Justin Mainous, contributing writer
There’s a whole lot to experience in Jackson if you just take the time to find the nooks and crannies that make it so enjoyable for locals. Lucky for you, I’ve already done the searching to help you cut straight to what makes this city so great and enjoy a day filled with amazing dining and entertainment.
I’m sure that, if you’ve heard anything about Mississippi, you know that we Mississipians love to eat. So why not head downtown around lunch time on weekdays to get an amazing introduction into the unique variety of food that the city has to offer? If you’re into southern food there’s Two Sister’s Kitchen on North Congress Street. If Greek is more your speed, go check out the Lamar on, you guessed it, Lamar Street. There’s a pretty quaint little Caribbean joint on the corner of East Capitol and North West Street called Taste of the Island. Make sure to check out The Big Apple Inn on North Farish Street and ask for an “ear”. Trust me. You’ll thank me for it.
When you’re downtown make sure to check out the Mississippi Museum of Art. They have an excellent exhibition on the state’s history as seen through the lens of art called “The Mississippi Story.” The best part about it is that admission is free, and there are various exhibits throughout the year that will only cost students $5.00. Also, ask the employee at the front desk for a copy of the Jackson Free Press, which will give you the scoop on all the upcoming events around the city ranging from live music to cultural events.
Now maybe you’re looking for entertainment, and for that I say don’t look any further than the beautiful neighborhood of Fondren with its trendy hipsters and cultured entertainment.
The Fondren District is only about four or five blocks, but it’s packed full of a wide-variety of amazing experiences ranging from live music to thrifting. Park your car somewhere close by and go for a stroll. You could check out Sneaky Bean, a very retro coffee house frequented by the artists of Jackson and musicians showcasing their skills. A nearby studio offers free Salsa lessons starting at 9:00 p.m. Unique restaurants ranging from Mediterranean cuisine to classic diner-style eating pack into every crevice of this neighborhood, so why not catch a bite to eat while you’re here? If you really want to immerse yourself in all that Fondren has to offer, make sure to attend Fondren after 5, where all the businesses in Fondren come together to throw a huge block party on the first Thursday of every month.
For those of you who want to grab the city’s very heart in your hands, I’d suggest volunteering with one of the ministries that serve the community. A few that have really had been a blessing to me personally are We Will Go, the Spencer Perkins Center for Reconciliation and Community Development, and our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. These are just a few suggestions, and if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there are hundreds of ways to serve the people of Jackson.
I’ve only scratched the service of what this city has to offer, and it’s up to you to beat out your own path. It’s like Smash Mouth once said: “So much to do, so much to see, so what’s wrong with taking the back streets? You’ll never know if you don’t go”. If you’d like more details or if you find something I didn’t mention that you think I should know about, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And again, my fellow students, welcome to the Jackson Metro!