Easily accessible from Interstate 55 in north Mississippi, about an hour from Memphis, Tennessee, Oxford welcomes visitors with quintessential southern charm and the convenience of big city amenities. Embrace the area’s literary heritage with a visit to Rowan Oak, the estate of Nobel Prize winning author, William Faulkner. Walk in the steps of the town’s other literary greats like John Grisham, Willie Morris and Barry Hannah. Channel your inner bookworm at Square Books, voted “Bookstore of the Year” in 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly. Shout “Hotty Toddy” in the Grove as you join University of Mississippi tailgaters to cheer on the Ole Miss Rebels. Browse the finest collection of Greek and Roman antiquities in the South at the University of Mississippi Museum. Get outdoors in the “Bike Friendly Community” where trails are an excellent way to explore the city on two wheels. Peruse unique boutiques and stores galore surrounding the town square, such as Neilson’s, the oldest department store in the South. Learn about the Southern Foodways Alliance, a member-supported organization based at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, which collects oral histories, produces films and podcasts, publishes great writing, sponsors scholarship, mentors students and stages events that serve as progressive and inclusive catalysts for the greater South. Tempt taste buds at appetite-enticing restaurants, several under the direction of James Beard award-winning Chef John Currence. Plan a visit during events like February’s Oxford Film Festival or April’s Double Decker Arts Festival. At the end of the day, rest easy at one of Oxford’s brand name hotels or cozy up in a bed and breakfast.
Fast Facts and Trivia
- Founded in May of 1837, Oxford, Mississippi’s population of around 20,000 nearly doubles with the addition of the student body at the University of Mississippi, which was founded a few years later, in 1848.
- The Mississippi Legislature voted in 1841 to make Oxford the home of the state’s first University, the University of Mississippi.
- Oxford hosted the first presidential debate in 2008 between President Obama and Senator John McCain.
- Designed to enhance clinical experiences for students, the Robert C. Khayat Law building on the University of Mississippi campus is one of the few LEED-certified buildings in the state.
- Oxford is home to Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner and his estate, Rowan Oak, is open for tours.
- Much of Oxford was burned in 1864 during the Civil War, with the exception of Rooster’s Blue House, a restaurant on the town square.
- One of the largest Blues collections is located on the campus of the University of Mississippi.
- In 1962, James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi as the first African American student.
- Oxford was built on land that once belonged to the Chickasaw Indian Nation.
- Oxford resident, T.D. Isom recommended naming the City after Oxford, England in hopes that this would one day become a University town.
- City Hall was built in 1885.
- The speed limit on the campus of the University of Mississippi is 18, to honor Archie Manning’s football jersey number.
- At 8 p.m. the Friday evening before a home football game, a siren sounds to alert tailgaters they can enter the Grove to claim a prime spot for Saturday’s game.
- Oxford is home to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, housed in the Barnard Observatory on the University of Mississippi campus. The Center promotes regional studies and, as the first center of its kind in the nation, serves as a model for future centers in other regions. Its projects include the award-winning Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and publication of “Living Blues” magazine.
- Lyceum is the oldest building on the Ole Miss campus, completed in 1848, and is the only survivor of the University’s original five buildings. The Lyceum also served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate Soldiers during the Civil War.
- Thacker Mountain Radio
Square Books, Oxford, Thursdays in the Fall and Spring
- Oxford Film Festival
- Oxford Conference for the Book
- Double Decker Arts Festival
- Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference
- Southern Foodways Alliance