Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Jackson, MS

  • Published 2022/12/09

Jackson’s increasing popularity is partly because of its genuine Southern hospitality.

Known as the “City with Soul,” Jackson is a vibrant blend of historical, cultural, and diversified attractions.

When you visit this city, you’ll find a variety of museums you can explore, all with different themes and purposes.

On top of that, it always has something unique to contribute to outdoor fun with the whole family.

Located in Hinds County, it’s also home to annual and bi-annual festivals and events.

Did you know it was once the center of transportation and social activity in the area?

Established in 1821, Jackson got its name from General Andrew Jackson, who made his mark in the Battle of Orleans and then became the eighth president of the United States.

If you love history, you might want to check out the free things to do in Jackson, Mississippi.

Join a Guided Tour around the Mississippi State Capitol

Exterior of the Mississippi State Capitol

Sean Pavone /

Located on High Street, the Mississippi State Capitol promises free guided tours for those interested.

Labeled as a landmark in Mississippi in 1986, this historical site was the third constructed capitol building within the city.

What makes this capitol an enchanting beauty is its Beaux-Arts style with a modern interpretation of the classical revival architecture.

This capitol started serving the city’s leading officials in Mississippi during Governor Andrew Houston Longino’s leadership.

House of representatives chamber in the Mississippi State Capitol

Nagel Photography /

Inside this ornate capitol are varying kinds of marble and detailed sculptures of Lady Justice.

Outside, you’ll find a copper eagle adorning the top of the dome, shining with its gold leaves.

Though the Mississippi State Capitol has been around since the early start of the 1900s, it’s still a charming tourist attraction that hasn’t worn down with time.

Supreme court chamber in the Mississippi State Capitol

Nagel Photography /

See Historical Buildings along Natchez Trace Parkway

Nothing’s more spectacular than a scenic drive around Jackson and its most anticipated tourist spots.

You can do that at Natchez Trace Parkway.

Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile park that extends to three states: Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

But before becoming the two-lane recreational pathway it is now, it also holds historical significance.

The Native Americans first used this route for travel and trade.

In Jackson, you will go by more significant and historic stops like Lefleur’s Bluff.

If you prefer a more immersive ride, you can also hike on foot or bring your bike with you.

Drive down Highway 51 to enter Natchez Trace Parkway from Jackson.

Take a Picture at the Josh Halbert Gardens

Are you tired of walking around Jackson?

You can never go wrong with a stop at City Hall on South President Street.

This historical landmark doesn’t only excel in daily city operations; it’s also an excellent place to know Jackson more.

After its construction in 1847, this building became a hospital during the Civil War.

You can find the elaborate Josh Halbert Gardens on the grounds, where you can relax and enjoy your morning or afternoon break.

Walk down the brick-lined pathways and even rest on the benches while eating your meal or snack.

Enjoy the serenity of the Josh Halbert Gardens.

Check Out the Multimedia Exhibits at the Old Capitol Museum

Exterior of the Old Capitol Museum

tome213 /

Jackson’s strongest asset has always been its historical heritage.

One of the most well-known sites that helped bring the city’s history to light is the Old Capitol Museum.

Before becoming a museum, it was the second capitol building of Mississippi.

It’s also the state’s most historic building.

Built in 1839, its architectural layout caught the attention of Greek Revival artists because of its distinguished interior.

With a copper dome and an impressive limestone exterior, it’s easily an inspiring establishment.

After completing restorations, this capitol became a free museum that helped showcase its historical significance in the state.

Explore the immersive multimedia exhibits onsite and learn more about the roles of the high court and other leading organizations.

The Old Capitol Museum is on South State Street.

Examine the Firefighting Equipment at the City of Jackson Fire Museum

On West Woodrow Wilson Avenue, Jackson’s fire department can teach several things.

Serving the public since 1993, the City of Jackson Fire Museum stands on what was once the Goodyear Building.

After a community effort, the building saw the completion of Station 10 and a Fire Museum.

When you visit, anticipate a pleasant surprise with the numerous engines and equipment displayed onsite.

Browse parade uniforms from 1870 and a 1936 Seagrave.

Find pictures, helmets, apparatus, and historical records from the fire department from the 1800s.

Will you add the City of Jackson Fire Museum to your itinerary?

See the Artifacts at the War Memorial Building

Exterior of the War Memorial Building

tome213 /

The War Memorial Building should be part of your itinerary for a dash of war memorial representation.

This ancient structure is a dedication to many individuals who have died in service to the country.

Situated on North State Street, this building has aluminum doors and panels depicting recreated historical scenes.

Columns of the War Memorial Building

tome213 /

Among the most highlighted sequences of the past include the 1736 Battle of Ackia.

Inside the Art Deco building, you’ll find various war-related artifacts, including weapons, medals, and photographs.

If you have the time, study architecture and listen to the stories told at the War Memorial Building.

Sculptures of the War Memorial Building

tome213 /

Join a Self-Guided Tour along the Help Tour

Jackson isn’t only a travel destination to many; it was also a backdrop of the best-selling novel, The Help.

This novel even became a motion picture in 2011, starring Emma Stone.

Make your trip to Jackson more memorable by going on a self-guided The Help Tour.

This tour starts on Fairview Street and also ends there.

Pass along State Street and check out Bailey Magnet High School.

Take pictures of the Junior League of Jackson headquarters and Power Elementary School on Riverside Drive.

You can see more places along your route, too!

Travel back in time to see the Civil Rights Movement as you join The Help Tour and its significant stops.

Take a Refreshing Walk at Parham Bridges’ Park

On Old Canton Road, Parham Bridges’ Park stands out among other public parks in Jackson because of its jogging trail.

Family-friendly and nature-filled, this park’s fitness trail extends to one mile.

You may benefit from a trek down this trail for some lighted walk.

Picnic tables and a playground are also available for your use.

Parham Bridges’ Park also comes with a tennis facility.

Who says you can’t get fit at the center of nature?

Experience the Culture of Fondren through Fondren Live

The district of Fondren in Jackson is a lively urban destination that mixes good food, architecture, and art.

You can join Fondren Live, a unique program that celebrates the locals’ art and creativity with free monthly activities.

The event occurs every first Thursday of the month, gathering everyone for a night of festivities in the streets.

Since 1997, Fondren Live has become a tradition for the district.

Enjoy live music and themed entertainment, such as free face-painting sessions.

There’s always something to do in the Fondren business district.

Let Your Children Play at LeFleur’s Bluff Complex

LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is the ideal family-friendly getaway that doesn’t require you to pay an entrance fee.

This complex on Riverside Park Circle is on the shared campus of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

It features a playground, a museum walking trail called Spotter’s Adventure Trail, and an outdoor pavilion.

The LeFleur’s Bluff playground spans 30,000 square feet and has 80 play activities for your child’s enjoyment.

Some of its world-class play equipment includes the Wedra and the Hedra® Tower.

When you go down Spotter’s Adventure Trail, prepare for a fantastic time amid nature.

This trail also leads to the two museums mentioned above.

LeFleur’s Bluff Complex is entirely free to the public.

Study the Unique Architecture of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion

Exterior of Mississippi Governor’s Mansion

Chad Robertson Media /

Mississippi Governor’s Mansion was the residence for many governors and their families since 1842 when it was first occupied.

In 1975, it became a National Historic Landmark, a remarkable honor.

Its architecture highlights the charm of the Greek Revival style.

According to William Nichols, the architect who designed the mansion, it was made to resemble Republican simplicity.

Facade of Mississippi Governor’s Mansion

Chad Robertson Media /

Join a free guided tour around the historic section of the mansion.

Expect free events within the mansion, including the Christmas by Candlelight tour.

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is on East Capitol Street towards the south end of Smith Park.

Bring Your Family to Battlefield Park

Battlefield Park is a recreational space within tree-lined grounds on West Porter Street.

This park comes with kid-friendly amenities that are also ADA-accessible.

Challenge your loved ones or traveling group to a friendly match of baseball or softball along the grassy fields.

If you’ve got little ones with you, they will have the time of their lives at the playground.

Battlefield Park keeps you grounded with its scenic view of the trees against the light skyline while also relaxing your mind and body.

Admire Local and International Art at the Mississippi Museum of Art

Exterior of the Mississippi Museum Of Art

Chad Robertson Media /

If you are looking for a fine art excursion in Jackson, the Mississippi Museum Of Art is your best choice.

This museum is the largest in the state, and you don’t have to spend to see its permanent collections.

The Mississippi Museum of Art also features a 1.2-acre art garden and a museum store on South Lamar Street.

Admire the seasonal foliage in its art garden, with permanent art installations you may have never seen.

You might catch a memorable event here if you’re lucky.

Are you ready for an art inspiration unlike any other at the Mississippi Museum of Art?

Play Frisbee at Laurel Street Park

Laurel Street Park on Laurel Street is one of Jackson’s most visited public parks.

Because of its multi-purpose amenities, families flock to this site.

Among its full-range assets is the ample green space where most come to play frisbee, run around, or play ball games.

The playground has climb and slide features that your child can enjoy exploring.

Ready for a bit of spectacular outdoor fun at Laurel Street Park?

Strike a Pose outside the Lamar Life Building

Exterior of the Lamar Life Building

/ // / from Jackson Mississippi, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Jackson can open your eyes to historical and cultural spots you won’t find elsewhere.

One of these historic buildings is the Lamar Life Building, the city’s first skyscraper.

The construction of the building finished in 1924.

Once designed with Gothic Revival architecture, it underwent renovations in 2018 and soon became a multi-purpose building that better served the community.

Front view of the Lamar Life Building

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its renovations, however, did not draw away Lamar Life Building’s most distinguishable features.

One of them, the iconic clock tower, remains on top of the building.

Though you may not have any business inside, you can still pose in front of the building to add to your Jackson trip photo album.

Final Thoughts

Jackson’s excellence in cultural and historical diversity brings new and resident tourists back to the city time and time again.

Though Jackson’s museums are the real headliners, you shouldn’t underestimate its list of other public spaces.

Are you ready to wrap up your final itinerary with the help of this list?

Many free things to do in Jackson, Mississippi, await your arrival!

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