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Tank Trip: Things to do in Cleveland, Mississippi

One of Cleveland’s most-visited attractions, the Grammy Museum Mississippi celebrates all forms of music with a special focus on achievements by Mississippians. Photo courtesy VisitClevelandMS

Being an epicenter of the blues is central to Cleveland’s history, but its ties to railroads and pottery are lesser-known facets of this Mississippi Delta city’s humble beginnings and vibrant present. And because the town also has plenty of Southern soul food and diverse attractions, it’s no wonder that families, couples, and friends all flock to this charmer.

What to do

Visitors browsing exhibits inside theGrammy Museum Mississippi

The Grammy Museum Mississippi features interactive exhibits that include instruments, costumes, photos, and other artifacts. Photo courtesy Grammy Museum Mississippi

Mississippi boasts more Grammy Award winners per capita than any other state, and that musical legacy is a big reason why the Grammy Museum Mississippi ranks as one of Cleveland’s most popular attractions. Browse hundreds of artifacts that chronicle decades of American music and listen to songs written or performed by Mississippi artists. Adults, $16.

The museum is among the 200-plus stops on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which celebrates artists and places integral to the genre. Another trail stop, Dockery Farms, was once home to several legendary musicians, including Charley Patton, who’s known as the Father of the Delta Blues. The historic site preserves original buildings and equipment in the spot that B.B. King considered the birthplace of the blues.

Continue your blues journey with a glimpse of “life casts” of more than 50 eminent musicians, including Bo Diddley and Pinetop Perkins, in the “A Cast of Blues” exhibit on the Delta State University campus. Displayed in the lobby of Ewing Hall, the plaster replicas crafted by a visually impaired artist capture the performers’ faces in a way that photographs cannot.

Close-up of a model train display

An elaborate model train layout greets visitors at the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum. Photo courtesy VisitClevelandMS

Trace more of the town’s roots at the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum. Learn all sorts of trivia about Cleveland and the region’s rail history through thousands of photos, documents, and artifacts. You can view an elaborate O-gauge model train exhibit and even walk through a 1941 caboose.

The region is also a pottery hub with 2 well-known producers. In Mound Bayou, Peter’s Pottery has been crafting works in rich earth tones for more than 20 years. Dating back even further to 1954, McCartys Pottery in Merigold has had pieces displayed in museums around the country. Meander through the McCartys flower gardens after checking out the studio.

Ring in autumn by attending the town’s lively Octoberfest on October 13 and 14. In its 41st year, the celebration brings together live music, a barbecue competition, and a downtown arts market.

You may also like: 10 top science museums for fun and learning

Where to shop

Woman looking at pottery for sale

A shopper peruses the works at Peter’s Pottery in nearby Mound Bayou. Photo courtesy VisitClevelandMS

The Crosstie Historic District is a one-stop shopping spot with clothing stores, galleries, and coffee shops. Browse vintage items from more than 25 vendors in the Moonstruck Antique Flea Market, then stop at Neysa’s Fireside Shop for home decor and collectibles.

Where to eat

Bartender pulling a pint of beer behind the bar at Hey Joe's

Burgers highlight the playful menu at Hey Joe’s, which also features a notable collection of beers on tap. Photo courtesy VisitClevelandMS

Get your soul food fix at 122 Hang Suite for dinner or Sunday brunch. Popular fare includes shrimp-and-grits and chicken-and-waffles. For sandwiches, head to Hey Joe’s in Cleveland or Merigold. Juicy hamburgers highlight a playful menu that includes the Larry Bird, a fried chicken sandwich served on a potato bun.

You may also like: Uncork fall fun at these wineries and wine trails

Where to stay

Choose from 4 different hotel properties, including a Southern plantation–style one, at the Lyric Hotel West End in the West End District. Rates start at $139.

Cotton House guest room

The boutique Cotton House hotel in downtown Cleveland celebrates the South with its Delta decor and welcoming hospitality. Photo courtesy VRX Media

Downtown, the Cotton House Cleveland celebrates tradition with a modern spin. Dine in 2 restaurants overseen by James Beard Award–nominated chef Cole Ellis, including one with a rooftop patio. Rates start at $171.

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