25 Best Things to Do in Tupelo, MS

25 Best Things to Do in Tupelo, MS
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Tupelo is an enchanting city in Mississippi, featuring a delightful mix of history, art, culture, and scenic natural beauty.

It is world-renowned for being the birthplace of rock legend Elvis Presley.

Tupelo is host to countless vibrant festivals and events that take place throughout the seasons.

It is also the location of two historic Civil War battlefields.

What's more, the picturesque Natchez Trace Parkway meanders through this city.

Here, you can indulge in a multitude of outdoor recreation, such as camping, disc golf, hiking, water skiing, fishing, and plenty more.

With numerous colorful street murals and majestic statues, the city provides opportunities for taking loads of great pictures.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here’s an all-in-one list of the best things to do in Tupelo, Mississippi:

Take a Sightseeing Tour at Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum

Front view of Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum
Chris DeRidder and Hans VandenNieuwendijk / Shutterstock.com

The birthplace of the King of Rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis Presley, is located in Tupelo.

The home was built by the singer’s family for $180.

Owing to financial hardships, the family eventually had to move out a few years after Elvis was born.

Located in the Elvis Presley Park, the home has now been converted into a museum.

Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum
Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

The park features a chapel, Presley’s childhood church, and many impressive statues of the late singer.

Several thousands of fans visit this place every year, making it a prime tourist attraction of Tupelo.

Explore the Tupelo Veterans Museum

Owned and operated by a US Army veteran, this museum features exhibits from the World Wars, Civil War, Korean War, Gulf War, and Vietnam War.

Collected over 60 years, the exhibits include ancient army weapons, military uniforms, images, artifacts, model fighter aircraft, jeeps, a document signed by Abraham Lincoln, a fedora worn by Harry Truman, and plenty more.

The museum is a tribute to the US army for their sacrifices for the nation.

You can also get to interact with the owner, Tony Lute, while touring this place.

See the Diverse Animals at Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo

Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo
Giliar Motta / shutterstock.com

Encompassing over 200 acres, this zoo features more than 260 animals, including several buffaloes, one of the tallest giraffes in the country, camels, zebras, capuchin monkeys, Burmese python, lemurs, blackbuck, African grey parrot, peacocks, Arctic fox, llama, deer, horses, rose tarantula, and several more.

The distinguishing feature of this zoo is that you can pet the animals and feed them as well.

What's more, kids can try pony rides at the zoo.

Enjoy a Scenic Long Drive at Natchez Trace Parkway

Aerial view of Natchez Trace Parkway
Justin Sienkiewicz / shutterstock.com

Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic road that traverses three states: Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.

It features numerous archaeological sites, the Mississippi river, towering trees, verdant meadows, swamps, picturesque clifftop views, ancient mounds, the Tennessee river, charming creeks, parks, mesmerizing waterfalls, farms, hiking trails, an abandoned town, a reservoir overlook, ancient cemeteries, and plenty more.

Here, you may do a wide range of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, picnicking, cycling, boating, birding, camping, and others.

This road approximately follows the Old Natchez Trace, a historic footway formerly used by Native Americans, European explorers, soldiers, and slave dealers.

This parkway is one of the prime attractions of Tupelo.

Go on a long drive and make stops along the way to experience the region’s astounding natural beauty.

See the Murals in the City

Tupelo is renowned for its incredible street murals.

The 1950’s Elvis Mural was created by famous graffiti artist, Ryan Christenson, in 2018 during the Tupelo Elvis Festival.

It is one of the best murals of this city.

The Book Stack Mural was painted by a regional artist in 1997.

It depicts the story of a local family business named Reed’s Department Store, which has been a part of Tupelo for over a century.

The Buy Local Produce Mural, meanwhile, was painted by students of a regional high school, their art teacher, and a local artist.

It is located near the Farmer’s market and features a beautiful farm with a flower garden, many vegetables and fruits, and a tractor.

The other noteworthy graffiti include Chickasaw Heritage Mural, the iconic Coca-Cola Wall Art, Greetings from Tupelo Mural, Icehouse Elvis Mural, and Jail House Rock Elvis Mural.

Pay a Visit to Tombigbee Lake State Park

This park is a popular site for a wide range of recreational activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and disc golf.

It features a lake, playground, barbeque grills, tennis courts, ball field, picnic tables, and more.

Located at the center of the park, Lake Lee is a popular spot for fishing.

Surrounded by dense foliage, the lake is a spectacular visual to behold.

Go hiking along the invigorating trails, enjoy a picnic against the picturesque backdrop, play a fun game of volleyball, soak up the tranquil atmosphere, and camp here at night.

See the Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue

View of Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue
Our Roaming Hearts / Shutterstock.com

This huge statue of the king of rock ‘n’ roll is situated near the City Hall in downtown Tupelo.

It was inspired from a famous photograph of Elvis taken during his homecoming concert in this city in 1956 and was sculpted by a regional artist.

The statue is one of the top tourist attractions of this city and is a great spot to take pictures.

It is located at the same spot where the concert took place.

Witness Different Festivals

Tupelo is home to a multitude of  grand  and vibrant festivals that take place consistently all year round.

The Annual Tupelo Elvis Festival, for one, is a tradition dating back to 1999.

It is a five-day event featuring numerous rock concerts, Elvis Presley impersonators, Elvis tribute artist competition, 5K health runs, Elvis themed parade and art shows, a pet parade, and plenty more.

Several thousands of diehard fans from across the world flock to Tupelo to be a part of this event every year.

In addition, Frank’s Labour Day Annual Balloon Race Festival or FLABR Fest is also one of the biggest and most colorful events of this city.

It is organized by Frank Anger, a hot air balloon pilot having over a quarter of a century’s experience.

Several kaleidoscopic hot air balloons patrol the skies of Tupelo every year on Labour Day.

It is a stunning visual to behold and attracts tourists and locals.

The balloons take off from Veterans Memorial Park.

Other popular festivals in Tupelo include Tupelo Azalea Festival, Tupelo Craft Beer Festival, Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise, Tupelo Film Festival, Fall Classic Disc Golf Tournament, Tupelo King of the Hill Triathlon, Gum Tree Arts Festival, and others.

Gorge on Scrumptious Meals

Café 212 is one of the best places to eat in this city.

They serve mouth-watering sandwiches, coffee, soups, and salads at pock-friendly rates.

Their White Cheddar Pimento Cheese Sandwich is a must-try.

This is a great spot to grab lunch or enjoy a nice cup of coffee.

In addition to Café 212, you may also want to visit Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen, which specializes in local and American cuisine.

They’re known for their meat-centric dishes and source majority of their ingredients from local farms.

Try the Juicy Burgers at Mugshots Grill and Bar

Treat yourself to desserts at Popsy Popsicles and Hollypops Bakery.

Other great restaurants in Tupelo include Buffalo Wild Wings, Crossroads Ribshack, Harveys, Woody’s Tupelo, Blue Canoe, Fairpark Grill, and Tellini’s.

See the Cannons at Tupelo National Battlefield

Cannon at Tupelo National Battlefield
Chris Light at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tupelo National Battlefield is where the Union troops defeated the Confederate Army after a battle that lasted for two days in July 1864.

The Union soldiers, led by General AJ Smith, didn’t want the Confederate forces to disrupt the Union’s “march to the sea” campaign in Georgia by obstructing the railroads sending supplies.

Currently, the site features a memorial, two cannons, gravesites, and markers.

Watch a Show at Tupelo Community Theatre

Since its inception in 1969, this award-winning theatre has presented over 300 plays.

Located at the historic Lyric Theatre, it is a popular attraction of this city.

Over the years, the theatre has diversified; it currently presents musicals, comedies, and cabaret.

Their second location in Tupelo is TCT Off Broadway, which presents outstanding cabaret performances, and is a great place for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Watch a Concert at BancorpSouth Arena

Dating back to 1993, this arena was home to Tupelo’s indoor football and ice hockey teams.

It is currently used for organizing musical concerts, parties, exhibitions, sports tournaments, entertaining performances, and various other events.

Elton John, Aerosmith, Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line, Goo Goo Dolls are some of the big names who have performed here.

Get tickets to a concert at this arena and enjoy an unforgettable experience.

Explore Art at Gumtree Museum of Art

Gumtree Museum of Art is a renowned visual arts gallery located in downtown Tupelo.

Established in 1982, the museum features different collections and rotating displays.

Additionally, artworks by local high school students are also exhibited here multiple times during the year.

Gumtree is also known for their annual festival, which takes place over a weekend in May, and features diverse works by numerous regional artists, music, live performances, and delicious food stalls.

You have the opportunity to interact with the artists while looking at their works at this event.

The festival aims to celebrate regional art and artists.

Experience the vibrant local culture at this festival while exploring great artistic works.

Stroll through Downtown Tupelo Main Street

Street art display and Shops at Downtown Tupelo Main Street
Ron Cogswell, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tupelo's Downtown has long functioned as the city's focal point, but in the late 1980s, a new mall erected miles away made Downtown a target for new competitors.

With the assistance of downtown business owners and city authorities, the National Main Street Center and the Mississippi Main Street Association restored life in Tupelo Main Street in 1990.

Once known as "Tupelo's Front Porch," the Fairpark District began Downtown's metamorphosis.

Among the buildings at Fairpark are those of the federal and state governments and significant financial firms.

As many as 15 special events occur in the downtown area throughout the year.

Around 80,000 people attend wine tastings, chili cook-offs, the Tupelo Elvis Festival, and more each year in downtown Tupelo.

Have Fun at Paradox Games and Escape Rooms

Escape from the mundane life and visit the Paradox Games and Escape Rooms.

Bring along your friends and family to solve mind-boggling puzzles and unravel mysteries to discover hidden treasures.

Become a secret agent or a guest of Houdini for a day in Paradox’s immersive adventure games.

They provide entertaining experiences for all ages that are bound to give you an amazing time.

Their most popular challenges include Houdini’s challenge and The Office of Secret Agent 22.

It is recommended to make reservations ahead of your visit, as it is a top-rated attraction.

Shop at Tupelo Furniture Market

This is a biannual furniture market that dates back to September 1987.

It is held every year in January and August, which attracts several thousands of patrons from the USA and worldwide.

They showcase products from over 300 regional vendors selling aesthetically pleasing and durable furniture at affordable rates.

Visit the Oren Dunn City Museum

Located in Ballard Park, this museum educates its patrons about the history of Tupelo and its nearby regions.

Its permanent displays portray the historic Battle of Tupelo, prominent achievements in agriculture and industry, the destructive cyclone in 1936, Chickasaw history, and more.

It also features a model railroad, a train car, dioramas, images, fossils, historic buildings, and other regional memorabilia.

The museum hosts the Dudie Burger Festival and the Dogtrot Festival in May and October respectively.

Throughout the year, numerous events are organized here, such as toy exhibits, geology exhibits, fossil shows, summer camps, and more.

The park in which the museum is situated features scenic views, play areas, picnic spots, and hiking trails along a lake.

Have a Retail Therapy at Mall at Barnes Crossing

Entrance of Barnes Crossing Mall at Tupelo, MS
Mike Kalasnik from Charlotte, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Barnes Crossing Mall is the leading retail attraction in Northeast Mississippi.

Each year, it attracts more than 12 million visitors with its eclectic mix of anchors, businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

The mall stands in a prime location in Tupelo. David Hocker & Associates owns and manages the mall.

In addition to the Cinemark movie theater and the 600-seat food court, the mall houses over 90 specialized stores and five anchor tenants.

Barnes & Noble, Jos. A. Bank, JCPenney, Ulta Beauty, two Belk shops, Cinemark, and Dick's Sporting Goods are the main anchors of the shopping center, along with two Belk locations.

Buy Stuff at Tupelo Hardware Company

This store is where Elvis Presley’s mom bought him his first guitar, and the rest is now history.

You can visit this store, look around, and interact with the employees who will tell you various stories about Elvis.

Located in downtown Tupelo, it is a family-operated business that is close to a century old.

Go Shopping at Relics Antique Market Place

Relics Antique Market Place is a one-of-a-kind antique mall.

It hosts over a hundred antique vendors selling a broad array of vintage goods, such as furniture, home décor, apparel, glassware, clocks, paintings, cutlery, jewelry, and plenty more.

The mall also features stores of local artists exhibiting their works and a nice coffee shop.

Join Elvis' Tupelo Self-Guided Bicycle Tour

In Tupelo, you may also go on Elvis' self-guided cycling tour.

A self-guided bicycle tour takes you to 14 spots in Tupelo that were important to Elvis during his childhood.

Rent a bike at many outfitters in the area, or you can bring your own.

The tour includes the Lyric Theatre, where Elvis went to see plays, Johnnie's Drive-In, where he liked to dine, and Tupelo Hardware Store, where his mother purchased him his first guitar, among other places.

Travel Back in Time at Chickasaw Village Site

The Chickasaw people used to call Tupelo, Mississippi, home.

According to local historians, Chickasaw forts and villages thrived on this territory in the 1700s.

There are now interpretative signs and artist renditions depicting what the community might have looked like today.

Here, you may find hiking and walking trails.

The Blackland Prairie Trail is a six-mile-long path that may take you to the Old Town Overlook and the Parkway Visitor Center.

To cross a road and a creek, certain path sections necessitate walking on the parkway.

You can also spot plants and their usage by the American Indians on an instructive one-half-mile route.

As part of a loop, hikers can simultaneously use the hiking and horse trails.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield

Two cannons at Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield
USM MS photos, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is the site where the Confederate army emerged victorious in a battle against the Union troops in June 1864.

The victory resulted in the Confederate army, led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest, capturing a railroad that was used to send military supplies and food to the Union soldiers.

Today, the site features two cannons and a memorial.

Next to the historic battlefield lies a cemetery consisting of the graves of nearly 100 Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the battle.

Wander around the Trace State Park

This park is a popular place for camping, picnicking, hiking, disc golf, golf, and water adventures.

It features dense forests, playgrounds, picnic areas, a large serene lake, invigorating hiking trails, a golf course, and campgrounds.

The lake here provides access to water skiing and fishing.

This is a great place for you to explore nature while being close to the city.

Being a popular location, it is recommended to make reservations ahead of your visit.

Final Thoughts

Because of its most famous local son, Elvis Presley, Tupelo is well-known to music fans all over the globe.

Tupelo has a lot to offer guests in the way of locally sourced cuisine and a rich history of live music.

Eat, stay, and play at Tupelo!

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