Meridian, Mississippi, is a charming Southern city with many exciting attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Nestled in the heart of Lauderdale County in east Mississippi, Meridian offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and Southern hospitality. From captivating museums and historic landmarks to local eateries and entertainment venues, this vibrant city welcomes all travelers.
Where is Meridian, Mississippi?
Meridian is located in the east-central part of Mississippi, near Alabama’s border. It is the sixth largest city in the state and a major transportation hub for Lauderdale County.
Attractions and Activities
Regarding things to do in Meridian, there are activities for locals and visitors alike
Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum
Home to a unique collection of artifacts from Mississippi’s industrial past, the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum is a top attraction for visitors to Meridian. Get an up-close look at various vintage machines and artifacts, and learn about Meridian’s industrial growth through the years.
Meridian Rails Historical Society
The Meridian Railroad Museum, located in the historic Union Station in downtown Meridian, is an entertaining attraction for train enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Managed by the Meridian Rails Historical Society, the museum boasts an impressive collection of model railroad trains that showcase the evolution of the railroading industry over the years.
Visitors explore the various exhibits and learn about the history of the railroads, from the early days of steam locomotives to the modern era of high-speed trains.
One highlight is the model train layout, which includes a replica of the iconic Union Station, as well as various other buildings and landmarks from around the city. In addition to the model trains and artifacts, the museum offers educational programs and events throughout the year. There are many stories about the train experience in this hub city, where the railroad continues to serve as one of the major highways for travelers. Country music fans will enjoy learning about Jimmie Rodgers, the singing brakeman and his connection to the surrounding area.
Overall, the Meridian Railroad Museum is a fascinating destination that offers a unique perspective on the history and impact of rail transportation on the city of Meridian and beyond. Whether you’re a seasoned train enthusiast or simply curious about the role of railroads in shaping our world, this museum is definitely worth a visit.
MSU Riley Center
The Mississippi State University Riley Center is a great place to catch a live performance. The renovated historical venue hosts a variety of music and theater performances throughout the year, as well as special events like lectures and workshops.
With over 60,000 visitors annually, The MSU Riley Center is a bustling hub for conferences, meetings, and live performances. Behold the fully restored 1889 grand opera house theater, with seating for approximately 950 eager spectators. A cozy 200-seat studio theater is perfect for more intimate gatherings.
Bonita Lakes Park
Go on an outdoor adventure at Bonita Lakes Park. Located on the banks of the Chunky River, Bonita Lakes Park is a popular outdoor recreation area. The park features a variety of activities, like fishing, boating, and hiking. It’s also home to several picnic areas and a large playground.
Max Museum of Art
The Mississippi Arts +Entertainment Museum or MAX Museum, is a must-see for artists, musicians, and those interested in learning more about Southern culture.
This museum boasts a multi-story building filled with an impressive range of artifacts and artwork that showcase Mississippi’s past and present. The MAX offers an opportunity for learners of all ages to delve into the life stories of legendary Mississippi artists, musicians, and history-makers.
You’ll explore the life stories of legendary Mississippi artists and musicians such as William Faulkner, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, country music entertainer Marty Stuart, and blues musician Robert Johnson. With multiple galleries and exhibits featuring audio-visual educational platforms, visitors embark on an interactive journey of self-discovery throughout the museum.
The MAX is located in downtown Meridian Mississippi and has ample parking behind the building.
Dentzel Carousel in Meridian Mississippi
Settle onto a colorful wooden horse at the historic Dentzel Carousel in Highland Park. The Dentzels, a German immigrant family specializing in fine woodcarving and amusement park rides, built the carousel in 1906. As one of the few surviving antique wooden carousels left in the United States, it is a wonderful attraction that pays homage to Meridian’s past while providing a delightful experience for the entire family. When you visit Meridian, notice how the town carousels abound on street corners and other public art display locations.
Merrehope and F.W. Williams Home in Meridian Mississippi
Visit the historic Merrehope and F.W. Williams Homes. These structures offer a glimpse into the architectural trends of the antebellum South. Guided tours allow guests to inspect the decorated rooms adorned with period furnishings and intricate architectural details.
Experience the captivating history of Merrehope, an exquisite Greek revival-style mansion in Meridian, Mississippi. Built in 1858 by Richard McLemore, this remarkable structure survived the ravages of the US Civil War Battle of Meridian, sparing it from General William T. Sherman’s destructive path.
Throughout its storied past, Merrehope has served as a residence, a shelter for Union officers, a Confederate General’s headquarters, a boarding house, and an apartment building. Today, it is one of the few remaining Antebellum homes in the city. Recognized as a Mississippi Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Merrehope enchants visitors with its ornate façade and meticulously designed interiors.
The F. W. Williams Home is a Queen Anne-style home built in approximately 1996. It features Victorian-era details and a wrap-around porch adorned with spindlework. This beautiful home is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Meridian Regional Airport – Key Field
Meridian Regional Airport is a joint civil-military public-use airport located at Key Field. It is located 3 miles southwest of Meridian, Mississippi, and serves commercial and military aviation in the eastern part of the state. Established in 1928 and officially opened in November 1930, the airport began with humble beginnings—a terminal, hangar, powerhouse, and dirt runway. Meridian’s city officials turned to Al and Fred Key, renowned aviators who operated the Key Brothers’ Flying School nearby, to manage the new facility.
The Key Brothers, undeterred by the challenges of the Great Depression, took on multiple roles to keep the airport afloat. They continued running their flying school, sold commercial airline tickets, operated the terminal and hangar, and even managed airmail delivery schedules. However, as airmail deliveries dwindled and the economy slowed, the City of Meridian contemplated abandoning the airport due to maintenance costs.
But the Key Brothers established an audacious plan to save their beloved airport and put Meridian on the world map. They set their sights on breaking the world endurance flight record, hoping to capture global attention. From June 4 to July 1, 1935, the brothers took to the skies, embarking on an epic journey that lasted over 27 days—surpassing the previous record of 23 days.
Their remarkable feat achieved the desired result. The world turned its gaze toward Meridian and its airport, recognizing the determination and ingenuity of the Key Brothers. In honor of their incredible contribution, the airport was named Key Field. These structures are listed in the esteemed National Register of Historic Places.
Places to Eat in Meridian
Meridian, Mississippi, has a thriving culinary scene, boasting an exciting array of restaurants that offer something for everyone’s tastes. Whether you’re looking for classic Southern cooking or international flavors, Meridian’s eateries have you covered. Here are some great places to grab a bite in Meridian:
Weidmann’s Restaurant in Downtown Meridian, Mississippi
When you’re in downtown Meridian, you must stop by Weidmann’s Restaurant to indulge in their exquisite cuisine. This legendary Lauderdale County establishment has been offering Southern hospitality since 1870 and serves various tantalizing dishes, such as fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and pecan-crusted catfish. And, of course, their renowned bread pudding is a must-try to complete your meal.
Harvest Grill in Meridian, Mississippi, is a culinary gem owned by a husband and wife team. This charming restaurant, located in the heart of the city, offers a warm and inviting atmosphere coupled with a menu that showcases the best of Southern cuisine.
Led by a team of talented chefs, Harvest Grill takes pride in using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to craft flavorful and innovative dishes. The commitment to quality shines through in every bite, reflecting their passion for showcasing the region’s rich culinary heritage with a modern twist.
Harvest Grill provides a welcoming setting for any occasion with its rustic-chic decor, warm lighting, and friendly ambiance. Whether it’s a romantic date night, a family gathering, or a casual meal with friends, the restaurant offers a comfortable and sophisticated atmosphere.
Harvest Grill epitomizes exceptional dining in Meridian, Mississippi.
The Brickhaus Brewtique
For a casual dining experience with a lively atmosphere, head to The Brickhaus. This local favorite offers a diverse menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, and comforting Southern classics. Pair your meal with a cold craft beer or a signature cocktail.
Places to Stay in Meridian, Mississippi
The Threefoot Hotel, Meridian, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
The Threefoot Hotel, Meridian, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, stands as a captivating icon in downtown Meridian, Mississippi. With a history dating back to its construction in 1929, this meticulously renovated Art Deco establishment seamlessly blends a golden age of timeless charm with modern comforts.
The grand lobby greets guests with intricate moldings and ornate chandeliers, while the elegantly appointed rooms and suites offer plush bedding and contemporary amenities.
Culinary delights await at the on-site restaurant, featuring a menu of Southern classics and innovative creations. With a fitness center, spa facilities, and versatile event spaces, The Threefoot Hotel promises a captivating blend of history, luxury, and warm Southern hospitality.
Meridian, Mississippi, is a destination that blends history, culture, and culinary delights. From immersing yourself in the city’s rich industrial heritage to indulging in mouthwatering Southern cuisine, Meridian offers a range of experiences to suit every taste.
So, pack your bags, set out on an adventure, and create lasting memories in this vibrant Southern gem that is Meridian, Mississippi.