Meridian, the seat of Lauderdale County government, is known as “The Queen City” in Mississippi for its dynamic community, rich history, and growing economy.
It’s among the newer tourist spots that have just begun getting recognition, mostly because of its music. Elsie McWilliams, David Eli Ruffin, Moe Bandy, and Jimmie Rodgers, the father of country music and a member of the Music Hall of Fame, were all born there.
Despite its tiny size, the city boasts a beautiful terrain, numerous interesting characteristics, and sites worth seeing.
Their great music and passion for music have inspired generations of musicians to follow in their footsteps. Aside from music, the city has a rich but tragic history, which may be learned about in its museums and historical sites.
A trip to this metropolis will undoubtedly provide you with unforgettable recollections. The finest things to do in Meridian, Mississippi are listed below.
Things to Do in Meridian, MS
1. Visit Riley Center
The Riley Center, also known as the Grand Opera House in Meridian, is located in the heart of the city’s historic downtown. In 1889, the Riley Center was founded.
The grand theater has 950 seats, a 200-seat studio theater, 30,000 square feet of meeting space, a huge exhibit hall, breakout rooms, and boardrooms, all with teleconferencing services and built-in technical elements to offer the finest meeting experience.
The Riley Center was repaired, restored, and reopened in September 2006 with the help of the Riley Foundation and Mississippi State University.
The Center provides exceptional artistic, cultural, and educational opportunities. It hosts the majority of Meridian’s musical performances, concerts, and major events.
Every year, approximately 60,000 people visit the famous Center for concerts, meetings, and conferences, contributing to community growth and development.
Despite its historic exterior, the Riley Center is equipped with cutting-edge audio and lighting technology, making it an outstanding theater and events venue.
2. Meridian Escape Games
Meridian Escape Games was founded in 2020 and was conceived by Tanner Goldman. This Meridian escape room offers both high-tech and traditional riddles in its immersive and demanding games.
For adults and children, our Escape Room offers unique family-based game rooms. These exhilarating adventure activities are appropriate for people of all ages and stimulate your brain and problem-solving abilities.
E-gift cards, which can be redeemed at any time, are also available at this attraction. You can just give your loved ones a memorable journey as a present.
3. Jimmie Rodgers Museum
The Jimmie Rodgers Museum is one of Meridian’s most prominent tourist attractions. It is based on the life of Jimmie Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music,” who was born and raised in Meridian. Rodgers’ performance film is available for viewing, and there is a gift store where you may purchase CDs, DVDs, and other items.
Jimmie Rodgers’ valuables from his life and career are on display at the museum, including “The Singing Brakeman’s” authentic guitar. The museum also has railroad equipment from the days when steam engines were used to transport.
Because of the unique building in which it is housed, this Meridian attraction is a must-see for everyone, not just music fans. Rodgers’ dwelling in New York and the design of the skyscraper are combined.
The Jimmie Rodgers Museum is run by the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation. The foundation also hosts a number of events each year.
The Jimmie Rodgers Museum is only open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. One of the best things to do in Meridian, MS is to take a tour of this intriguing Museum.
4. Meridian Symphony Orchestra
When we said Meridian has a strong passion for music, we weren’t joking. This outstanding Meridian Symphony Orchestra has given culture and art to East Mississippi for almost five decades.
The Meridian Symphony Orchestra has maintained a legacy of presenting magnificent classical music concerts including the works of famous composers since its establishment.
It also continued the tradition of putting on entertaining family shows like Peppermint Pops and Symphony Doo Dah.
Throughout the year, the Orchestra delivers public educational programs. One of the nicest things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to listen to this fantastic orchestra.
5. Meridian Civil War Trail
On February 14, 1864, during the American Civil War, a Union army of 20,000 men led by General William T. Sherman marched into Meridian, which had been evacuated by Confederate Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk.
The Union forces devastated the city, including its railways, buildings, and homes, from February 14th to February 20th, and took possession of their treasures. Meridian was destroyed by Union soldiers, and Sherman wrote that it “no longer exists.”
Despite this, Meridian was able to regain its footing and rebuild the railroad tracks in just 26 working days, earning it the title of Meridian Civil War Trail. Since then, the city has continued to expand.
Meridian residents have been remembering the sad events on February 14th instead of Valentine’s Day since then.
You may now tour the vestiges of the ancient railroad, which are currently used as a historic trail. One of the best things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to visit this historical place.
6. Dentzel Carousel
The Dentzel Carousel is another historical and fun-filled children’s center in Meridian, MS. The Carousel was built in 1896 by Gustav Dentzel of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Carousel was later purchased by the City of Meridian.
The Dentzel Carousel first arrived in Meridian in 1909, and it has remained in the same spot ever since. The Carousel House is the only original Dentzel-designed carousel building that has survived. The attraction, on the other hand, is restored every year to ensure that it is preserved for historical purposes.
With its lovely wood-carved creatures that not only children like, but the beloved Dentzel Carousel is also still making childhood memories more distinctive today.
The Carousel still plays old music while spinning, providing a nostalgic and enjoyable experience for its audience.
The Dentzel Carousel in Meridian was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The Department of Interior listed the Highland Park Dentzel Carousel and Carousel House as National Historic Landmarks in October 1986.
7. Meridian Museum of Art
Another historical site in Meridian, MS is the Meridian Museum of Art (MMA), which is housed in the historic Carnegie Library building, which was built in 1912-13. The Museum, on the other hand, was founded in 1970. The MMA is a Mississippi Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Through art exhibitions, education, collections, collaborations with other institutions, special events, and community involvement suitable for all ages, the Museum aspires to promote and aid the region’s art, artists, and art programs.
The MMA has four galleries and organizes roughly twelve exhibitions a year, showcasing the work of Mississippi and Alabama’s top artists.
The permanent collection of the Museum includes portraits, sculptures, and works on paper from the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, as well as twentieth-century American photography, modern decorative arts, and more.
Competitions are held in the Museum, and the public can book the area for private events such as weddings.
8. Squealer’s Bar-B-Que
Meridian is recognized for its delectable cuisine, in addition to its entertainment. If you want to eat the best barbecue in town, a trip to Squealer’s Bar-B-Que is one of the best things to do in Meridian, Mississippi.
The Squealers first opened its doors in 1998 and has since become a local favorite. They serve hickory-smoked brisket, sausages, pulled pork, and ribs that are juicy, soft, and delicious.
Along with their BBQ, they serve delectable side dishes, and their sauce accentuates the flavor. For friends and family, this delectable hickory-smoked barbecue is a must-have. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
9. Mississippi’s Arts + Entertainment Experience or MAX
MAX is the ideal place for music fans in Meridian, Mississippi. MAX, a new museum that opened in 2018, is 58,500 square feet in size. It was created primarily for the purposes of music and the arts.
Performing, cultural, textual, culinary, visual, and musical arts are all represented at the MAX. The MAX is housed in a modern facility with 15 permanent display galleries, two areas for changing exhibitions, a recording studio, and an outdoor amphitheater.
The MAX Hall of Fame, a two-story display in the Museum, is also open for tours. William Faulkner, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Hartley Peavey, Elvis Presley, John Grisham, Jimmie Rodgers, Sela Ward, B.B. King, and others have memorabilia on display.
One of the fun things to do in Meridian, MS is to pay a visit to this beautiful location. This 93,000 square feet of fantastic adventure is one attraction you don’t want to miss if you have a lot of energy and want to burn it off.
Hype has a wide range of explorers that are appropriate for all ages. Trampolines, climbing walls, laser tag, karts, basketball and dodge ball, rope course, bubble ball, ax throwing, ninja course, jump tower, aerial silks, 70′ Zipline, foam pits, and batting cages are among the activities available to adults and older children.
Kids ages 2 to 6 can enjoy themselves in the kiddie zone, which was created specifically for them because the previous enjoyable features may be too difficult and dangerous for them. Babies will be transported to the soft play area in the meanwhile. Isn’t it cool?!
There is also a cafe where guests may enjoy excellent meals and snacks, a party room for various parties, meeting spaces for corporate events, and 30 big-screen TVs for your viewing enjoyment at this site. The enjoyment is truly limitless, and you may not be able to do it all in a single day.
11. Weidmann’s Restaurant
The interesting Weidmann’s Restaurant, which was founded by Felix Weidmann in 1870 and is considered Meridian’s oldest restaurant.
The restaurant’s owners have changed since then, and the business is now managed by Charles Frazier. The restaurant prepares its dishes using fresh, high-quality ingredients, utilizing tried-and-true recipes and a great deal of attention, preserving Weidmann’s uniqueness.
Weidmann’s Restaurant specializes in New Orleans and Cajun cuisine, as well as a barbeque. Still, they’re known for their delectable peanut butter crock, which is provided as an appetizer at each table.
12. Rose Hill Cemetery
Museums aren’t the only places having historical relevance. One of these places is the Rose Hill Cemetery, which is one of Mississippi’s oldest cemeteries. The cemetery is ten acres in size and has stadium lighting.
The monuments of Meridian founders John Ball and Lewis Ragsdale, as well as the graves of Emil and Kelly Mitchell, the King and Queen of the Gypsies, a massive burial mound containing over one hundred dead Confederate troops, and other Mississippi pioneers, may be found in this historic cemetery.
You can go on your own or join one of the guided tours at Rose Hill Cemetery. The trip, which takes place every year on the last Saturday in September, is free and open to people of all ages. You can, however, make a donation. To learn more about them, visit their website.
13. Merrehope and Frank W. Williams Home
Meridian Restorations Foundation, Inc. has restored and refurbished the Merrehope Mansion, which is a royal neoclassical revival mansion with 20 rooms. The structure has unusual woodwork, as well as remarkable stairs, pillars, and mantels.
A portion of the house was utilized as a headquarters by Confederate General Leonidas Polk, and Union General William T. Sherman refrained from destroying it. During the Christmas season, Merrehope hosts the famed “Trees of Christmas” Tour.
Merrehope is close to the Frank W. Williams Home. With stained glass, parquet floors, paneling, and extensive gingerbread, the Williams Home is a magnificent example of Queen Anne Victorian architecture. It includes many original features and antique furnishings, making it one of Meridian’s most popular tourist attractions.
14. Harvest Grill
Harvest Grill is a renowned destination in Meridian, Mississippi, recognized for its innovative international culinary pairings. The restaurant arose from the owner’s cross-country travels. This laid-back eatery is ideal for gatherings with friends and family.
The meals are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients sourced from Mississippi farmers, as well as seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. In Meridian, you may sample a fusion of Colorado and Hawaiian cuisine. The restaurant has a posh dining room, a charming patio, and a welcoming bar.
15. Mississippi Industrial Heritage Center
One of the most fascinating things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to take a tour of this historical center. The Mississippi Industrial Heritage Center, which houses America’s only undamaged steam engine, is a great place to learn more about Meridian’s past.
Meridian was home to the belt-driven machine industry in the early twentieth century, with iron foundries, assembly shops, and 1930s offices. Visitors to the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Center can see these facilities to get a sense of how things worked in the past.
The exhibitions highlight the stories of Soule, as well as the inventors and industrial producers who helped Meridian become a prominent institution in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Since 1997, Soulé Steam Feed Works has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, the Mississippi legislature designated the museum as the Official State Historical Industrial Museum, making it a Mississippi Landmark.
In November, the Soulé Live Steam Festival and Meridian Rail Fest take place. From Thursday to Saturday, the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Center is open to the public.
16. Rebound Trampoline Park
This location is a new entertainment center in Meridian, Mississippi, that is perfect for families, groups, and individuals looking to have a good time! One of the most enjoyable things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to visit this magnificent park.
The leaping and gaming experience is ideal for people of all ages and promises to be a lot of fun. Rebound is also a great place to have a sports team party, a school event, a family reunion, a workplace party, a church party, or any other type of group gathering.
Meridian’s one-of-a-kind trampoline park and fascinating adventure area is both a high-intensity fun zone and a tranquil respite for parents. Rebound will surely provide you with all you require for a fun-filled night, as their personnel can customize every aspect.
17. Amore Italian Restorante
Meridian’s Amore Italian Restorante is a terrific restaurant. During the pandemic in 2020, the restaurant’s owners opened it. What bravery! Despite the difficulties, they effectively overcame them until things began to stabilize.
Locals and visitors alike praise Amore Italian Restorante’s delectable Italian cuisine, particularly its mussels and delectable lasagna.
Chicken marsala, manicotti, chicken parmesan, and homemade desserts are all available at the restaurant.
The Amore Italian Restorante also has an excellent wine list that you may sample while eating one of their delectable dishes. Live music is also available at this location.
18. Bonita Lakes Mall
One of the best things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to go shopping at Bonita Lakes Mall. The CBL & Associates Properties owns the mall, which is one of Meridian’s most well-known shopping centers.
Since 1997, the Bonita Lakes Mall has provided Meridian residents and visitors with over 90 specialized shops, an Oasis Food Court, and a nine-screen movie complex.
The various stores sell well-known clothing, accessory, and cosmetics brands. A department store and a supermarket are also located in Bonita Lakes Mall.
Bonita Lakes Mall also features a variety of restaurants that will fulfill your hunger and delight your taste buds with delectable cuisine. They also have a Tesla supercharger, ensuring the safety of Tesla drivers.
19. Family Bowl Lanes
This Meridian bowling alley, which has been in operation for almost 60 years, is certainly one of the best in Mississippi. Meridian, Mississippi’s excellent family bowling center has 24 lanes.
Competitive tournaments, open bowling, party packages, bumper bowling, special needs choices, arcade games, and more are all available at the facility.
A pool, darts, a Pro-Shop, food and beverage options from their snack bar, and Strikers Lounge with a full bar are all available at the attraction.
Birthday parties, church activities, Christmas parties, school and daycare field excursions, reunions, office parties, and other events are all held at Family Bowl Lanes. Visit this venue for a night of fantastic bowling, live music under the lights, and a cold beer!
20. Mississippi Children’s Museum
In this charming city, children are not left out of the enjoyment, as there are various attractions designed specifically for them. The Mississippi Children’s Museum is one of these Meridian attractions.
On March 27, 2021, the Mississippi Children’s Museum in Meridian opened its doors to the public, with the mission of “inspiring Mississippi’s children from all backgrounds to discover and reach their potential.”
Culture, math, art, technology, and science are all represented in the Museum through interactive and exciting displays. They also host a variety of entertaining events. It’s a great place for birthday parties, field excursions, and summer camps, among other things.
The Museum experience is not only entertaining but also educational. Mississippi’s leading, all-encompassing, non-profit early learning institution is the Mississippi Children’s Museum.
It has received numerous awards for its contributions to children’s mental health and the well-being of the entire family.
One of the great things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to visit this wonderful Museum. Bring your children and watch them have the fun of their lives. From Tuesday to Sunday, the Museum is open.
21. Meridian Underground Music Exchange
Meridian, Mississippi is also home to the Meridian Underground Music Exchange. Since 1996, it has been in operation.
Since then, the company has had a lot of success and is well-known in the indie music industry. It demonstrates Meridian’s passion for music.
More than 2,000 new and used CDs and vinyl recordings by various artists are available for purchase at the Meridian Underground. In addition to incense, specialty lights, colored bottles, fog machines, magazines, herbal products, jewelry, sunglasses, mystical books, beaded curtains, lava lamps, inflatable furniture, and other cool items.
Meridian Underground built a small stage in 2001 and began hosting raves and concerts for people of all ages. Meridian’s interest in music other than country music is further enhanced by a visit to this shop.
22. Binachi Shooting Sports
Binachi Shooting Sports first opened its doors in the year 2011. Binachi Shooting Sports is one of the best shotgun and archery ranges in the South. A 12-station sporting clay range and a 5-stand skeet overlay course are available at this fascinating shooting sports facility.
A large field and a 3D archery course have been added to this destination. The sporting range is accessible for corporate and public use and allows all ability levels to participate. Their equipment is also available for hire.
Their hours of operation can be found on their website. Every dollar raised goes to the Choctaw Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
23. The United States Rare Coin & Currency
You won’t want to miss the Unique State Rare Coin and Currency while you’re in Meridian, as it promises to be a fascinating experience. This is the place to be when it comes to treasures.
Rare coins, silver coins, gold coins, bullion holdings, estate cash, and precious metals from all around the United States are bought and sold at this location. In addition, they provide written appraisals for insurance purposes. They can also help you submit your rare coins for grading and certification.
One of the most important things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to go to this location. Every morning to evening, United States Rare Coin & Currency is open.
Meridian, dubbed “The Queen City,” is home to some of Mississippi’s most popular attractions. The city offers a fantastic mix of music, history, culture, and even gastronomy, making for an unforgettable vacation experience.
Make Meridian, Mississippi, your next vacation destination, and don’t miss out on the attractions mentioned below.