20 Things To Do In Laurel, MS

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Oozing charm and culture, the city of Laurel is a pretty special place for fans of the hit HGTV series “Home Town”. Located in Mississippi’s southeast region, the small Southern city is home to the one of the largest and most intact historic districts in Mississippi, a flourishing arts scene and a series of murals inspired by the town’s TV fame. From quirky antique stores selling vintage knickknacks to a recreated 19th-century town where visitors are teleported back in time to rural Mississippi during the late 1800s, this small slice of the Deep South is as charming a town as you’ll ever find in colourful Mississippi. Here are the top things to do in Laurel.

Laurel, Mississippi

20 Things To Do In Laurel

laurel mississippi
Things to do in Laurel, Mississippi.

1- Explore The Charm Of The Laurel Central Historic District

Featuring a combined 369 governmental, residential, commercial and public buildings and spaces, the Laurel Central Historic District is the literal beating heart of Laurel where visitors can interact with locals and stop by the city’s historic landmarks and retail stores.

The Laurel Central Historic District dates back to the turn of the 20th century and is recognised as being home to the finest, largest and most intact examples of early 1900s architecture in all of Mississippi.

Garnering worldwide fame and notoriety thanks to its regular featuring in HGTV’s “Home Town”, the city’s central historic district is best explored on foot, taking in all of downtown Laurel’s sights, sounds and flavours.

2- Tour The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Established way back in 1923, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is truly unrivalled elsewhere in Laurel, boasting one of the most extensive and comprehensive collections of visual art in Mississippi.

Named in honour of the lone son and grandson of Laurel’s founders, the museum is the oldest art museum in the Magnolia State and features intricate design elements such as hand-wrought ironwork, golden oak-panelled interior walls, cork floors and a hand-plastered ceiling.


Among the Lauren Rogers Art Museum’s thousands of art pieces are works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet and Albert Bierstadt, as well as curated exhibits on American Art, British Georgian Silver, Japanese Woodblock Prints and Native American Art.

3- Take A Stroll Along Laurel’s Main Street

Cutting right through the Laurel Central Historic District, Laurel’s Main Street is the bustling commercial heartbeat of the city which has been developed and preserved to promote interaction between the city’s residents and economic growth in Laurel’s downtown.

Laurel’s Main Street has been featured prominently on HGTV’s “Home Town” and boasts a series of restored buildings and artsy murals, portraying the very best that Laurel has to offer intrepid travellers and urban explorers.

Managed as a non-profit organisation, Laurel Main Street offers a glimmer of hope for other Mississippi towns and cities seeking to revitalise their downtown districts, with the non-profit responsible for breathing new life into Laurel’s historic city centre.

Laurel Main Street is at 409 W Oak St, Laurel, MS 39440.

4- Stop By The Veterans Memorial Museum

Boasting a collection of several thousand military memorabilia and artefacts, the Veterans Memorial Museum is the best place in Laurel to learn more about the sacrifices and heroic deeds of the men and women of US Military branches past and present.

The 6,000-square-foot (557 m2) museum was officially opened to the public back in 1996 and is home to an on-site library that’s complete with books, newspaper excerpts, periodicals and documentaries for avid war historians to scour through.

The Veterans Memorial Museum is at 920 Hillcrest Dr, Laurel, MS 39440.

5- Pop By Laurel Mercantile Co.

If you’ve ever heard about or seen images of Laurel Mercantile Co., chances are you’re probably a fan of HGTV’s “Home Town”, a popular reality TV series in which locals Ben and Erin Napier makeover Laurel’s dilapidated houses and commercial buildings into charming homes and thriving businesses.

Laurel Mercantile plays a key role in the TV series, as it is owned by the Napiers and regularly features in “Home Town” episodes when the pair are on the hunt for a particular item or antique furniture piece to tie a room or living space together.

More than simply a famous filming location, Laurel Mercantile Co. is a fully functional retail outlet where artsy folk can snap up one-of-a-kind décor pieces or chat with the shop’s famous owners when they’re on site.

Laurel Mercantile Co. is at 414 Front St, Laurel, MS 39440.

6- Take A Trip Back In Time At Landrum’s Homestead & Village

A popular destination for weddings, Landrum’s Homestead & Village is a scenic 30-acre (12 ha) plot of land roughly 5 miles (8 km) outside central Laurel where visitors are treated to a unique glimpse of life in Mississippi during the 1800s.

The venue features a recreated 19th-century village complete with about 80 buildings and structures designed to evoke an image of a typical rural Mississippi town stuck in time that’s backdropped by beautiful verdant pecan trees and meandering streams.

Landrum’s Homestead & Village is at 1356 MS-15, Laurel, MS 39443.

7- Swing By The Laurel Arts League’s Day In The Park

The biggest annual event organised by the Laurel Arts League, Day in the Park is a popular community gathering which brings hundreds of locals together for a celebration of arts and crafts.

Kicked off with a casual 5K race, the Day in the Park festival typically takes place on the first Saturday in May inside Laurel’s Mason Memorial Park and combines live music with delicious culinary options and engaging activities for visitors of all ages.

8- Stop By The Famous Scotsman General Store And Woodshop

Scotsman General Store and Woodshop is yet another Laurel landmark which needs no introduction among “Home Town” viewers, serving as the woodworking shop where the Napiers craft hand-made furnishings and décor pieces if they can’t find exactly what they’re looking for in an antique store.

Nestled in downtown Laurel, the store and woodshop have been an intricate part of the HGTV series since the TV show’s first season and boasts a unique style that’s reminiscent of old-school general stores.

Much more than simply a filming location, the venue is a great place to pick up cool merchandise and gifts for fans of the show and see where Ben Napier works his woodworking magic behind the scenes.

Scotsman General Store and Woodshop is at 1 Spec Wilson, Laurel, MS 39440.

9- Go Thrift Shopping At Peddlers’ Junktion

For bargain hunters and antique shoppers eager to go on a shopping spree in downtown Laurel, there aren’t many venues better to stop by than Peddlers’ Junktion, a multi-vendor market which draws vendors and visitors from far and wide.

The market boasts an amalgamation of more than 50 individual vendors selling everything from fashion pieces to antique furniture, most of which are hard-to-find or unique items made by hand in and around Mississippi.

Inside the Laurel Central Historic District, Peddlers’ Junktion treats shoppers to more than 40,000 square feet (3,716 m2) of total retail space and is perfect for staying up to date with recent style trends or snapping up vintage items.

Peddlers’ Junktion is at 604 Carroll Gartin Blvd, Laurel, MS 39440.

10- Go Picnic In Gardiner Park

Near the heart of downtown Laurel just a few steps away from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Gardiner Park is a popular outdoor recreational space in the city that’s as storied as it is fun to visit on a sunny afternoon.

Among an elite list of public parks scattered around the United States that were designed by Frederick Olmsted, the mastermind behind New York City’s famous Central Park, Gardiner Park boasts all your typical park amenities for a fun day out and about, as well as a unique relationship with one of the most recognisable parks in the world.

Covering a total area of about 9 acres (4 ha), the park features a dedicated walking track, picnic spots, play areas and a large open green space that’s suitable for all sorts of outdoor activities.

11- Explore The Vintage Wares Of Southern Antiques

Yet another bustling antique outlet in downtown Laurel, Southern Antiques is a popular spot in town for picking up unique décor pieces and statement vintage items without necessarily breaking the bank.

Selling everything from quirky furniture pieces and gifts made by regional artists to bridal and baby products, the store caters to a fairly broad audience as opposed to similar antique shops based elsewhere in Laurel.

Southern Antiques is at 317 Central Ave, Laurel, MS 39440.

12- Stop By Mason Memorial Park

Arguably the largest of all Laurel public urban parks, the 25-acre (10 ha) Mason Memorial Park comes complete with all your typical park amenities, with the added twist of some impressive picturesque views of unspoilt Mississippi nature.

Not to be confused with the Biddy Mason Memorial Park on the West Coast in Los Angeles, Laurel’s memorial park famously hosts the annual festivities of the Laurel Arts League’s Day in the Park event during the first weekend in May.

In addition to hosting the annual get-together, Mason Memorial Park is known to dazzle visitors with its festive light displays which usually pop up throughout the park in time for the December holidays.

13- Go Fishing At Lake Bogue Homa

For those seeking an outdoor experience that’s less crowded and less urbanised than central Laurel’s urban parks, be sure to head out roughly 7 miles (11 km) east of downtown Laurel to Lake Bogue Homa, Mississippi’s largest state fishing lake.

The lake covers a total surface area of more than 882 acres (357 ha) and loosely translates to ‘Red Swamp’ in the native Choctaw language, with the man-made lake serving as a vital tributary for the Pascagoula River.

14- See Local Acts On Stage At The Laurel Little Theatre

Housed inside downtown Laurel’s former Arabian Theatre following its closure back in 1977, the Laurel Little Theatre is among the best venues in town for enjoying high-quality theatre productions and musicals.

The theatre markets itself as a low-key and easy-going venue, encouraging local thespians to take to the stage and hone their craft by entertaining lovers of theatre in its purest form.

Considered more artistically daring than other major theatres, the Laurel Little Theatre is a great spot to stop by if you’re keen on scouting up-and-coming performers or just curious about Laurel’s rich performing arts scene.

The Laurel Little Theatre is at 408 N 5th Ave, Laurel, MS 39440.

15- Explore Downtown Laurel’s Murals

One of the biggest tourist attractions in downtown Laurel is the city’s many public street art murals, designed and painted by artists from across Laurel to promote the city’s rich artistic roots.

A symbol of Laurel’s much-lauded economic and cultural ‘comeback’, these colourful murals are awesome backdrops for snapping photos of your Mississippi adventures and can be found on several buildings and structures that are important to Laurel and its people.

While the murals along Central Avenue and North 6th Avenue are among the most popular to check out in Laurel, there are many more interesting murals and street art to experience all across the city, making it a fun and relaxing way of exploring Laurel’s less travelled side.

16- Plan A Visit To The Deason House

In the nearby city of Ellisville some 7 miles (11 km) outside downtown Laurel, the Deason House is an important historical landmark in the Magnolia State, dating back to the 1840s.

The residence is recognised as the oldest house in Jones County and was infamously the site where Major Amos McLemore, a Confederate officer during the American Civil War, was murdered in 1863 by Newt Knight and his band of Confederate deserters.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is rumoured to be haunted and is open to the public for private tours and ghost hunts.

The Deason House is at 410 Anderson St, Ellisville MS 39437.

17- Be Treated To Comfort Food At Pearl’s Diner

No other dining spot is as popular or as synonymous with Laurel as Pearl’s Diner, the city’s go-to space for digging into a hearty serving of Southern comfort food.

Serving up Deep South staples such as French onion soup, gravy-covered fried chicken and smoked turkey paired with collard greens, Pearl’s Diner is guaranteed to delight the taste buds of gastronomes eager to sample the signature flavours of Laurel.

Pearl’s Diner is at 330 N Magnolia St, Laurel, MS 39440.

18- Experience A Bolton Home Town Tour

For the ultimate “Home Town” fan experience, be sure to experience a Bolton Home Town Tour, which takes visitors on guided tours of the original Home Town filming locations featured on the hit HGTV series.

The tour whisks passengers aboard a tour cart past several famous filming locations, homes and downtown businesses which were remodelled or redecorated by Ben and Erin Napier throughout the TV series.

Stopping by some of Laurel’s most iconic murals and downtown landmarks, the tour is not only a great experience for those interested in a behind-the-scenes “Home Town” tour but also just an easy and effective way of exploring the city as a whole.

19- Play Pickleball At Daphne Park

For urban explorers seeking a quick break from the city, be sure to head to Daphne Park, the popular outdoor recreational space that’s situated just a mile (1.6 km) outside downtown Laurel.

The park’s greenery and open spaces come alive with the various community gatherings and seasonal events which take place in Daphne Park throughout the year, however, the park’s biggest draw remains its pickleball amenities, with 5 dedicated pickleball courts on offer in Daphne Park that can be used by both amateur and seasoned pickleballers.

20- Sample The Brews Of Lee’s Coffee And Tea

eating tea and cake is one of the things to do in laurel
Looking for things to do in Laurel Ms?

Part cosy café hangout and part live entertainment space, Lee’s Coffee & Tea is the perfect place in Laurel to mingle with locals or enjoy performances by artists and storytellers who regularly pop on by the café during Open Mic Night.

Lee’s Coffee & Tea sells a variety of brews and tasty baked goods, which patrons can enjoy in peace and style thanks to the café’s signature high tin ceilings, exposed pipes and touches of wood.

Lee’s Coffee & Tea is at 409 W Oak St Suite 102, Laurel, MS 39440.

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Jessica Shaw
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.