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Touted as the “cultural mecca of the South,” Oxford is a magnet for both writers and literary enthusiasts. The city is home to the University of Mississippi and offers visitors numerous arts and entertainment attractions and exceptional culinary experiences.

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10 Best Things To Do In Oxford, Mississippi

The North Mississippi college town of Oxford, Mississippi is a destination for culture, dining, and more.

oxford ms tourism

  • University of Mississippi Museum
  • Historic Oxford Square
  • Square Books
  • Southside Gallery
  • The Lyric Theatre
  • Food & Drinks
  • Holly Springs National Forest

Life in Oxford may be in tune with the seasons and semesters of The University of Mississippi, but it is no ordinary college town. It is a literary town, a food town, a music town, an historic town, an art town. Equally celebrated for college sports and its cultural scene, this place attracts all kinds of residents, creating a vibrant community unlike any other.

When you consider the stately old homes (including Rowan Oak, the former residence of William Faulkner), a charming town square packed with shops, galleries, and restaurants, and welcoming locals , you’ve got a pretty ideal place to live or to visit. Unlike most  small towns , there’s more to discover in Oxford than you can fit into a single weekend. Which is a good thing, because after one visit, you’ll definitely be back.

Read on for the best things to do while you're visiting Oxford, Mississippi.

Tour The University Of Mississippi

This North Mississippi town’s academic roots run deep. In 1837, it incorporated and named itself after Oxford, England, with the hope that it would also be home to a great university one day. About 10 years later, The University of Mississippi opened, and in time, Oxford became the South’s quintessential college town. For 110 years, it was the state’s only comprehensive university, and it was also one of the first in the South to admit and hire women. Today, Oxford—on campus and off—reflects the diversity and creativity of our region.

It's a beautiful campus, and a stroll among Ole Miss's sprawling acres of magnolia trees and live oaks is well worth your time. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon admiring the gorgeous landscape of the university. Visit the Lyceum, the gorgeous Ionic Greek Revival-style administration building completed in 1848, which was utilized as a hospital during the Civil War.

Get Lost In History At The University Of Mississippi Museum

While you're on campus, visit the University of Mississippi Museum to dive deeper into the history of the school, Mississippi, and beyond. View one-of-a-kind exhibitions and participate in educational activities hosted by the museum.

While you are there, take a 30-minute peaceful walk on Bailey Woods Trail over to William Faulkner's Rowan Oak , the former residence of the celebrated author. Originally labeled "The Bailey Place" when Faulkner purchased the home in 1930, he later renamed it Rowan Oak after the rowan tree which symbolized security and peace.

Explore The Historic Town Square

Known to locals as "The Square," the Historic Oxford Square is the place to go for wonderful restaurants, shopping, art galleries, bookstores, museums, boutiques, and more. There is something for everyone at The Square. Check out Bottletree Bakery for fresh daily pastries, or hop on over to City Grocery for an "interesting" twist on Southern food and cocktails. If it's shopping you're looking for, stop by the oldest department store in the South, Neilson's (More on this later!)

Browse The Shelves At Square Books

The South's beloved independent bookstore, and the heart of Oxford's literary scene (on The Square), Square Books regularly attracts a wide range of celebrated authors for readings and signings. (Or tune into Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, the store’s weekly live radio show that features musicians, writers, and other artists.)

Admire Some Art At The Southside Gallery

Nearby, Southside Gallery has been a community hub for the visual arts since 1993. Check out their monthly exhibits and participate in one of the frequent artist receptions.

To really experience art in Oxford, join the Oxford Arts Crawl which is hosted by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and held on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Besides the Southside Gallery, you will also get to stop by The Powerhouse Community Arts Center , The University of Mississippi Museum, and Gallery 130 in Meek Hall on campus via double-decker bus. Start at any location and wait till the bus comes along!

Listen To Live Music At The Lyric Theatre

If it's music you're after, head to the historic Lyric Theatre . The theatre, which has been a staple in Oxford since the late 1800s didn't begin as a theatre. In fact, the now-theatre was first a livery stable owned by William Faulkner's family. In the 1920s, the stable was turned into a theatre for live performances and silent films—and was then when it was named The Lyric Theatre. Later, The Lyric became solely a movie theater, and in 1949, William Faulkner walked from his Rowan Oak to the livery stable from his childhood to watch MGM's "Intruder in the Dust," a movie adaptation of one of his novels.

Today, after an extensive renovation in 2007, The Lyric Theatre is Oxford's center for performing arts —mostly concerts. While you're in town, check out the venue's calendar to see if there are any events.

Enjoy Delicious Food And Drinks

Like many places in the South, Oxford’s dining scene continues to gain national acclaim. Pop over to St. Leo for wood-fired pizzas and sophisticated small plates, or head to Snackbar for raw oysters and a plate of Sweet Potato Chaat, one of chef Vishwesh Bhatt’s glorious international spins on Southern cooking. Head to Bar Muse for Joseph Stinchcombe’s constantly changing, refreshingly creative takes on craft cocktails. Or, for a classic Mississippi experience, head just outside of town to Taylor Grocery, which has long served some of the best fried catfish around.

Go Hiking At Holly Springs National Forest

If you're looking for some rest and recreation , head on out to Holly Springs National Forest for a day surrounded by pine trees and cerulean lakes. Take some lunch with you and eat by one of the lakes, and after, go on a beautiful hike and experience Mississippi wildlife. You can fish and take a boat out on Chewalla Lake, Lake Tillatoba, or Puskus Lake, all lakes within the national forest's 155,000 acres.

Shop At The South's Oldest Store

As the oldest store in the South (and the 16th oldest in the nation), Neilson's has a reputation for offering Oxford the latest fashion and specialty gifts. Shop for women's, men's, and children's clothing, or look for a gift for an upcoming celebration. The store located on The Square also sells cosmetics, accessories, and shoes. Feel free to shop till you drop.

Spend A Game Day At The Grove

If you're looking to experience an Ole Miss game day while in Oxford, do it the right way by setting up your tent at The Grove , a popular tailgating spot where up to 100,000 gather on game days. The Grove is named for the beautiful magnolia, elm, and oak trees it's surrounded by. Arrive early to set up to ensure you get a spot.

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13 Fantastic Things To Do In Oxford, Mississippi

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Named for the university town in England, Oxford, Mississippi, has also made a name for itself in terms of higher education and culture. While it’s home to the state’s flagship university, there’s much more to this town than the University of Mississippi.

Located just 100 miles from Memphis , Oxford boasts a rich literary tradition, important Civil War history, and ties to the civil rights movement. Each year, thousands of tourists delight in its beauty and cosmopolitan feel, characteristics usually associated with cities many times its size.

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Oxford.

Ole Miss campus in Oxford.

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1. University Of Mississippi — Ole Miss

Oxford wouldn’t be Oxford without the University of Mississippi , and a stop here is worth your vacation time. There’s a reason why national outlets including Architectural Digest routinely name the campus one of the most beautiful in the country.

Ole Miss, founded back in 1848, radiates out from the Lyceum. This Greek Revival masterpiece has seen turbulent times : It served as a hospital during the Civil War, and the bullet holes that dot its columns are reminders of the horrific violence that erupted when James Meredith enrolled as the university’s first African-American student in 1962.

Beyond the Lyceum, the campus sprawls over thousands of acres covered in magnolias, live oaks, and massive pines. It’s worth spending part of a day here to bask in the beauty of the park-like setting.

2. University Of Mississippi Museum

From fine art to scientific instruments to ancient artifacts, the collections at the University of Mississippi Museum are a delight to explore. Consider stopping here for a fascinating look at the university’s past and its commitment to arts and culture.

At the museum, you’ll see some 19th-century tools used to teach Ole Miss students physics and astronomy, as well as Roman and Greek pottery and coins. There’s an impressive collection of American art, too; it was bequeathed to the university by individual donors and artists.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; admission is free.

Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's house.

3. William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak

While it’s technically a part of the University of Mississippi Museum, Rowan Oak sits to the south of the Ole Miss campus. The stately home was where Nobel laureate William Faulkner lived for four decades until his death in 1962. In 1972, the writer’s family sold the complex to the University of Mississippi on the condition that it would serve as a museum and a place for people to learn about Faulkner’s work.

While the grounds are open to the public and free to roam, it costs $5 to step inside the 150-year-old home and see the rooms where the literary giant lived and worked; even his iconic portable Underwood is on display.

Fans can also pay homage to Faulkner at the Oxford Memorial Cemetery, where the writer and his entire family are buried. Visitors often leave trinkets , including coins and bottles of bourbon, on his grave. It’s customary to take a shot and then leave the rest as a tribute to the legendary wordsmith.

4. Historic Oxford Town Square

The beating heart of Oxford is its historic town square . This charming, quintessential small-town setting includes restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops (we’ll get to those later), all clustered around the Lafayette County Courthouse, which was rebuilt after the original structure was burned by Union troops during the Civil War.

This spot has been Oxford’s economic and social hub since the town’s founding back in the 1830s. It’s the perfect place to take a seat and do some serious people-watching!

Inside the Oxford Treehouse Gallery.

Oxford Treehouse Gallery

5. art galleries.

Oxford is renowned for both the quantity and quality of its art galleries. Many feature everything from fine art to folk art and everything in between, so you’re guaranteed to find something that captures your interest.

The Oxford Treehouse Gallery , just outside town and tucked into a pine grove, is a gorgeous spot featuring pieces from more than 20 regional artists.

Southside Gallery

Southside Gallery is conveniently located in the town square. It showcases works by artists from the Southeast and hosts monthly exhibits plus artist receptions.

Gallery 130

Gallery 130 , located on the campus of Ole Miss, is a gem featuring works by student artists. It also hosts shows for visiting professional artists and is open to the public from Monday through Friday.

Oxford Art Crawl

To get a great overall feel for Oxford’s art scene, consider taking part in the Oxford Art Crawl , which takes place on the fourth Tuesday of most months from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A courtesy bus drops participants off at each gallery, allowing them to check out the exhibits and pop-up shows at each stop.

6. Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center

To learn more about the lives and history of Oxford’s African-American residents, a stop at the Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center should be on your agenda.

The museum is housed in the Burns Methodist Episcopal Church, built by freed African Americans in 1910. When the congregation moved to another building in the 1970s, the church became an office building called the Belfry. Eventually, author and Oxford native John Grisham bought the building and donated it to two non-profits, tasking them with its preservation.

The Burns-Belfry now has a dual purpose: It serves as a venue for community meetings and events, and it also houses a museum that details the history of the church and the people who attended services there.

Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

7. Holly Springs National Forest

There are several places in and around Oxford where you can take advantage of terrific recreational opportunities. Less than an hour to the northwest, Holly Springs National Forest is a popular outdoor stop nestled amidst northern Mississippi’s iconic pine woods. There are hiking trails past several lakes and cypress swamps, and camping sites are available for the truly adventurous.

Sardis Lake in Oxford, Mississippi.

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8. Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake , a 45-minute drive from the center of Oxford, is the spot where locals go for time on the water. First built in the 1930s as a flood-control facility, the lake is now a top recreation spot, offering beaches, boating, and great fishing.

9. Avent Park

In town, Avent Park features sports fields, a walking trail, and plenty of quiet nooks that are perfect for picnicking.

10. Bailey’s Woods Trail

And if you’re looking to make the trip from Ole Miss to Rowan Oak, skip the car ride and head out on Bailey’s Woods Trail , a wooded path that connects the two sites. It will take you just 20 minutes and is a great way to get some exercise while you sightsee.

11. Boutiques In Oxford

Oxford has more than its fair share of terrific boutiques and specialty shops, so you’re bound to find the perfect presents and souvenirs.

Square Books

At Square Books in the town square, you’ll find everything from rare first editions to paperback bestsellers. Square routinely hosts book signings and other literary events.

Katherine Beck

For upscale gifts, stop by Katherine Beck . This sweet boutique does big business catering to the sorority scene at Ole Miss; it offers jewelry and home decor items.

For carefully curated on-trend fashion pieces, Cicada has got you covered. This luxe women’s boutique features labels including Rebecca Taylor, Helmut Lang, Vince, and Alexis Bittar, among others.

12. Neilson’s Department Store

While not a boutique, Neilson’s is a must stop during your time in Oxford. Situated near the courthouse, this historic department store dates back to 1839, making it one of the South’s oldest retail outlets. Offering clothes, cosmetics, and home accessories, Neilson’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A meal from Ajax Diner.

13. Ajax Diner

Serving up Southern soul food so good it gets its own shout-out here is Ajax Diner . Located in the town square and full of colorful, kitschy decor, Ajax has long been a local favorite, routinely making best-of lists for everything from its cornbread to its plate lunches.

Offering regional favorites including catfish, fried chicken, turnip greens, po’boys, and red beans and rice, this diner is the place to go at the end of a busy day when you’ve really worked up an appetite.

Don’t sleep on the squash casserole (it’s amazing!), and be sure to save plenty of room for dessert. The pecan pie is to die for!

Image of Erika Ebsworth-Goold

Communication done well has always been Erika’s career focus. She’s served as a publicist and PR expert for several non-profit organizations based in St. Louis. Prior to that, she was an Emmy Award–winning television newscast producer.

When she’s not training for her next race or packing for another trip, you’ll find Erika hanging out with her husband, son, and personal zoo, which includes a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, two cats, and a grumpy pygmy hedgehog.


  • Destinations

16 Best Things to Do in Oxford, Mississippi

Last Updated By VI in Mississippi on June 4, 2024

The University of Mississippi Museum

  • The University of Mississippi Museum
  • Rowan Oak, Oxford, Mississippi
  • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
  • Oxford City Farmers' Market
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  • 1. The University of Mississippi Museum

The University of Mississippi Museum

More Places to Visit in Mississippi

  • 2. Rowan Oak, Oxford, Mississippi

Rowan Oak, Oxford, Mississippi

More ideas: Best Beaches in Mississippi

  • 3. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

More ideas: Best Lakes in Mississippi

  • 4. Oxford City Farmers' Market

Oxford City Farmers' Market

More ideas: Things to do in Gulfport, MS

  • 5. Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

100 University Avenue, 662-915-2787

  • 6. L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum

L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum

More ideas: Day Trips from Memphis

  • 7. Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail

Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail

Athletes from the University of Mississippi tend to use the trail for exercise, as well. Several roadways, sidewalks, and bike lanes connect the Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail to a nearby mile-long trail called the Oxford Depot.

  • 8. Big Bad Breakfast

Big Bad Breakfast

719 North Lamar, 662-236-2666

  • 9. Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center

Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center

710 E. Jackson Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi 38655, Phone: 662-801-4087

  • 10. Oxford Treehouse Gallery

Oxford Treehouse Gallery

More places to visit: Weekend Getaways in New England

  • 11. Proud Larry's

Proud Larry's

More trip ideas: Best Things To Do in Santa Rosa

  • 12. Ya Ya's Frozen Yoghurt

Ya Ya's Frozen Yoghurt

More vacation ideas: Fun Things To Do in Miami This Weekend

  • 13. College Hill Presbyterian Church

College Hill Presbyterian Church

339 Country Road 102, 662-234-5020

  • 14. Southside Gallery

Southside Gallery

150 Courthouse Square, Oxford, Mississippi 38655, Phone: 662-234-9090

  • 15. Lamar Park

Lamar Park

You may also like: 15 Best Things to Do in Jackson, Mississippi .

  • 16. Lyric Theater

Lyric Theater

1006 Van Buren Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi 38655, Phone: 662-234-5333

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Oxford, Mississippi Travel Guide

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Oxford was incorporated in 1837, and named after Oxford, England. It was hoped that naming the town Oxford would help it be chosen as the site for Mississippi's first university. In 1848, the University of Mississippi became a reality. Since its founding, the University has developed into a well-respected institute, which plays a central role in the community.

Oxford's colorful downtown, centered on courthouse square, exemplifies southern charm. Chic boutiques, diverse art galleries, upscale bookstores, casual cafes, and active pubs are just a few of the finds visitors will discover here. Although much of the city was destroyed by fire in 1864, a remarkable number of historic homes and buildings remain and a walking tour makes for a fulfilling afternoon. When evening approaches, excellent choices in dining abound. From fine dining to eclectic cuisine, Oxford has it all. For night owls, Oxford offers incredible live blues and dynamic jazz.

Oxford is proudly a diverse, culturally rich town. Famous Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner called Oxford home, and captured many of the town's lively characters in his novels. Several events draw large groups of writers to Oxford. The Oxford Conference for the Book, held in April, and The Annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, held in July, are two such examples. In fact, Oxford has become famous as a writer's destination. The Oxford Film Festival is growing in recognition, and draws people from near and far every June. Music and artwork are equally popular expressions. The Double Decker Festival, also held annually in June, is a giant celebration. Held on courthouse square, the event features a select group of regional art vendors, a diverse selection of live music, and local restaurants serving festival goers their best grub.

Oxford is located in the northern part of the state, just off Highway 278, approximately 170 miles north of Jackson, MS.

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23 Best & Fun Things to do in Oxford (MS)

In search of the best and fun things to do in Oxford, MS?

After its incorporation in 1837, Oxford, Mississippi passed through almost two centuries of turbulent history but survived. It was razed to the ground by fire during the Civil War and experienced chaos during the Civil Rights Movement.

Oxford Mississippi city is heavily forested and spreads over 267 sq miles in the North Central Hills region of Mississippi.

Writers, painters, and poets from Faulkner to Grisham have described, romanticized, and immortalized the city. The city is known for having the University of Mississippi (one of its most sought-after destinations) and its music and literature.

Oxford has a rich culture, history, beautiful architecture, delicious food, and broad green space. Take a bike to the Holly Springs National Forest to get a feel for the city’s spirit or take a stroll around the Town Square.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Oxford, Mississippi.

Things to do in Oxford, MS

1. visit william faulkner rowan oak.

Rowan Oak

One of the top fun things to do in Oxford, MS, is spending some quality time at Rowan Oak .

Located in Oxford, Mississippi, is Rowan Oak, a stately home first built in 1844. Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner purchased this building and its surrounding 29 acres in 1930.

Nobel laureate William Faulkner lived in this home for four decades until his death in 1962. The complex sold in 1972 to the University of Mississippi provided that it would serve as a museum and a place where people can learn about Faulkner’s work.

Sources closer to Faulkner say that the beauty and secludedness of Rowan Oak was an inspiration to many of his novels and stories.

Open every day, from dawn to dusk, visitors are at-will to freely take a walk through the grounds surrounding Faulkner’s home.

A home tour would cost only $5, and there are explanatory materials prepared in multiple languages. Tour hours vary with the season.

 2. Worship at College Hill Presbyterian Church

College Hill Presbyterian Church

Located a short distance from the University of Mississippi is College Hill Presbyterian Church .

It is a historic Presbyterian chapel built in 1844 and stands as the oldest church building in the Oxford area and the oldest Presbyterian church in North Mississippi.

Also, College Hill is the Civil War-era encampment site for Union troops and the site of author William Faulkner’s marriage.

The church has a cemetery where Union soldiers, Confederate troops, and slaves were laid to rest. Visitors are welcomed to worship in the chapel with the local congregation or you can just visit the grounds to its tranquil setting.

Address: 339 Country Road 102.

3. The University of Mississippi Museum

The University of Mississippi Museum

There are collections of Greek and Roman artifacts, American art, and scientific instruments amongst some of its unique features.

You will find several private collections of artwork showcased in the museum, with the UM museum also having a series of rotating exhibits that supplement its permanent attractions.

Do embrace the UM Museum’s educational programs and summer camps with your family. Other families also look to these programs to encourage the kids to explore their artistic side.

The University of Mississippi Museum is one of the top Oxford attractions.

Address: University Avenue and 5th Street.

4. Have fun at Lamar Park

Lamar Park

Next on our list of top things to do in Oxford, Mississippi is Lamar Park – an outdoor arboretum. Here, visitors come to take a walk along the park’s trails, view the built-in gardens, or spend time relaxing near the lake.

Due to its delicate environment, the park’s management has placed restrictions from hosting parties or holding large meetings except on approval.

As an extra measure to protect the recently planted flora in Lamar Park, visitors are barred from bringing equipment such as grills, tables, or chairs into the park.

However, you can visit the park with pets as long as they are on a leash.

5. Get to The Town Square

Town Square

If you want to a place where you can sit and observe people calmly, visit Town Square – the economic and social hub of Oxford MS.

This beautiful small town came alive again in 1837 after it was ruined during the civil war. The Town Square is known as the heart of Oxford Mississippi and is also a favorite destination for food and shopping lovers.

Visitors of Oxford enjoy eating at a good number of restaurants present here. Additionally, the art galleries, specialty shops, museums, and boutiques offer tourists a lot at the historic town square.

Another popular activity amongst visitors is the nightlife at Town Square. It offers an opportunity to meet and interact with the locals.

6. Enjoy a sporty experience at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Since it was built in 1915, the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at the University of Mississippi campus has been an iconic feature of the Ole Miss campus.

There have been several expansions and upgrades at Vaught-Hemingway in recent years. Following the $150 million campaign launch, the stadium has acquired hundreds of new club-level seats and more than 30 luxury suites.

In 2016, a scheduled construction aimed at increasing the stadium’s capacity by almost 5,000, and plans have been on the ground to install a plaza and bell tower.

Do not miss this place if you are a sports lover.

Address: All-American Drive and Hill Drive, University, MS 38677

7. Oxford must-visit: The Burns-Belfry Museum

Burns-Belfry Museum

If you want to know more about the African-American people living in Oxford Mississippi, the Burns-Belfry Museum can be the best place to visit.

The museum was established by African-Americans who were freed from slavery. It is a one-stop information center that tells more about them and their history from slavery to civil wars.

The Burns-Belfry Museum is located inside a church building, and houses exhibits that explain their lives. It is open for visitation on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12 pm to 3 pm and on Sunday, from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Entrance is free, however, donations are accepted. The museum administration encourages group visitors on prior appointments.

8. Interact with locals at Oxford City Farmers’ Market

Oxford City Farmers' Market

If you search for what to do in Oxford, Mississippi with kids, this is an amazing place to visit.

The Oxford City Farmers’ Market , also referred to as the OXCM, serves two purposes: to unite the community and help Oxford residents sell their produce, handicrafts, and homemade.

Though organized by a small group of locals, the market is sponsored by many Oxford businesses and individuals.

Apart from helping market locally-made goods, the OXCM also hosts programs to educate and engage the Oxford populace.

The OXCM holds on the Tuesdays of mid-April to late November, and the venue is the Community Pavilion along University Avenue.

Address: Community Pavilion (Old Armory) on University Ave.

For a fun road trip in Mississippi, do not miss exploring the top attractions and  things to do in Tupelo and things to do in Meridian .

9. Enjoy the great outdoors: Holly Springs National Forest

Holly Springs National Forest

Want to spend some time outdoors? Oxford has many places in and around it that offer astonishing recreational opportunities. 

Holly Springs National Forest is a popular outdoor stop nestled amongst the icon pine forests of Northern Mississippi best known for its display of seasonal beauty.

It was established by the United States Forest Service on June 15, 1936, during the tenure of United States Department of Agriculture Chief Forester Ferdinand A. Silcox.

During the Spring, there are dogwoods followed by the grape-scented kudzu and wild magnolia blooming in the Summer, making this location a year-round attraction.

The Holly Springs National Forest is a massive area with rolling hills covered with pine forests, farms, hardwoods, and over 40 lakes. Its healthy booming forest provides a super habitat for wildlife.

There are also nice trails meandering through this landscape. So you can hike, boat, swim, and even camp on this site.

Address: 636 Hwy 178 E, Holly Springs, Mississippi 38635

10. Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Gertrude C. Ford Center

Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center at the University of Mississippi named in honor of Gertrude Ford. A visit is one of the fun things to do in Oxford, MS.

Ford was an accomplished musician and ardent reader, able to speak three languages. Most notable was her love for the performing arts.

The center which bears her name occupies 88,000-square feet. It has two main performance areas and a seating capacity for more than 1,000 people.

Watch a performance at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts if you wish to have romantic date ideas in Oxford.

Plays, dance productions, and vocal performances regularly take place here. The center also plays host to educational programs focused on youth and teenagers.

Address: 100 University Avenue

11. Pay your respect to the fallen: Confederate Cemetery

Located to the south of the University’s Tad Smith Coliseum is a decent walled lawn. It has a single monument erected at the center.

In this field, Confederate soldiers who died after the battle of Shiloh in 1862 were laid to rest.

During the Civil War, the buildings of Ole Miss turned into hospitals for the battle wounded, and the victims were thus buried here.

The cemetery once had individual markers, but they were removed by a groundskeeper who forgot to replace them after mowing.

12. Check out L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum

L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum

The house has changed ownership in recent years but remained in the family. The Oxford-Lafayette County Heritage Foundation purchased it in 2004 for $425,000.

Currently, the home is owned by the City of Oxford and contains several exhibits telling about Lucius Lamar’s accomplishments as a Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of the Interior, and congressman.

The home also has several exhibits with information related to his personal life. Entrance into the museum is free of charge and they offer guided tours for large groups.

Address: 616 North 14th Street.

13. Go shopping at Neilson’s


Situated close to the courthouse, Neilson’s is a department store launched in 1839 by William Smith Neilson. This makes it one of the oldest retail outlets in Oxford and the South at large.

Neilson’s building is listed on the National Register of Historic Placed. Since its establishment, it is celebrated for its history and for offering the latest fashion trends in home, shoes, cosmetics, clothing, and accessories.

You can check in for items as the store is open from Monday to Saturday between 9 am and 5:30 pm.

Address: 119 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655, United States

14. Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail

Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail

Most parts of the trail are flat, but the main trail branches off into a string of steeper, narrower paths often frequented by mountain bikers.

You would be thrilled to know that the trail is often used for exercise by athletes from the University of Mississippi.

Also, several roadways, bike lanes, and sidewalks connect the Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail to a closeby mile-long trail called the Oxford Depot.

Thacker Mountain Rail-Trail should be on your bucket list of top things to do in Oxford for hikers and nature lovers.

15. Visit Ole Miss

Ole Miss

The University of Mississippi is one of the institutions that make Oxford what it is today, and a stop here would be a plus to your vacation experience.

National outlets including Architectural Digest regularly name the campus one of the most beautiful in the country, and there is a reason for that.

Founded back in 1848, Ole Miss radiates out from the Lyceum, a Greek Revival masterpiece that has seen troubled seasons.

It served as a hospital during the Civil War and you will see bullet holes dotting its columns. They are reminders of the dreadful violence that started when James Meredith registered as the university’s first African-American student in 1962.

Also, the campus sprawls beyond the Lyceum, covering thousands of acres of magnolias, massive pines, and live oaks.

A check-in is worth spending part of a day as you can even bask in the radiance of the park-like setting.

Nebraska has some cool places to explore, here is a list of fun things to do in Kearney , and  things to do in Lincoln  for a fun exploration

16. Eat great at Big Bad Breakfast

Big Bad Breakfast

You might or may have never been a breakfast person, but the narrative will probably change after you try what Big Bad Breakfast has to offer.

The restaurant is located in the Mid-Town Shopping Mall and is a little off the beaten path but it is always packed because it is well known.

The eatery adopts an old-fashioned diner-style with unassuming décor and a big counter where you can hang on and observe the action in the kitchen while you keep cozy and comfortable.

No amount would measure the kind of food they serve: thick slices of toast, Original Grit Girl grits, fluffy biscuits, and crispy art southern fried chicken.

The list includes classic southern plates loaded with house-cured Tabasco and Brown Sugar Bacon. If you cannot take in much of this rich food early in the morning, lunchtime would be great.

Address: 719 North Lamar

17. Explore The Shopping Scene

Shopping in Oxford

There is more than a fair share of specialty shops and boutiques in Oxford that you can explore for souvenirs and gifts. First on the list is Katherine Beck.

If you want to purchase upscale gifts, stop at this sweet boutique. They provide big business catering to the sorority group at Ole Miss.

It also offers jewelry, home decor items, accessories, Greek items, candles, and more.

And if you are looking for something luxurious, Cicada has got you covered. It is a luxe women’s boutique that features many designer labels, including Alexis Bittar, Rebecca Taylor, Vince, Helmut Lang, and more.

You will find carefully curated on-trend fashion pieces covering sunglasses, denim, sweaters & knits, accessories, shoes, and others. The store is open Monday to Saturday (10 am–5:30 pm).

This is one of the fun things to do in Oxford for some shopping experience, do add to your bucket list of places to visit in Oxford, MS.

Katherine Beck: 134 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655, United States

Cicada: 307 S Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655, United States

18. Eat good food at Ravine


Nestled in the dense pine and oak forest not far from downtown Oxford is an appealing, rustic log chalet and in it is Ravine – one of the best restaurants you will ever visit.

There are large porches that outdoor seating where you can listen to the birdsongs and fancy the smell of pine needles.

The restaurant has an elegant and sophisticated interior that oozes old southern charm.

Patrons cherish and appreciate the food that comes from celebrated chef Joel Miller’s kitchen. He creates his interpretation of southern fare dishes using ingredients from his garden and local farms.

There are scrumptious small plates followed by exquisite creations like duck breast placed on wild rice pancakes and absorbing sweet and sour cherry sauce.

Young chefs can also come down for training from this legendary Culinary Institute of America.

Address: 53 County Road 321

19. Explore Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake

A location that will thrill visitors, especially water enthusiasts.

Though not in the city it still makes our list of best things to do in Oxford, Mississippi.

Sardis Lake was originally built as a flood control facility in the 1930s, but it has transformed into an immensely popular tourist spot.

Visitors are allowed to come to have fun and relax by the water. And if want to fish or boat or just absorb the sun with your family, the beach is all yours.

You can also camp in any of their modern campgrounds, picnic, swim, rent a pavilion for a family reunion or pick a spot somewhere on the 98,000 acres space for hunting, fish, bird watching, or trail walking.

Several amenities are located nearby, including playgrounds, boat launching ramps, restrooms, fishing areas, beaches, and picnic shelters.

20. Oxford Treehouse Gallery

Oxford Treehouse Gallery

Visiting the Oxford Treehouse Gallery is one of the fun things to do in Oxford, Mississippi. It is a display venue that exhibits the works of local artists.

Not just that, until 2013, this structure was the home and studio of Walter and Vivian Neill. Currently, the Neills has a separate home on the same property while their gallery is open for public access.

Today, the Oxford Treehouse Gallery showcases a collection of jewelry, paintings, metalwork, and ceramic work.

One can use the gallery as a venue for hosting diverse events with its unique space fitting perfectly for workshops, receptions, and parties.

There is also an onsite apartment where a small number of visitors can be accommodated.

Address: 328 Country Road.

21. Spend the day shopping at Square Books

Square Books

Head to Square Books for everything from rare first editions to bestsellers if you like books.

Located at the Square in Oxford, Mississippi, Square Books is a general independent bookstore established in 1979. It is four stores on five floors in three buildings all giving one hundred feet apart o

At Square Books, you’ll find everything from rare first editions to paperback bestsellers. The book store long dealt in collectible and signed books and regularly hosts book signings and other literary events.

Square Books is widely recognized among readers as the axis of William Faulkner’s “postage stamp of native soil,” and has a strong selection of books on the American South and Southern writers, literary fiction, and a large inventory of various categories.

Square Books has long dealt in collectible and signed books. It is open from Tuesday to Friday between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, so do well to check for good books.

Address: 115 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655 USA

22. Proud Larry’s

Proud Larry's

Proud Larry’s is a cheeky student bar and Ole Miss students’ and professors’ hangout that has been around for the last 20 years. It is a large, colorful, loud, and fun place to visit in Oxford.

Residents of the area crave and enjoy the delicious comfort food prepared by Chef Jon Myrick and the lovely music that plays here.

Proud Larry’s has always got something happening anytime, any day.

Music artists also come to Proud Larry’s on Fridays to introduce their new albums and even on other days. They’ve got a big bar where unique on-tap beers are served paired with anything else you could want.

Address: 211 S Lamar Blvd

23. Ya Ya’s Frozen Yoghurt

Ya Ya's Frozen Yoghurt

\Children certainly love yogurts but not just them, adults enjoy it too. That’s why Ya Ya’s Frozen Yoghurt wants to show you that you can get what is good without being bored.

Overlooking the street, Ya Ya’s is a small shop with only a few chairs under the counter and has over 50 flavors of yogurt. You would be excited to know that there is a special treat every day.

The system is pretty simple: select a cup size, the yogurt flavor, and extra toppings and sauces.

You are also allowed to treat yourself to any combination you think of. Fill your yogurt with nuts, fruits, cheesecake bits, Oreo bits, caramel sauce, cheesecake bits, chocolate sauce, and so much more.

Be careful not to overdo it, otherwise, you run a risk of losing your bragging rights to eating a healthy snack.

Address: 100 Courthouse Square

Are you planning a trip to Mississippi and wondering what to do here? check out our guide on things to do in Southaven ,  things to do in Vicksburg , and  fun things to do in Hattiesburg  for a memorable vacation.

Plan your trip to Oxford

Oxford promises you a vacation that you will already remember thanks to its historical spots, wonderful restaurants, amazing parks, awesome museums, lovely stores, engaging galleries, and more.

Map out exciting places for your trip and create a bucket list of things to do in Oxford, MS. Pin this guide as you take on that Oxford exploration.

Do have an awesome vacation!

oxford ms tourism

oxford ms tourism

UPDATE: Check out our new 2024 Best Cities to Live in the U.S. list.

10 Must-Do Activities in Oxford, MS

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Whether you are a newcomer or in town for a big game, make sure your bucket list has these fun things to do in Oxford.

By Kevin Litwin on December 15, 2021

Downtown Oxford, MS

You’ve finally unpacked that last box and, as a new resident of Oxford, MS , you’re eager to explore what this North Mississippi gem has to offer. Or maybe you’re in town for that big SEC football game and want to see the sights before kickoff. We’ve compiled a list of 10 fun things to do in Oxford and Lafayette County. Enjoy!

In This Article

1. You must stop by William’s house first.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Oxford is Rowan Oak , the former home of famed author William Faulkner. The Greek Revival 1840s house is open for tours, and a highlight is the outline of Faulkner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “A Fable,” which is penciled in graphite and red on the plaster wall of his study. Rowan Oak has been featured as a literary destination in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Garden & Gun and Southern Living.

Square Books in Oxford, MS

2. This next stop’s a real page turner.

For 40+ years, Square Books has done business on the Historic Oxford Square. This two-story building is home to a huge selection of reading material as well as a café, where you can find some tasty desserts and espresso drinks. Peruse its shelves, and you’re sure to find your next great read.

Experiences & Adventures

Join the must-see arts scene in oxford, ms.

With a wide variety of museums, galleries (and even a double-decker bus), you’ll be sure to have loads of fun in Oxford.

3. Have a double-dose of fun.

Every spring, the Historic Oxford Square lights up for the annual Double Decker Arts Festival , where live music and art are the main event. About 60,000 people attend. It was inspired by the double-decker bus Oxford imported from England in 1994.

Oxford Burger Co. in Mississippi

4. Eat a Gosh Almighty Burger.

On the Historic Oxford Square is the landmark restaurant Oxford Burger Co. , which specializes in 100% black Angus hamburgers made from choice beef that is never frozen. One of its offerings is the mammoth triple-decker Gosh Almighty Burger topped with cheese, bacon, grilled onions and house-made sauce. Trust us, you’ll be back for another.

Food Scenes

Savor divine dining in oxford, ms.

Looking for some wonderful places to eat in Oxford? Check out these eateries in and near The Square.

5. And be sure to eat some catfish.

Taylor Grocery & Restaurant , which offers the slogan, “Eat or we both starve,” is known for serving up some of the best catfish meals in the South. One of its most popular selections is the Mississippi blackened catfish. If you’re looking for something other than catfish, not to worry. Here, you can also find dishes with shrimp, chicken, pork or steak.

Neilson’s in Oxford, MS

6. Enjoy a shopping spree for the ages.

When the shopping bug hits you, Neilson’s is where you want to go. As the oldest department store in the South and a fixture on the Historic Oxford Square since 1839, there’s a reason people keep coming back. Here, you can find items for everyone in the family – apparel, shoes and houseware items.

Where to Live Now

#wegettolivehere in oxford, ms.

Discover a hashtag-worthy community that features affordable living, great jobs, excellent education, an amazing arts scene and more.

7. Listen to Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.

Celebrating its 25th year on the air in 2022, Thacker Mountain Radio Hour broadcasts about 30 live shows a year at 6 p.m. on various Thursday evenings from its studio at Off Square Books on the Historic Oxford Square.

South Campus Rail Trail in Oxford, MS

8. Exercise on South Campus Rail Trail.

Whether you want to walk, run or bike, exploring the South Campus Rail Trail is a must that you’ll want to do every time the sun is shining. Once a gravel railroad bed, today, South Campus is a well-marked, 5-mile trail. Residents and Ole Miss students approve!

Education, Careers & Opportunity

Entrepreneurs, find your starting point in this growing city in mississippi.

In Oxford and Lafayette County, you will find a great economy and the resources you need to launch a thriving business.

9. Visit Mississippi’s magnificent state parks.

Get ready to have some fun outside! Four Mississippi state parks are within an easy drive of Oxford. Home to Sardis Lake, John W. Kyle State Park is 15 minutes away, while Wall Doxey State Park is 30 minutes away, Cossar State Park is 30 miles away, and Hugh White State Park is 50 miles away.

Now that you’ve explored Oxford and Lafayette County, there’s one more absolutely must-do item to put on your list, especially if you are here for a football game …

10. Hang out at The Grove.

Named for its surrounding elm, magnolia and oak trees, The Grove is a tailgating hot spot on The University of Mississippi (or Ole Miss) campus, where as many as 100,000 fans gather on fall Saturdays prior to kickoff. Spaces are first-come, first-serve, so you’re going to want to get there early to ensure you have a great spot to set up your tent and other tailgating necessities.

Want to learn more about living in Oxford? Check out the latest edition of Livability Oxford-Lafayette County, Mississippi .

oxford ms tourism

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Solo Trips And Tips

7 Things to Do in Oxford Mississippi

By: Author Susan Moore

Posted on Last updated: February 7, 2023

Oxford Mississippi is in northern Mississippi, about 75 miles southeast of Memphis Tennessee . Tupelo Regional Airport (TUP) is the closest major airport to Oxford MS.

Established in 1837, the town was named after Oxford in England due to the intention of establishing an educational institution in the town.

In 1848 the University of Mississippi opened, it is commonly referred to as “Ole Miss” and the city is wild about their football team, the Ole Miss Rebels. Epic tailgating parties happen at the Grove at Ole Miss.

In this post I’m sharing 7 things to do in Oxford Mississippi including some cool day trips.

Hotty Toddy! That’s the all-purpose greeting you will hear around Oxford.

Oxford Mississippi Things to Do

1.      Town Square

In the center of Oxford, you’ll find the Courthouse Square, or simply “The Square” as it is known locally. Visit the boutique shops, art galleries, museums, and restaurants at the Square.

For book lovers and those shopping for unique gifts visit Square Books at Courthouse Square, one of the best independent bookstores in the nation.

They also have three other sister shops nearby, visit Square Books Jr, Rare Square Books, and Off Square Books.

Be sure to visit Oxford City Hall on the Square, where you’ll find an original red telephone booth from Oxford, England.

The phone booth was shipped to Oxford MS by local resident John Valentine who purchased the iconic red booth while serving for the US Air Force in Oxford, England.

Oxford MS City Hall with UK red phone booth and American flag

The red phone booth purchased in Oxford England sits in front of City Hall

2.      Rowan Oak

When it reopens you can visit the home of Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner who bought the house in 1930 and later named it Rowan Oak.

Even though the museum house is currently closed to visitors you can still visit the grounds and walk the Bailey Woods Trail. There is a beautiful old barn on the grounds.

Rowan Oak Oxford MS museum home of author William Faulkner

Author William Faulkner lived at Rowan Oak – now a museum

3.      Southern Food

There is no shortage of excellent Southern cuisine in Oxford where you can select from cozy and casual to fine dining experiences.

Try the classics like Shrimp and Grits, Fried Chicken, Crawfish, Fried Catfish, Biscuits and Gravy, Collard Greens, and Cornbread.

Here are a few restaurants on the Square that you should try.

Ajax Diner will satisfy your comfort food cravings. Great place to grab a plate lunch.

Boure Restaurant upscale down home fine dining with a great atmosphere. Try the Jambalaya or Crab Cakes. Good selection of burgers, also a Bun Less Burger Bowl.

City Grocery offers creative takes with classic southern ingredients, like Shrimp and Grits with mushrooms and bacon. Yum!

Shrimp and Grits classic Southern food

Shrimp and Grits is a classic Southern comfort food

4.      University of Mississippi

Visit the University of Mississippi Museum on the main campus and explore the art and antiquities collections including Southern Folk Art, outdoor sculptures, and a fine collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.

If your timing is right, you’ll get to attend a football game or a basketball game at Ole Miss. Tailgate parties at the Grove are legendary. As the saying goes Ole Miss never loses a party.

Tailgating at the Grove is cool because the players walk right through the Grove on their way to the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, giving fans a chance to cheer them on before they get on the field.

Ole Miss basketball game in progress.

Attend a basketball or football game while you are in Oxford

5.      Clarksdale Day Trip

Put this on your bucket list – drive to Clarksdale for some Mississippi Delta blues.

Visit the crossroads at Old Hwy 61 and Hwy 49 where famed musician Robert Johnson is said to have made a deal with Lucifer.

Have lunch at Abe’s BBQ.

Go to Red’s Lounge for a real Juke Joint experience and listen to the blues. Visit the Bluesberry Café for live blues on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Shop for music and art at Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art and also check out Ground Zero Blues Club.

A couple of big music festivals in Clarksdale are the popular Juke Joint Festival happening every April, and Deep Blues Fest in October.

Clarksdale Mississippi Blues Wall with names of Blues musicians

Clarksdale is a great day trip from Oxford

6.      Memphis Day Trip

Memphis Tennessee is great day trip from Oxford and even better for a weekend getaway.

During the day visit the National Civil Rights Museum to learn about the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. This exceptional and informative museum is open from 9 am – 5 pm Thursday to Monday.

Walking around Memphis you will notice an abundance of art murals in the city. Check out the downtown mural guide and explore art outdoors.

You can visit Graceland and tour the mansion where Elvis Presley lived. He purchased the estate in March 1957 for $102,500.

Graceland tours range from the Elvis Presley Memphis and Planes Tour to the Ultimate VIP Tour.

In the evening visit Beale Street for music, food, and fun. Almost two miles of shops, nightclubs, and restaurants for your enjoyment.

The Sound of Memphis mural in Memphis TN

Visit Memphis Tennessee on a day trip or weekend getaway

7.      Tupelo Day Trip

Take a day trip to Tupelo Mississippi and visit the birthplace of Elvis Aaron Presley. You can go see the childhood home of Elvis and visit the Elvis Presley Museum.

Elvis was born on January 8, 1935 and lived in Tupelo until he was 13 years old, when the family moved to Memphis Tennessee.

Take a walk downtown and have lunch at Kermit’s Soul Kitchen .

History buffs will want to visit Tupelo National Battlefield, a national monument and commemorative site of the Battle of Tupelo, a Civil War battle in July 1864.

Elvis Presley birthplace Tupelo Mississippi

On January 8, 1935 Elvis was born in Tupelo Mississippi

Enjoy traveling around Mississippi and visiting Oxford.

Here are a few more ideas for a Southern US road trip vacation.

Lafayette Louisiana is the heart of Cajun Country – enjoy great food, music, and dancing

Learn about the legend of the Evangeline Oak tree

Explore all the fun things to do in Chattanooga Tennessee and cool things to do in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Visit the horse capital of the world – Lexington Kentucky

Find beautiful beaches and fascinating historical sites in St Augustine Florida

Discover fun things to do in Orlando other than theme parks!

Austin Texas is live music capital of the world a great place to spend a few days

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7 Things to Do in Oxford Mississippi

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15 Good Reasons to visit Oxford, Mississippi on a Deep South Road Trip

oxford ms tourism

As part of Travelista’s Deep South Road Trip series, we shine the spotlight on Oxford Mississippi, one of America’s prettiest college towns.

A Deep South Road trip is travel bucket list dream for many, especially for us Brits and Europeans with a slight fascination with the USA. But if you ever get the opportunity to make the dream a reality, how do you go about planning it? Luckily, I’ve recently published the full itinerary for my 12-18 day Deep South Road Trip , and one of the stops on this route is Oxford Mississippi. Unexpectedly, Oxford was one of my favourite stops on our Deep South road trip, so I wanted to dedicate a full article to share a little more about this creative and charming Mississippi college town. Here are 15 Good Reasons to visit Oxford Mississippi. 

oxford ms tourism

This article has been written in partnership with Visit Mississippi and Visit Oxford MS. Images marked with a photo credit are owned by Visit Oxford MS. All others are taken and owned by Travelista.

An Introduction to Oxford, Mississippi 

Nestled in the hills of North Mississippi, Oxford is consistently named as one of the prettiest college towns in America . With a population of around 27,000, Oxford is a unique cultural Mecca of the South which still offers lashings of small-town charm. With historical architecture backdrop by magnolia and oak trees, a bustling town square, great shops and restaurants galleries and museums, Oxford offers a dose of creative charm to your Deep South road trip. 

oxford ms tourism

15 Good Reasons to Visit Oxford Mississippi

1. it’s the perfect stop as part of a wider deep south road trip.

Spending 2-3 days in Oxford would be the perfect amount of time, which makes it an ideal ‘stop over’ destination as part of a Deep South Road Trip or an exploration of the wider state of Mississippi . It’s close to the Mississippi / Tennessee border and its two closest major cities are Memphis, Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi.

Our route involving Oxford went as follows; Jackson, MS > Oxford, MS > Tupelo, MS > Memphis, TN

oxford ms tourism

2. Exploring Oxford’s Town Centre is like stepping into an American hallmark movie

Oxford is one of those quintessential American small towns you’ve seen countless times in American movie, which definitely adds to the charm of it. We visited Oxford in November when the Christmas lights were out, which made it feel like the set of a Hallmark Christmas film.

oxford ms tourism

3. It’s very safe, with low crime rates

Oxford’s crime rates are super low and being a University town, it feels very safe. Oxford has great nightlife and live music, and this is enhanced even further by being able to safely stroll the streets at night. However, I’d always advise recommend staying vigilant when travelling and avoid taking valuables out at night whenever possible. 

oxford ms tourism

4. It’s a haven for creatives, with a strong literary heritage

Oxford has long been known as a creative hub that attracts artists, inspiring writers, musicians and creatives of all types. Nobel-Prize-winning Author William Faulkner set up home in Oxford and you can still tour his impressive home, Rowan Oak, for just $5 per person. The house remains frozen in time with its 1920s decor and furniture and even his typewriter remains in situ. 

oxford ms tourism

5. It’s been named as one of “America’s Coolest College Towns’ by Travel & Leisure

Oxford Mississippi often makes national press and the giants at Travel & Leisure declared it one of America’s Coolest College Towns . Students reign supreme in Oxford and can be seen all over town, particularly in the Scandi-style coffee shops and on laptops in the lobby of The Graduate Oxford . The Graduate is where we stayed for 2 nights during our stop in Oxford, and after speaking to the staff we learned that students are welcome to study in the lobby as a way to support the local student community. 

oxford ms tourism

6. Feel inspired in Oxford’s cute boutique shops and renowned book stores

A ‘mooch’ around Oxford’s many boutique shops is a must. Oxford was once described as ‘a small town with big style’ by Lucky Magazine, so be sure to allow some time to do this if and when you visit. We spent a morning exploring the shops during our Deep South road trip and it was one of my favourite things to do in Oxford. Don’t miss Hinton & Hinton HER for some fabulous, stylish and unique women’s wear. Neilson’s Department Store is the oldest department store in the south and Square Books is a nationally renowned bookstore. 

oxford ms tourism

7. Oxford has a thriving live music scene

Oxford is entwined with an eclectic music scene and you can head out to enjoy live music on any day of the week (excluding Sundays). Often, you’ll find the best live music on or around The Square, which is the hub and heart of this bustling Mississippi town. Many artists record at the famed Sweet Tea Records, whilst Proud Larry’s and The Lyric Theatre make up some of the best venues for live music.

oxford ms tourism

8. Oxford and ‘Ole Miss’ are main locations of Sandra Bullock’s Academy Award-nominated film, The Blind Side

Oxford Mississippi and its university ‘Ole Miss’ were featured in the Academy Award-Nominated blockbuster hit The Blind Side, which is a true story about a former Ole Miss American football player and his fascinating journey into the NFL. Despite much of the film being set in Oxford, lots of the scenes were filmed in Atlanta.

oxford ms tourism

9. It’s a great place to experience America’s unique Tailgate culture

Be sure to check the latest Ole Miss sporting fixtures to see if you’re in town during a game day. The Grove is a dedicated tailgating area at The University of Mississippi during football games. This unique slice of American culture involves a social get-together which usually takes place in the car park of a stadium, arena or venue before an event (usually a sporting one). People usually set up food stands, alcoholic drinks and barbecue stations from the back of their car. A must-see experience for sports enthusiasts when visiting Oxford.

oxford ms tourism

10. There are amazing culinary experiences to be had, beyond the Southern comforts

oxford ms tourism

Unlike much of the Deep South, Oxford’s culinary scene goes far beyond the traditional Southern comfort food.

Whilst the local dishes are a must-try (check out Ajax Diner and Big Bad Breakfast, where I tried the best American ‘biscuits’ of the whole trip), visitors to Oxford can also enjoy upscale dining, coffee shops, health cafes and international restaurants such as;

  • Saint Leo’s
  • Tarasque Cucina
  • Bouré Restaurant
  • Byrd House Cafe
  • Check out more top restaurants in Oxford .

11. You can tour the Ole Miss University Campus and visit the University Museum

If you have the time, a mini tour of the Ole Miss University Campus is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon whilst in Oxford. See where Michael Oher’s American Football Career really took off and the backdrop for many scenes in The Blindside, and where over 24,710 students come every year to study at the state’s university.

oxford ms tourism

12. The Christmas lights make the town even prettier

As if Oxford wasn’t quaint or picturesque enough, the town takes it up a notch from November when the streets are adorned with Christmas lights and holiday decorations. Venture a little further out of the centre and you can admire the impressive residential displays too. 

13. There are creative festivals and events all year round

Oxford, Mississippi, hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, showcasing its rich literary, musical, and artistic heritage. While specific dates may vary, some recurring events include Oxford Film Festival, Double Decker Arts Festival, Proud Larry’s Music Showcase, Oxford Fiber Arts Festival and the Mississippi Song Writers Festival. Dates vary year on year so be sure to check out Visit Oxford’s event listings for the latest information on what’s on in Oxford. 

oxford ms tourism

14. It’s part of the famous Blues Trail

The Mississippi Blues Trail is connected by a series of iconic blue markers across the state, that marks a significant place (or person) that helped to shape the foundations of Blues music. Often situated in the most unsuspecting places, these markers bring the history of the blues to life. You’ll find these markers around Oxford, which adds even more depth and soul to this charming town. Historians claim that The Blues started in the nearby region of the Mississippi Delta.

oxford ms tourism

14. Oxford has some great boutique hotels and unique accommodation

Oxford Mississippi has a great choice of mid-range hotels and lodgings that will enhance your experience of Oxford and won’t break the bank. We recommend staying in one of Oxford’s boutique hotels and be sure to check out the historical Inn at Ole Miss which is located right on campus. We’ve started by listing The Graduate Oxford, which was Travelista’s base whilst in the town of Oxford Mississippi. The Graduate provided stylish and comfortable surroundings in the heart of Oxford and the rooftop bar felt like a real hidden gem away. 

oxford ms tourism

Each hotel has a link for easy-booking.

The Graduate Oxford – 4 Star

This hotel is an Instagrammer’s dream; a stylish and vibrant hotel located near the University of Mississippi campus. The Graduate Oxford provides a unique and well-designed space with comfortable rooms, a rooftop lounge, and a convenient location near the Oxford Square.

400 N Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655, USA

The Inn at Ole Miss – 4 Star

Situated on the University of Mississippi campus, The Inn at Ole Miss offers comfortable accommodations with a classic Southern charm. It’s a great option for visitors attending university events or exploring the Oxford area and has been welcoming travellers since 1951.

120 Alumni Dr, Oxford, MS 38655, USA

The Oliver Hotel – 4 Star

This boutique hotel reopened in August 2023 after an extensive renovation and now offers 40 beautifully appointed rooms that offer a fresh take on Oxford and it’s heritage. The Oliver Hotel is conveniently located on the corner of S. Lamar and University Ave, just a few blocks south of The Square.

425 S. Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655, USA

Courtyard by Marriott Oxford

This Marriott property offers a contemporary and inviting atmosphere. The Courtyard by Marriott Oxford is conveniently located near the University of Mississippi and provides a range of amenities for both business and leisure travellers.

305 Jackson Ave E, Oxford, MS 38655, USA

For more inspiration and even more reasons to visit Oxford Mississippi, check out the Visit Oxford MS website.

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Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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14 Most Beautiful Towns In Mississippi You Should Visit

  • Mississippi is a hidden Southern gem with beautiful towns like Natchez and Bay Saint Louis that offer unique attractions and outdoor activities.
  • History lovers should visit Corinth and Vicksburg, which are rich in Civil War history and offer charming downtown areas filled with historic sites and antique shops.
  • From the vibrant college town of Oxford to the culturally diverse city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, it has a variety of destinations that cater to different interests, from nightlife and fine dining to nature exploration and outdoor adventures.

Mississippi may not be known for tourist attractions and vacations, but it is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. With rolling evergreens and forestry sure to send a nature lover amuck, Mississippi is a hidden Southern gem that often goes overlooked . But that doesn't take away its magical charm.

Those looking to visit Mississippi should prep for some of the most beautiful towns in the South. From Natchez to Bay Saint Louis to Clinton, every one of the best places to visit in Mississippi has something special and unique to offer, from seeing alligators to taking road trips to the must-see ghost towns and visiting the largest U.S. emerald mound . The state is sure to leave visitors with a newfound appreciation for the beauty of rural America.

UPDATE: 2023/10/20 10:48 EST BY MARIA BOU INK

These Are The 14 Most Beautiful Towns In Mississippi You Should Visit

Located on the wonderful Golf Coast and hub to the breathtaking Delta River, Mississippi has no shortage of beautiful towns. Therefore, this list was updated to include additional best towns in Mississippi. Have fun, and be safe!

Related: Exploring The Mississippi: How To Get The Most Out Of This River Trip

Less than an hour away from all the best activities in the Mississippi Delta and near other Mississippi attractions, Cleveland, Mississippi, is a charming Delta town that is a destination unto itself with its lively downtown shops and restaurants, must-see attractions, hands-on activities, and fantastic hotels. In addition, the little beautiful Mississippi town has many entertaining activities, including the Cleveland Train Museum, the Grammy Museum Mississippi, and several historic places.

  • Hotels: Cotton House, Lyric Hotel West End, Cleveland Holiday Inn Express…

Corinth is the ideal vacation spot for history lovers. Tourists will see the crossroads that the charming Mississippi town takes its name from, and they may visit the Veranda House, which was the Confederate headquarters during the Civil War. A local recommended renaming it Corinth in honor of the ancient Greek city that was located at a crossroads. It was originally called Cross City because of its noteworthy cross-junction of railroads.

  • Hotels: Quality Inn & Suites Corinth West, The General’s Quarters Inn, Econo Lodge Corinth…

The little Mississippian town of Greenville has a rich past. In addition to having more writers per capita than any other U.S. town, Greenville, this beautiful town in Mississippi, is home to Jim Henson, the inventor of the Muppets, historian Shelby Foote, and Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes. Greenville, the ideal weekend escape destination, offers something for everyone to enjoy, including amazing food, history, literature, music, and outdoor activities.

  • Hotels: Tru by Hilton Greenville, Harlow’s Casino Resort & Spa, Hotel 27…

Related: 10 Things You'll Love Doing In Mississippi

This location, which is about a thirty-minute drive northeast of Hattiesburg, has the charm of a Southern little town. It is currently recognized as Mississippi's Waco, Texas. While meandering through Main Street with its local eateries and businesses, tourists get a sense of community. There are many exciting culinary and cultural places to visit and shop in Laurel, Mississippi. A day in Laurel is ideal for experiencing Home Town, even if there is a lot to do over the course of two or three days.

  • Hotels: Hampton Inn & Suites Laurel, MS, The Buzzard’s Roost Bar & Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Laurel…

Natchez is the oldest town on the Mississippi River and home to many historic homes and plantations. It's also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mississippi due to its unique architecture and deep Southern charm. Visitors can take a riverboat cruise down the Mississippi River or take a stroll along the beautiful streets of downtown Natchez.

  • Hotels: Natchez Grand Hotel, Magnolia Bluffs, BW Signature Collection, Hampton Inn & Suites Natchez...

Oxford is a college town full of youthful energy. It is home to the University of Mississippi but is also known for its vibrant downtown area and nearby attractions. From bustling boutiques to fine dining, Oxford has something to offer everyone. It's considered one of the best cities in Mississippi, and it's sure to be a highlight of any trip to the Magnolia State.

  • Hotels: Courtyard by Marriott Oxford, Graduate Oxford, The Oliver Hotel of Oxford, by Oliver...

Related: Oxford, Mississippi: What Makes This Literary City So Charming?


The beautiful Mississippi city of Hattiesburg is known as one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities. From live music venues to art galleries, this quaint college town is sure to be a hot spot for thrilling nightlife. Its numerous parks and outdoor attractions, like Paul B. Johnson State Park , also make it a great destination for those looking to explore Mississippi's natural beauty. The downtown area showcases its colonial past with historic buildings while also embracing modern attractions such as a tennis center and the University of Southern Mississippi.

  • Hotels: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Hattiesburg, Courtyard by Marriott Hattiesburg, Hilton Garden Inn Hattiesburg...

Vicksburg is a charming river town with plenty of Civil War history to explore. With its cobblestone streets, historic homes, and quirky cafes, Vicksburg boasts an atmosphere like no other. The city also has one of the best outdoor markets in the state, providing visitors with a unique shopping experience. The Vicksburg National Cemetery is a great place to stop for history buffs.

  • Hotels: Riverwalk Casino Hotel, Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg, WaterView Casino & Hotel...

Bay Saint Louis

The beautiful small town in Mississippi, Bay Saint Louis, is nestled on the Gulf Coast and offers an array of outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, and swimming. The charming downtown area is full of antique shops and restaurants, as well as galleries that feature local art. It's one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Mississippi, and it's sure to provide visitors with a relaxing and peaceful escape.

  • Hotels: Pearl Hotel, Super 8 by Wyndham Bay St. Louis, Bay Town Inn...

The city of Clinton is the closest to Jackson, Mississippi’s capital city. It's known for its vibrant downtown area that features an array of boutiques, restaurants, breweries, and cafes. Visitors can take a drive through the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway or explore the nearby Hinds Community College campus. The Olde Towne Historic District in Clinton is a great place to explore the city's history . Home to dozens of historic buildings and homes, visitors can take a leisurely stroll through this charming part of town and learn about its rich cultural past.

  • Hotels: Staybridge Suites Flowood, Hilton Garden Inn Jackson/Clinton, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Jackson Clinton...

Related: This Is What Visitors Will Experience On A Tour Of The Mississippi's Famed River Delta

Greenwood is one of the oldest and most beautiful places in Mississippi. It's full of quaint charm. From its thriving art scene to interesting historical attractions, Greenwood is a great destination for those looking to explore Mississippi's rich history. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls through the downtown area or explore the nearby museums and galleries. The Museum of the Mississippi Delta is a great place to visit to learn more about the area's culture and heritage.

  • Hotels: The Alluvian, Comfort Suites, Rodeway Inn...

The small town of Starkville is located in the heart of Mississippi and is a great place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts. It is widely known for its local university, Mississippi State . However, Starkville has plenty of attractions to explore. The Cotton District is a popular area among tourists and college students alike. It's the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and grab a drink before hitting the road.

  • Hotels: La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Starkville at MSU, Starkville Inn & Suites, Historic Hotel Chester

The coastal city of Biloxi is known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and world-class casinos. Whether one is looking to relax on the beach or try their luck at the tables, Biloxi has something to offer everyone. Visitors can take a stroll through the downtown area and explore its vibrant art scene, visit nearby attractions such as the Biloxi Lighthouse, or visit the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum .

  • Hotels: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi, Golden Nugget Biloxi Hotel & Casino...

Ocean Springs

The quaint coastal town of Ocean Springs is located on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Its natural beauty and inviting atmosphere have made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. (Name a specific place for visitors to go in Ocean Springs, MS: Visitors can take a trip to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art to admire its stunning works of art.

  • Hotels: The Inn of Ocean Springs, The Roost Boutique Hotel, Super 8 by Wyndham Ocean Springs Biloxi...

14 Most Beautiful Towns In Mississippi You Should Visit

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  1. 23 Riveting Things To Do in Oxford Ms for the Weekend

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  2. 10 Best Things To Do In Oxford, Mississippi

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  3. This Weekend Itinerary Is Perfect For Exploring Oxford in Mississippi

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  4. 7 Things to Do in Oxford Mississippi (including Fun Day Trips)

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  5. Why You Should Visit Oxford in the Summer

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  6. Square Up: Let's take a visit to Oxford, Mississippi

    oxford ms tourism


  1. Visit Oxford MS

    Visit Oxford MS. Welcome to Oxford, Mississippi. Touted as the "Cultural Mecca of the South", creativity abounds in Oxford as musicians, artists and writers alike find inspiration in Oxford's rich history, small town charm and creative community. Over the years Oxford has also been known for offering exceptional culinary experiences and ...

  2. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Oxford

    When we visited all of the Magnolia trees on campus were in bloom which really add to the attractiveness of the campus. 3. Historic Downtown Square. 137. Points of Interest & Landmarks. By BillL643. The square is what makes Oxford a quintessential college town. 4. Lamar Park.

  3. Things To Do in Mississippi

    From a variety of historical and literary attractions to the many events happening year-round, Oxford MS has no shortage of ways to inspire and entertain you! Things To Do in Oxford Mississippi in Oxford MS. Attractions. Arts & Entertainment. Nightlife. Recreation. Shopping. Trip Ideas.

  4. Attractions

    Attractions - Visit Oxford MS. Attractions. Whether visiting Oxford's historical sites or walking in the steps of William Faulkner, you are sure to find inspiration in a town that inspired nobel prize winner William Faulkner, as well as other authors like John Grisham, Barry Hannah and Willie Morris.

  5. Oxford, MS: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024)

    A mix of the charming, modern, and tried and true. See all. 2024. The Oliver Hotel of Oxford, by Oliver. 240. from $139/night. Hampton Inn Oxford/Conference Center. 487. from $89/night.

  6. Visitors

    Tourism (Visit Oxford) Print Prev; Next ; Related Links. A Welcome from the Mayor; Contact Us; Tourism (Visit Oxford) 107 Courthouse Square - Oxford, Mississippi - 38655 Phone: 662-236-1310 Fax: 662-232-2337. Home; Visitors. A Welcome from the Mayor; Bike & Pedestrian Map; Double Decker Bus Rental;

  7. Oxford

    Oxford - Visit Mississippi. Touted as the "cultural mecca of the South," Oxford is a magnet for both writers and literary enthusiasts. The city is home to the University of Mississippi and offers visitors numerous arts and entertainment attractions and exceptional culinary experiences.

  8. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Oxford (Updated 2024)

    THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Oxford. 1. University of Mississippi. The campus is full of historical buildings and sites where events occurred. 2. Rowan Oak. So enjoyed our tour of William Faulkner's home in Oxford. 3. Historic Downtown Square.

  9. 10 Best Things To Do In Oxford, Mississippi

    Holly Springs National Forest. Neilson's. The Grove. Photo: Robbie Caponetto. Life in Oxford may be in tune with the seasons and semesters of The University of Mississippi, but it is no ordinary college town. It is a literary town, a food town, a music town, an historic town, an art town.

  10. Tourism Council

    By encouraging tourism in Oxford and Lafayette County, The Oxford Tourism Council is able to increase and promote economic development in the community as well as cultivating a strong cultural life in Oxford. For more information contact the Oxford Tourism Council at 800-758-9177 . Official web site for the City of Oxford Mississippi local ...

  11. 13 Fantastic Things To Do In Oxford, Mississippi

    8. Sardis Lake. Sardis Lake, a 45-minute drive from the center of Oxford, is the spot where locals go for time on the water. First built in the 1930s as a flood-control facility, the lake is now a top recreation spot, offering beaches, boating, and great fishing. 9.

  12. 6 Best Things To Do In Oxford, Mississippi

    Top 13 Cabins With Hot Tub In Mississippi, USA. 1. Explore the homes of a celebrated author and an influential statesman. Source: Connie Pearson. Rowan Oak, home of author William Faulkner, is likely one of the most widely-recognized attractions in Oxford, Mississippi.

  13. Things to Do in Oxford, MS

    Things to Do in Oxford, MS - Oxford Attractions. 31. Oxford Blues Festival. 32. Oxford Memorial Cemetery. 33. The Farmstead. 34. Saint Paul's Pilgrim Holiness Church.

  14. Oxford Visitor's Guide

    Oxford Visitor's Guide. The Oxford MS Travel Guide is now available online! Inside you'll find information on where to stay, where to eat and what to do on your next visit to Oxford. From cocktails and shopping on the square to camping and fishing out at Sardis Lake. If you would like to pick up a hard copy of the guide pick one up at our ...

  15. 16 Best Things to Do in Oxford, Mississippi

    There is also a special exhibit at the museum called "African Americans in Lafayette County" in addition to many other visiting exhibits. 710 E. Jackson Avenue, Oxford, Mississippi 38655, Phone: 662-801-4087.

  16. Oxford, Mississippi Travel and Vacation Guide

    Oxford is located in the northern part of the state, just off Highway 278, approximately 170 miles north of Jackson, MS. Complete travel and vacation information for Oxford, Mississippi with maps, photos, sightseeing, hotel reservations and more.

  17. 20 Best Things to Do in Oxford, MS

    Explore L.Q.C Lamar House Museum. LQC Lamar House Museum in Oxford reflects the career and life of LQC Lamar, a representative of the US cabinet. Visitors can know the life of LQC Lamar well through exhibits at the museum. Lamar is known as the most essential and respected political person even today.

  18. Things to do in Oxford, MS

    This is one of the fun things to do in Oxford for some shopping experience, do add to your bucket list of places to visit in Oxford, MS. Katherine Beck: 134 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655, United States. Cicada: 307 S Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655, United States. 18. Eat good food at Ravine

  19. 10 Must-Do Activities in Oxford, MS

    1. You must stop by William's house first. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Oxford is Rowan Oak, the former home of famed author William Faulkner. The Greek Revival 1840s house is open for tours, and a highlight is the outline of Faulkner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "A Fable," which is penciled in graphite and red on ...

  20. THE 10 BEST Oxford Sights & Historical Landmarks

    Same with Oxford, MS. Restaurants and Bars and Shopping. Ole Miss has a The Grove... 2. Historic Downtown Square. 137. Points of Interest & Landmarks ... Oxford Tourism Oxford Hotels Oxford Bed and Breakfast Oxford Vacation Rentals Flights to Oxford Oxford Restaurants Things to Do in Oxford Oxford Travel Forum Oxford Photos Oxford Map.

  21. 7 Things to Do in Oxford Mississippi

    In this post I'm sharing 7 things to do in Oxford Mississippi including some cool day trips. Hotty Toddy! That's the all-purpose greeting you will hear around Oxford. 1. Town Square. In the center of Oxford, you'll find the Courthouse Square, or simply "The Square" as it is known locally.

  22. 15 Reasons to Visit Oxford Mississippi on a Deep South Road Trip

    15 Good Reasons to Visit Oxford Mississippi 1. It's the perfect stop as part of a wider Deep South Road Trip. Spending 2-3 days in Oxford would be the perfect amount of time, which makes it an ideal 'stop over' destination as part of a Deep South Road Trip or an exploration of the wider state of Mississippi.It's close to the Mississippi / Tennessee border and its two closest major ...

  23. 14 Most Beautiful Towns In Mississippi You Should Visit

    Oxford . Oxford is a college town full of youthful energy. It is home to the University of Mississippi but is also known for its vibrant downtown area and nearby attractions. From bustling ...

  24. Trip Ideas

    Trip Ideas - Visit Oxford MS. Trip Ideas. Need some help planning your trip? Check out the variety of customizable itineraries, suitable for everyone from individual travelers looking to explore a certain avenue of Oxford's culture to groups looking for easy planning for their tour, family reunion or wedding weekend.

  25. Spring Certified Municipal Clerk-Oxford

    Center for Government & Community Development Mississippi State University Extension Service 410 Bost Extension Center, Suite 405 Mississippi State, MS 39762

  26. Sizzled Greek restaurant opens in Cornmarket in Oxford

    Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across ...