Small town jewels are kind of our thing in the South … especially in Mississippi. Well, that and fabulous dining, outdoor adventures, modern accommodations, lush landscapes … this could go on for awhile. If you want to discover Mississippi’s modern jewel, a trip to Ridgeland, Mississippi is exactly what you need.
Reveal … Inside + Out
For some the discovery starts with the finest shopping in Mississippi. A wealth of independently owned boutiques, galleries and stores are located from one end of the city to the other. Stroll the brick streets of the old world designed Renaissance at Colony Park, a true lifestyle center featuring fountains, lush landscaping and high-end shops including the only Apple store in the state (we see you smiling, techies). As night falls, twinkling lights dance overhead and outdoor patios beckon you for drinks and dinner (you know those twinkling lights sound romantic).
A short distance in Olde Towne Ridgeland, the Jackson Street District is bustling with specialty shops, restaurants, spas and a bike shop. The renowned Mississippi Craft Center features treasures from over 400 artisans and is located just off the Natchez Trace Parkway, making it accessible by bike. While more than 10 other malls, parks, promenades and squares are also found on the Ridgeland Retail Trail.
Adventure … Inside + Out
With the perfect purchase in hand, it’s on to outdoor fun. Ridgeland is well-known as a cyclist’s paradise. Serious cyclers and casual cruisers share the Natchez Trace Parkway and Ridgeland’s Multi-Use Path. Some side trails even lead to cafes and specialty shops (more shopping? Don’t mind if we do.)! And a slate of special biking events including the Natchez Trace Century Ride and the Ridgeland OBO Tandem Rally which occurs during Ridgeland’s Art, Wine and Wheels Weekend occur throughout the cycling season. Adrenaline junkies will get their thrill when they take a spin at Ridgeland’s BMX and mountain bike trails. Somehow, all that high performance fun is even better knowing that Southern hospitality, fine food and a relaxing night await at the end of the day!
For all its emphasis on shopping and cycling, Ridgeland has also been named the state’s best waterfront destination. The Ross Barnett Reservoir (which locals call the Rez) has more than 105 miles of shoreline bounded on the north by the Natchez Trace and 33,000 acres of surface area that invite boating, sailing, fishing, swimming and water sports. Camping on the shore offers an inside + out water adventure while Marina restaurants let you watch the boats come in while feeding the ducks. The Rez is also Ridgeland’s hot spot for waterfront events including the Mississippi Symphony’s Pepsi Pops Concert and the famous Dragon Boat Regatta that attracts more than 60 teams from across the region.
Culture … Inside + Out
Lovers of art and lovers of outdoor festivals (and let’s be honest—that’s most of us), won’t want to miss the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival. Held this year on April 1-2, the festival has been named a Top Twenty Event by the Southeast Tourism Society for good reason. Festival-goers are treated to a weekend of fine art spanning every media, terrific regional music, local cuisine and activities for the whole family. The festival is held at the Renaissance at Colony Park, and it provides a unique opportunity to view a juried selection of America’s finest and most unusual artwork, from painting to photography to glass. Of course, there’s opportunity to purchase something special for yourself, too (yes, even more shopping which makes us happy).
For even more fantastic art, head to the Mississippi Crafts Center, a 20,000-square-foot facility featuring works created by masterful artisans from Mississippi and over a dozen other states. Not only are these crafts functional and beautiful, but many also incorporate unique aspects of the landscape, culture, and heritage of their region of origin. Browse permanent displays and special exhibitions, and add something new to your collection or find a unique gift for someone special in the retail center. Time your visit in conjunction with one of the Center’s fabulous events, such as the Spring or Summer Showcase, and enjoy handcrafted works for sale, delicious food, live music, and more. Art enthusiasts can also choose from a variety of workshops and classes available throughout the year. With beginner blacksmithing, woodturning, or weaving and spinning, perhaps it’s time to learn something new!
Want more info on dining, shopping, adventuring and staying in Ridgeland, Mississippi? Head to VisitRidgeland.com and start planning your trip today!