Clarksdale is a captivating city in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. The city has a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. Known as the “Crossroads of the Blues,” this small town has earned worldwide recognition for its pivotal role in the birth and evolution of blues music.
Clarksdale boasts a fascinating history, with its roots dating back to the early 19th century. However, it gained international acclaim primarily for its pivotal role in the development of the blues.
Legendary musicians like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker once graced its streets and juke joints, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s cultural landscape.
Each year, Clarksdale draws thousands of visitors from around the globe who come to immerse themselves in its blues heritage and soak up its unique Southern charm.
The city’s cultural significance and musical legacy make it a compelling destination for music enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Tourists flock to Clarksdale to visit the Delta Blues Museum and witness the iconic “Crossroads” where blues legends supposedly made deals with the devil.
The visitors can also indulge in live blues performances at renowned venues like Ground Zero Blues Club. Its rich artistic scene, historic sites, and delicious Southern cuisine further enhance its allure.
Clarksdale enjoys a subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is during the spring and fall when the weather is pleasantly warm, making it ideal for outdoor activities and festivals. Summers can be quite hot, so be prepared for high temperatures if you choose to visit during this season.
Whether you’re a blues enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique Southern experience, Clarksdale has something for everyone. Here are the 11 most fun things to do in Clarksdale, MS.
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1. Delta Blues Museum
The Delta Blues Museum is a famous place with a rich history. It was founded in 1979 and is devoted to preserving the legacy of blues music. The museum is housed in the historic Clarksdale freight depot, an essential part of its history.
Visitors can explore fascinating exhibits showcasing the history of blues and its influential musicians, including legends like Muddy Waters and B.B. King. The museum is a treasure trove of guitars, harmonicas, records, and artifacts from the blues era.
One of its unique features is the Muddy Waters Cabin, which belonged to the renowned bluesman himself. It has been preserved and reconstructed inside the museum, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the bluesman’s humble beginnings.
The Delta Blues Museum is a significant attraction for music lovers and history enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into the profound impact of blues on American culture. It continues to inspire and educate visitors about the enduring legacy of this musical genre.
1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
2. Crossroads: Where Legends Were Born
The Crossroads is a place steeped in history and blues folklore. It’s the intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61, known as the “Crossroads of the Blues.”
According to legend, this is where bluesman Robert Johnson made his famous deal with the devil in exchange for his extraordinary guitar skills.
This intersection holds immense significance in the world of blues music. Robert Johnson’s song “Cross Road Blues” alludes to this very spot, and it has become a pilgrimage site for blues enthusiasts from all over the world and gives them some unique things to do in Clarksdale.
While the devilish deal is more myth than fact, the Crossroads remains an iconic and must-visit location for blues lovers. It’s a place where you can feel the soulful echoes of the past and connect with the deep-rooted blues heritage of Clarksdale.
Today, you can stand at this historic crossroads and imagine the legends of blues who once walked these same streets, making it a living testament to the enduring power of music.
Dockery Plantation, near Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
3. Ground Zero Blues Club
Ground Zero Blues Club is a renowned blues venue with a fascinating history. The club is co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman and several others. This iconic club was established in 2001, making it a relatively recent addition to the city’s blues scene.
It’s housed in a historic building that once served as a cotton grading warehouse, adding to its authentic blues atmosphere. The club is dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich blues culture of the Mississippi Delta.
Ground Zero Blues Club offers live performances by talented blues musicians, both local and national. It’s a place where visitors can experience charming things to do in Clarksdale and enjoy soulful music, delicious Southern cuisine, and a lively atmosphere that pays homage to Clarksdale’s blues heritage.
The club’s name, “Ground Zero,” refers to the area in the Mississippi Delta where blues music is believed to have originated. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the heart and soul of Clarksdale’s vibrant music scene, offering an authentic and unforgettable blues experience.
387 Delta Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
4. Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival
The Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival is held annually. It is a significant cultural event celebrating the rich heritage of blues and gospel music. This festival was founded in 1988 and has a deep connection to the Mississippi Delta, often considered the birthplace of the blues.
Each August, thousands of music enthusiasts gather to enjoy live performances by both local and nationally recognized blues and gospel artists. The festival’s name pays tribute to the Sunflower River, which flows through the Delta region and has played a vital role in the history of blues music.
The festival is known for its welcoming and family-friendly atmosphere. It provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talents alongside established musicians, fostering a sense of community and passing down the blues tradition to new generations.
The Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival is a testament to the enduring appeal of these musical genres, drawing people from all walks of life to experience the soul-stirring rhythms and melodies of the Delta.
It’s a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic and unforgettable musical experience and wants to try new things to do in Clarksdale.
100 Blues Alley Ln, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
5. Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art is a unique and vibrant store dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture of blues music and folk art. Founded in 2002, it has become a hub for both locals and visitors interested in the rich heritage of the Mississippi Delta.
The store is renowned for its impressive collection of blues CDs, vinyl records, and memorabilia. It’s a place where you can discover the sounds of authentic Delta blues and explore the artwork inspired by the region’s culture.
Cat Head hosts live music events and art exhibitions, creating a dynamic space where artists and musicians can showcase their talents. It also serves as an information center for blues enthusiasts, offering insights into Clarksdale’s music scene and historical landmarks.
Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art is a cultural hub that celebrates the Delta’s artistic and musical traditions, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the heart of the blues.
252 Delta Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
6. Blues Alley
Blues Alley, situated is a historic and culturally significant part of the city. This alleyway has a rich history tied to the development of blues music in the region.
Once known as “Delmar Street,” Blues Alley was home to several African American-owned businesses and played a crucial role in fostering the growth of blues music in Clarksdale during the early 20th century.
Blues Alley features colorful murals, informative plaques, and tributes to iconic blues musicians who contributed to the genre’s evolution. It has transformed into an open-air blues museum, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the history and atmosphere that gave rise to this iconic musical style.
Today, Blues Alley stands as a living testament to the enduring legacy of blues music in Clarksdale. This makes it a must-visit destination for those looking to connect with the roots of this beloved genre or want to try some new things to do in Clarksdale.
352 Delta Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
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7. Riverside Hotel
The Riverside Hotel holds a significant place in the history of blues music. The hotel was founded in 1944 by Frank “Rat” Ratliff. It served as a prominent hotel during the era of segregation, providing accommodation to African American travelers and musicians when many other places did not.
The hotel has a remarkable history of hosting legendary blues musicians like Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, and Ike Turner. In fact, it was at the Riverside Hotel that Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm, recorded the iconic song “Rocket 88,” often considered one of the first rock ‘n’ roll records.
The hotel’s Room 7 is preserved as a museum, showcasing memorabilia from its storied past, including photos, instruments, and records of the blues artists who stayed there. It provides visitors with a glimpse into the thriving blues scene of the Mississippi Delta during its heyday.
The Riverside Hotel remains an important cultural landmark, offering a living history lesson on the contributions of African American musicians to the world of blues and rock ‘n’ roll.
615 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
8. Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival
The Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival is an annual event held in Clarksdale, Mississippi, celebrating the work of the famous American playwright, Tennessee Williams.
This festival was founded in 1992, and it pays tribute to Williams, who spent a significant portion of his childhood in Clarksdale.
One of the festival’s most interesting features is its focus on literature, theater, and the arts, with performances, readings, and discussions related to Williams’ plays and other literary works. It brings together artists, scholars, and enthusiasts to explore the impact of Williams’ writing on American culture.
The festival takes place in various historic locations around Clarksdale, creating a unique atmosphere that enhances the experience for attendees. These venues often include theaters, museums, and other sites associated with Tennessee Williams and his family.
The Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival serves as a cultural and educational platform, offering a deeper understanding of the life and works of one of America’s most renowned playwrights.
It’s a must-attend event for anyone wanting to try some different things to do in Clarksdale or interested in literature, theater, and the enduring legacy of Tennessee Williams.
1150 Wildcat Drive. Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
9. Hambone Art Gallery
The Hambone Art Gallery is a cultural gem dedicated to showcasing local artists and the region’s rich heritage. Established in 2002, it has become a hub for art enthusiasts and those interested in the Mississippi Delta’s cultural tapestry.
The gallery features a diverse collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and crafts, often inspired by the Delta’s history, music, and traditions. It serves as a platform for both emerging and established artists to display their talents.
The Hambone Art Gallery frequently hosts exhibitions and events, fostering a vibrant and creative community in Clarksdale. Visitors can engage with artists, attend workshops, and gain insight into the artistic process.
The gallery’s commitment to preserving and promoting the Delta’s artistic heritage makes it a must-visit destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the cultural essence of Clarksdale. It stands as a testament to the enduring influence of the Mississippi Delta on the arts and creativity.
111 East 2nd St. Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
10. Hopson Plantation
Hopson Plantation has a rich history tied to the Delta’s cotton industry. Founded in the early 20th century, it was once a bustling cotton farm that played a significant role in the region’s agricultural history.
Hopson Plantation is where the mechanical cotton picker was first put into commercial use, revolutionizing cotton farming. This innovation had a profound impact on the agricultural landscape and labor practices.
Visitors can take guided tours to explore the historic sharecropper shacks, vintage farming equipment, and learn about the cotton-picking process. A trio to this place may add as an effort to experience some new things to do in Clarksdale.
Hopson Plantation provides a window into the lives of the many workers and families who toiled on cotton plantations during this era.
Today, Hopson Plantation serves as a historical site, allowing people to step back in time and gain a deeper understanding of the Delta’s agricultural past. It’s a valuable destination for those interested in the history of cotton farming and its significance in shaping the Mississippi Delta.
10 Commissary Cir, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
11. Levon’s Bar & Grill
Levon’s Bar & Grill, located in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is a renowned establishment with an intriguing history. It was named in honor of Levon Helm, a famous musician and drummer for The Band.
Levon Helm had a deep connection to the Delta and often played at local juke joints, contributing to Clarksdale’s vibrant music scene. The bar and grill was founded in the early 2000s, serving as a tribute to his legacy.
One interesting fact is that Levon’s Bar & Grill has hosted countless live music performances, showcasing both local talent and national acts. Its welcoming atmosphere and commitment to preserving the blues heritage of Clarksdale make it a popular destination for music enthusiasts.
The venue also offers delicious Southern cuisine, providing a complete experience for visitors looking to enjoy great food and live music in an authentic Delta setting.
Levon’s Bar & Grill stands as a testament to the enduring influence of blues music and the profound impact of musicians like Levon Helm on the cultural landscape of the Mississippi Delta. It’s a must-visit for anyone seeking an authentic and memorable musical experience in Clarksdale.
232 Sunflower Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614, United States
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Clarksdale, Mississippi, is a hidden gem for music enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking an authentic Southern experience. With its deep-rooted blues culture, rich history, and warm hospitality, Clarksdale is a destination that will leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the blues.
So, pack your bags and head to the Crossroads of the Blues for an unforgettable adventure with these 11 most fun things to do in Clarksdale, MS.