20 Cities in Mississippi

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In the Deep South, the state of Mississippi is a historic and culturally diverse place in the United States, best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley and Blues music. Nicknamed the Magnolia State, the state was a major battleground during the American Civil War, with many towns and cities in Mississippi steeped in Civil War tales and early American history.

While the state is often overlooked in favour of Tennessee and Louisiana, the Magnolia State is filled with cities and idyllic coastal spots to discover, from Jackson and Biloxi to historic Port Gibson and Natchez. Here are the best cities in Mississippi to see. 

Cities in Mississippi

Top Tours

Jackson Puzzling Adventure
Jackson tops the list of cities in Mississippi to explore, both night and day.

20 Mississippi Cities To Visit

1- Jackson

buildings in Jackson during the day
For big city attractions in Mississippi, head to Jackson.

The largest city in Mississippi and the Magnolia State’s official capital, Jackson is Mississippi’s top city.

It is home to some of the best entertainment, shopping and dining destinations the Deep South has to offer. 

Established as an independent city in 1822 and named after former general and US president Andrew Jackson, Jackson was purposefully designed and handpicked as Mississippi’s capital due to its geographic centrality and proximity to the Natchez Trace.

Known for its bluegrass music scene and quintessential Southern hospitality, Jackson is a fascinating city with many attractions, including the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Mississippi State Capitol.

Recommended: Jackson Puzzling Adventure

2- Gulfport

Along the Gulf of Mexico’s shores in the south of the state, Gulfport is the second most-populated city in Mississippi, behind only Jackson.

Gulfport’s central location near cities such as Biloxi, New Orleans, Mobile, Hattiesburg and Pensacola makes it an ideal base to explore some of the South’s best beaches and seaside towns.

Gulfport’s official settlement dates back to the mid-1800s, however, it’s believed that several Native American tribes, including the Choctaw, inhabited modern-day Gulfport for several thousand years before the arrival of the French in the region during the 18th century.

Attractions include the Mississippi Aquarium, Gulf Islands Waterpark and Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. 

3- Southaven

In Mississippi’s DeSoto County and part of the Greater Memphis area, Southaven is the third-largest in Mississippi and a good place to stay when exploring the sights and attractions of downtown Memphis.

Southaven is among the largest suburbs of Greater Memphis and was only established as an independent city during the 1970s.

This growing city is home to Snowden Grove Park and Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home, is just across the Tennessee/Mississippi border, about five miles away. 

The famous mansion-turned-museum offers visitors a glimpse into the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s personal life, career and legacy.

4- Biloxi

beach and highrise in biloxi
For time on the beach, one of the top cities in Mississippi to visit is Biloxi.

Straddling the Gulf of Mexico’s shores and less than 13 miles (21 km) from downtown Gulfport, Biloxi is one of the best cities in Mississippi for seafood restaurants, maritime history and casinos.

Biloxi is the fourth-largest city in Mississippi, with more than 49,000 people it home.

It’s also among the oldest cities in Mississippi, with French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville first arriving in modern-day Biloxi in 1699.

Once known as the “Seafood Capital of the World”, Biloxi is bordered by the Mississippi Sound to the south and Biloxi Bay to the north, with some of the South’s best beaches situated within a stone’s throw from downtown Biloxi.

Mississippi’s entertainment capital has attractions such as the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum and Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. 

Recommended: Skip the Line: Beauvoir General Admission Ticket

5- Hattiesburg

Nicknamed the “Friendly City” and “Hub City”, Hattiesburg is a bustling college town that is home to a thriving live music and festival scene.

Hattiesburg’s biggest attraction is the University of Southern Mississippi’s sprawling campus in the city’s downtown district, home to museums and cultural institutions to explore.

Located just 74 miles (119 km) from Biloxi and the Gulf of Mexico, Hattiesburg is a popular city in Mississippi to explore, with attractions like the African American Military History Museum, M.M. Roberts Stadium and the Longleaf Trace.

6- Tupelo

The birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll legend, Elvis Presley, Tupelo is a charming mid-sized Mississippi city along the Natchez Trace Parkway in the Magnolia State’s northeast.

Tupelo began as a small settlement in the early 19th century following the passing of the Indian Removal Act and was the setting of a major battle between the Confederate forces and the Union troops during the American Civil War.

Tupelo is a must-visit city in Mississippi if you’re an Elvis or Rock ‘n’ Roll fan, with the Elvis Presley Birthplace, Tupelo Hardware Company and Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue all worth spending time. 

Tupelo Hardware Company still operates as a hardware store and was where Elvis Presley’s mother bought his first guitar in 1946.

It’s a pilgrimage site for Elvis fans and there’s a marked area on the floor where Elvis stood while purchasing that first guitar. 

Recommended: Elvis Presley Birthplace Park in Tupelo with Transport from Memphis

7- Natchez

An influential southern city during the Antebellum period (before the American Civil War), Natchez is among the oldest cities along the Mississippi River.

It is credited with being the birthplace of the Magnolia State, serving as the Mississippi Territory’s first capital city.

Natchez was settled in 1716 by French arrivals and was governed by the French, British and Spanish empires before being handed over to the United States during the Louisiana Purchase.

Attractions include the historic Stanton Hall, Natchez Trace Parkway and Natchez National Historical Park. 


8- Oxford

The charming city of Oxford in Mississippi’s northern region is the home of the University of Mississippi’s main campus, the state’s oldest and largest public university.

Mississippi’s Oxford is named after the English university town of Oxford and was settled following the purchase of the land surrounding the city from the Chickasaw people in 1837.

Oxford has no shortage of attractions, with the city’s Vaught Hemingway Stadium, the University of Mississippi Museum and the scenic Lamar Park all great places to explore. 

9- Vicksburg

canons at the vicksburg battle field at night
One of the cities in Mississippi to explore war history at is Vicksburg.

The compact city of Vicksburg sits atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

It is a historic destination in the Deep South that is the site of one of the American Civil War’s most important battles.

In 1863 General Ulysses S. Grant achieved a major victory for the Union Army over the Confederacy just outside modern-day Vicksburg by capturing the city from the Confederate Army, swinging the balance of the entire war in favour of the North.

While the days of Civil War gunshots are long gone, Vicksburg remains a popular destination among history buffs, with landmarks such as the Vicksburg National Military Park and Vicksburg Civil War Museum for visitors and Civil War historians to explore.

10- Meridian

One of Mississippi’s top 10 largest cities, Meridian is the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music”.

Meridian lies within 200 miles of New Orleans, Memphis, Jackson and Birmingham and was established mainly as a railway hub in 1860.

Surrounded by some of central Mississippi’s most visited outdoor attractions and steeped in historical and cultural significance, Meridian has something for everyone.

Stop by the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience (The MAX) or explore the scenic Bonita Lakes Park.

Each year, the Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival attracts musicians and fans nationwide.

11- Clinton

Clinton is a down-to-earth, mid-sized city situated just 14 miles (22 km) west of downtown Jackson, with a historic downtown district filled with boutiques and cosy cafes.

Clinton started growing in 1823 due to its strategic location near the junction of the Natchez Trace and Old Vicksburg Road, two busy trading routes during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Home to the state’s oldest college and second-oldest railroad, Clinton has a vibrant music and arts scene.

12- Canton

The small city of Canton in the Magnolia State’s central region is the birthplace of pioneer blues musician Elmore James.

The city is dubbed the “Movie Capital of Mississippi”, as it’s where the Mississippi Art Colony, the oldest continuous self-governing art colony in the United States as recognised by the Smithsonian Institute, got its star. 

Despite being small, Canton is still busy thanks to the city’s proximity to Jackson.

It lives up to its name of the “City of Lights,” as Canton’s historic town square is adorned with twinkling lights year-round, but especially during the holiday season.

The city is known for its well-preserved antebellum architecture, with numerous buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Canton is also a popular filming location and holds an annual Canton Christmas Festival, drawing visitors with its authentic portrayal of the city’s history.

13- Greenville

Host to the annual Mississippi Delta Blues Festival, the port city of Greenville on Mississippi’s western border is one of the historic cities in the Mississippi Delta region.

Greenville is a city on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which tells the story of the blues and its birth in the Mississippi Delta.

Greenville has several buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places in and around its compact downtown district.

The city’s places to discover include the Greenville Cypress Preserve, Winterville Mounds Museum and scenic Lake Ferguson. 

14- Laurel

In the heart of Mississippi’s Pine Belt, Laurel is as charming a city first settled following the arrival of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad in 1881.

Laurel’s vast yellow pine forests fuelled the city’s early growth as a lumber hub, earning the city the nickname of “The Yellow Pine Capital of the World” during the early 20th century.

While the lumber industry has all but disappeared in modern-day Laurel, the city now has a growing arts scene with the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Mississippi’s oldest art museum, as a key attraction. 

The city is the filming location of HGTV’s hit series “Home Town”, where hosts Erin and Ben Napier renovate historic homes and has placed Laurel on the map. 

15- Bay Saint Louis

Historic Ghost Cemetery Walking Pub Crawl Of Bay St. Louis

On the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 73 miles (117 km) northeast of New Orleans, the city of By Saint Louis is a popular vacation destination renowned for its historic downtown district and quintessential coastal charm.

Bay Saint Louis has a permanent population of just over 9,000 people, however, the city swells in size over the summer months when vacationers flock from all over Mississippi to enjoy seaside piers and top-notch eateries.

Ideal for exploring both southern Mississippi and the Big Easy across the Louisiana border, Bay Saint Louis’ attractions include the L & N Historic Train Depot and the Alice Moseley Folk Art Museum.


16- Ocean Springs

mississippi cities ocean springs bridge
Another city in Mississippi is Ocean Springs.

In southeast Mississippi’s Jackson County, Ocean Springs is a culturally rich city that hosts several festivals and art exhibitions throughout the year.

Sitting along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Springs is just a four-mile journey (6 km) from downtown Biloxi, providing access to all of Biloxi’s best attractions and beaches.

There’s more than enough to see, do and experience in Ocean Springs too, with the Walter Anderson Museum of Art and the annual Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival both excellent attractions worth visiting. 

17- Corinth

railway crossing in corinth
Corinth is a city in Mississippi with a railway heritage.

The city of Corinth near the Tennessee and Alabama state borders is steeped in American Civil War history.

This small city in the Deep South was the setting for two major battles between the Union and Confederate troops.

Corinth was first settled as “Cross City” in 1853 due to the city’s location at the junction between the Memphis & Charleston and Mobile & Ohio railroads, later renamed after the ancient Greek city of Corinth.

When it comes to places to visit and sights to behold, Corinth holds its own, with landmarks such as the Crossroads Museum and Corinth Contraband Camp both world-class institutions worth visiting. 

18- Clarksdale

Named after John Clark, the city’s founder, Clarksdale is credited with being the birthplace of blues music, with African-American musicians from Mississippi carrying the genre with them to northern cities such as Chicago and New York during the Great Migration.

The city has a modest population of roughly 14,000. 

It is just 88 miles (141 km) south of downtown Memphis, placing Clarksdale right in the heart of some of western Mississippi’s most popular attractions.

Places to explore include the Delta Blues Museum, Cutrer Mansion and the Hambone Art & Music Store.

19- New Albany

Once a bustling mill town founded in 1840, New Albany is a Mississippi city with specialty shops, independent boutiques and farmers’ markets.

The city is the birthplace of two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner and is home to the 44-mile long (70 km) Tanglefoot Trail, a popular attraction among hikers and cyclists.

There are several attractions to visit in and around New Albany, with the Union County Heritage Museum and the nearby Tombigbee Lake State Park being the most popular venues.

20- Port Gibson

With a population of just over 1,200 people, Port Gibson is not quite a city, however, this tiny Mississippi town is one of the oldest permanent settlements in the state and was a significant Civil War battleground.

Port Gibson is situated in southwest Mississippi and lies just 63 miles (101 km) outside downtown Jackson, and was first settled by the French in 1729.

Steeped in history, it’s a popular tourist destination despite its small size because of its attractions, such as the Windsor Ruins, Grand Gulf Military State Park and the scenic Sunken Trace. 

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Jessica Shaw is a storyteller who has lived in four U.S. states - Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois - and has visited many others. She loves history and nature and is a big fan of road tripping.