Natchez has a long and fascinating history, dating back to 1716, making her the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River. Even before Natchez was settled by Europeans, she was home to the Natchez Indians, noted for being the only Mississippian culture with complex chiefdom characteristics to have survived long into the period after the European colonization of America began.
Natchez is home to some of the most well preserved and architecturally stunning antebellum homes in the American South, as it was once the wealthiest city in America. Luckily, most of the homes in Natchez survived the Civil War, but its history flows in abundance along the Mississippi and its memories leave a haunting tale. We invite you to take a tour through these mansions in order to grasp the glory, grandeur, and massive wealth of a lifestyle that is now gone with the wind.
Review the itinerary below to get an idea of how to plan your perfect stay while exploring Natchez Mississippi history.
1. We recommend beginning your Natchez experience at the Natchez Visitor Center. Here you will be greeted by warm coffee,and a knowledgeable staff, dedicated to help you make the most of your visit. Take in the twenty minute video, The Natchez Story, and enjoy learning the overall history of how this enchanting city came to be.
2. After the movie, take a few minutes to refill your coffee, and enjoy our interactive, paneled exhibit depicting the development of the area. Then stop by the ticket counters and purchase antebellum home, carriage ride, and even step on guide tickets all under one roof.
3. Tickets in hand, head out to tour a few of the perfectly preserved antebellum mansions that have drawn thousands of visitors to Natchez over the years. Guides dressed in full hoop skirts, will lead you through these majestic homes and tell the tales of the families that once drank mint juleps from their porches.
4. Taking in all that Natchez Mississippi history sure can leave you hungry! Luckily, Natchez has several restaurants that offer not only delicious arrays of foods, but some even have a little history of their own!
5. Put your carriage tour tickets to use and take the 45 minute narrated, horse-drawn carriage tour of the historic district while your lunch settles.
6. Take the short drive out to The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and stroll the hallowed ground of the home of the city’s original inhabitants. There are ceremonial mounds at the site, along with a replica of an Indian dwelling, and a museum complete with artifacts that have been recovered on and around the site over the years.
7. On your way back to your hotel, be sure and pop into any of our fabulous local restaurants for a relaxing diner.
1. Awake to a legendary, southern breakfast, then head to Main Street to visit the Natchez Museum of African Art and Heritage. The museum contains exhibits from a number of Natchez related African American historic sites, important citizens and events. Adding the Natchez Museum of African Art and Heritage to your trip itinerary, will provide you with a look at another dimension of Natchez Mississippi history that you won’t get anywhere else.
2. Since you’re already downtown, stop in one of several nearby restaurants and refuel. With over 10 restaurants in a 3 block radius, there is certainly something for everyone.
3. After a delicious lunch, head to the First Presbyterian Church downtown. The Stratton Chapel, located in the rear of the church, is home to a collection of over 500 photographs depicting life along the river, the merchants and commerce that thrived in Natchez even beyond the war, and the families and their children who shaped this historic city.
4. Walk on over to The William Johnson House, located on State Street, to learn about the life of William Johnson, a young prominent citizen in the free black community of Natchez. Johnson kept very detailed journals describing life in Natchez in the 1800s. His home is now run by the National Park Service as a museum detailing Johnson’s life.
5. There are some great restaurants on the outskirts of downtown so you can venture out and dine at one of them, or just pick another downtown restaurant to experience something a little different from the previous night. It’s a win-win either way!
These fascinating learning opportunities are complemented by celebrations and events throughout the year, including Fall and Spring Pilgrimage, The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, Black History Month and many more.
1. Start your morning with a trip to visit Frogmore Plantation. Here, you will get a taste of how life was in the days of “King Cotton,” by touring the 1800 acre working plantation complete with several restored slave cabins and a nineteenth century cotton gin replica. Weather permitting, you will also have the opportunity to drag a sack through the fields and actually pick your own cotton, as they did hundreds of years ago.
2. After arriving back in Natchez, finish off your day with dinner at King’s Tavern, believed to be the oldest standing building in Mississippi. They offer tours of the building itself, and also of the rum distillery located on the property. Do note, however, that Rum is only one kind of spirit found at King’s Tavern. Be sure and ask your server about the Tavern’s spooky history, if you would like a fright with your meal.