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10 Must-Do Activities in Oxford, MS

Whether you are a newcomer or in town for a big game, make sure your bucket list has these fun things to do in Oxford.

By Kevin Litwin on December 15, 2021

Downtown Oxford, MS
Art Meripol

You’ve finally unpacked that last box and, as a new resident of Oxford, MS, you’re eager to explore what this North Mississippi gem has to offer. Or maybe you’re in town for that big SEC football game and want to see the sights before kickoff. We’ve compiled a list of 10 fun things to do in Oxford and Lafayette County. Enjoy!

1. You must stop by William’s house first.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Oxford is Rowan Oak, the former home of famed author William Faulkner. The Greek Revival 1840s house is open for tours, and a highlight is the outline of Faulkner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “A Fable,” which is penciled in graphite and red on the plaster wall of his study. Rowan Oak has been featured as a literary destination in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Garden & Gun and Southern Living.

Square Books in Oxford, MS
Steve Jones

2. This next stop’s a real page turner.

For 40+ years, Square Books has done business on the Historic Oxford Square. This two-story building is home to a huge selection of reading material as well as a café, where you can find some tasty desserts and espresso drinks. Peruse its shelves, and you’re sure to find your next great read.

3. Have a double-dose of fun.

Every spring, the Historic Oxford Square lights up for the annual Double Decker Arts Festival, where live music and art are the main event. About 60,000 people attend. It was inspired by the double-decker bus Oxford imported from England in 1994.

Oxford Burger Co. in Mississippi
Karen Pulfer Focht

4. Eat a Gosh Almighty Burger.

On the Historic Oxford Square is the landmark restaurant Oxford Burger Co., which specializes in 100% black Angus hamburgers made from choice beef that is never frozen. One of its offerings is the mammoth triple-decker Gosh Almighty Burger topped with cheese, bacon, grilled onions and house-made sauce. Trust us, you’ll be back for another.

5. And be sure to eat some catfish.

Taylor Grocery & Restaurant, which offers the slogan, “Eat or we both starve,” is known for serving up some of the best catfish meals in the South. One of its most popular selections is the Mississippi blackened catfish. If you’re looking for something other than catfish, not to worry. Here, you can also find dishes with shrimp, chicken, pork or steak.

Neilson’s in Oxford, MS
Allison Muirhead Photography

6. Enjoy a shopping spree for the ages.

When the shopping bug hits you, Neilson’s is where you want to go. As the oldest department store in the South and a fixture on the Historic Oxford Square since 1839, there’s a reason people keep coming back. Here, you can find items for everyone in the family – apparel, shoes and houseware items.

7. Listen to Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.

Celebrating its 25th year on the air in 2022, Thacker Mountain Radio Hour broadcasts about 30 live shows a year at 6 p.m. on various Thursday evenings from its studio at Off Square Books on the Historic Oxford Square.

South Campus Rail Trail in Oxford, MS
University of Mississippi

8. Exercise on South Campus Rail Trail.

Whether you want to walk, run or bike, exploring the South Campus Rail Trail is a must that you’ll want to do every time the sun is shining. Once a gravel railroad bed, today, South Campus is a well-marked, 5-mile trail. Residents and Ole Miss students approve!

9. Visit Mississippi’s magnificent state parks.

Get ready to have some fun outside! Four Mississippi state parks are within an easy drive of Oxford. Home to Sardis Lake, John W. Kyle State Park is 15 minutes away, while Wall Doxey State Park is 30 minutes away, Cossar State Park is 30 miles away, and Hugh White State Park is 50 miles away.

Now that you’ve explored Oxford and Lafayette County, there’s one more absolutely must-do item to put on your list, especially if you are here for a football game …

10. Hang out at The Grove.

Named for its surrounding elm, magnolia and oak trees, The Grove is a tailgating hot spot on The University of Mississippi (or Ole Miss) campus, where as many as 100,000 fans gather on fall Saturdays prior to kickoff. Spaces are first-come, first-serve, so you’re going to want to get there early to ensure you have a great spot to set up your tent and other tailgating necessities.

Want to learn more about living in Oxford? Check out the latest edition of Livability Oxford-Lafayette County, Mississippi.

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