If you’re looking to escape to a charming Southern town this holiday season, consider booking a trip to beautiful Mississippi. Many of the state’s best destinations have event calendars packed with seasonal fun as well as gift-shopping opportunities, vibrant culinary scenes, and more. To simplify your vacation planning, we’ve rounded up five Mississippi towns that offer holiday fun for every type of traveler!
In addition to serving as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, Tupelo comes alive during the holiday season. Hosting a handful of seasonal events — from tree lightings to a Christmas parade and the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration — here are some of the best reasons to visit Tupelo during the holidays!
Before embarking on your Tupelo adventures, be sure to fuel up and stay hydrated at one of the city’s 200+ eateries. To kick-start your day with caffeine or breakfast, hit up spots like Crave, Lost + Found Coffee Company, or Tupelo River Coffee.
If you find yourself hungry later in the day for lunch or dinner, you can find spots serving everything from fried chicken to burgers and pizza. Standout favorites for both Tupelo locals and tourists include King Chicken Fillin’ Station, Park Heights Restaurant, and Jobos.
SB Tip: We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of Tupelo’s expansive dining scene. To explore more of the city’s restaurants, visit tupelo.net.
Festivities start on Thursday, November 30, with the Lighting of Ballard Park. The annual event marks the beginning of Tupelo’s holiday season, hosting an open house at the Oren Dunn City Museum, a visit from Santa Claus himself, and, of course, the lighting of the park’s Christmas tree. The event is free to attend and begins at 6 p.m.
New this year to Tupelo’s holiday event lineup is Disney On Ice: Mickey’s Search Party. Taking place at Cadence Bank Arena, this family-friendly event invites you on an immersive adventure that includes all of your favorite Disney characters — from Mickey and Minnie to Donald, Goofy, and so many more. The event runs from Thursday, November 30, through Sunday, December 3. Tickets begin at $20 and can be purchased online.
A time-honored holiday tradition, the annual Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade returns for its 75th year on Friday, December 8. This year’s theme is “75 Years of the Tupelo Spirit” and includes the Tupelo Futbol Club Girls Team and CHANGE Skateboard Team as grand marshalls. The fun begins at 6 p.m. along South Broadway Street in Downtown Tupelo.
In addition to Christmas-centric events, the city is also slated to host its beloved Tupelo’s New Year’s Eve Party once again! Set across two stages in Downtown Tupelo, the annual event kicks off with BankPlus KidsFest and continues throughout the evening with fireworks displays and live music. Then, at midnight, head to the BNA Bank Fairpark Stage for the midnight countdown! Events begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 31.
With so much to do and see throughout the holiday season, we recommend spending a few days in Tupelo so you can experience it all. When it comes to lodging options, you can book a room at the city’s newest boutique hotel, Hotel Tupelo. Thanks to its walkability to the Downtown district, you’ll be close to all the holiday fun! Other new hotel options in Tupelo include Home2Suites by Hilton Tupelo and TRU by Hilton Tupelo.
Travelers flock to Vicksburg for its rich history and arts scene, and while this charming Southern town is a beloved destination year-round, you can also enjoy a wide variety of seasonal activities during the holiday season!
The city’s annual tree lighting ceremony marks the official start of the holiday season in Vicksburg, taking place on Friday, November 24. Head to Washington Street Park at 5 p.m. to get in the holiday spirit at this free event.
Vicksburg also hosts a Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, November 25. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit Downtown Vicksburg to support local shops, boutiques, and restaurants. To learn more about Small Business Saturday, visit downtownvicksburg.org.
Also taking place in Downtown Vicksburg is the city’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Open House. On Sunday, November 26, at 1:30 p.m., you can experience the beautiful sights, sounds, and scents of the holiday season as you stroll through local businesses. Santa himself is also scheduled to make an appearance, and those who spend $25 or more at the event receive a poinsettia!
The Canadian Pacific Kansas City Holiday Express is also making its way to Vicksburg on Monday, November 27, at 4 p.m. The six-car train is headed to The Levee Street Station to offer visits with Santa and visual displays for the whole family. The event is free and open to the public.
If cooler weather has you daydreaming about Christmas and all the sweet treats it brings with it, visit the Duff Green Mansion’s Christmas Carols & Cookies event. Beginning on Friday, December 1, and continuing until Christmas, put on your best holiday pajamas to enjoy Christmas carols, cookies, and hot chocolate — or an adult beverage. Tickets for this event can be purchased HERE.
If you have little ones traveling with you, attend Breakfast with Santa at the Vicksburg Convention Center on Saturday, December 2, at 8 a.m. For $7 per person, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast, photos with Santa, crafts, and more. Tickets can be purchased HERE.
Make plans to run in Vicksburg’s annual Reindeer Run 5K on Saturday, December 2, benefitting local animal rescue group Paws Rescue. Beginning at Catfish Row and weaving through Historic Downtown Vicksburg, the yearly event also includes food from LD’s Kitchen, a pet parade, and more. Registration begins at $35 HERE.
The Vicksburg Christmas Parade of Lights is another highly anticipated holiday event. This year’s theme is Merry Melodies, and the parade kicks off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, in Downtown Vicksburg, between Belmont Street and Jackson Street. Visit visitvicksburg.com for additional information.
History buffs and interior design enthusiasts will enjoy the O’ Christmas Tree Historic Home Tours. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on select dates in December, head to Historic Downtown Vicksburg to tour beautifully adorned homes. For additional information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.
For an old-fashioned Christmas celebration, head to the Old Court House Museum at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 10. The whole family can enjoy a scavenger hunt, story time, live music, and reenactments on the lawn. The event is free, although donations are encouraged.
Every holiday season, the town of Ridgeland hosts its annual Wrap It in Ridgeland event — and this year is no exception. Here’s everything you need to know about the event and how to make the most of the city’s holiday celebrations!
Running now through Sunday, December 31, Wrap It in Ridgeland is jam-packed with holiday fun, so you’ll likely need multiple days to explore everything the event offers. Luckily, Wrap It in Ridgeland offers exclusive discounts at local hotels, including AC Hotel by Marriott, TownePlace Suites, and Homewood Suites.
Once you’ve settled into your hotel room, it’s time to knock out some holiday gift shopping! In addition to hotel discounts, Wrap It in Ridgeland also includes special promotions at local shops like Smitten Gift Boutique, Arco Avenue, Gifts by KPEP, Row 10 Baby, and more.
SB Tip: Stop by the Ridgeland Visitors Center at Renaissance at Colony Park and mention the Wrap It in Ridgeland promotion to receive a FREE tote bag to carry your treasures!
If you find yourself in Ridgeland on Thursday, November 30, be sure to attend the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Old Town Crossing. After all, there’s nothing quite like the glow of a beautifully lit Christmas tree to put you in the holiday spirit! The following day, on Friday, December 1, you can enjoy festive music and activities at Christmas on the Green from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The renowned Chimneyville Arts Festival is another great opportunity for gift hunting. On Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit the Bill Waller Craft Center to peruse handmade items from local vendors, see artisan demonstrations, and explore the Young Artisans Exhibit. Tickets are $10 per day, and you can also attend the Preview Party on Thursday, November 30, for $35.
Then, on Saturday, December 2, visit Old Town Ridgeland for the annual Christmas Parade! From beautifully decorated floats to lively marching bands and an appearance from Santa Claus himself, this is a must-attend holiday event! The free event begins at Holmes Community College Ridgeland at 1 p.m.
For the kiddos, Santa Claus is taking gift requests and pictures throughout December at Northpark Mall. When you’re done visiting with the man in red, you can knock out more holiday shopping at locally owned stores like Eve’s Boutique, Charmed Boutique, and Kris Jewelers. The mall is also home to well-known national brands like Bath & Body Works, Dillard’s, Zale’s, and more.
If all that holiday fun leaves you with a hearty appetite, you’re in luck. Ridgeland boasts an extensive dining scene, offering everything from Southern fusion to steakhouses, seafood, and more. Standout favorites include CAET, Tico’s Steakhouse, and Anjou.
Newer to Ridgeland’s restaurant lineup is Tango Empanadas & Tacos, a Mexican eatery that’s already making waves with its street-style tacos. The menu also includes a variety of empanadas and fajitas.
Ridgeland also recently welcomed Lou’s Southern Sandwich Co. Using only the best ingredients and serving delicious food in a lively atmosphere, popular menu items include the Southern Smash Burger, High $ Dolla Roast Beef Sandwich, and brisket toast.
Cleveland is a charming Mississippi Delta town that transforms into a beautiful holiday wonderland annually during 50 Nights of Lights. From where to stay to must-attend activities and popular eateries, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about this one-of-a-kind event.
If you plan to stay in Cleveland overnight, we recommend booking a hotel as soon as possible, as rooms tend to fill up quickly during the holiday season. Located along historic Cotton Row, Cotton House Cleveland is a boutique hotel with modern and luxurious amenities, a rooftop bar, and its award-winning restaurant, Delta Meat Market.
Newer to Cleveland’s hotel lineup is the Lyric Hotel West End. A luxurious resort-style hotel, your stay here includes two on-site restaurants, a Starbucks, a pool, and a state-of-the-art gym.
SB Tip: While Cleveland hotels tend to fill up fast on weekends during 50 Nights of Lights, many offer mid-week discounts you can ask about when booking your room!
Once you’ve dropped your bags off at your hotel, it’s time to start exploring the magic of 50 Nights of Lights! The event kicks off on Saturday, November 11, and continues through Monday, January 1, offering over one million Christmas lights throughout the Downtown area. In addition to beautiful holiday displays, the event also includes plenty of family-friendly events — from horse-drawn carriage rides to trolley rides, ice skating, outdoor markets, and more.
Started by a group of women many years ago, 50 Nights of Lights began as “Light Up Your Holidays,” an event encouraging local business owners to put holiday decor and lights in their windows. The tradition continues today as local shops and restaurants host special events and create 5th Avenue-quality window displays during the holiday season.
As you stroll through Downtown Cleveland, stop into any of the local boutiques for last-minute gift ideas. If you’re shopping for a fashionista, The Wishing Well and Mod + Proper offer on-trend clothing and accessories. If you’re looking for a hostess gift or want to freshen up your home, visit home decor and gift stores like Magnolia Proper or Rosson Co.
In addition to local shops and boutiques, Cleveland is also home to some of the best restaurants in Mississippi. For authentic soul food like fried fish and collard greens, visit 122 Hang Suite. Or, if you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, consider visiting 8 West Grille or Backdraft Restaurant & Bar.
There are a few more must-see Cleveland attractions we recommend visiting before departing back home. Perhaps one of the most well-known of these is the GRAMMY Museum, where you can explore over 26,000 square feet of music history that spans all genres — from rock ‘n’ roll to jazz, country, and beyond.
Other popular nearby attractions include pottery shops like Peter’s Pottery and McCarty’s Pottery. We also recommend stopping by the Matthews-Sanders Sculpture Garden for fresh air. And be sure and check out the town’s robust events calendar to learn about a number of special holiday events like carriage rides, ice skating, concerts, and more.
High above the Mississippi River, Natchez is a beautiful destination to visit year-round. However, it’s exceptionally breathtaking during the holidays, offering a calendar full of events, stunning sights, and luxurious lodging options. Here’s everything you need to do and see in this charming Southern town!
Beginning Sunday, November 26, Christmas in Natchez is a month-long celebration that marks the official start of the holiday season. Starting at 3 p.m., you and your family can enjoy everything from kid-friendly rides to a petting zoo, Christmas carols, an appearance by Santa Claus, and more. You can also attend a kick-off event on Saturday, November 25, which includes the annual lighting of the 34-foot-tall Christmas tree on Main Street.
While at the tree lighting event, stop by the European-style Christmas market to cross people off your holiday shopping list. Featuring vendors selling everything from local crafts to seasonal treats and goodies, you will surely find the perfect gift (or two)! The market begins on Friday, November 24, and continues after Christmas.
Be sure to also plan to see the city’s annual Christmas parade on Saturday, December 2. Taking place in Downtown Natchez, the free event begins at 6 p.m. and includes a handful of festive floats, Christmas lights, and more. The parade starts on Franklin Street and continues along Rankin Street and Main Street.
If you find yourself looking for something fun to do on a Thursday evening in December, visit Memorial Park behind St. Mary’s Basilica to enjoy Christmas carols. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. every week and includes beautifully adorned oak trees and special nursery rhyme-themed light displays. Attendees are encouraged to stroll through the park as they listen to their favorite Christmas songs.
If you’re interested in getting a close-up look at some of Natchez’s most breathtaking homes, plan to attend the Christmas Pilgrimage Tour of Historic Homes. Running from Friday, November 24, through Sunday, December 31, the event includes beautifully decorated mansions and estates.
One of the standout home tours includes The Towers Jeweled Christmas. A beautiful mansion year-round, The Towers is exceptionally gorgeous during the holiday season. During this event, every inch of the house is decorated with ornaments, lights, garlands, and even jewelry-themed displays. The tour lasts about one hour and 30 minutes; tickets are $30 per person. You can reserve your spot HERE.
If you’re looking for a cozy home base in Natchez, there are plenty of places to choose from. For a luxurious and equally quaint bed and breakfast stay, options include the Beaumont House, Devereaux Shields House, Historic Oak Hill Inn, Linden Bed & Breakfast, and Pleasant Hill.
For a more traditional lodging experience, the Natchez Grand Hotel is located in Historic Downtown Natchez. Many of the guest suites offer sweeping views of the Downtown area as well as premium amenities, including flat-screen televisions, specialty toiletries, handcrafted mattresses, and high-quality linens.
Enjoy your Mississippi holiday!
This article is sponsored by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Vicksburg MS, Visit Ridgeland, Cleveland Mississippi Tourism, and Visit Natchez. All photography provided.