A Visitor’s Guide to Starkville, MS: Must-See Attractions & Hidden Gems

Are you planning a move to historic Starkville, MS? As you begin your relocation, Your Extra Closet is here to ease your transition with our comprehensive mover’s guide to Starkville. With seven convenient locations in the area, we’re not just your go-to solution for self storage needs; we’re also your neighbors, eager to introduce you to our community.

Starkville, affectionately known as “Mississippi’s College Town,” is home to Mississippi State University (MSU), which brings youthful energy to the city and attracts students and professionals from diverse backgrounds. Beyond the bustling campus, you’ll discover a city with a detailed past, teeming with history, outdoor adventures, and a tight-knit community ready to welcome you. Whether you’re drawn to the excitement of SEC football or the culinary delights and boutique shopping of our revitalized downtown area, Starkville offers something for everyone. Let this guide be your first step in making Starkville not just a place you live, but a place you love. Welcome home!

Table of Contents

I. About Starkville, MS

II. Sites to See Around the City

III. Parks & Recreation

IV. Restaurants in Starkville

Get to Know the Starkville Community — Go Bulldogs!

Population: 24,168

Located in the center of Oktibbeha County, Starkville holds a special place in the heart of Mississippi. The city‘s origins trace back to the early 19th century, evolving from a small trading post to the established city it is today. Deeply rooted in its agricultural history and educational institutions, the city stands as a beacon of progress in the region. Over the years, Starkville has grown into a center for commerce, education, and innovation, significantly contributing to the cultural and economic fabric of Mississippi.

A pivotal element in the area’s growth is Mississippi State University (MSU), a land-grant institution established in 1878. MSU has been instrumental in transforming Starkville from a quiet college town into a thriving community with a dynamic economy. As the largest employer in the city, MSU not only brings a youthful energy and diversity to Starkville but also drives innovation through research and development. The university’s presence has led to the growth of technology companies, research facilities, and startups in the area, bolstering the local economy and providing numerous job opportunities. MSU’s contributions to agriculture, engineering, and its veterinary and business programs have positioned Starkville as a leader in education and research in the Southeastern United States.

MSU’s impact extends beyond the local economy; it enriches the social landscape of Starkville through community events, sports enthusiasm, and academic pursuits. The university attracts students, faculty, and visitors from across the globe, fostering a multicultural environment that promotes further learning and curiosity. Culture meets tradition on football weekends, when Starkville is transformed into a sea of maroon and white, uniting the community in support of the Bulldogs. Keep an eye on the community calendar to see when the university is holding events near you!

Annual Events That Bring Residents & Students Together

Starkville is a city that thrives on community spirit—whether you’ve lived here your whole life, you’ve made a professional move to the city, or you’ve chosen here for your studies. Any time residents can come together to celebrate and be caring and creative, we continue to foster our strong sense of community. Here are only a few of the many annual events that Starkville hosts throughout the year.

  • Bulldog Bash: One of the cornerstone events in Starkville, it is considered the largest free outdoor concert in Mississippi, organized by the Mississippi State University Student Association in the fall. This event brings together students, families, and community members to enjoy performances by nationally recognized musicians and local talent, celebrating the start of the football season and MSU’s Bulldog spirit. The Bash also features a variety of vendors, showcasing local crafts and cuisines, making it a perfect blend of culture and celebration.
  • Cotton District Arts Festival: Another highlight of Starkville’s annual calendar, the festival transforms the historic Cotton District into a vibrant arts and crafts marketplace. This spring event attracts artists, crafters, and performers from across the region, offering a day filled with art exhibitions, live music, and delicious food. The festival includes activities for all ages, such as a 5K run, pet parade, and children’s art area, making it a family-friendly event that celebrates the artistic heart of Starkville.
  • Downtown At Sundown: Downtown At Sundown is Starkville’s summer concert series that brings the community together under the setting sun. Hosted in the heart of the city, this event features live music performances spanning various genres. It’s a celebration of summer evenings, offering not just music but also local food vendors, crafts, and activities for children, making it a perfect family friendly outing.
  • King Cotton Crawfish Boil: The King Cotton Crawfish Boil marks the onset of crawfish season, inviting residents and visitors to indulge in pounds of spicy boiled crawfish accompanied by potatoes, corn, and a festive atmosphere. Beyond the feast, the event often features live music, games, and contests.
  • Magnolia Independent Film Festival: The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, known as “The Mag,” is Mississippi’s first and longest-running film festival. Held annually in Starkville, this event showcases a diverse range of independent films from around the world, including feature-length movies, shorts, and documentaries. The festival not only provides a platform for filmmakers to present their work but also offers workshops, panel discussions, and opportunities for audience interaction.
  • Super Bulldog Weekend: Centered around a Mississippi State University spring football game, the weekend is packed with athletic events, alumni gatherings, and entertainment, showcasing the best of Bulldog spirit and athletics. It’s a time when the community’s pride shines brightest, drawing alumni back to their roots and uniting the town in maroon and white.

One-of-a-Kind Attractions in the City for All Ages

Get out and explore! Starkville has fun for the the whole family. Whether you are looking to go outside and enjoy the nice weather or find fun for a rainy day, you always have interesting and affordable options close by.

Find Fresh, Local Goods

Start with a little snack. The MSU Cheese Store, located on the university’s campus. This famed spot allows visitors to sample and purchase the legendary cheese made by the university’s own dairy processing plant, including the much-loved Edam cheese. It’s a unique experience that ties together Starkville’s agricultural roots with its educational prowess. The Starkville Community Market is another hub of local produce that also includes handmade goods. Open seasonally, the market brings together farmers, artisans, and crafters from the surrounding areas, offering a taste of the local community spirit and an opportunity to support local businesses. It’s the perfect place to find fresh, locally-sourced food and crafted goods.

Dive Into MSU’s Expansive Resources

The Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum, situated on the MSU campus, is a fascinating destination for music lovers and historians alike. The museum houses an extensive collection of 19th and early 20th-century American music, including more than 200 musical instruments, sheet music, and recording devices. The exhibits explore the evolution of American music, with a particular focus on the ragtime era, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the musical past. The Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library is another unparalleled resource for scholars and enthusiasts of American history. The library boasts a comprehensive collection of documents, photographs, and artifacts related to the life and presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. In addition to its historical treasures, the library also hosts exhibitions and educational programs, providing insights into the Civil War era and Grant’s legacy.

While on campus, stop into the Colvard Student Union Gallery to check out a vibrant array of artworks by students, faculty, and visiting artists. The gallery is dedicated to showcasing a diverse range of artistic expressions and serves as an inspiring cultural space where the university and the wider community can engage with the arts. The Cullis and Gladys Wade Clock Museum is another stop on campus—a treasure trove for anyone fascinated by the art and mechanics of timekeeping. The museum features an impressive collection of clocks and timepieces, dating from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Visitors can marvel at the craftsmanship and ingenuity of these historical pieces, making it a must-visit for horology enthusiasts.

Experience the Spirit of Starkville’s Yesteryear & Present Day

There is also plenty to explore off MSU’s campus. The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum offers an in-depth look into the local history and cultural heritage of Starkville and Oktibbeha County. Housed in a restored railroad depot, the museum’s exhibits cover a range of topics, from Native American history to the agricultural and educational developments of the area. The museum also features a beautiful rain garden, enhancing the visitor experience with a touch of nature. Get to know the spirit of the city through an impressive collection of public art murals that add color and character to the city’s streetscape. Several wall murals can be found along Lampkin St., Russell Street, University Drive, and Louisville Street, each telling its own story and celebrating the community’s creativity and spirit. These murals make for a delightful exploration of the city’s artistic side.

Lastly, The Cotton District is Starkville’s architectural gem and entertainment district. With its charming, European-inspired design, The Cotton District is home to vibrant eateries, boutiques, and annual festivals that draw crowds from across the region. It’s a focal point for social gatherings and a testament to Starkville’s creative community.

Step Into Mississippi’s Great Outdoors

Starkville boasts a variety of outdoor spaces and parks that offer residents and visitors alike a chance to connect with nature. Whether you are looking for regular recreation activities or you are trying to uncover new favorite spots, you have plenty to explore. Here are some of the notable outdoor spaces and parks around Starkville:

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge: Located just a short drive from Starkville, the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge spans more than 48,000 acres of protected habitats, including forests, wetlands, and open waters. This natural sanctuary attracts outdoor lovers, bird watchers, and photographers, offering miles of trails for hiking and opportunities for fishing and boating. The refuge is home to a diverse array of species, making it a perfect spot for those looking to immerse themselves in nature’s tranquility.

Starkville Sportsplex: The Starkville Sportsplex is a comprehensive recreational facility that caters to athletes and families. With soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds, basketball courts, and a walking track, the Sportsplex is the go-to place for sports and fitness enthusiasts. It also hosts various community events and sports leagues.

Moncrief Park: Moncrief Park is a beloved community space known for its family friendly atmosphere. The park features playgrounds, picnic areas, and a public swimming pool, making it an ideal location for family outings and summer fun. Its open green spaces and shaded areas provide a quiet environment for picnics, relaxation, and outdoor gatherings.

Chadwick Lake: Located on the Mississippi State University campus, Chadwick Lake offers a picturesque setting for walking, jogging, and fishing. The lake is encircled by a paved walking trail, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenic views while getting some exercise. It’s a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of campus life and a popular spot for students and residents alike.

J.L. King Senior Memorial Park: This community park offers a variety of amenities, including a playground, pavilion, and outdoor fitness equipment. It’s a space that encourages healthy living and community engagement, hosting events and activities that bring Starkville residents together.

The Flavors & Favorite Eateries of Starkville

What good is living in Mississippi without getting a taste of the region’s infamous Southern cooking? Extending beyond homecooked meals to our most favorite restaurants in the city, you will find all the BBQ and comfort food you can handle right here in Starkville. Add these spots to your must-visit list!

Move Into Our College Town with the Help of Your Extra Closet

Ready to find some extra storage space, so you can better organize your move? Your Extra Closet is a local storage name in Starkville that prides ourselves on being a top solution for students and city residents! Our storage facilities on Highway 183, North Jackson, MLK Drive, Lynn Lane, Old Highway 182, and Reed Road are ready to help you store your belongings. Rent online today and find storage near MSU’s campus and close to your new home.

What kind of storage are you looking for? Across our different locations, we offer RV storage, covered parking, and secure indoor and drive-up storage units. Talk with our team today to find the right storage unit for your storing needs or choose online through our online storage rentals. We have numerous resources on our website to help you choose the proper storage space for your load. Get a storage unit size estimate from our storage calculator, and dive into our list of expert tips to help you pick between storage features and pack up your belongings securely. Let Your Extra Closet by your guide into a more organized storage process.

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Katie Mest

About the Author: Katie Mest is an SEO Specialist at Storage Asset Management in York, PA. She specializes in writing about the self storage industry, including storage tips and helpful resources. Outside of work, Katie enjoys camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors with her newly adopted Greyhound rescue, Titan.