20 Things To Do In Tupelo MS

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Tupelo is a vibrant Mississippi city in the Magnolia State’s northeast corner famous for being the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll icon Elvis Presley. The city sits just 116 miles (187 km) from downtown Memphis where Elvis made his breakthrough and is steeped in Choctaw and Civil War history.

Incredibly historic and the cultural epicentre of northeast Mississippi, it’s no surprise that Tupelo is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Magnolia State. From the interesting Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum to the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo has fantastic things to see and places to visit. Here are the top things to do in Tupelo. 

Tupelo, Mississippi

20 Things To Do In Tupelo

1- Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum

fun things to do in tupelo
One of the top things to do in Tupelo is to visit Elvis Presley’s birthplace.

The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum is, as the name suggests, the birthplace of arguably one of the most prominent musicians the world has ever seen.

Born Elvis Aaron Presley in 1935, the museum pays tribute to Tupelo’s most famous former resident and takes visitors on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of where he spent his formative years.

Situated in Tupelo’s Elvis Presley Park, the museum is conveniently located near downtown Tupelo and attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Without a doubt, one of Tupelo’s most notable landmarks to stop by, the museum is a fantastic place to explore if you’re an Elvis fan or simply just interested in learning more about the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum is at 306 Elvis Presley Dr, Tupelo, MS 38801. You can also join a tour to visit the museum from Memphis.

2- Tupelo Hardware Company

The Tupelo Hardware Company in downtown Tupelo is where Gladys Presley purchased her son Elvis Presley’s first guitar, forever cementing this small Tupelo family-owned business in Rock ‘n’ Roll infancy.

A fully-functioning hardware store, the shop doubles as an Elvis museum and is among Tupelo’s most important Elvis Presley landmarks.

Free to visit and a must for any music historian stopping by Tupelo, the hardware store is always worth adding to your Mississippi itinerary.

The Tupelo Hardware Company is at 114 W Main St, Tupelo, MS 38804.

3- Tupelo National Battlefield

The Tupelo National Battlefield marks where the Union Army defeated the Confederate Army in July 1864 during a battle that lasted over two days.

General AJ Smith led the Union soldiers into Tupelo to keep the Confederate soldiers from reaching Tennessee’s railroads.

Although no clear victor emerged, the Union stalled the Confederate advancement.

Joining the list of National Register of Historic Places in 1966, the battlefield is today a significant memorial and a place of reflection for many Tupelo natives.

Located on a 1 acre (0.4 ha) plot off Main Street in downtown Tupelo, the landmark features two Civil War cannons and a large permanent memorial to honour the many soldiers who lost their lives during the two-day battle.

The Tupelo National Battlefield is at 2005 W Main St, Tupelo, MS 38801.

4- Oren Dunn City Museum

Situated in downtown Tupelo’s Ballard Park, the Oren Dunn City Museum tells the tale of Tupelo’s history through a wide range of permanent and rotating exhibits.

The venue was opened in 1984 and is housed inside a repurposed dairy barn that dates back to 1937.

The museum features displays touching on topics such as the Battle of Tupelo, the disastrous 1936 tornado and the region’s rich Choctaw heritage.

Fossils, dioramas and historical artefacts can be found throughout this interesting venue, making it the best place to visit if you want to learn more about Tupelo’s past.

The Oren Dunn City Museum is at 689 Rutherford Rd, Tupelo, MS 38801.

5- Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo

The one-of-a-kind Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo is a fantastic animal sanctuary near downtown Tupelo that’s home to more than 260 animals across the zoo’s 200 acres (81 ha) of untouched Mississippi nature.

Famous for its large population of endangered buffalo, several other animal species can also be found within this sizeable tupelo outdoor attraction, including zebras, monkeys, camels, lemurs, pythons, deer, llamas, giraffes and peacocks.

The zoo is one of the unique places to visit in Mississippi and one of the only spots in the state where visitors can get up close with endangered wildlife.

The Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo is at 2272 Coley Rd, Tupelo, MS 38801.

6- Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue

tupelo buildings and street
Looking for things to do in Tupelo? Wander around and absorb the laidback vibe. Pictured here is Tupelo’s City Hall.

Unveiled in 2012, the Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue is a larger-than-life bronze statue of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll located just a stone’s throw away from the Tupelo City Hall.

The statue depicts Roger Marshutz’s famous “The Hands” photograph of Elvis Presley taken at his 1956 Homecoming Concert at the Tupelo Fairgrounds and was erected by the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club to honour Tupelo’s most famous son.

Today, the statue is one of the biggest draws to Tupelo.

It is also one of the city’s best free attractions, making it a fantastic destination to add to any Tupelo itinerary.

The Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue is at 337 E Main St, Tupelo, MS 38804.

7- Tupelo Veterans Museum

The Tupelo Veterans Museum is a veteran-owned and operated centre dedicated to preserving and exhibiting artefacts from US Military involvements in the Korean War, World Wars, Civil War, Gulf War and Vietnam War.

Situated near downtown Tupelo, the museum’s expansive military collection took more than 60 years to compile and includes rare items such as an Abraham Lincoln-signed document, Harry Truman’s fedora and several military vehicles.

A fun attraction to visit with the family and a great place to pay your respects to the countless who lost their lives fighting abroad, this is one Tupelo museum you don’t want to miss out on.

The Tupelo Veterans Museum is at 689 Rutherford Rd, Tupelo, MS 38801.

8- The Mall at Barnes Crossing

The Mall at Barnes Crossing is one of the biggest shopping venues in northeast Mississippi and is a significant tourist attraction in the Magnolia State that draws over 12 million visitors annually.

Opened in 1990, the mall is home to over 90 speciality shops, five anchor stores and a 600-seat food court, and is situated just a stone’s throw away from downtown Tupelo.

A one-stop shopping hub in Tupelo, the mall is an excellent place to go if you’re looking for gifts to take home.

The Mall at Barnes Crossing is at 1001 Barnes Crossing Rd, Tupelo, MS 38804.

9- Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic roadway that runs through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, however, it’s the Natchez’s stretch through the Magnolia State that is perhaps its most visually spectacular. 

Passing by the Mississippi River, thick forests, striking cliffs and ancient archaeological mounds, the parkway is one of Tupelo’s most popular outdoor attractions.

It can easily be joined just west of downtown Tupelo.

Not only is the parkway one of the best ways to experience Tupelo’s surrounding natural beauty, but it also connects the city with places such as Jackson and Nashville, making it excellent for planning a road trip through the South.

10- Tupelo Elvis Festival

things to do in tupelo ms
Elvis Presley’s favourite sandwich was peanut butter, bananas and bacon on white bread grilled in butter.

The annual Tupelo Elvis Festival brings together Elvis enthusiasts from across Tupelo and beyond to celebrate the music and impact made by Tupelo’s most famous son, Elvis Presley.

Now in its 25th year, the festival attracts tens of thousands every year and treats festival-goers to all sorts of live entertainment, food, light-hearted competitions, and a 5k street fun run through downtown Tupelo.

A must for any fan of Elvis’ music, the festival is one of the liveliest events in Tupelo and usually takes place in mid-June over five days.

The Tupelo Elvis Festival is at 375 E Main St, Tupelo, MS 38804.

11- Tupelo Street Murals

Tupelo is renowned for its colourful and eclectic mix of public murals throughout the city’s downtown area.

Many were painted during the latter part of the 2010s, making these murals a relatively new addition to the list of Tupelo attractions to stop by.

There are several standout murals to visit, including the Coca-Cola Wall Art, the Greetings from Tupelo Mural, the 1950’s Elvis Mural and the Chickasaw Heritage Mural.

Free to enjoy and a great way to discover Tupelo’s hidden downtown attractions, the Tupelo murals are among the best things to experience in this exciting Mississippi city.

12- Cadence Bank Arena

Formerly known as the BancorpSouth Arena, the Cadence Bank Arena is the permanent home of Tupelo’s indoor football and ice hockey teams, a role in which it has excelled since the venue was opened in 1993.

The arena can seat up to 10,000 spectators and plays host to all sorts of live entertainment events throughout the year.

The venue is downtown Tupelo’s go-to place for large music concerts.

It has hosted concerts from the likes of Elton John, Aerosmith and Florida Georgia Line throughout its history, making it a significant entertainment hub to visit in downtown Tupelo.

The Cadence Bank Arena is at 375 E Main St, Tupelo, MS 38804.

13- Tombigbee State Park

Created in 1934 with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Tombigbee State Park is a scenic 480-acre (194 ha) outdoor recreational area situated just 6 miles (10 km) from downtown Tupelo.

The park features the 90-acre (36-ha) Lake Lee and is named after the Tombigbee River, which runs through the park.

A great spot for fishing, boating and camping, the park is one of Tupelo’s most popular outdoor attractions and is home to some of the region’s most beautiful natural surroundings.

The Tombigbee State Park is at 264 Cabin Dr, Tupelo, MS 38804.

14- Tupelo Community Theatre

First opened in 1969, the Tupelo Community Theatre has played host to more than 300 different productions throughout its history in the form of cabaret, musicals, comedy and regular theatrical productions.

The community theatre is located inside the former Lyric Theatre in downtown Tupelo, abandoned in 1984 after opening in 1912.

Today, the theatre hosts plays and productions throughout the year and stars some of the most talented artists from Tupelo and beyond.

A great destination to stop at if you’re looking for a quality theatrical experience to enjoy during your time in Tupelo, the Tupelo Community Theatre is always worth a visit or two.

The Tupelo Community Theatre is at 201 N Broadway St, Tupelo, MS 38804.

15- Chickasaw Village Site

During the 1700s, Tupelo and the surrounding region were dotted by Choctaw forts and villages, including the Chickasaw Village Site along the Natchez Trace Parkway near downtown Tupelo.

The settlement is all but gone today, with only a few signs here and there to remind visitors of the Native Americans who thrived in the region some 300 years ago.

Several scenic nature trails spread out from the village’s Parkway Visitor Center, which travellers can hike to immerse themselves in the region’s beautiful scenery.

There are also countless artist renditions throughout the site depicting what everyday life must have looked like for the many Choctaws who resided here before the arrival of European settlers, making it a key historic landmark in Tupelo.

16- GumTree Museum of Art

Opened in 1982, the GumTree Museum of Art is a non-profit public visual arts gallery home to several permanent and rotating exhibitions, as well as educative workshops, lectures and festivals.

The venue has become one of Mississippi’s primary visual arts hubs.

It hosts the annual GumTree Festival, a two-day event held over Mother’s Day weekend that brings together the most talented artists from across the country to display their artworks.

A must if you’re a fan of the arts, this is one Tupelo arts gallery you definitely won’t want to miss out on.

The GumTree Museum of Art is at 211 W Main St, Tupelo, MS 38804.

17- Tupelo Cocktail Trail

One of the newest additions to Tupelo’s vast collection of attractions, the Tupelo Cocktail Trail was launched in 2022 to provide tourists with eight unique drinks across eight unique venues in downtown Tupelo.

The venture aims to combine downtown exploration with a fun night out and has quickly become one of the city’s most popular things to do after dark.

Currently featuring flavourful drinks such as the Burnout, the Intergalactic Rosé and the Tupelo Martini, all found only in Tupelo, the Tupelo Cocktail Trail is without a doubt a must-do activity if you’re over 21 and in the mood to sample some of the most popular drinks in northeast Mississippi.

18- Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield

Situated roughly 20 miles (32 km) north of downtown Tupelo, the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield is where the Confederate troops defeated the Union troops in June 1864.

Led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederates succeeded in capturing a pivotal supply railroad for the Union Army after a lengthy battle that resulted in the loss of nearly 100 troops.

Today, the former battlefield features two Civil War canons and a memorial commemorating the lives lost on that fateful day in 1864 and is one of the most significant historic Civil War battlefields in Mississippi.

The Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield is at 128 MS-370, Baldwyn, MS 38824.

19- Tupelo Furniture Market

First held in September 1987, the Tupelo Furniture Market has become a popular attraction in northeast Mississippi that brings together thousands of furniture manufacturers and collectors for one of the biggest furniture expos in the country.

The bi-annual event usually takes place during January and August and is a great place to scour for regional and international brands at discounted prices.

Many brands and furniture manufacturers sell their goods exclusively at the market, making it an exciting shopping destination if you’re somewhat of a furniture aficionado.

The Tupelo Furniture Market is at 1879 Coley Rd, Tupelo, MS 38801.

20- Trace State Park

Tupelo’s Trace State Park is among northeast Mississippi’s most visited outdoor recreational areas, featuring thick forests, two disc golf courses and several playgrounds.

The park surrounds the 565-acre (229-ha) Trace Lake and is a prime destination for recreational fishing, boating and camping.

Formerly known as the Old Natchez Trace Park, this splendid Tupelo attraction is filled with some of the most picturesque surroundings in northeast Mississippi and is always a great place to spend some time out and about surrounded by nature.

Trace State Park is at 2139 Faulkner Rd, Belden, MS 38826.

Welcome to Mississippi sign, birthplace of America's music
One of the top things to do in Tupelo is to learn about music.
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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.