Oxford Mississippi is a Charming Mississippi Town with Great People and Ole Miss

October 17, 2023 by justin davis

oxford mississippi town square

There are plenty of things to appreciate about Oxford, Mississippi. Here you can find world-class hotels and restaurants, as well as college sports and epic tailgate parties. Even though there are only around 20,000 residents in Oxford, the presence of the University of Mississippi (or Ole Miss, as it’s affectionately nicknamed) gives it the feel of a much larger town. Whether you’re just planning a visit, or you’re considering moving there, Oxford has a lot to offer. Want to know more of the specifics? Here are some of the highlights of spending time in Oxford.

Visit William Faulkner’s house and gravesite

William Faulkner won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel A Fable, which was written at his home in Oxford. Known as Rowan Oak, this stately Greek Revival house was built in the 1840s, and is now a National Historic Landmark. Even though there isn’t a single rowan oak on the four-acre lot, you can see plenty of majestic hardwoods. This house was where Faulkner created some of his most incredible works, including As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, The Reivers, and A Fable. In fact, visitors can still see the outline for this last book written in red and graphite pencil on the walls of the study. There isn’t a set fee to visit Rowan Oak, but visitors are asked to make a donation before entering.

You can attend a sports event

Old Miss has some pretty great sports teams, including girls’ softball, basketball, baseball, and of course football. Each game is attended not only by avid sports fans, but also by families who enjoy a night of athletic entertainment. Even if the home team doesn’t win, everyone still has a great time. 

There’s actually a local saying, “We may not win every game, but we’ve never lost a party”. Tailgating has practically been perfected to the level of an art form in Oxford, with tailgaters expertly securing the prime spots within minutes of the area being opened up. Once that’s done, they get to work setting everything up. High-end tailgaters will even book catering services and butlers, and enjoy their meal from fine china and sterling silver cutlery. This makes an ideal scene from which to cheer on the teams from Mississippi’s oldest university.

Shopping at “The Square”

This local economic hub can provide hours of shopping fun, no matter your age or gender. If you don’t have a few hours to wander from one store to the next, maybe you should just hit the top picks. Neilson’s is a department store that’s nearly 200 years old, having been founded in 1839; this makes it the first department store in the South. There you can find everything from shoes to clothes to cosmetics, and even a bridal registry.

If you’re hoping to buy some holiday gifts or souvenirs, head over to Olive Juice Gifts; this is a charming shop that has something for everybody. Guys would enjoy Hinton & Hinton, a store that specifically caters to men.

There’s also a book store called Square Books, which has an amazing selection of books in every genre. They’re arguably one of the country’s best independent bookstores, and regularly host meet-and-greets and book signings. You can also visit related bookstores – Red Square Books (first editions, collectible, and vintage titles), Off Square Books (gardening, cookbooks, and lifestyle titles), and Square Books Jr. (children’s books). Last but not least, don’t forget to pick up some Ole Miss merchandise from one of the specialty shops. 

Given how The Square is laid out, you may want to get a seat on a double-decker bus so you can get the lay of the land. This will introduce you to some of the area’s most iconic spots, both in The Square itself and throughout Oxford.

Indulge in classic Southern cuisine

You’d have a hard time getting a bad meal in this town, especially if you’re close to The Square. Since this is the town’s main hub of shopping and entertainment, it’s only natural that there would be a huge array of restaurants within walking distance. Locals recommend Boure and Ajax Diner, which provide iconic Southern comfort food. If you want to have lunch or dinner at Boure, you may want to make a reservation in advance; that’s how popular this restaurant is! Another favorite is the South Depot Taco Shop. It may not focus on Southern cuisine, but if you love tacos, you won’t regret visiting this restaurant.

If you’re on the hunt for a breakfast spot, look no further than Big Bad Breakfast (BBB). This happens to be owned by the same people as Boure, and has won multiple awards over the years. You can also visit the Bottletree Bakery, which has a wide array of freshly baked treats.

Stay at the Graduate Oxford Hotel

This hotel may not be affiliated with any university, but you’ll definitely get a preppy vibe as soon as you enter the lobby. It’s both sophisticated and stylish, with attractive restaurants, beautiful common areas, and comfortable rooms. Even the little details are fun; for example, guests get key cards that look like library cards. You may even end up with a replica of Eli Manning’s library card! The entire hotel is full of dark, luxurious wood accents, and a pleasing mix of plaids and solid colors for the upholstery and bedding. You’ll get the feeling that you’re staying at a time-honored university, with all the amenities of a fashionable hotel.

Speaking of amenities, don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich at Cabin 82, a chic restaurant on the hotel’s ground floor. If you’re in the mood for cocktails in the evening, head up to the rooftop to visit The Coop.

Oxford, Mississippi is a lovely little town that offers a lot more than its size would imply. Whether you’ll only be there for a few days, or you’re hoping to settle down for a few years, you’ll be sure to enjoy yourself.

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