Home to Mississippi State, Starkville is often referred to as Mississippi’s College Town. And while it’s true that there’s something magic about Starkville during the height of fall football season, the city of just over 25,000 has plenty to offer year-round. Festivals and events held throughout the year feature the city’s best and brightest, from amazing culinary experts to talented musicians, incredible artists, and more. Whether you choose to visit one of the city’s many art galleries, attend a theater performance, or listen to live music, there are plenty of ways to experience Starkville’s incredible arts culture. Here are five great places to start.
Starkville’s only independent record store, Scooter’s is as homegrown as it gets. The eclectic store got its start as a pop-up shop at Mississippi State’s Old Main Festival, then slowly spread throughout the city with pop-ups at other venues and events. In 2017, they opened a brick-and-mortar store conveniently located between Starkville’s downtown and Cotton District. Today, the store is the city’s go-to for all things music, from new and used vinyl records to turntables, speakers, vintage record players, artist posters, T-shirts, and more.
Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Music Museum
Learn about the “Business of Music” at the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Music Museum museum located in Mississippi State’s Mitchell Memorial Library. The museum explores how music influenced America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, taking deep dives into its influences on fashion, trends, and popular culture during the time. The museum is home to more than 200 instruments, as well as the most complete collection of Victor Talking Machines made between 1897and 1930. Phonographs and an extensive sheet music collection are also part of the personal anthology of Mississippi State alumnus and Starkville businessman Charles H. Templeton, Sr. The museum is located on the 4th floor of the Mitchell Memorial Library in Mississippi State’s campus and is free to attend.
Mississippi State University’s Art Galleries
Mississippi State hosts four distinct art galleries on its campus, all of which are free and open to the public. The Colvard Student Union Art Gallery showcases rotating exhibitions of regional and national art. The MSU Department of Art Galleries manages two galleries: The Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery and The Visual Arts Center Gallery. The exhibits at each change frequently. Currently, art lovers can explore sculpture works by Earl Dismuke. At the Martha Lipsey Art Gallery in the T.K. Martin Center, you can find work created by Mississippians living with disabilities through the EXPRESS Yourself! art program. The McNeel Architecture Gallery features rotating regional and national architecture exhibits. Experience the talent and imagination of Starkville’s creative minds—and perhaps even find yourself inspired!
For a night of great live music, cold drinks, and delicious food, Rick’s Café is the place to go. “Probably the best bar in the world,” Rick’s opened in 1994 and has been a favorite for locals and visitors alike ever since. Local and regional artists of all genres perform every Friday and Saturday night. While you’re jamming out to the band, grab a bite to eat from the restaurant’s menu of Buffalo wings, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and special “Mississippi Mex” dishes.
Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern
Dave’s Dark Horse is the stuff of legends. Starkville’s oldest pizzeria and only neighborhood tavern does it all. Specializing in Chicago-style deep dish pizza, as well as New York-style pizza, you can count on Dave’s for a killer meal any night of the week. But what makes Dave’s truly special is its commitment to community and advancing the city’s music scene. The tavern hosts open mic nights weekly, giving local talent the opportunity to hone their craft. Wednesday nights bring everyone together for trivia, and on Friday it’s all about the live music from local and regional artists. In addition, Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern contributes to the local music scene through its partnership with the Del Rendon Foundation, a community organization named for the talented Starkville artist who passed in 2005. Today, the organization continues his mission to support awareness and creation of local and regional music and art through events and educational opportunities.
If you’re looking for a taste of rich, unique culture and awe-inspiring creativity, look no further than Starkville, Mississippi! To learn more about Starkville’s thriving music and arts scene, click here today.