History buffs, art lovers, thrill seekers and nearly everyone in between will find something to pique their interests in Starkville. Known for Mississippi State University, this college town packs a lot of fun into the area.
#1 Get a Grip at the MSU Golf Course
Golfweek Magazine ranked the 18-hole Mississippi State University Golf Course in the top 30 university-owned courses in the country. The Brian Ault design championship course hosts the MSU Men’s and Women’s golf teams and the university golf and sports turf management program. Sunday afternoons feature Family Golf Days – choose nine or 18 holes. Private lessons, golf clinics and club fittings are available to boost anyone’s game.
#2 Have A Howling Good Time at MSU Football Games
The fabled Junction is the epicenter of school spirit; it draws enthusiastic fans to cheer on the Mississippi State Bulldogs and catch the annual pre-game Dawg Walk. Led by the university’s football team and the Famous Maroon Band, the walk is a time-honored tradition paying homage to Bully, the university’s English bulldog mascot.
#3 Learn About Civil Rights Leaders at Starkville Unity Park
Located on Douglas L. Conner Drive, Starkville Unity Park was inspired by citizens who wanted to honor those who have improved race relations in our community and the state of Mississippi. The park was created so all people could come together to celebrate peace, harmony, and unity in the community. In addition to plaques honoring Douglas L. Conner, Martin Luther King, Jr., Governor William Winter, Medgar Evers and Fannie Lou Hamer, a timeline of civil rights events, including the historic March 15, 1963 Game of Change, can be found at Unity Park.
#4 Experience Wildlife at the Noxubee Refuge
Take a vigorous hike, go birding, canoe or kayak the lake, take a stroll in the bottom-land hardwood forest, photograph wildlife – including alligators and bald eagles – and much more at the Sam D. Hamilton National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge covers more than 48,000 acres with an extensive trail system and offers something for all-aged visitors.
#5 Warm Up With a Bowl of Soup at the SOUPer Bowl
Chase the winter chill with a bowl of hot soup at the annual SOUPer BOWL where local restaurants and chefs serve innovative soups that soothe heart and soul. Ladle up some goodness and help the judges choose the winner of the annual Best Soup award. The Starkville Main Street Association hosts the event.
#6 Fire up the Grill at Dudy Noble Field
Bring the hot dogs and brats, fire up the grill and enjoy the best of college sports when the Bulldogs baseball team saunter onto their home turf at Mississippi State’s Dudy Noble Field. More than 15,000 tailgaters turn out every year at the renowned Left Field Lounge and cheer the team to victory!
#7 Explore the Past at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library
In the Mississippi State University Mitchell Memorial Library, history springs to life through exhibits at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. Grant’s papers document key periods in 19th century America from the Mexican War to Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. Multiple collections include letters and even political cartoons, portraying a bird’s eye view of the illustrious life of the 18th president of the United States of America.
#8 Appreciate the Art at the Cotton District Arts Festival
A showcase of fabulous food, music and art, the annual Cotton District Arts Festival takes place annually. Presented by the Starkville Area Arts Council, the gathering features more than 125 artisans, a juried art show and competition, as well as the Taste of Starkville restaurant competition. Mississippi Magazine dubs the festival one of the top 100 events in the state, and the American Bus Association names it among the top 100 events in North America.
#9 Experience The World at the International Fiesta
Experience the world at the day-long International Fiesta hosted annually by Mississippi State University’s Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. Enjoy dance and live music on the Quad, as well as plenty of engaging activities for the kiddos. Visit the booths to learn about other cultures through displays and homemade dishes.
#10 Follow The Colors of the Art Murals
Seventeen art murals and planters liven up the streets of Starkville with bright colors and designs. Each artist created vivid scenes and colorful splashes of pattern that will tickle your senses. Follow the walking trail on our website or just drive to visit your favorite mural!
#11 Tickle the Ivories at the Ragtime Jazz Festival
Recordings, musical instruments and sheet music collected during the course of four decades fill the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum. The museum tells the business side of music and the influence of music in contemporary life. Enjoy a slice of Americana with toe-tapping good times at the annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival.
#12 Take in a Film at the Magnolia Independent Film Festival
Professional and amateur filmmakers from around the world showcase their original works at the annual Magnolia Independent Film Festival. Mississippi’s oldest film festival allows patrons to see one or more films with individual tickets or purchase passes good for all showings at this three-day festival.
#13 Eat a Bug at the King Cotton Crawfish Boil
Nothing beats a hot steaming bowl of fresh crawfish, corn and potatoes seasoned with punchy Cajun spices. Experience this regional culinary delight at the King Cotton Crawfish Boil in the heart of the Cotton District. Serving the freshest crawfish in town, the Best Boil competition is a toothsome affair. Local celebrity judges choose the best boil each year.
#14 Taste the Spice at the Taco Hop
Enjoy the mouthwatering smell of street tacos cooking on Main Street for the annual Taco Hop. You can try tasty tacos made by local Starkville restaurants with unlimited craft beer tastings with each ticket purchase. Come out, enjoy live music, and bring your friends and family for this unique culinary and craft beer event.
#15 Step Back in Time at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum
Step into the museum’s home in the renovated 1874 Mobile & Ohio railroad depot, and take a trip through time. The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum connects history and culture to contemporary life. Exhibits feature military antiques, memorabilia, artifacts from history of local aviation, vintage clothing, a retro doctor’s office, and more.
#16 Experience a Plot Twist at the John Grisham Room
His tales deliver thrills and goosebumps. Learn more about famed author and Mississippi State alum John Grisham in the Mitchell Memorial Library, John Grisham Room. Original manuscripts are on display along with artifacts of Grisham’s life and days at the university.
#17 Sip & Shop at the unWINE Downtown Event
Enjoy delicious wines and a sample of artfully paired food at the unWINE Downtown event, offered three times a year. Merchants open their shops and stores after hours, offerings sips and discounts of up to 20 percent for all ticketholders. These festive nights are perfect for early holiday shopping.
#18 Find Solace at the Chapel of Memories
The Mississippi State Chapel of Memories is located in the heart of campus. The chapel is a beautiful combination of Gothic design with a modern twist. Small colored glass windows provide colorfully diffused light, inviting relaxation, reflection and recollection. All are invited to enter and enjoy the perfection of this simple, quiet space.
#19 Get Farm Fresh Food at the Starkville Community Market
The Starkville Community Market is the place to find wholesome, local produce and goodies galore. Bins brim with colorful fruits and veggies, and artisans sell baked goods and crafty items. The market takes place at the Fire Station Park on Russell Street on Tuesdays and Saturdays in May through August.
#20 Take in a Show at the Starkville Community Theatre
With four productions each season, the Starkville Community Theatre on Main Street sells out practically every show in its 89-seat playhouse. With nine performances of each production, audiences delight in enchanting musicals, comedy and more.
#21 Listen to the Sounds at Local Concerts
There’s music for all at the lively Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony concert season. The concerts feature jazz, Christmas extravaganzas, and choral presentations of Mississippi State’s Symphony Chorus, as well as music of great composers from Mendelssohn to Stravinsky.
#22 Stroll Through the Streets of the Cotton District
Take a walk through the beautiful Cotton District, which is located in Starkville and adjacent to Mississippi State University. The Dan Camp Family redeveloped the community beginning in the 1960s. They utilized what would eventually become known as “New-Urbanism” preservation and development. The Cotton District has elements of Greek Revival with Classical and Victorian architecture. This award-winning redevelopment is a national model for New-Urbanism and captures the spirit of a New South.
#23 Stop and Smell the Flowers at the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden
Located at the Highway 182 entrance to the R. Rodney Foil Plant Science Research Facility, Veterans Memorial Rose Garden is part of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES). This beautiful site offers a panoramic view of traditional and new rose varieties including Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora, and Floribunda. The rose garden also features a central gazebo, raised-brick planting beds, paved walkways through the beds, an arched bridge, and three arbors.
#24 See The Best in Show at the Golden Triangle Kennel Club
The Golden Triangle Kennel Club of Mississippi hosts a dog parade, conformation shows and obedience/rally trials throughout the year to celebrate canine companions.
#25 Grab a Scoop or a Cheese Ball at the MSU Cheese Store
The MSU Cheese Store is operated by the University and serves as a teaching tool for food science and marketing students. Annual sales of campus-made products include 48,000 pounds of the world-famous Edam cheese cannonball; 90,000 pounds of cheddar; 15,000 pounds of jalapeño cheese; and 5,000 gallons of ice cream. Come to the store located near Davis Wade Stadium and enjoy these products and more MSU homemade goodness.
#26 Follow the Trail of History with the Historical Markers
Learn interesting and educational facts about the area from the many historical markers found here. On the Starkville Historical Marker, you’ll discover that Starkville was founded as Boardtown in 1831; it was renamed in 1837 after John Stark, a Revolutionary War General. Other markers feature information on “Cool Papa” Bell, Grierson’s Raid, historic churches, the Greensboro Street Historic District, the Needmore Community, and Odd Fellows Cemetery among other topics.
#27 Get Lost in Time at the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum
The time is now at the Cullis & Gladys Wade Clock Museum in the Mississippi State University Welcome Center. Clocks and timepieces from all around the world adorn walls, floors and showcases with more than 400 on display. Most are original productions. The collection features a number of French, English and German pieces.
#28 See the Lights on Lafayette
Come and enjoy the warm glow of the festoon lights on Lafayette Street. This most recent and creative feature to the downtown area is a local favorite for an evening walk. This unique space is also used as a public dining space on occasion. Dawg Talk, the MSU Football Coaches program, is held here each week seasonally, but the lights are beautiful year around.
#29 ‘Leaf’ in on the Trail at the MSU Campus Tree Trail
The MSU Campus Tree Trail showcases the university’s vast landscaping efforts. MSU is home to more than 10,000 tree species and varieties, with 80 to 100 new trees planted each year. Many have informative tree tags. These trees include the special Moon Sycamore, found in the Junction. This sycamore was grown from a seed taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. MSU is designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to environmental stewardship.
#30 Take a Stroll Around Chadwick Lake
Chadwick Lake is located next to the Joe Frank Sanderson Center on the campus of MSU. Fishing is allowed with a Mississippi fishing license and a Chadwick Lake permit. There is a one-mile walking trail around the lake, a small outdoor gym, and a disc golf course. The outdoor gym includes pull-up bars, dip bars, and other weight machines. This area offers several ways to stay active outdoors.