Starkville, Mississippi, is a vibrant city known for its rich history, Southern charm, and a thriving arts scene. If you’re looking for budget-friendly activities that showcase the essence of Starkville, you’re in luck. From exploring public art murals to immersing yourself in the local culture, our charming city has something for everyone.
#1 Have an outdoor adventure at The Refuge
Spanning three counties, the Sam D. Hamilton National Wildlife Refuge hosts a plethora of wildlife and outdoor fun. Canoe or kayak across the pristine waters, take an invigorating hike, or enjoy the variety of flora and fauna. With over 48,000 acres of untouched beauty, The Refuge offers something for all ages.
#2 Plan a picnic at North Farm
Located inside the MSU’s R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center, North Farm is the perfect place to have your next picnic. With wide acres covered in wildflowers and running trails, North Farm is sure to provide you with serenity. Bring a hammock or a fresh pair of sneakers; you’ll find your next outdoor escape here.
#3 Tour the beautiful campus of Mississippi State University
Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Drill Field, visit the iconic Davis Wade Stadium, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the university. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the renowned Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library, which houses a vast collection of books, exhibits, and artifacts that provide fascinating insights into the state’s history and culture. There is so much to do and experience on campus. From self-guided tours to on-campus organization tours, there are endless ways to explore campus for free.
#4 Explore the history of Oktibbeha County
Delve into Starkville’s rich history by visiting the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum. Housed in a historic Montgomery Street school building, this museum provides a glimpse into the area’s past through engaging exhibits and artifacts. Discover the region’s agricultural heritage, learn about the impact of the Civil War, and explore the cultural heritage of Oktibbeha County. The museum frequently hosts events and workshops that celebrate local traditions and history. Admission is free.
#5 Stroll through downtown
Take a leisurely stroll through Starkville’s picturesque downtown area. Marvel at the beautiful architecture, browse unique shops, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Window shopping has never been more in style. With beautiful displays that are especially colorful during the holiday seasons, Starkville is home to some of the best unique boutiques in the south. Soak in all of the wonderful displays and take note of what you might be coming back for later. Stop in one of our local eateries for a quick bite or a cup of coffee and enjoy some people watching, too!
#6 Take a self-guided tour of public art displays
Over 20 murals and public art displays liven up the City of Starkville. From selfie-worthy spots to beautiful memorials, our city is proud to showcase the works of local and regional artists. Take a self-guided tour to discover these artistic gems throughout the city. From colorful abstract designs to captivating historical narratives, each mural tells a story.
#7 Tickle the ivories
The Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum is in the “Business of Music.” Take a look at musical instruments past and present, and let over four decades of music flourish before you. The museum also sponsors the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival, bringing awareness to the art of jazz music.
Additionally, there are several public pianos across Main Street. Each piano is themed with art and free for the public to use. Practice your skills on the keys or listen carefully and you might just hear a skilled musician playing.
#8 Visit the Cotton District
Take a walk through the beautiful Cotton District, full of brightly-colored pastel homes and New-Urbanism elements. The Cotton District intertwines Greek, Classical, and Victorian architecture, blending together to make an award-winning landscape. Connecting MSU to Starkville, the Cotton District is an area sure to showcase the life of the city.
#9 Light up the night at the lights on Lafayette
Take in the basking glow of Lafayette Street, illuminated in lights. The mood is always right at Lafayette Street, and is part of the primary reasons our Main Street was voted one of the Top 5 most romantic Main Streets in America.
#10 Stop and smell the roses at the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden
The Veterans Memorial Rose Garden is part of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES). The central gazebo is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of more than 30 rose cultivars. The Veterans Memorial Rose Garden truly is the perfect place to stop and smell the roses.
#11 Meet your newest furry friend at the Oktibbeha County Humane Society
The Humane Society houses cats, dogs, and various other animals that are available for adoption and for volunteers to tend to. Spend your afternoon volunteering by taking a furry friend on a walk or play-date.
#12 Explore the past at the Ulysses S. Grant Library
On the fourth floor of the MSU Mitchell Memorial Library, history is displayed in the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library. The library houses Grant’s manuscripts, artifacts, and key objects that influenced Grant’s tenure as president. Additionally, the library has interactive learning galleries, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in history truly.
#13 Take a lap around Chadwick Lake
Located next to the MSU Joe Frank Sanderson Center, Chadwick Lake is a spot that allows you to see MSU on full display. A one-mile walking and jogging trail surrounds the lake, allowing users to see the university’s athletic facilities and wildlife on display. A small outdoor gym and disc golf course are also alongside the lake. You can also find your next great catch at the lake! Fishing is allowed with a Mississippi fishing license and a Chadwick Lake fishing permit.
#14 Learn about Civil Rights at Starkville Unity Park
Located on Douglas L. Conner Drive, Starkville Unity Park is a place for people from any walk of life to celebrate peace and unity. Unity Park allows visitors to learn about Civil Rights leaders Dr. Douglas L. Conner, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and William Winter. The park also memorializes the historic “Game of Change,” a game played by MSU that helped push for equality in sports.
#15 Find peace at the Chapel of Memories
Created from the bricks of the Old Main Dormitory fire, the Chapel of Memories is a place that serves as home of reflection and rebirth. The Chapel is open for all to use and take in the light from its stained-glass windows and gothic charm. The Chapel of Memories is the perfect place to find rest and restoration.
#16 Fulfill your thrills at the John Grisham Room
Dive into the thrilling tales of John Grisham at the John Grisham Room, located on the third floor of the Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU. The exhibit area houses manuscripts, screenplays, publications, and numerous materials from the acclaimed Mississippi author. Explore the Grisham memorabilia and various legislative files located in the exhibit.
#17 Watch puppies play at the Starkville Dog Park
Located inside of Moncrief Park, the Starkville Dog Park is a fenced in park that allows pets of all sizes to roam freely. The park is separated by large and small dog areas, allowing owners peace of mind about their pets. The park also hosts the annual Dog Paddle Party, allowing furry friends to take a lap in the pool before it is drained for the season.
#18 Take a historical walking tour
Embark on a self-guided historical walking tour of Starkville. Visit notable landmarks such as the Starkville City Hall, Greensboro Cemetery, and the historic Cotton District, while learning about the city’s past. Learn more about the various historical markers around town, found here. Topics include the history of Starkville, local legends like “Cool Papa” Bell, and even Johnny Cash’s time in the Starkville City Jail. The trail goes throughout the city and is sure to highlight the rich history of our city and excite all.
#19 Stop and smell the roses
With over 30 rose cultivars, the MSU Veterans’ Memorial Rose Garden is the perfect place to appreciate some of the city’s best scenery. See the stars under the gazebo, take a run on nearby trails, or just stop and smell the roses. However you chose to spend your time at the Veterans’ Memorial Rose Garden, your time will be well spent.
#20 Visit the Market
If you’re in town on a Saturday morning, make sure to visit the Starkville Community Market. Browse through local vendors offering fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious treats.
Starkville offers an abundance of free activities that cater to various interests. From exploring the city’s public art murals to immersing yourself in its rich history and natural beauty, there’s something for everyone. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, take advantage of these top 20 free things to do in Starkville and create unforgettable memories without breaking the bank.