Hattiesburg, Mississippi is called the Hub City because it was originally founded as a hub for the railroads. It is almost equal distance between New Orleans, LA; Jackson, MS, Natchez, MS; Mobile, AL; Gulfport, MS and Meridian, MS. Before European settlers arrived, the Natchez Indians lived in the area that is today now known as the Pine Belt because of all the longleaf pine trees. The pine trees are the reason there is a large timber industry in Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt.
If you happen to be in the Hub City, here are a few of the best places to eat in Hattiesburg, best things to do and places to stay.
THINGS TO DO
I’ll start with things to do with kids in Hattiesburg, but really everything is kid-friendly.
Hattiesburg Zoo – A small but well done zoo, great for children and adults. There is also a playground right outside of the zoo.
UpDown Trampoline Park – Indoor trampoline activity center. A great place for children to burn off some energy when the weather outside isn’t great. My kids couldn’t get enough of this place.
Tatum Park – huge soccer fields and green space.
Longleaf Trace (or Longleaf Trail) – Rails to trails, over 44 miles of (mostly flat) old train line that has been converted to trails for running and biking, goes all the way to Prentiss, MS. “Depots” along the way have bathrooms.
African American Military History Museum – A historical museum in Hattiesburg. Not only does this location house history, it is history. The Museum building is currently the only surviving USO in the United States built exclusively for African American soldiers It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The museum exhibits cover many wars throughout history as well as the history of Hattiesburg. Limited hours – only open Weds to Friday, and by appointment only on the weekends.
The LRMA or Lauren Rogers Museum of Art – 25 minutes away in Laurel, MS. A collection of artists showcased in an excellent art gallery.
USM de Grummond Collection – In a wing of the USM library there is original illustrations for famous children’s books. This may be more interesting for adults than children, but noteworthy stop if you are a conossieur of children’s literature or illustrations.
SEASONAL OR SUMMER ACTIVITES IN HATTIESBURG
When the weather gets warmer there are more options for outdoor activities in the Hub City.
Geyser Falls Water Theme Park – near Peal-River resort. (Seasonal Activity)
Town Square Park – There’s a recurring event called Alive at 5. It is music and venders on Friday’s at 5:00 pm in the Fall and Spring. If you aren’t there for this event, it is still a great little park with green space for children right on the side of downtown Hattiesburg.
Paul B. Johnson State Park – public lake and camping grounds that are just south of town. A great place to go in the summer and cool off at the splash pad/water park.
All-American Rose Garden – in front of USM (University of Southern Mississippi) – seasonal.
Grand Paradise Water Park – Waterpark in nearby Collins MS (Seasonal activity)
UAL – United Apparel Liquidators – No trip to Hattiesburg would be complete without a trip to UAL. It is a store that gets a random assortment of high-end and name brand clothing and home goods that it sells at deeply discounted pricing.
Walnut Square Gifts and Stationary – Quaint downtown pharmacy type of store with a great selection of southern gifts.
The Kitchen Table – Offers a good selection of kitchen accessories displayed alongside whimsical southern gifts.
For a small southern town, Hattiesburg has a lot of noteworthy cuisine.
Purple Parrot– Probably the best known and most highly awarded restaurant in all of Hattiesburg. Fine dining, but still kid-friendly. If you aren’t feeling the formal dining room, you can also order food at the bar at the adjoining Mahogony Bar.
Tabella Italian Restaurant – Hearty selection of seafood dishes, salads, soups, pizza and pasta dishes. Fresh ingredients and attention to detail make this restaurant a worthwhile stop. (Might be my favorite restaurant in Hattiesburg.)
Midtowner– This is a new diner that is made to look old. It is a meat and 3 vegetables type of place with traditional southern cooking.
Ed’s Burger Joint– Great casual family friendly restaurant with games outside to play. Has extensive selection of hamburgers and hotdogs as well as fries, milkshakes and other menu options.
Crescent City Grill – Shares a building with the Purple Parrot. A great place to get authentic New Orleans cuisine when you don’t have time to drive to New Orleans. Both Crescent City Grill and Purple Parrot are culinary creations of the legendary Robert St John, a local culinary hero. He is an author, chef and restauranteur who owns or co-owns or helped start all of the above restaurants.
Birdhouse Cafe – This surprisingly adorable cafe with excellent lunch dishes sits inside an appliance and flooring warehouse. It looks as if there was a demo kitchen that was turned into a restaurant. You can watch as the Chef Katie Dixon whips up fantastic food. A solid choice if you have a hankering for soups, salads, smoothies, fresh juices or healthy eats.
T-Bones Records and Cafe – You could easily pass by this strip mall restaurant on Hardy Street and not notice it. But it is a great stop for soups, salads, sandwiches and coffee, 11:00 Sunday you can usually find live jazz.
Depot Kitchen & Market– Breakfast and lunch. Has indoor and outside covered patio seating. Is across the street from the old train station, hence the name. Has a limited but good menu.
Fika Cafe – Mississippi’s first Sweedish cafe, where you can enjoy Swedish pastries, lunch and coffee. A great place to pair a hot Sacklov with a chicken salad sandwich for some Mississippi-Sweden fusion.
Mulvi’s– Coffee shop.
Letha’s – Famous Mississippi BBQ
Cotton Blues – Lunch/Dinner
The Grin – Coffee roaster, their coffee is served at T-bones.
Breadsmith – bakery with fresh pastry options and coffee.
Southern Prohibition – microbrewery
Juthomas – Allegedly the Best Thai restaurant in Mississippi. Multiple locations.
Sully’s – Known for their steaks.
Southern sandwiches – I don’t normally recommend chain restaurants, but if you’ve never eaten at these chains – McCallister’s and Newk’s, they are worth a visit if you are craving a sandwich and southern iced tea. Both are sandwich chains that were started by Mississippi restauranteurs and have locations in Hattiesburg.
Asian Cafe – Has great rolled ice cream.
Jody’s bakery – Originally famous for their duck cookies, but also have other theme cookies.
They have excellent take-away frozen meals as well like quiches, casseroles and lasagnas.
Shipley’sDo-Nut– Famous old donut house. They are extremely fresh… and addictive.
Hotel Indigo is the newest hotel and in a great location. While Hotel Indigo has the Brass Hat restaurant, you can walk across the parking lot and find other restaurants, shops and a nail salon. The hotel is in a central location, close to USM (University of South Mississippi), the local Hospital and downtown Hattiesburg.
TownPlace Suites – The location off the highway makes the entire city easily accessible. The suites give more space for travelers than your average hotel room.
The Bay – A traditional bed and breakfast in downtown Hattiesburg. The B&B is behind the Depot restaurant, so it is walking distance to shops, restaurants and the train station.
If you are in Hattiesburg, you should also make a trip down to New Orleans, which is less than 2 hours away.
*Opinions are all my own. FPV is not being compensated by businesses, hotels or services to promote them. No affiliate links. Just sharing my travels of the world with the world.
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