anderson plus paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works.

Don’t miss the museum’s milestone Mississippi Women Artists invitational exhibit celebrating centuries of female artistic talent.

F. Jones Corner

For a uniquely Jackson experience, check out F. Jones Corner. It’s one of the city’s last remaining original “juke joints” – historic blues clubs hosting live music and more.

Sip a cold beer while listening to sultry blues numbers inside this storied venue. Check concert listings to see who’s playing.

Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center

Gain insight into African American life by touring this museum located at Jackson’s first public school for black students.

Historic photos, artifacts, and exhibits illustrate topics like civil rights, education, and family traditions. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring collage mural Journey of Faith.


Jacksonians love their festivals. The city offers several annual cultural celebrations:

  • Mississippi State Fair – Since 1856, the fair has brought livestock shows, carnival rides, fried food, and big name concerts each October.
  • Bright Lights Belhaven Nights – A neighborhood street festival with live entertainment, arts & crafts, and food vendors.
  • Mississippi Craft Beer Festival – A celebration of the state’s booming craft beer industry. Sample local brews while listening to musicians perform.
  • CelticFest Mississippi – Celtic music, dancing, food, and more in honor of the state’s Irish heritage. Sláinte!

Historic Sites

As the capital, Jackson contains numerous historical and cultural sites that offer insight into the region’s past:

  • Jackson Zoo – Open since 1919, it’s home to over 200 exotic animals. Unique exhibits highlight Mississippi wildlife.
  • Eudora Welty House – See where the Pulitzer Prize-winning author lived and found inspiration. Tour the historic house and gardens.
  • Smith Robertson Museum – Housed in Jackson’s first school for African-American students, it chronicles black history and culture.
  • Governor’s Mansion – Take a guided tour of the stately post-Colonial style mansion that has served as home to Mississippi governors and their families.
  • Old Capitol Museum – Located downtown in a stunning 1839 Greek Revival structure that was Mississippi’s state capitol. Period rooms and exhibits trace state history.

Whether you admire artistic murals, boogie at a music festival, or explore a historic site, Jackson offers cultural attractions for all interests. The city seamlessly blends past traditions with new creative energy.

Entertainment and Nightlife

When the sun goes down in Jackson, several entertainment options light up the night. From live music venues to local breweries to casinos.

Live Music Venues

Jacksonians love their local music. For live tunes, check out spots like:

  • Hal & Mal’s – Jackson’s most famous blues club. Listen to skilled musicians while munching cheeseburgers and fried pickles.
  • Martin’s – High-energy regional bands and solo artists perform everything from honkytonk to rockabilly. The drink menu is extensive.
  • Underground 119 – Intimate underground venue hosting hip hop shows and edgy rock bands. Vibe with Jackson’s indie crowd.
  • Thalia Mara Hall – Historic performance hall featuring major touring acts across genres along with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.

Craft Breweries

Mississippi’s craft beer scene has exploded in recent years. Jackson now boasts several breweries offering tasty brews:

  • Lazy Magnolia – One of the first craft breweries in the state. Try Southern staples like Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale.
  • Fondren Public – Friendly taproom in the lively Fondren neighborhood. Expect experimental and traditional styles.
  • Jackson Beer Company – Nanobrewery focusing on diverse small batch brews. Outdoor beer garden with food trucks.

Many also serve up live music, trivia nights, and food pop-ups to complement the suds.


Jackson is home to several lively casinos:

  • Harrah’s Gulf Coast – Massive casino with table games, slots, poker, hotel, spa, and multiple bars and restaurants. Big name musical acts perform onsite.
  • Riverwalk Casino – Land-based casino in Vicksburg with gaming, dining, and entertainment. Hop on a shuttle bus from Jackson.
  • Golden Moon Casino – Part of the Choctaw gaming empire. High stakes table games attract serious gamblers.

Try your luck at slots and table games or enjoy dinner shows, live music, and more at Jackson casinos.

Other Entertainment

Beyond the usual nightlife spots, Jackson also offers:

  • Comedy shows – Laugh it up at the Comedy Zone inside the Westin Hotel or attend open mic nights around town.
  • Movies – Catch Hollywood hits at the modern Grandview Cinema. For indie films opt for Hal’s St. Paddy’s Film Festival.
  • Theater – New Stage Theatre puts on provocative contemporary plays and edgy musicals.
  • Cultural events – Choose from ballet performances, museum talks, author readings, and more.

The variety ensures visitors always have plenty to keep them entertained once the sun sets in Jackson.

Local Customs and Values

Like any Southern city, Jackson has unique local customs, dialect, values, and mannerisms. Here are just a few traits that define Jackson culture:


The local Mississippi dialect stands out from other regions. Listen for the elongated Southern drawl, creative colloquialisms, and colorful idioms.

Locals might “hoot with somebody” (gossip), engage in “visiting” (talking), or describe the weather as “muggy as cheesecake.” Mastering the lingo helps you blend in with Jacksonians.


Welcoming hospitality governs all social interactions in Jackson. Locals are eager to provide directions or make recommendations to visitors.

Striking up friendly conversations in public places like coffee shops or grocery stores is customary. And expect to be called “honey” or “sugar” by waiters and cashiers.

“Yes Ma’am/Sir”

Using “ma’am” and “sir” shows respect, especially when speaking to elders. Jacksonians still use these honorifics regularly. Make sure to respond in kind if a local calls you ma’am or sir.


Faith plays a central role for most Jackson residents. Locals openly discuss their church involvement and volunteer service. Do not be surprised to hear “Have a blessed day” from clerks or strangers on the street. Respecting others’ religious views is paramount.


Locals take the food scene very seriously. Know your barbecue genres and always dress fried catfish in hot sauce.

Be prepared to discuss Comeback sauce ingredients and best soul food sides. And yes, every resident has an opinion on the eternal chicken on a stick vs. pig ear sandwich debate.


Jacksonians are proud of their city and state. Expect to hear boasts about the best blues musicians, literary greats, and college football teams hailing from Mississippi. Locals are eager to highlight what makes their home special.

By adopting local sensibilities like strong faith, warm hospitality, and passion for Southern food, you are sure to have an authentic cultural experience in Jackson. Visitors who take the time to observe local way of life tend to appreciate the city most.

Final Thoughts

Whether exploring the blues heritage along Farish Street, admiring masterpieces at the Mississippi Museum of Art, or bonding over brews at a neighborhood bottle shop, Jackson offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in authentic Southern culture.

Music, literature, culinary traditions, and hospitable people come together to make Jackson a distinctive destination. The city seamlessly balances preserving historic identity with cultivating new creative ventures.

Spend some time experiencing Jackson’s rich culture first-hand. You are sure to be charmed by the capital city and understand why locals are so proud to call it home.

Check Our Blogs

No posts


Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Contact Us.

Get Solutions For All Fencing Services

Every day from

9:00 — 5:00

Call to ask any question

+1 (601) 882-0640


  • Start out heading southeast on I-55 S toward Jackson. Take exit 98B toward MS-18/Adams St/US-51. Keep left to stay on Exit 98B and merge onto US-51 S/Adams St. Turn right onto Northview Dr. The destination will be on your right. Your route is 6.6 miles total.
  • Begin on East County Line Road heading south. Turn right to merge onto I-20 West toward Jackson. Take exit 50A towards I-55 South/Brookhaven. Merge onto I-55 South and travel for around 4 miles. Take exit 98B for US-51 S/Adams St and keep left to continue on exit 98B. Merge onto US-51 S/Adams St and go for 1.5 miles. Make a right onto Northview Dr and your destination will be on the right just past Kilburn Ave. You will travel 11 miles total.
  • Start out on State St in downtown Jackson heading north. Turn right onto Pearl St and continue for half a mile. Take the ramp onto I-55 North. Drive for around 2 miles then take exit 100 for Briarwood Dr toward US 51/Northside Dr. Turn left onto Briarwood Dr then quickly turn right onto Northside Dr. After a third of a mile, turn left onto Northview Dr. 3829 Northview Dr will be on your right after passing Kilburn Ave. Your total travel distance is approximately 5 miles.