When someone asks me where I’m from, my initial response is always “Jackson, Mississippi.” If the person is from Mississippi, maybe I’ll say Flowood, but let’s face it-most people don’t really know much about Mississippi unless they’re from here. Luckily, most people had to learn state capitals in middle school, so I can get away with saying “I’m from Jackson,” instead of “I’m from a small town 10 miles down the road from Jackson that I’m almost sure you’ve never heard of.” That being said, I’m proud of my Jackson heritage, so when I hear the gripes about Jackson from outsiders. It rubs me the wrong way because I really feel like nobody gives it a chance. So, I’m here to prove the Jackson haters wrong and disprove the ever-so popular statement “There’s nothing to do here,” with my personalized, “A Beginners Guide to Things to do Around Jackson.”
*Disclaimer* – Most of my choices tend to air on the Flowood-Rankin County side of Jackson, but I got some suggestions from a friend from Madison. As we are still fighting together through COVID season, please wear a mask and keep yourself safe if you decide to try out any of these restaurants or activities! I don’t know about you, but I want to avoid moving back to my house at all costs!**
- Bonsai- From about ages 8 to 18, every single birthday meal my brother and I had was at this restaurant. To this day, Bonsai is still the best Hibachi I have ever had.
- Osaka- Growing up, every time my mom went out of town this is where my Dad and I ate. When he stopped wanting to go, I got lucky enough to get a girlfriend that loves sushi, so every time I can scrape up enough money to take her out, we go here. I recommend the crunchy roll with shrimp, dynamite roll, and BBQ salmon roll. They also have phenomenal mints, just a plus.
- Sushi Village- The best part of the first day-long baseball practice of every year is going to Sushi Village after and getting the all you can eat for $12, and trust me, we take “all you can eat” very literally. It might be the best food bargain in town for pretty good sushi.
- Cheap Hibachi o Sakura- This was the go-to spot for pre-Friday night football games and post baseball practices during my high school career. It’s not the best rice in the world, but if you add some soy sauce and pink sauce and shake up the to-go box, it does the trick.
- OEC- See Sakura, but minus the personal nostalgia.
- Lost Pizza Co.- They are all around the Jackson area. Very friendly environment. My family goes every Friday night when I’m home. Personally, I like a thin crust with Italian sausage, onions, and pepperoni, but everyone else I know thinks their thick crust is phenomenal.
- Pizza Shack- a greasy, delicious pizza. What more do I need to say?
- Sal & Mookie’s- I feel like all of us have been to at least one Millsaps-hosted Sal & Mookie’s event. Make sure to get a milkshake before you leave!
- El Sombrero- Everyone I know goes here all the time, personally not a fan, but I guess it is massively popular for a reason.
- Fernando’s- My favorite Mexican place. The chili powder with their chips is unparalleled. · Papito’s
- Smokehouse Grill
- Pig & Pint
- Little Willie’s BBQ
- Kiefer’s- I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t like this place, plus it’s about three minutes down the road.
- Zeek’s- It’s very similar to Kiefer’s, but with a kind of newer feel. Their Pepper jack Shrimp Wrap might be the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted.
- Aladdin- I’ve been here once with my brother and it was really good!
Nice Date Restaurants
Want to take your significant other out on a more expensive meal? Try some of these places!
- Amerigo’s- There’s two locations, but I don’t think either one is better than the other. This Italian restaurant is very good and not super expensive! I normally get the Crawfish Pasta for $14.
- Half Shell- Seafood!
- Table 100
- Walker’s Drive In
- Fine & Dandy
- Jo’s Diner
- Brent’s Drugs
- Trace Grill
Have a night with no homework? Bored Friday or Saturday? All the information below is my best attempt to solve this, a carefully crafted list of all the things I could possibly think of to do in the Jackson Metro area that someone not from here wouldn’t know about!
- Dogwood- This is right down the road from where I live, on nights we were horribly bored we would go walk around and play games at the mall. There I’d also go to a ton of restaurants in Dogwood.
- Renaissance- Super nice mall in Madison with a bunch of good restaurants.
- Pearl Outlets
- Northpark Mall- There’s some more specific stores in Northpark that are not in the other malls, and I normally come here to get shoes and clothing.
- Parkway Movie Theater- I can remember getting dropped off for dates here in 7th grade, and then standing outside with my friends that went to different colleges, and catching up until 1 am during the summer.
- Malco Grandview (Madison) · Cinemark Pearl and XD- This place has the nice reclining seats that make you feel rich and cool.
- Action Pursuit Games- It’s only open on Saturdays from 9:30 to 2:30, and it’s kind of a haul to get there, but we went on many youth trips here and it was always a blast!
- Mac & Bones- A little run down, and last time I played I was frustrated by the course, but it’s there if you really want to play.
- Big South Sporting Goods and Mini Golf- The cursed venue, I’ve seen at least 7 businesses come and go in this building, and the only constant that has remained is this mini-golf course. It was a little run down for about a decade, but the newest owners have rejuvenated it. If anyone goes here please let me know how it is in the comments! It looks good from Lakeland.
- Roller Skating · Funtime Skateland of Pearl- I will always remember singing “Glad You Came” by The Wanted (still a great song) to the girl I liked in 7th grade as I skated past her at this place. When me and my friends went here, it was always so much fun. We went after Prom my senior year and it was still a blast. The workers are super nice, and it’s a very friendly environment.
- Funtime Skateland of Clinton- I assume owned by the same people? I have never been here though.
- Fannin Lanes- My best friend and I went through a bowling phase senior year, and we would go here every single day after school for a couple weeks.
- Country Club of Canton- I started playing golf a pretty good amount this summer, and this place is only about $25 after 3:00 to play a round. The course is super nice too.
- Pearl Municipal Golf Course- My friends and I played here for $30 on a Saturday morning this summer. I thought that was a good deal considering the time and day we went.
- The Ross Barnett Reservoir is one of the unique features to the Jackson area. If you have access to a boat, you can put in and tube, wakeboard, or do anything you want on the water. There are kayak landings in both Flowood and Madison.
- The Overlook in Ridgeland- This is just a cool place overlooking the Rez, go watch a sunset, have a picnic, or Eno!
- Pelahatchie Shore- Just like the overlook, one side of the road has places to sit and picnic and across the street there’s a disc golf course and more picnic tables.
- If you have a free Saturday, go boat down the Okatoma! It’s about a 45-minute drive to get there, but it’s a lot of fun!
Like everyone, my hometown is special to me. I think that the Jackson area is such a fun place, but most people just don’t know all the hidden gems it has to offer. This guide is my best effort to uncover Jackson’s most fun amenities, and make your four years living here as fun as they can possibly be!