Things to do in Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford: a small town rooted in a culture embedded in the South.

Located in Lafayette County, Oxford began when three pioneers purchased fifty acres of land from Chickasaws on the Trail of Tears.

In 1837, they named the new town after the famous university town in England, hoping it would one day become home to the first University of Mississippi.

In 1848, the state legislature opened its doors to the University of Mississippi in Oxford. This marked a vibrant future for Oxford and Lafayette County as one of the South’s most prominent centers of education, commerce, and culture.

Things to do in Oxford, Mississippi

The University is the center of cultural activity in Oxford and has several historical landmarks and points of interest that draw visitors year-round.

Other important historical and cultural sites in the area include Rowan Oak, the home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, and the Blues Trail, which features two markers honoring Oxford’s long legacy as a center for blues music.

Another cultural center of Oxford is Town Square, which has restaurants, art galleries, and specialty shops that attract tourists. It is also the venue for several live events organized annually.

City Grocery is a renowned Square restaurant owned by James Beard award winner John Currence. It is known for its inventive spin on Southern cuisine.

Things to do in Oxford, Mississippi

Books are also a significant part of the cultural scene in Oxford, as evidenced by the Square Bookstore, operated by husband and wife Richard and Lisa Howorth. Literature was a big draw for authors then, as it was for everyone who found Oxford a funky little college town with all kinds of interesting people and a burgeoning music scene.

A literary town, Oxford has many events and festivals every year that you will not want to miss. Some are Oxford Conference for the Book, Yoknapatawpha Summer Writers Workshop, and Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

There are also craft shows and holiday markets that you will love. For example, the Double Decker Arts Festival, held last weekend in April, is one of the most memorable events in Oxford.

The Grove

The Grove is a popular tailgating spot located at the center of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) campus. Covering approximately 10 acres, the area takes its name from the oak, elm, and magnolia trees that surround it.

The tradition of gathering in The Grove for pre-game socializing dates back to the 1950s when it began to take on a life of its own.

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Originally an informal get-together, it has become a well-organized event, with the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s Grove Society responsible for preserving the 10-acre green space.

On game days, The Grove comes alive with as many as 100,000 fans. Fans arrive at noon the day before the game, with many coming to stake their spot in The Grove.

The campus rule states that no one is allowed to “stake their claim” before 7:30 pm, and campus police strictly enforce this. As a result, the Grove is transformed into a sea of red, white, and blue tents, many of which are set up by professional tailgate vendors rather than students or families.

Food is a big part of the tailgating experience in The Grove, with traditional Southern food, such as fried chicken, pork, homemade dressings, mashed potatoes, and stuffed eggs, being a popular choice.

However, open flame and propane grills are prohibited in The Grove, so food is not cooked on-site. Despite this restriction, many tents have fine kitchenware, including lace and designer doilies, chandeliers, sterling silver or silver-plated candelabras, and utensils.

The food is usually laid out on tablecloths in sterling silver or silver-plated servers, adding to the elegance of the tailgating experience.

Lamar Park

Lamar Park is a beautiful outdoor oasis in the heart of Oxford, Mississippi. This expansive park is a beloved gathering spot for locals and visitors, offering many amenities and activities for people of all ages.

The park’s lush greenery, winding walking trails, and picturesque water features make it an ideal destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with nature.

One of the most popular features of Lamar Park is its expansive lake, which spans more than 30 acres and is home to a variety of fish and other aquatic wildlife. In addition, visitors can stroll along the lake’s walking trails or picnic on the grassy shores.

Lamar Park Oxford
Lamar Park Oxford” by LRD615 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lamar Park also features a large outdoor fitness area and a disc golf course that winds its way through the park’s wooded areas for those looking to stay active.

Lamar Park hosts several community events and festivals annually, including live music performances, art shows, and food fairs.

Whether you’re looking to spend a lazy afternoon soaking up the sun or searching for a fun-filled day of outdoor activities and entertainment, Lamar Park has something for everyone. So if you’re in Oxford, Mississippi, visit this stunning park and experience all it offers.

The University of Mississippi Museum

The University of Mississippi Museum in Oxford, Mississippi, is an art, history, and culture treasure trove. The museum boasts a collection of over 20,000 artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and manuscripts, that span centuries of history and showcase diverse perspectives.

Visitors explore the museum and are transported through time and across the globe, encountering everything from ancient Greek pottery to contemporary Southern folk art.

One of the museum’s highlights is its extensive collection of Greek and Roman artifacts, including pottery, coins, and jewelry. These items provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily lives and beliefs of people who lived thousands of years ago.

Visitors can also explore the museum’s collection of American art, which includes works by well-known artists such as Edward Hopper and Grant Wood.

These pieces offer a window into American culture and history and demonstrate the evolution of artistic styles and techniques over time.

The University of Mississippi Museum is a repository of art and artifacts and a rich community resource that hosts events, lectures, and workshops throughout the year.

The museum’s mission is to engage visitors with the world around them and promote a deeper understanding of history, culture, and art.

Rowan Oak

Rowan Oak, the former home of the renowned author William Faulkner, is a magnificent estate in the heart of Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner lived in this historic home from 1930 until he died in 1962, and the house is now preserved as a museum for visitors to explore.

The house is a testament to Faulkner’s life and work, providing an intimate glimpse into the mind of one of America’s most significant literary figures.

The exterior of Rowan Oak is striking, with its grand white columns and sprawling front lawn. Visitors can stroll through the landscaped gardens dotted with towering magnolia trees and vibrant azalea bushes. The house’s interior is equally impressive, with its rich wooden floors and elegant furnishings.

Visitors can wander through the rooms and see the many artifacts and personal items that Faulkner left behind, including his writing desk, typewriter, and book collection.

One of the most exciting features of Rowan Oak is the writing shed, a small building located in the back garden where Faulkner did much of his writing. The bungalow has been preserved precisely as Faulkner left it, with his notes and scribblings still visible on the walls.

Visitors can see the chair where Faulkner sat and wrote many of his most famous works, including “The Sound and the Fury” and “As I Lay Dying.”

Rowan Oak is not just a museum but a living piece of literary history, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the life and work of one of America’s greatest authors.

L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum

L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum is a stunning piece of history in the heart of Oxford, Mississippi. The museum is housed within the former residence of Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, a prominent statesman who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, United States Secretary of the Interior, and later as a Supreme Court Justice.

The architecture of the building is a testament to the style of the late 1800s, with its grand columns and elegant design. Visitors are transported back in time as they step through the doors and into the world of one of Mississippi’s most notable figures.

Upon entering the museum, visitors are greeted with the impressive interior of the Lamar House. The house is decorated with period pieces and furniture, including Lamar’s items, such as his desk and chair.

L. Q. C. Lamar House
L. Q. C. Lamar House” by joseph a is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The walls are adorned with paintings and photographs that depict the life of L.Q.C. Lamar and the history of Mississippi. The museum is a treasure trove of information and artifacts, offering visitors a glimpse into the life of one of America’s most important historical figures.

One of the museum’s highlights is the library, which houses a vast collection of books and documents from Lamar’s library. The library offers visitors a unique opportunity to see historical documents up close, including original copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Lamar House Museum is not only a place to learn about the history of Mississippi but also a place to gain a deeper understanding of American history.

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