Oxford, Mississippi, famous for being the “Cultural Mecca of the South” will surprise you with all the exciting and interesting things to do with your family. It’s a charming city that is rich in history. It has a lot of acclaimed restaurants which you can check out the ones we tried in my post Places to Eat in Oxford MS. It’s the home of Ole Miss, fascinating shops and more. My family and I had so much fun, and one thing’s for sure Oxford will always have a place in our hearts for our memorable trip. See my list of things to do in Oxford MS that you should list down in your itinerary for your trip to this captivating city.
Best Things to Do in Oxford MS
On our walking tour which I suggest you take, you can arrange one at VisitOxfordMs.com or email [email protected] we had the pleasure of being hosted by the owner Rhondayln Peairs. She is a native to the area, and although she has lived in other places, she returned to the place she loves. She is very knowledgeable about local history and how Oxford fits into national history. The Historic Tour of Oxford Square we took lasted about an hour. They have several themes available and in the state there are theme tours noteable: The Country Music Tour, Blues Tour, Literary tour and the Freedom Tour.
The ten cool things I learned about Oxford while on the walking tour in no particular order because history isn’t to be ranked or ordered it is to grow and learn from and to share and be a part.
- Oxford was in fact named after the University in England.
- Oxford hosts the school that helps create the SEC (South Eastern Conference), Ole Miss or the University of Mississippi.
- The University of Mississippi was the first in the south to admit women in 1882 and it was the first to hire a female faculty member. Sarah McGehee Isom was an American orator, and the first female faculty member at the University of Mississippi, where she taught oratory for twenty years.
- Lamarhall has bricks with the fingerprints of child slaves because the children were the only ones with hands small enough to turn the bricks.
- Women’s rights and the importance of women in society was prominently on display in Oxford’s history, even from its inception. Oxford was purchased from Princess Hoka, a Chickasaw Indian maiden.
- Oxford also served as the backdrop for Elizabeth Allen Booth had a husband who ran up a large amount of debt when he died. They tried to take her slave to repay his debt. She wasn’t having that. She fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. The law was changed in 1839 in her favor.
- Oxford was burned down in the civil war. The civil war ended in 1865 but the town wasn’t finished being reconstructed until 1878.
- Someone that is very noteworthy for her contributions to women and making strides in ending segregation was Ida B. Wells. One of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. A journalist and was arguably the most famous black women of the civil rights movement. She was born a slave but was freed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Ida wrote a detailed description of a lynching that really shed light on the horrific nature of humans.
- Oxford was founded on the vision of education, so it isn’t any wonder in the square that there are three bookstores all owned by the same family, and each is involved in the community.
Square Books – They host over 150 author events per year and has many signed and collectible books, a very strong literary fiction section, southern fiction and history. The second floor of Square Books has a coffee bar so browsers can enjoy a cup and, when the weather is fair, relax on the balcony overlooking the courthouse. We were impressed with their extensive collection of books by writers that are from Mississippi.
Square Books Jr.– The kids’ book store is filled with everything a child could want. They host book readings and it a must-stop if you have children.
Off Square Books – Is a bookstore with a cool vibe. They all Thacker productions to host a radio production in their store that not only interviews authors but it features live music they have a house band and visiting artists. It is a well-attended event that merges the poetry of music with literature.
Visit Square Books at 160 Courthouse Square
9. William Faulkner statue in front of City Hall makes sense because he was a resident of Oxford for 40 years. He also had a movie Intruder In The Dust filmed in the square on the steps.
10. Oxford has several unique stores in their square. There is a record store and it is all vinyls, The End of All Music Record Store.
Visit End of All Music Record Store at 103A Courthouse Square Oxford MS, 38655
We also got to look into the window of Neilson’s Department Store. It has been a fixture of the community since 1839. The owner was smart enough to hide gold so when his business was burnt down during the civil war he was able to rebuild.
Visit Neilson’s Department Store at 119 COURTHOUSE SQUARE, OXFORD, MS
Southside Art Gallery – Was established in the early 1990’s. They promote art in their community. They are a commercial art gallery that is open to the public and features a variety of artists.
Visit Southside Art Gallery at 150 Courthouse Square Oxford, MS 38655
The University of Mississippi famously known as Ole Miss is a public research university in Oxford, Mississippi. It is the state’s largest university by enrollment and is the state’s flagship university.
The Grove is the tailgating area located at the center of the University of Mississippi campus. It is approximately 10 acres in size.
We took the opportunity to drive and meander through Mississippi University. The campus is stunning. It is the kind of place you could picture yourself at. I could see myself in The Grove reading a book or tailgating with friends. I have a hard time saying this, but I wouldn’t be upset if my children wanted to attend Ole Miss. They just can’t root for them when they play the Gators. Ole Miss is a wonderful University with opportunities abound. They are also listed as the 5th safest campuses.
Rowan Oak was the home of American writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner and his family for over 40 years. It was originally built in 1844, and stands on over 29 acres of land just south of the Square in Oxford, MS.
The home of William Faulkner sits among gorgeous trees it was built in 1844. This was their family home for 40 years. If you wish to visit one of the greatest writers home of the first century it will cost you just $5.
You will enter into his home on a self-guided tour. You can ask the docents questions as they arise. The museum features easy to read descriptions and some interactive materials to bring the Faulkner house alive. The home should be some place you visit. I was so impressed and embarrassed that I had never read on his books that I ordered one from the library prior to departing.