Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Clinton, MS

  • Published 2023/02/27

Originally at the junction of Natchez Trace and Old Vicksburg Road, the city of Clinton boomed in 1823.

That year, Mississippi Governor Walter Leake built his home on its grounds.

Leake’s home was named Mount Salus and was built near a large, flowing spring.

Soon after, people proposed Mt. Salus as the city capital, but they changed it to Clinton instead.

Over the years, Clinton became home to over 40 businesses and professional offices and one of the country’s largest cotton gins.

Today, Clinton is a Mississippi Main Street City and one of Mississippi’s most livable cities.

It is also consistently rated as Mississippi’s third safest city.

Here are the best things to do in Clinton, MS:

Tour the Mississippi College

Exterior of Nelson Hall at Mississippi College

Robby Followell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the grounds of Mississippi College and embark on a self-guided tour across its facilities.

Mississippi College is a private, co-educational Christian university of liberal arts and sciences that has shaped young minds since 1826.

It is the oldest institution of higher learning and the second-oldest Baptist institution in the US.

Make your way to the Jennings Hall Courtyard and admire the architecture and design of the most elegant residence halls in the South.

You might also want to check out the Providence Hill Farm, a 2,000-acre land area where the college holds its outdoor programs.

Explore the Clinton Community Nature Center

Get a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of city life and head over to the Clinton Community Nature Center.

Engage your children in nature-centered activities as they explore miles of scenic walking trails, play forest, mud kitchen, splashing frog water feature, etc.

Let them discover several native plants and participate in several programs.

Spend Nature Day with your kids listening to book readings and learning new skills like making bird feeders and nature bracelets.

You can also participate in monthly programs like nature nuts, plant sales, lecture series, and other special events.

Swing by the Olde Town Depot

The city of Clinton is rich in historical places.

The Olde Towne Depot is one of those places you simply couldn’t miss.

The Olde Towne Depot captures the exact structure of three historic depots in Clinton.

You can see rotating exhibits that tell the story of the historic depots that became touchpoints in Clinton’s history.

You can also check out other historical pieces like the last telegraph machine they recovered before demolishing the original depot.

These railway lanterns sent commands to conductors while directing traffic on the railways.

Likewise, check out the depot bench and several house paintings, photos, and railroad equipment.

In 1831, the state of Mississippi granted a charter for the construction of railroad tracks connecting Clinton and Vicksburg.

View Masterpieces up Close at the Wyatt Waters Gallery

Art aficionados are in for a real treat when they swing by the Wyatt Waters Gallery.

This gallery is one of the best galleries in Mississippi.

Discover Wyatt Waters’ masterpieces inside the gallery, featuring a catalog of his original work and giclee prints.

Check out pieces like “The Wanderer,” “Humpty Dumpty,” and “Gypsy Life,” and read the stories behind each one.

Wyatt Waters, a Clinton native, has produced well over 7,500 pieces of art inspired by plein air and watercolors.

Get a Taste of City Life at Clinton Visitor Center

If there’s one place to get the complete Clinton experience, go to the Clinton Visitor Center.

Styled like an 1800s farmhouse, the Clinton Visitor Center is anything but outdated.

Enjoy your Friday nights listening to live musicians playing folk, country, bluegrass, string band music, and a lot more.

While walking along the landscaped grounds, you’ll find the Fallen Comrade Sculpture, a masterpiece from internationally celebrated sculptor Marshall Gore.

The sculpture depicts two long-time Clinton friends, Marines Joe Albritton and Homer Ainsworth, during the Korean War.

Visit the Samuel Marshall Gore Art Galleries

Check out the pieces inside the Gore Galleries, a tribute to Mississippi College professor Dr. Samuel Marshall Gore.

Gore was Mississippi College’s first full-time art instructor in 1951.

Gore expressed his dreams for an official art department for the college as early as the 1950s.

Then, he began toying with the idea of establishing a Fine Arts building.

You’ll find the Gore Galleries in the Aven Fine Arts building, showcasing many art pieces from local and budding talents.

Witness the Caterpillar Parade

Clinton is home to one of the most unique annual parades in Mississippi.

The Caterpillar Parade began in 2007 and has become an annual celebration of good times, great food, and the city’s unwavering spirit.

Watch decorated golf carts, bikes, wagons, and scooters fill the streets, followed by the 50-foot-long Calliope the Caterpillar.

Crowning the Caterpillar Queen is also one of the most-awaited events during the celebration.

The ceremony recognizes one influential woman each year who has made significant contributions to Olde Towne.

The Queen rides in her chariot throughout the parade with her Butterfly Court, a group of young girls in butterfly costumes.

Spend Family Day at Funtime Skateland

Spend a fun-filled day with family at Funtime Skateland.

Put on your roller skates, listen to your favorite songs, and dance with the disco lights.

Funtime Skateland also provides an excellent space for hosting parties and other events, so book private reservations.

Shop for skating equipment like bags, light-up skates, and regular roller skates.

After skating, grab some pizza or snow cones.

Join the Gingerbread House Competition

Got a knack for building gingerbread houses?

Grab your baker’s hat and put your skills to the test by joining the Gingerbread House Competition.

The Olde Towne Depot and Main Street Clinton host this competition every December.

People of all ages and skill levels can join the contest.

The Gingerbread House Competition is typically divided into three categories with corresponding qualifications.

The Olde Towne Depot will display your gingerbread house after the contest.

Sing Your Heart Out at the Red Brick Roads Music and Arts Festival

Held towards the end of August, the Red Brick Roads is one of the most-awaited events in Clinton.

Let the music lead you to Olde Towne Clinton and catch some of the best musical acts in the city.

Catch regional talents and headliners strut their stuff at the outdoor stages.

You can also swing by the Red Brick Roads Craft Market and get your hands on fine crafts.

Of course, any celebration wouldn’t be complete without good food and drinks.

Satisfy your cravings by picking out food from dozens of vendors and taking your pick from 20 craft beer options.

Check Out the Cruzin’ Clinton Car Show

Gearheads will indeed find the Cruzin’ Clinton Car Show worth their while.

The non-profit Main Street Clinton program sponsors the community event.

Watch vehicles of all makes and models flaunt their styles and line the streets for everyone to see.

You can even show off your own tricked-out car.

Also, enjoy a day of music and good food.

Relax at Traceway Park

Enjoy a relaxing day surrounded by lush green trees and the cool breeze at Traceway Park along Soccer Row.

Walk along the trails and drown in the sound of rustling leaves, or take your friends out for a day filled with sports activities.

Spanning 160 acres of land, Traceway Park received the MS Recreation Parks Association Facility Design of the Year.

Get your daily fix of cardio by playing soccer or baseball at the park.

You might also want to check out new additions to the park, such as the Arrowhead Archery Range, covered shooting area, and 3-D lanes.

Hang Out at Main Street Clinton

Main Street Clinton is where everybody goes for good food or the city’s regular events.

Main Street Clinton is a non-profit organization and program of the Mississippi Main Street Association that opens opportunities for small and local businesses to prosper.

Drop by the Olde Towne Markets and check out dozens of open-air markets on the historic brick streets of Olde Towne Clinton.

Main Street Clinton hosts four markets annually, each with its unique theme, giving visitors a variety of products, food, and crafts.

Try Main Street’s best-selling snacks during your tour.

You can also swing by the Main Street office and rent a cruiser-style bike to explore the downtown streets.

Drop by the Wood Activity and Therapeutic Center

Therapeutic recreation is a big thing in Clinton; the city even has a dedicated space for it.

Built in 1969, the Wood Activity and Therapeutic Center spans over 10,000 square feet.

People living with developmental, cognitive, and physical disabilities can join activities and programs designed for them.

These activities are suitable for people aged 50 and above and kids six years old and up.

Participants can also try other hobbies, such as music.

The Wood Activity and Therapeutic Center’s Expressive Music Making program offers leisure music-making that allows participants to practice at their own pace.

Other amenities in the center include a pool and game tables and an exercise station equipped with treadmills, lightweights, elliptical bikes, and more.

Spend a Day at Lions Club Park

Kids will love the Lions Club Park along Soccer Row.

The park features an updated playground for children of all ages, but it’s also ADA-compliant and a friendly environment for the visually impaired.

Let your kids run free in the inclusive playground and meet new friends while you lounge around the picnic pavilion.

On certain days, you can watch live performances at the amphitheater.

Lions Club Park is also a great place to host parties and other events.

Let the Dogs Have Fun at Clinton Bark Park

Your fur buddies are off for an enjoyable time atClinton Bark Park right along Old Vicksburg Road.

Whether your pet is a cute sweet pooch or an active sport, they’ll have plenty of separate space to run, play fetch, and meet other dogs, too.

This two-acre park also has play structures dogs can climb, jump and slide; water fountains are also available so they can cool down after playing.

While your pets are having fun, you can relax on the benches and enjoy the wide green space and fresh air at the park.

Likewise, your kids can also play at the nearby Kid’s Towne Park.

Bond with your pets and bring them to Clinton Bark Park.

Browse Book Collections at Quisenberry Library

If you’re a bookworm, a visit to the localQuisenberry Libraryis a worthwhile treat.

You can easily find their location on East Northside Drive and drop by from Monday to Saturday.

The 20,000-square-foot facility was built in 2009, housing over 60,000 books and over hundred thousand circulations.

You might discover interesting facts and history in the genealogy room or just enjoy browsing through the book collections.

Even kids and little ones can grab a book and enjoy reading at the children’s library.

While getting immersed in a good book, you’ll also enjoy the overlooking view of the lovely sparkling pond by the window.

After reading, head outside and stroll the nature trail going to the Clinton Nature Center, or drop by the Walk of Honorees.

The Quisenberry Library is operated by the Jackson Hinds Library System and is owned by the City of Clinton.

Follow Clinton’s Historical Markers for Some Local History

Charles Caldwell Assassination historical marker at Clinton

Chad Robertson Media /

If you’re a history buff, take time to seeClinton’s Historical Markers.

Read the descriptions at each stop and you’ll surely learn fascinating facts and significant events that happened in each location.

Drop by the Clinton Parkway at the corner of East Main Street and discover how the city was named or learn about the Clinton Duel that happened on Clinton Raymond Road.

See how the Olde Towne Historic District evolved as described by the marker on City Hall at 300 Jefferson Street, and also read about the significance of Town Spring, on a marker on Belmont Street.

You’ll also find identical markers on East Main Street and College Street near Mississippi College describing the East Clinton Historic District.

Interested to learn about the Clinton Riot? You’ll read about it on the marker at the corner of Jefferson St. and Vernon Road.

Know about the Clinton Massacre on the West Northside Drive marker, or get to visit the corner of Jefferson and Leake Streets where Charles Caldwell was assassinated; likewise, read about the important contributions of Dr. Walter Hillman on the East Street marker.

Learn about educational institutions like Hillman College and Mississippi College along with the historic Provine Chapel on campus.

Other significant locations with markers include Tanglewood, The Cedars, The Clinton Cemetery, the Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, the Clinton Methodist Church, and the contributions of Baptist minister Benjamin Whitfield.

The rest of Clinton’s Historical Markers include descriptions of The Indian Trading Post, the city’s Blues Legacy, and the Roy Burkett Field.

Sip Some Coffee Brews by Cups

Cups is a local Espresso Café you’ll find on West Main Street offering uniquely superb coffee flavors and other beverages.

Owners Janice and Dennis Cameron bought the small coffee shop, which opened in 1993; from that humble beginning, they now have 11 Cups locations in Mississippi.

They serve customers with their cafe-roasted beans and also sell Cups roasted beans on their online shop.

But more than a coffee spot, the place also promotes a community space where local artists can display their works at no commission, and artists can also work as baristas while they pursue their artistic careers.

The coffee shop is also a great study and work area providing a casual relaxing ambiance for everyone.

Try their classic Coffee selections like Drip Coffee, Cold Brew, Café au Lait, or Shot in the Dark; they also have Espresso Classics like Café Mocha, Latte, Breve, Cappuccino, and Americano.

Sip and enjoy Cups Originals in Blondie Latte, Brunette Latte, and Capitol St. Latte, or grab cold Frappes in Dark or White mocha, Blondie, Brunette, or Caramel.

If you prefer tea beverages, Cups also serve assorted Loose Leaf teas, London Fog, and Chai Latte, along with non-coffee drinks like Hot Chocolate, Spritzer, Italian Cream Soda, and their Fruit + Yogurt Smoothie.

Enjoy Delicious Southern Cuisine at 303 Jefferson

Savor delicious Southern dishes and hot plate lunches at303 Jefferson.

And you’d probably guessed it because this restaurant is located exactly at 303 Jefferson Street!

You’ll enjoy an array of food items on the menu, warm and friendly service, and a casual but relaxing dining area; they’re open from Tuesday to Saturday, lunchtime until evening, and Sunday at lunchtime only.

Get plates of tasty appetizers like Smoked Tuna Dip, Pimento Cheese & Cracklins known as “The Pate’ of the South”, Crab Claws, and Boudin Balls made of crispy Cajun pork and rice sausage fritters served with Creole Mustard.

Take your pick from superb entrees like Angus Beef Steaks, Pork Chop, and Pork Shank, and pasta servings like the 303 Pasta “Balsamico” and Pasta Alfredo.

If you love seafood, try the Jumbo Gulf Shrimp or ask for the Fresh Catch of The Day; likewise, go for salad servings in Garden, Spinach, Caesar, and Greek varieties with your choice of house-made dressings and salad additions.

Plus, you can also choose from sandwich items, The 303 Burger and the Smoked Ribeye Cheese Steak.

303 Jefferson also serves signature cocktails like their famous Bacon-Bloody-Mary and The Learning Curve.

Final Thoughts

Booming business and arts districts are only some reasons why Clinton makes a great tourist destination.

The rich history and culture embedded in its landmarks and sites are other reasons the city is a must-visit.

Book your trip to Clinton today!

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