Oxford, located in northern central Mississippi, attracts visitors to the University of Mississippi, Rowan Oak and its historic town square. The town’s census population of 20,000 falls just short of the university’s student enrollment of approximately 21,000, so speaking of Oxford typically leads to conversation related to university events. Near campus is Rowan Oak, home of Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner. Traveling tree-lined streets to the town’s scenic square, Oxford visitors experience the town’s distinctive historical look and feel.
Commonly regarded as the heart of Oxford, the University of Mississippi was founded in 1848 as Mississippi’s first public university. Nicknamed “Ole Miss” in 1897 as a result of a contest to name the college yearbook, the name subsequently became synonymous with the university. The campus’ rich history includes must-see antebellum buildings such as the Lyceum (first building constructed on campus) and the Y (second building constructed on campus and now home to Croft Institute for International Studies). The University of Mississippi Museum houses the David M. Robinson Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, as well as historical American artworks, southern folk art and a collection of antique scientific instruments. Lucky sports fans visiting the campus may be able to catch an Ole Miss Rebels game featuring one of over fifteen men’s and women’s athletic teams.
Literary enthusiasts will want to visit Oxford attraction Rowan Oak, historic home and grounds where William Faulkner lived and wrote. Located just a few blocks from the city square, visitors are welcome until sunset and walking tours are available. Admission to the grounds is free every day; admission to the house is free on Wednesdays (nominal admission fee on other days).
In the heart of the city sits the Courthouse, an Oxford attraction where visitors can browse and imagine its former glory in antebellum days. Any visit to the square should include stops in locally owned and operated establishments, including its legendary restaurants. One of the square’s best-known restaurants is City Grocery, famous for upscale dining and its New Orleans’ style menu. Ajax Diner, serving soul food with funky atmosphere, offers casual dining with menu favorites such as chicken and dumplings, Mattie's Mom's Meatloaf, Fried Oyster Poboy and fried pickles. Visitors will not find chain stores and restaurants on the square; those sit on Oxford’s fringes, so those looking for local flavors will find it downtown.
Oxford’s city parks draw those looking for outdoor space. Avent Park, located 10 minutes east of the university, has facilities that include a walking trail, lighted tennis courts and a pavilion with picnic tables. FNC Park, located northwest of Ole Miss, is a 75-acre sports complex with a BMX bike park, a walking track and a swimming pool.
Oxford visitors looking for an interesting shopping experience can visit The Mustard Seed Antique Emporium, a multi-dealer antique store specializing in furnishings and clothing, or the Depot Antique Mall, a 9,600 square foot multi-dealer antique store with Persian rugs, World War II era collectibles, jewelry and stained glass items.