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8 Rebel-Approved Things to Do in Oxford, MS

Sweet southern charm is the name of the game in Oxford, Mississippi. Locally considered the “Cultural Mecca of the South,” Oxford is known as much for Ole Miss as it is for its rich history and creative atmosphere. Whether you’re a Rebel in town for a game or simply a traveler in search of music, art, and more, you’ll find something to love about Oxford—and more than enough reasons to return. 

Explore Oxford by way of bookstores, galleries, theaters, and more, with plenty of good Southern cooking in between. Start with our eight favorite things to do, all within reach of Graduate Oxford.

1

Square Books

Four stores. Five floors. Three buildings. That’s the footprint of Square Books, a sprawling local bookstore located on the bustling Square in downtown Oxford, Mississippi. Their shelves are packed with books that’ll appeal to both literature lovers and those who haven’t picked up a novel since English class. Peruse their carefully curated selections ranging from literary classics to indie favorites to writings from up-and-coming Southern authors. 

As Square Books opened in 1979 with a focus on Southern literature and Mississippi stories, they still focus on community building through a packed calendar of events. Join storytelling takeovers, book readings with authors, and celebrations of book-centric holidays like Independent Bookstore Day.

Insider Tip

Check their website’s event calendar to see if you can catch an author reading or book signing while you’re in town. Take Square Books with you by signing up for a book subscription.

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2

Oxford Burger Company

When it comes to mealtime, don’t settle for anything less than the best burger. Fortunately, Oxford Burger Company ensures that you won’t have to—at least while in Oxford, Mississippi. Their over-the-top patties are formed using only USDA Choice Beef, the most mouthwatering foundation for toppings piled high. 

Stick to a classic hamburger or branch out for the Swag Burger, topped with fried cheese sticks, or the UT Oxford, stacked with fried onion, cheddar, bacon, and barbeque sauce. Don’t forget to leave room for a basket of gourmet fries and a cold beer.

Insider Tip

If you’re really hungry, order The Gosh Almighty. We dare you to finish it!

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3

City Grocery

Enter City Grocery and you’ll wonder if you’re in downtown Oxford or the Big Easy itself. Though this restaurant is New Orleans inspired, it’s as Mississippi as it gets. City Grocery saw Oxford Town Square through its revival and now stands as a landmark in Oxford’s dining scene. 

Open for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and dessert, City Grocery is known for both its inventive menu and charming exposed brick walls, pine plank floors, and candlelight. Grab a table for an intimate meal, whether that’s grilled gulf fish, shrimp and grits, or a flavorful crawfish and green pea bisque.

Insider Tip

Don’t leave Oxford without trying their famous Muffaletta sandwiches, inspired by the owner’s New Orleans roots.

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4

Big Bad Breakfast

If you know you’re heading to Big Bad Breakfast in the morning, you’ll have no choice but to get up on the right side of the bed. That’s because Big Bad Breakfast is known far and wide for their comforting breakfast and brunch favorites, brought to life by a James Beard Award-winning chef. Each meal is almost as prettily-plated as it is delicious, making their food a must-eat for any visit to Oxford.

What’s more, Big Bad Breakfast is actually open for lunch. Stop by in the morning or swing through in the afternoon. Either way, don’t miss this classic spot for a Southern breakfast.

Insider Tip

Had a little too much fun in The Grove? Try The Good Old Boy omelet (with a side of grits, of course).

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5

Rowan Oak

Named for the peaceful and serene symbolism of the rowan tree, Rowan Oak served as William Faulkner’s private escape for more than four decades. Literary fanatics and Faulkner fans will love getting a glimpse into Faulkner’s life both real and imagined, but those less familiar with the writer will still be enchanted by the Greek Revival-style home set on 29 heavily wooded acres. 

Though Rowan Oak sits just outside of Oxford Square, the property feels like a world away. The home itself beckons with a large door set between two columns, behind which lies Faulkner’s perfectly preserved dining room, library, writing room, and more. Once you’ve explored the home, take to the grounds to see vibrant flowers, lush plants, and old growth trees as well as various out buildings.

Insider Tip

Bring a bottle of bourbon when you visit! It’s customary to take a shot before leaving the rest of the bottle on top of Faulkner’s grave as a tribute to the legendary wordsmith.

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6

Wonderbird Spirits

Wonderbird Spirits is anything but simple, despite the limited ingredients they incorporate into every batch. Their field-to-table gin celebrates some of the best things about Mississippi: a pioneering state-of-mind and rice from the Mississippi Delta. Each bottle begins with a process that mirrors traditional sake making, where flavors and ingredients are carefully layered to create the unique aromas of every bottle. 

Wonderbird Spirits also has the unique claim-to-fame of being North Mississippi’s first distillery. Travel just eight minutes north of Oxford to taste their spirits for yourself.

Insider Tip

Try the Magnolia Experimental – distilled with locally harvested Southern Magnolia petals. 

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7

The Lyric Theater

Get your groove on at The Lyric, a live music venue just steps from Oxford Square. Once used as a livery stable for William Faulkner’s family, The Lyric now welcomes musical acts from near and far to bring some excitement to Oxford’s nightlife scene. With an inspiring act on stage and a full bar on the floor, you won’t need to go anywhere else on your big night out—except maybe our rooftop bar, The Coop.

Insider Tip

Need a place to watch the game? They’ve got the Rebs projected on big screens all football season long.

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8

Oxford Treehouse Gallery

Venture just seven miles from Oxford Square and you’ll stumble upon Oxford Treehouse Gallery tucked within a small stand of pines. Owners Walter and Vivian Neill acquired the acreage in 2000 and soon after built a gallery and studio amongst the trees—some trunks even hold up the porches. Paintings and photography now line the walls and statues are set up throughout the space, inviting viewers to experience art and nature side-by-side. 

Don’t feel too discouraged if you can’t stop by during their normal operating hours! The owners live on property and would be happy to open up the gallery at any time.

Insider Tip

They’re only open Thursday-Saturday, so make sure to go during a weekend trip to Oxford.

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