Things to Do in Vicksburg MS
There is so much to see and do in Vicksburg—over 1.5 million visitors a year can testify to that! For the history buff, there is the 1,800-acre National Military Park, America’s most monumented National Park, where the fate of a nation was decided in 1863. In its confines, you will find a Union ironclad gunboat, which had lain on the bottom of the Yazoo River for 102 years. Located a few miles away, 5,000 Confederates repose in Soldiers Rest in City Cemetery.
The Old Courthouse Museum, a National Landmark, survived the Civil War with minimal damage and houses over 10,000 artifacts from pre-Columbian times to present day. The Battlefield Museum near the Military Park features more memorabilia from the Civil War era.
For over five decades, Vicksburg was the center for the aristocracy. A glimpse of its former glory is evidenced by buildings and homes, dating to the 19th century. Tour historic homes, each filled with period antiques, many original to the homes. Two churches boast eight of the 11 Tiffany stained glass windows in Mississippi.
Historic Downtown Vicksburg offers boutiques with unique merchandise, at reasonable prices. A variety of dining options and coffee shops are interlaced with boutiques and unique stores in Historic Downtown Vicksburg.
River gaming is also a tourist draw and Vicksburg surely delivers with four casinos to choose from and a fifth casino under construction. Each property has a unique flavor and offers gaming, entertainment and delicious dining options.
Once you arrive in Warren County, there are plenty of options for places to stay. Local hotels/motels can accommodate a wide-range of preferences and budgets. The City of Vicksburg inspects each hotel room once a year to ensure a clean and safe stay for all its visitors. If a bed and breakfast experience is more your style, you won’t be disappointed, as many of the historic homes in Vicksburg have been converted to this service.
If you are a fan of food, you are in for a real treat. Vicksburg offers a wide-range of dining options for you to enjoy. Fine Italian dining, seafood, steaks, barbeque, Southern soul food or just a quick cup of coffee are all here for you to enjoy.
With a location on the banks of the Mississippi River, one would easily guess that there is much to do in the outdoors in Vicksburg. Popular sports include hunting, canoeing, kayaking and birding. As a matter of fact, the National Audubon Society (ms.audubon.org) has a district office located in the heart of downtown Vicksburg. In addition, Tara Wildlife, Inc. (www.tarawildlife.com), a 17,000-acre wildlife preserve located in the northernmost part of Warren County, hosts hunting trips in the fall and a fantastic children’s camp in the summer.
There are two 18-hole golf courses in the county: Vicksburg Country Club and Clear Creek Golf Course. The city and county government also maintain sporting complexes that offer outdoor basketball, softball, tennis, soccer and swimming. If you are looking for a nice stroll, try one of the many parks in the community. Children should visit the Spray Fountain at the Art Park at Catfish Row, a new facility where kids can splash and enjoy artwork done by their peers. The Junior Auxiliary is planning to build an adjacent playground, too. Part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) also runs through Vicksburg for those who want to visit on their bicycles!
For those who prefer staying inside, try any of the historic tours through Antebellum homes or the National Military Park. You can also see Vicksburg on one of two scenic drives that are marked with red or blue signs throughout the area. Gaming is another alternative to explore in Vicksburg. Choose from four casinos: Ameristar Casino, Diamond Jacks Casino, Horizon Casino or Rainbow Casino. Each has their own personality and appeal.
Entertainment in Vicksburg
Vicksburg is naturally beautiful, but its artistic treasures bring out the real variety in the community. The Vicksburg Art Association, located in the Old Firehouse on Main Street, hosts several shows a year. Additionally, several art galleries on Washington Street set the stage for many local artists. The Attic Gallery has been showcasing artists for nearly 30 years. New on Washington Street is the H.C. Porter Gallery. Stop by to see colorful images of Mississippians and scenes from the state and find out about the current project: Backyards & Beyond: Mississippians and Their Stories. It is a compelling series detailing the destruction and rebuilding of the Mississippi Coast after hurricane Katrina.
The Southern Cultural Heritage Center is housed in what was once the St. Francis Xavier Convent and Academy. It is composed of five buildings including the Cobb House, the Sisters of Mercy Convent, the Auditorium, the Academy Building, and the O’Beirne Gymnasium. The Center offers year-round programming for children and adults. From children’s art camps and karate, to adult cooking classes and ballroom dancing—there is something for everyone to enjoy at this complex.
Four Seasons for the Arts provides wonderful entertainment throughout the year, too. This dedicated group has been instrumental in the rejuvenation of an Independence Day celebration. Among other events, they coordinate the Vicksburg Chamber Music Festival and introduce many Vicksburg youngsters to the symphony each year.
Along the floodwall on Mulberry Street you can find more than 20 beautiful murals depicting events that have occurred in or near Vicksburg. The Vicksburg Riverfront Murals by Robert Dafford have transformed a gray and drab eyesore into a breathtaking and educational experience for all who view it. Find out more at www.riverfrontmurals.com.
January ushers in the bridal planning season with the Beautiful Bride show. A bridal fashion show (complete with Mother-of-the-Bride fashions) and plenty of vendors fill the expo floor at this Vicksburg Convention Center (VCC) event. If you are getting married in the area, don’t miss this one-stop shopping for the bride-to-be. To kick off the Christmas holiday each year, the VCC (managed by VenuWorks, Inc.) also hosts The Festival of Trees. A Friday evening gala gets everyone in the holiday spirit with plenty of fine food, entertainment and a silent auction. Saturday is the ever-popular Breakfast with Santa and other events such as a Senior Fashion Show, Safety Town, Children’s Health Fair and of course the Marketplace. For more information on these events or the Vicksburg Convention Center, visit vicksburgconventioncenter.com.
Riverfest, an outdoor celebration held the third weekend in April, offers something for everyone! Visit www.riverfestms.com for all the details. There are family activities throughout the day including an arts and crafts fair, activities for children, and plenty of great food and entertainment from local choirs and bands. The evenings bring thousands out to listen to the headliner bands on three stages at the Washington Street festival.
Vicksburg has for years been proud to host the Miss Mississippi pageant. Young women throughout the state compete for scholarship prize money and the chance to represent the state in the Miss America pageant. This event is held in late June or early July each year.