Big City Features, Small Town Feel
Walk into Cups Espresso Café or Sneaky Beans Coffee Shop on any given afternoon and you're bound to see customers at tables with laptops and headphones. Among them are Millsaps students, cramming for that next test or simply planning for the weekend.
Just outside the campus of Millsaps, there's plenty to see and do in Jackson, whether you choose the creative Fondren business and entertainment district to the north, the resurgent Midtown community to the west, the charming, historic Belhaven neighborhood to the east, or the city's vibrant downtown south of campus.
"Millsaps is located in the very heart of the best amenities in Jackson. I love to walk around and explore new parts of Fondren on a nice Saturday afternoon," said senior Allie Jordan. "I can go for runs in the Belhaven neighborhood. And, of course, I always love eating at CS's Restaurant, Keifer's, Petra Cafe, and Rooster's - all located less than five minutes away from Millsaps."
Jackson is where southern charm meets city life - and that's attractive to Millsaps' students. With a population under 500,000, Jackson is small enough to feel like a close-knit community, but big enough to host abundant choices in entertainment, dining, shopping, and more.
Just a short drive from campus you'll find trails perfect for biking or running at Ridgeland Multi-Purpose Trails. Also nearby is Providence Hill Farm, a state-of-the-art equestrian center, and the shores of the Ross Barnett Reservoir, perfect for afternoon picnicking. During baseball season, you can grab a hot dog and catch a Mississippi Braves game at the awesome Trustmark Park arena in Rankin County.
"My friends and I are always exploring new things to do in Jackson," said sophomore Merritt Corrigan. "We went to a haunted house in the fall and are going bowling this weekend. We also love to picnic at the Reservoir. There's always a variety of things to do near campus."
Into history and culture? The capital city boasts unique attractions. From Mississippi history at the Old Capitol Museum and Smith Robertson Museum, to Medgar Evers' Home and Museum and the Eudora Welty House Museum, Jackson is steeped in tradition. The city is home to the state's largest art museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art, and the fascinating Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
Is music and live entertainment more your thing? No problem. Blues, indie, rock, country, and all manner of genres in between - some kind of music is playing nearly every night of the week in Jackson. Across from campus in Fondren, find independent record store/recording studio/live venue Morningbell Records, where you can search through crates of both new and vintage vinyl records, and hear local and touring bands several nights a week.
Want to hear more regional acts? Duling Hall, also in Fondren, hosts concerts throughout the year for all types of musical tastes. If Mississippi Blues, folk, and bluegrass music are your taste, you'll feel right at home at Hal & Mal's Restaurant and Pub (located in Jackson's old train station and featuring four venues for live music; also on Tuesday nights: Pub Quiz!) or Underground 119 (located literally underground, in the basement of a historic building) in downtown Jackson.
Shopping is abundant, too. Boutiques, resale shops, and art galleries line the historic strip of Fondren, while big name retailers such as J. Crew, Anthropologie, and the Apple Store are a short drive from campus.
No matter what type of food you are in the mood for, you'll find it here. There's pizza nearby at Pizza Shack or Sal and Mookie's, gyros at Keifer's, tacos and tapas at Babalu, Irish fare at Fenian's Pub, upscale Italian at Bravo!, a 50's soda fountain experience at Brent's Drugs, and many other diverse restaurants, all right on the edge of campus. With even more new restaurants popping up, a shortage of options is unlikely.
"I love eating southern food at Julep, and I had red beans and rice for the first time after coming to Jackson," said freshman Emily Knaub. "I've been introduced to a whole new culture and have taken my experience in the Jackson community back to my classroom discussions."
After a long week of classes, there are always events where you can unwind. On the first Thursday of every month, businesses in Fondren keep their doors open late for Fondren After Five, a neighborhood gathering with live music, art gallery shows, retail and food specials, and more.
Promo video for the 2013 Hal's St. Paddy's Day Parade
Annual events such as Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade (the nation's fourth largest), Fondren's Zippity-Doo-Dah® Weekend, Belhaven's Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights, Jacktoberfest, CelticFest, and the Mississippi State Fair keep the festivities going year-round. You'll find many of Jackson's events are free or low cost.
"Jackson has been integral to my learning experience at Millsaps," said Jordan. "The greater Jackson community, including the Midtown area neighboring Millsaps, has been a main element to several of my classes. Jackson has provided me with excellent entertainment as well as ways for me to grow as an academic."