There's no problem staying full and happy while traveling around Mississippi. The states knows how to eat well, taking pride in the sumptuous selection of classic southern fare like barbecue and grits, shrimp along the coast and fried chicken and steak everywhere else. Legendary for its fried catfish, cornbread and biscuits, most dining in Mississippi is rural and casual, even in the capital Jackson. One thing you won’t find much of is cutting-edge nightlife. If you’re a fan of Delta blues you’ll be in heaven, but clubbers may be out of luck.

Bars and Pubbing in Mississippi

The entertainment highlight of Mississippi is its live music scene, home of the Delta blues where legends like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters got their start. The capital of Jackson has a decent downtown area with friendly bars like Hal and Mal’s (200 Commerce Street, Jackson) for beer and music, and Fenian’s Pub (102 Jefferson Street, Jackson) for diverse nightly entertainment.

You can be ensured a good night out in Oxford, home to Old Miss University. Around the downtown area are loads of fun little places like Murff’s (1210 Harrison Ave, Oxford) and The Library Sports Bar (120 S. 11th Street, Oxford) to catch a game. There are charming old taverns in Natchez’s equally enchanting historic district. Check out Andrew’s Tavern (325 Main Street, Natchez) and Bowie’s Tavern (100 Main Street, Natchez) where locals hang out. Mississippi has both dry and wet counties, which means certain towns won’t serve alcohol at all. Those that do have last call at 2 am, although most bars in Oxford close around 1 am.

Dining and Cuisine in Mississippi

No matter where you are in Mississippi you are guaranteed to find a handful of tempting restaurants if you are willing to drop the diet and indulge in tasty southern fare. Natchez is a great town for the classics like fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits and fried catfish. The Carriage House (401 High Street, Natchez) is a long-standing favorite for southern lunches, while the Magnolia Grill (49 Silver Street, Natchez) provides relaxing views of the Mississippi River to go with its American comfort cuisine.

Oxford is another small town that’s big on dining options. It is arguably the center of good food in Mississippi, so you’ll have a hard time deciding between the legendary shrimp and grits at City Grocery (152 Courthouse Square, Oxford) or the fresh catfish at Taylor Grocery (4 County Road 338, Oxford). The Ajax Diner (118 Courthouse Square) is another must-try for soul food, as is Handy Andy (800 North Lamar Blvd, Oxford) for its hickory-smoked barbecue. In the capital, Jackson, you’ll find the most restaurants, including a good range of ethnic options throughout the downtown district.

In general, almost every restaurant has extremely affordable prices on homemade food. For upscale, creative cuisine try 208 Oxford (208 South Lamar Blvd, Oxford), but you can do just fine with local favorites at a fraction of the cost.