From award-winning dining destinations to must-see attractions and events, Tupelo, MS, is so much more than the birthplace of Elvis Presley. (Though they’re proud of that, too!) Whether you’re looking to embark on a girls-only trip, a family-friendly vacation, or even if you’re flying solo, here are five reasons you need to visit this charming Southern town this fall!
5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Tupelo, MS This Season
Explore the Culinary Scene
With over 160 restaurants to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find a place in Tupelo that satisfies your taste buds — whether you’re craving barbecue, seafood, or Cajun cuisine. To eat like a king, head to a restaurant that was one of Elvis’s personal favorites: Johnnie’s Drive-In. The diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it’s most known for its delicious barbecue. To truly walk in Elvis’s footsteps, sit in the designated ‘Elvis Booth’ and order his go-to meal of a cheeseburger and RC Cola.
If the weather allows for it, snag a table at any of Tupelo’s alfresco dining options. The Stables Downtown Grill offers a spacious patio in downtown Tupelo, serving everything from fresh sandwiches and burgers to catfish nachos. For a more upscale (but equally delicious) meal, head to Park Heights, which offers outdoor seating on its portico and rooftop bar. Standout menu items include the steak frites and coffee-rubbed pork chops. If you’re craving seafood, Jobos has a dog-friendly patio, and it’s the place to be. Located inside Hotel Tupelo, the eatery is known for putting a modern twist on classic seafood dishes.
For a post-dinner drink, pay a visit to Mississippi’s first (and only!) meadery. Queen’s Reward Meadery offers signature meads made from 100% pure Mississippi honey. Signature flavors include ‘Scarlett Noir,’ ‘Delta Dry,’ ‘RuBee,’ and more.
Travel Along the Cocktail Trail
Downtown Tupelo is home to eight watering holes that make up the city’s Cocktail Trail. Before you embark on your journey, pick up your map and stamp card at the Tupelo Visitors Center or any of the participating restaurants. From there, you can start collecting your stamps. Once you’ve tasted all eight signature cocktails, you can redeem your card for a free Tupelo cocktail shaker! Restaurants along the trail include Amsterdam Deli, Downunder, Kermit’s Soul Kitchen, Nautical Whimsey, Fairpark Grill, The Grillehouse, Park Heights, and Jobos.
See the Sights
Since Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis, we’d be remiss not to mention a few of the city’s landmarks that honor the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. We recommend beginning your journey at the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum to see the two-room shotgun house where Elvis was born in 1935. Other highlights include a statue of Elvis at 13 years old as well as the site of the church he attended as a young boy. When you’re done exploring here, head to Tupelo Hardware Co., where Elvis’s mother purchased his first guitar. While you’re there, be sure to explore the extensive collection of case knives, guitars, books, and other souvenirs.
To dive deep into the city’s history, visit the Oren Dunn City Museum. Located in a converted dairy barn, the museum walks visitors through the humble beginnings of the town and into the present day. As you explore and peruse the exhibits, you can learn about Mississippi fossils, the town’s tornado history, the cultural history of the Chickasaw tribe, and more.
For animal lovers, the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo is a must-see attraction that houses more than 260 animals, including zebras, giraffes, monkeys, camels, and, of course, plenty of buffalo. In addition to guided tours and a petting zoo, visitors can enjoy pony rides, zip lines, and playgrounds.
You can’t truly experience the magic of Tupelo without hearing some live music. Pay a visit to any of the legendary local music venues to see Tupelo’s talent shine. Iconic hotspots include the Blue Canoe, Steele’s Dive, Kermit’s Soul Kitchen, Romie’s Grocery, and more.
Attend a Fall Event
Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in Tupelo’s live music scene or its local arts community, the city hosts a plethora of fun-filled fall events. Craft beer lovers are invited to attend the Tupelo Ale Trail Craft Beer Tour in downtown Tupelo on Friday, September 23. Attendees can pick up a sampling glass and map at FNB Bank and make their way to the 14 participating locations to sample a variety of craft beers. Be sure to stick around for the after-party as well, which includes live music, drinks, and pizza from Vanelli’s Bistro.
If shopping and a leisurely stroll are more your speed, head to the Tupelo Farmers’ Depot through Saturday, September 24. The market is open from 6 a.m. to noon every Saturday and offers fresh produce, honey, fresh-baked goodies, flowers, and more. This is the perfect way to enjoy the fall weather while supporting local Tupelo farmers and artisans!
The Le Bonheur Pumpkin Run is traditionally held in Memphis, but the event is expanding to Tupelo this fall! The race takes place on Saturday, October 15, at Veterans Park and includes both a 5K race and a kids’ fun run. Plus, the event also includes a Halloween costume contest for the kiddos. Registration for 5K is $30, and races begin at 7:30 a.m.
Relax & Unwind
With so much to do and see, you’ll need a peaceful place to rest after a day of exploring. Luckily, Tupelo is home to some stellar lodging options. New to the scene is the city’s first boutique hotel, Hotel Tupelo. Located in the historic Fairpark District, the hotel offers 79 luxurious guest rooms and suites, a fitness center, on-site dining at Jobos, and more.
Two other hotels relatively new to Tupelo are Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton. Home2 Suites makes a great home base for you and your family, sitting near the Barnes Crossing Shopping District. Tru by Hilton is located just down the street and offers a 24-hour Eat & Sip Market, fitness center, pool tables, and more.
Enjoy your fall travels! When you’re ready to build your Tupelo experience, visit tupelo.net and click “Plan Your Trip.”
This article is sponsored by the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau. All photography provided.