If you're just coming in to town or if you live here and haven't been yet, Hal & Mal's is definitely a must-do. For one, it boasts a great bar and restaurant area. If you're just looking for a place to go and watch some live music, Hal & Mal's has a total of three venues: the restaurant, the Red Room off to the side of the restaurant and the big room in the back. Don't miss the autograph wall.
The Mississippi Museum of Art boasts an expansive collection of art from Mississippi, and all over the world. Over the years, exhibits such as "When Modern Was Contemporary" and "George Wardlaw, A Life in Art" have passed through the museum's halls. The "Picturing Mississippi" exhibit will be at the museum from Dec. 9, 2017, to July 8, 2018, in honor of the state's bicentennial. MMA also has The Museum Shop and The Art Garden.
The Mississippi State Legislature might not be perfect, but we can't help but admit that the capitol is a pretty building. The current one is the state's third and was built in 1903. Its grounds feature one of the 55 replicas of the original Liberty Bell, Japanese magnolia and cherry trees, and more. The dome reaches is 180 feet tall, and the eagle on top is eight feet tall and 15 feet wide. The interior of the capitol features paintings and pieces of Mississippi history.
You can't see the capitol without also learning about some of the state's history, and the Old Capitol Museum is a good place to start. This capitol, which was built in 1833, served as the state capitol from 1839 to 1903, an state office building from 1917 to 1959, and a state history museum from 1961 to 2005. In 2008, it became the Old Capitol Museum, which tells the story of the building itself. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Who doesn't love animals? The Jackson Zoo is home to more than 200 species of animals, from red pandas to Sumatran tigers to American alligators to owls. The zoo also has amenities such as the Elephant House Cafe. It is open every day except Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Over the years, Fondren has grown and attracted more business to Jackson. You can shop for clothes at stores such as Treehouse Boutique and Swell-o-Phonic; go to galleries such as Fondren Art Gallery and The Wonder Lab; eat and drink at restaurants and bars such as Barrelhouse, Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint, and Fondren Public; or even get a tattoo at Electric Dagger Tattoo. Of course, the neighborhood has more than just that, so you'll have to check it out.
These days, Farish Street isn't the hub it used to be, but you can still find gems such as F. Jones Corner and Johnny T's Bistro & Blues and its 540 Ultra Lounge. F. Jones hosts Dexter Allen's Blues & Music Challenge of Thursday nights beginning at 10 p.m., and the bar has live music on Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 4 a.m. Expect to see performances from artists such as Big Money Mel and Sherman Lee Dillon and the Mississippi Sound. At Johnny T's you can eat dinner and then head up to 540 for drinks and live music.
If you like manga, comics, anime and pop culture, you have to go to Offbeat. The shop features everything from toys to comics to manga to clothing to visual art. The business also hosts events such as a once-a-month comedy night and performances from artists such as electro-soul duo Clouds & Crayons and classic-rock band Stonewalls. Offbeat also does events such as gundam workshops and Trivia Fight Night. Offbeat is open from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
To see more of Jackson's great businesses and community, visit bestofjackson.com.