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It’s no secret we have a soft spot for small Southern towns, and we love a good summer road trip. Ideal for family vacations, girls’ trips, and couples’ getaways, Tupelo, MS, checks all the boxes for a great Southern getaway — fabulous dining, live music, summer events, and plenty of new attractions and properties to enjoy. Join us as we break down four elements that make Tupelo a must-visit destination in the summertime!

4 Reasons to Visit Tupelo, MS This Summer

DINING

Tupelo offers over 160 dining options, and we’re just barely starting to scratch the surface of where you need to dine to experience the city’s booming culinary scene. Whether you’re craving elevated Southern cuisine or meat-and-three options, Tupelo offers something to satisfy all palates.

Described as “Tupelo’s back porch,” a visit to Steele’s Dive guarantees authentic Southern cuisine thanks to standout dishes like the Cadillac Convertible burger (fresh ground beef, melted pimento cheese, pepper jack cheese, bacon, and grilled onions), shrimp and grits, and marinated steak kabobs. Plus, visit Wednesday through Saturday to experience some of Tupelo’s best live music. (SB TIP: During the week, stop by from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to enjoy happy hour.)

If you’re craving something on the lighter side, NOON at Farmhouse is a fast-casual eatery where you can create your own power bowl using rice, lo mein, arugula, or romaine lettuce as a base. You can also order from their delicious pre-made entrées like the Avocado Tomato Salad (romaine lettuce, arugula, avocado, tomato, grilled corn, garbanzo crunch, and lemon dijon vinaigrette) and the Tupelo Stir Bowl (lo mein, an over-easy egg, carrots, red cabbage, yakisoba sauce, and black sesame seeds).

Power bowl from NOON at Farmhouse

NOON at Farmhouse offers a variety of power bowls and salads.

If you’re in town for a couples’ getaway or girls’ trip, consider paying a visit to Forklift. The farm-to-table restaurant offers everything from shrimp and grits to ribeye, fried chicken, and more. We recommend ordering one of their hand-crafted cocktails before your meal.

If you’re out exploring Downtown Tupelo, stop by Downunder to experience a touch of international flair. Offering upscale cocktails and pub food, the hotspot is also a part of the Tupelo Cocktail Trail. (Visit Downunder and the trail’s six additional restaurants with your cocktail card to earn a free cocktail shaker!)

What’s a trip to Tupelo without seafood straight from the Mississippi Gulf? Located inside Hotel Tupelo, Jobos offers classic coastal dishes with modern twists, including the Blackened Shrimp Melt (Rico’s cheese, mushroom piperade, avocado, tomato, Duke’s Mayo, and hoisin) and the Salmon and Smashed Avocado Caesar Salad. Be sure to also stop by from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the weekend to try their brunch menu.

Blackened Shrimp Melt and cocktail from Jobos in Tupelo, MS

Enjoy a Blackened Shrimp Melt on Jobos‘ spacious (and dog-friendly!) patio. Image: Instagram/@jobostupelo

EVENTS

Spring and summer in Tupelo bring plenty of fun-filled events. While favorites like the Tupelo Blue Suede Cruise have already passed, plenty more remain on the docket. Whether you’re a fan of music, the arts, or spirits, here are four upcoming Tupelo events you don’t want to miss!

Taking place May 6 through 8, the Gumtree Art and Wine Festival is a beloved annual event that celebrates artists and makers from across the country. Honoring both the visual and performing arts, attendees can experience a chalk art contest, plein air painting, and more. Plus, new this year is the inclusion of wine and spirits!

If you missed the first installment of North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s live music series, you can catch another show on Saturday, May 21, with Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux. He is slated to perform “Concierto de Aranjuez” by composer Joaquín Rodrigo. The concert features three beautiful musical pieces — two by French and Russian composers and another by Australian composer Maria Grenfell. General admission tickets are $30 and can be purchased HERE.

Because Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, it’s only fitting that the city hosts an event honoring “The King.” Taking place June 8 through 16, the Tupelo Elvis Festival features performances from some of the best Elvis impersonators around the country during the Ultimate Elvis Preliminary Tribute Competition. The event is hosted by Tom Brown and includes performances from impersonators like Jeff Lewis, Ben Thompson, and Dean Z. Tickets begin at $25 and can be purchased HERE.

Elvis Presley tribute artist performing at Tupelo Elvis Festival

The Tupelo Elvis Festival hosts a handful of Elvis Presley tribute artists during the Ultimate Elvis Preliminary Tribute Competition.

One of the final events rounding out summer is Tupelo Con, which connects fans of comic books, video games, movies, and more. Now in its sixth year, this year’s event is expected to be the biggest one yet and will be held in a new venue — Tupelo Furniture Market. The event takes place on Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17. Weekend passes for adults are $20 and can be purchased HERE.

ATTRACTIONS

If you’re looking to do some sightseeing and embark on a few adventures, Tupelo offers a handful of exciting attractions that are perfect for the whole family. Take a look!

Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo invites visitors to experience up-close views of some of the world’s most exotic animals, such as zebras, buffalos, and even one of the tallest giraffes in the U.S.! In addition to one-of-a-kind animal encounters, the attraction also offers zip lines and playground areas. (SB TIP: Be sure to purchase a $3 feed bucket to increase your chances of petting exotic animals!)

Close-up of buffalo at Tupelo Buffalo Park

Home to over 260 animals, Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo offers guided tours where you may come face to face with a buffalo!

If you’re craving a delicious libation, head to Mississippi’s first meadery: Queen’s Reward. While you can certainly relax and purchase drinks by the glass, we recommend opting for the meadery’s $12 tasting session. Not only do you get the full tasting experience, but you also receive a complimentary drink of your choice.

We’d be remiss not to include the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum on a list of Tupelo attractions. Visitors can tour Elvis’ childhood church, view a statue of the musician at 13 years old that was commissioned by the Elvis Presley Foundation, see a replica of the 1939 green Plymouth sedan the Presley family drove to Memphis, and more.

Home where Elvis Presley was born

Tour the home where Elvis Presley was born at the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum.

Another can’t-miss Tupelo museum is the Oren Dunn City Museum, a converted dairy barn that walks visitors through Tupelo’s rich and diverse history. Museum exhibits include a model of the 1940’s railroad, tornado history, Hospital on the Hill history, Chickasaw cultural history, and more. Monthly themes also focus on different topics in Tupelo’s story that include fun, family-friendly activities.

HOTELS

Tupelo offers over 2,000 hotel rooms where visitors can unwind after a full day of exploring. The newest ones to the city’s lineup include Home2 Suites, Tru by Hilton, and Hotel Tupelo.

Home2 Suites is a Hilton hotel located about three miles from the city’s best attractions. The four-story, 89-room hotel offers amenities like complimentary hot breakfast, an indoor pool, and free WiFi. Plus, the hotel’s spacious lobby allows guests to spread out, relax, and enjoy complimentary tea and coffee.

Adjacent to Home2 Suites is Tru by Hilton, a 90-room hotel located 10 miles from Elvis’ Birthplace and historic Downtown Tupelo. The hotel also offers a 24-hour Eat & Sip Market, fitness center, pool tables, and USB ports and outlets throughout.

If you’re looking for a boutique hotel option, you can’t go wrong staying at Hotel Tupelo. Inspired by Elvis and offering 79 luxurious guest rooms, the hotel is located in Tupelo’s bustling Fairpark District, offering easy access to shopping and dining options.

Rendering of Hotel Tupelo

Hotel Tupelo opened in February 2022 and is Tupelo’s first boutique hotel!

Enjoy your adventures in Tupelo!

This article is sponsored by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. All photography provided by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau unless otherwise noted.