In 1821, the legislature named Jackson as the seat of government for the state of Mississippi. Named in honor of Major General Andrew Jackson, the town was situated on a bluff on the west bank of the Pearl River. During the Civil War, Jackson was burned on three occasions by troops under the command of General Sherman. Remarkably, the city hall of Jackson remains and this gorgeous, massive building still serves as the seat of government. The Governor's Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is proudly the second oldest residence of its type in the US.
Today, the capitol of Mississippi is bursting with marvelous museums, superb shopping, excellent eateries, down-home blues, and a massive quantity of history.
The Mississippi Museum of Art houses art from the 1800s and 1900s, as well as a noteworthy collection of African American folk art. The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is a simply incredible place. In addition to housing extensive collections and scientific data, the museum features a 100,000-gallon aquarium, and is home to hundreds of species of native aquatic life. A huge greenhouse provides a resting place for turtles, alligators, and a vast amount of lush native plants. As if this weren't enough, there is also a well-maintained 2.5-walking trail to enjoy. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is a sports-lovers dream. Interactive exhibits help visitors feel what it's really like to be a big sports star. The Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum boasts a 1920s living history town and farm, and makes for a perfect stop for those with little ones.
Jackson has maintained a rich African American heritage. From incredible blues, to entertainment at the Alamo Theater, and Farish Street Historical District, a remarkable 125-acre neighborhood, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jackson's Civil Rights Driving Tour invites visitors to explore and understand the city's roots.
One of Jackson's most unique features is the Mississippi Petrified Forest. Petrified logs, some 6 feet in diameter, were deposited in the area by a prehistoric river. A self-guided nature trail and museum help educate and entertain visitors. This is another sure bet for those traveling with children.
Jackson hosts a few festivals of note. The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo, held in February of every year, is the largest livestock show east of the Mississippi River. March 18th brings the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade and Festival, one of the largest in the country.
Jackson is located near the center of the state, at the intersections of Interstates 20 and 55.