Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Starkville, MS

  • Published 2022/09/19

Do you fancy a trip to the American South? Why not try visiting Starkville, Mississippi?

As the state’s “college town,” the city embraces its history and culture through several attractions that showcase a genuinely Southern flavor.

Its central college is Mississippi State University.

The city used to be a settlement of the Choctaw tribe of Native Americans until 1830.

As the Americans entered the 20th century, Starkville also progressed, thanks to its strong dairy industry.

Like many American cities, Starkville offers a bevy of recreational activities and popular attractions that would fill any traveler’s time.

The sheer variety of outdoor sports and leisure pursuits in Starkville might make your head spin, but this list should steer you in the right direction.

Read this guide below for the best things to do in Starkville!

Visit Cotton District’s Unique Community

View of Cotton District's Unique Community

NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While Starkville’s Cotton District is a residential community, tourists like you can still enjoy a trip to this beautiful neighborhood.

You can go there to admire the traditional architecture used to build houses.

The community also observes 1960s neighborhood development practices, so you’ll be stepping back in time once you enter.

It’s also a handy place if you’re ever interested in starting a life in Starkville.

Many affordable apartments are available in the Cotton District; you can list them in your options.

Visit the Cotton District at 5414, 104 ½ Maxwell St., Starkville, MS 39759.

Revisit US History at the Cobb Museum of Archaeology

Archaeology goes hand in hand with history, so don’t leave your Starkville history tour incomplete by dropping by the Lois Dowdle Cobb Museum of Archaeology.

You’ll have to go down to the Cobb Institute’s basement, but the displays are worth it.

The museum displays more than 5,000 archaeological artifacts from around the world.

Many of these objects came from donations or excavations.

The museum also focuses on the Near East and Southeastern parts of the US in terms of regions.

To reach the museum, visit the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at the Mississippi State University.

Learn More History at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum

Another museum you can visit at Starkville is the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, which hosts exhibits detailing the city’s history.

It’s also inside the renovated Mobile & Ohio railroad depot, built in 1874.

Inside the museum, you’ll find displays featuring various aspects of Starkville life, such as medical practices in the early 20th century, among others.

You’ll see items from historic African American businesses and memorabilia from local inductees to sports halls of fame.

With interactive features, the museum also wants to appeal to curious children.

So, it’s a great place to spend a quiet afternoon with your kids.

Visit the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum at 206 Fellowship St., Starkville, MS 39759.

Learn Civil War History at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library

Who says reading can’t be fun?

Visit the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library to learn more about the Civil War through the documents available.

Since the library is also a museum, you can find historical artifacts related to the late president Grant’s life and career.

For example, you can view a book of photographs showing Grant’s seven-mile funeral procession, the largest in American history.

You’ll find the historical figures and landmarks the procession passed on its way to bury the wartime president.

The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library is inside the Mitchell Memorial Library, located at 449 Hardy Rd, Starkville, MS 39759.

Honor Civil Rights Heroes at the Starkville Unity Park

The Civil Rights period of American history continues to reverberate among its people even today.

Many people rose to fight for their rights during this period, including people from Mississippi.

So if you’re curious about the civil rights heroes from the state, drop by the Starkville Unity Park.

At the park, you’ll find exhibits honoring the legacies of civil rights heroes, such as Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and Starkville’s own Dr. Douglas Conner.

The park also features plaques dedicated to each figure.

Visit the Starkville Unity Park at 101-109 Dr. Douglas L Conner Dr., Starkville, MS 39759.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

A Bird at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

traveler jordan /

On the other hand, if you prefer the outdoors, you should head to the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge to revel in the company of local animals.

The refuge began as a collection of lands given by the 1930s Resettlement Administration, totaling 48,000 acres.

The majority of the land is forest and is home to a variety of wildlife.

Among the animals like turkey and deer, you can also find the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in the forest.

Cypress trees on the waters of Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Gary Rolband /

The Noxubee refuge protects the animal from any harm, like hunting.

The sanctuary also supports the habitats of American alligators, wood storks, and the bald eagle, America’s hawk.

Visit the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge at 13723 Bluff Lake Rd, Starkville, MS 39759.

Visit the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum

If you’ve ever been curious about the history of clocks, then make your way down to Starkville for the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum.

Just go to the Mississippi State University Welcome Center lobby to find the place.

You can find over 400 timepieces in the museum, like clocks and watches that are as old as the 1700s.

These items also represent nearly every American clock manufacturer in history, such as Waterbury, W. L. Gilbert, Ansonia, and Seth Thomas.

Cullis Wade also customized a number of the clocks on display.

His modifications include hand-painted glass, hybrid English-American clocks, and clocks with finial additions.

Likewise, you’ll also find several French and English clocks in the museum.

Visit the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum at Cullis Wade Depot, Starkville, MS 39759.

Free Your Inner Bookworm at the John Grisham Room

You’ve probably read a John Grisham novel at least once in your life.

Maybe you’ve also watched a film adapted from his books.

In that case, why don’t you get to know more about the author in his room at the Mitchell Memorial Library?

Inside the Grisham Room, you’ll find memorabilia gathered from the author’s collection.

You’ll also find his files, like screenplays, novel manuscripts, and translations.

Likewise, you’ll also see letters and documents from Grisham’s tenure as a Mississippi representative.

Visit the Mitchell Memorial Library at the Mississippi State University.

See a Show at the Starkville Community Theatre

Round out your artistic tour of Starkville by catching a performance at the city’s Community Theatre.

Every season, the theatre produces four shows, each running for nine performances.

They also stage a children’s play and host a children’s workshop.

Indulge your inner theatergoer by attending a show at the Starkville Community Theater.

You don’t need to go to the big cities to enjoy a fun night at the theater.

Get to Know Your Pooch at the Golden Triangle Kennel Club of Mississippi

If you want to get to know your dog more, you should try going to the Golden Triangle Kennel Club in Starkville.

The club teaches members about how to become better and more responsible dog owners, among others.

Their lessons also apply to all dog breeds.

Likewise, the club welcomes visitors, so don’t be shy!

Among the club’s programs are obedience lessons for puppies and adult dogs alike.

These classes happen throughout the year.

The kennel club also hosts obedience and rally trials at the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville.

So, if you want to see good dogs in action, you might want to check out these events.

Take a History Tour With Starkville’s Historical Markers

There might be days when you just want to walk the streets to pass the time.

When the mood strikes you, why not check out the historical markers scattered in the city?

These markers don’t just cover Starkville figures, but they also mark incidents involving people like Johnny Cash, who got arrested in the town.

His arrest led to his writing the song “Starkville City Jail.”

By going on a history walk, you’ll learn all you need to know about Starkville and the people who made history there.

Buy Fresh Produce at the Starkville Community Market

During the summer and fall, Starkville puts up the Community Market on Saturday morning.

You’ll find its stalls at the Fire Station Park.

When you visit here, you’ll find an assortment of goods on sale, such as locally grown food, baked treats, plants, and even arts and crafts.

Likewise, you might see people demonstrating cooking and gardening techniques or holding kids’ activities.

So, it’s not a bad idea to bring your children along.

They might also learn the benefits of eating healthy.

Visit the Starkville Community Market at 503 E Lampkin St., Starkville, MS 39759.

Try Good Old Cajun Cooking at the King Cotton Crawfish Boil

If there’s anything the American South is known for, it’s the food.

So, if you ever find yourself in Starkville, you can drop by the King Cotton Crawfish Boil.

It’s held right in the middle of the Cotton District, making it a tasty stopover in your tour.

You can enjoy a piping hot bowl of crawfish with corn, potatoes, and hefty seasonings of Cajun spices.

They also serve only the freshest crawfish, so you’ll always be wanting more.

The Crawfish Boil also holds the Best Boil competition every year.

Take a Walk Along the Chadwick Lake Track

Experience nature once again by following the nature trail at the Chadwick Lake Track.

The path comprises a one-mile jogging and walking track, where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the lake.

You might even meet some wildlife if you’re lucky.

You could even do light workouts at the outdoor gym near the lake, aside from running laps.

Likewise, you could have a picnic or simply chill by the lake.

You might even try fishing, although you’ll need a Mississippi fishing license and a Chadwick Lake fishing permit.

The Chadwick Lake Track is at the Mississippi State University.

Enjoy Craft Beer at the Mayhew Junction Brewing Company

As Starkville’s leading brewery, the Mayhew Junction Brewing Company is an unmissable spot for craft beer enthusiasts.

Cap off your Starkville trip by enjoying an ice-cold mug of beer.

The brewery believes in creating a delicious beer that many people could enjoy so that you could bring friends over for a good time.

Among the beers you can try at Mayhew are English Milds, Milk Stouts, and American Pale Ales.

No matter which beer you choose, you’ll always be sure of a fun and enjoyable time.

You might even meet new people, or make new friends.

Visit the Mayhew Junction Brewing Company at 106 Eckford Dr, Starkville, MS 39759.

See the Stunning Pieces of Mississippi State University Art Galleries

The Department of Art at Mississippi State University houses three galleries worth of excellent exhibits displayed within the showcase.

The art galleries at Mississippi State University are a one-of-a-kind destination for tourists and locals alike when in Starkville.

The main gallery has a fun atmosphere, including a children’s play area, an art studio, a nursing room, and more.

You may see sculptures, fabric displays, glasswork, paintings, and other ever-changing works of art throughout the galleries.

One of the best things about the gallery is that it is open to the public without charge; as a result, everyone, but notably school officials and educators, should pay a visit.

Catch a Sporting Game at Dudy Noble Field

Exterior of Dudy Noble Field

Chad Robertson Media /

College football, hockey, volleyball, and baseball are popular sports that draw fans to Dudy Noble Field.

Professional athletes and sports fans alike may watch racing contests on the field.

While enjoying live games at the beautiful Dudy Noble Field, visitors may prepare hot dogs, heat the grills throughout the area, and kick back into a comfortable state of mind.

Daytime view of Dudy Noble Field

Chad Robertson Media /

The turf is where the Bulldogs baseball team does their training and plays certain international games.

Dudy Noble Field annually hosts around 15,000 tailgaters.

Aerial view of Dudy Noble Field

Chad Robertson Media /

Sweat It Out at A. J. Pitts Tennis Centre

Whether you’re a tennis enthusiast or want to have some exercise, check out Mississippi State University’s A. J. Pitts Tennis Centre.

It first saw action on February 26, 1984, when the Bulldogs’ men’s team hosted and beat Louisiana Tech, 6-3.

John Wildman, a prominent architect in Sydney, Australia, is responsible for its design.

The Mississippi State University tennis program holds home matches and hosts intercollegiate and club events at the tennis complex.

It has six state-of-the-art courts, and each one can hold a thousand spectators.

Relax at Veterans Memorial Rose Garden

The Veterans Memorial Rose Garden is a popular stop for visitors because of its proximity to the main road that leads to the Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Facility.

The convenient location at the crossroads of MAFES and Mississippi Agricultural makes the facility a favorite among residents of the whole city of Starkville.

The charming rose garden displays an assortment of roses, including Grandiflora, Floribunda, Hybrid Tea, and many more.

The park features many stunning flowers, but Roses are especially abundant.

Unique elements, such as three arbors, planting beds, raised-brick, a central pavilion, an arched bridge, paved paths among the beds, and many more, make a fantastic experience for garden visitors.

Celebrate Music at Charles Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival

In the summertime, one of the most popular activities in Starkville is going to the Charles Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival.

The festival is one of the most popular events in all of Starkville, attracting over half of the population.

The festival hosts musical competitions, live theater and performances, and other exciting exhibits.

It features fun and exciting displays like musical instruments, CDs, collections of sheet music, and more.

In addition, the festival offers attendees a chance to enjoy a memorable experience with a dynamic fusion of American cultural traditions.

Final Thoughts

Starkville, “Mississippi’s College Town,” is brimming with attractions and popular spots to catch the eye of any curious tourist.

For example, its museums appeal to tourists with an itch for history.

Its nature parks and refuges hook the nature lover.

Finally, events like the King Cotton Crawfish Boil attract everyone because who doesn’t like good food?

If you ever plan to travel to the American South, swing by Starkville to sample everything the region offers.

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