Tour Guide Notes
A city rich with history, Natchez is the oldest continuous settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley and one of the oldest cities in America. In 2016, Natchez celebrated its Tricentennial with a full year of special events, each of which highlighted a different aspect of the city’s three-century evolution. Natchez is located high on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, and is home to just over 15,000 residents and more than 1,000 antebellum structures. Numerous art galleries, museums, shops, restaurants and bars line the streets of the city’s picturesque and pedestrian-friendly downtown area.
Known as the bed and breakfast capital of the South, Natchez has more than 40 authentic historic homes and Victorian buildings where visitors can stay. Plenty of hotels are conveniently located throughout the city, from perched high on the Bluff overlooking the Mississippi River to the heart of downtown. Many of the old homes date back to the 1800s and feature a charming blend of historic elegance and contemporary conveniences. The southern hospitality is alive and well at the historic inns – almost all of which serve a full Southern breakfast to start the day off right.
DINING & DRINKING
As a river community where cultures have always intermingled, Natchez restaurants offer one of the most diverse dining landscapes in the South. Local specialties include crispy fried chicken, breaded fried catfish, cornbread hushpuppies and pulled pork barbeque. Natchez is also known as the “Biscuit Capital of the World” and hosts an annual festival downtown that celebrates the buttery staples.
Carriage House – Located on the grounds of Stanton Hall, this elegant dining establishment specializes in southern food. They’ve taken great care to preserve the long standing favorite dishes of local patrons and brought a few new succulent entrees with signature style to the menu like fried soft-shell crab. The Carriage House is owned and operated by Pilgrimage Garden Club.
Natchez Brewing Company – Natchez Brewing Company is located at 207 High Street, in historic downtown Natchez. A local hot-spot for cold, fresh brewed beer and delicious handmade brick oven pizza.
Old South Winery – With over 50 years of experience, the Old South Winery specializes in “everything Muscadine.” The winery offers 9 Muscadine wines in red, white, and rosé in varying sweetness levels, from dry to lightly sweetened, in addition to one blueberry wine. Free tours and tastings are offered Monday – Friday.
Visitors can be transported back in time through the cultural institutions that represent the city’s rich and blended history.
Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins – An 1800-acre working cotton plantation, Frogmore has 18 restored antebellum structures that date from the early 1800s. The plantation offers multiple tours, including the popular “Cotton, Then & Now” which compares and contrasts a working cotton plantation from 1790 through today. From July – April, guests are able to pick cotton.
Grand Village of the Natchez Indians – The 128-acre Grand Village of the Natchez Indians site features a museum, a reconstructed Natchez Indian House, and three ceremonial mounds that guests can explore. Visitors can tour the museum, walk on the nature trails, bird watch, geocache or bring a picnic to enjoy the scenery.
Tour Historic Homes – The city is home to 1,000 plus structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 13 of which are designated as National Historic Landmarks. Over 15 homes are open year-round, with many others open for special tours or events.
Magnolia Bluffs Casino – Open 24/7, Magnolia Bluffs Casino offers slots, sports betting, video poker machines and 10 gaming tables, along with dining options overlooking the Mississippi River.
Shopping has a long history in Natchez, dating back to when it stood at the crossroads of American trade. Here, goods from all over the country passed through the city as they moved through the nation’s first interstate highway known as “The Natchez Trace.”
Hal Garner at Nest – Located in historic downtown, this locals’ favorite offers seasonal blooming flowers, unique gifts, home decor, and a variety of event planning services. The shop is open Wednesday-Saturday and always by appointment.
Silver Street Gallery & Gifts – Located at Natchez Under-the-Hill, Silver Street Gallery & Gifts offers unique gifts, home decor, and a variety of Mississippi-made items including jewelry, edible treats and beautiful art from southern artists.
From birding at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge to kayaking the Mississippi River, there are activities for travelers of all ages to enjoy the pristine nature. The location on the river makes the area a prime location for hunting, fishing and birding.
Duncan Park – Located in the heart of Natchez, Duncan Park offers bike and running trails along with an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and several baseball fields.
Great Adventures in the Miss-Lou Tours – This local adventure company provides high-quality diverse, fun, and challenging experiences and offers a fabulous menu of tours with “Redneck Adventures” host Jim Bob Allgood. Adventures can be customized to meet the needs of the guest.
Natchez Trace Parkway – The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, MS and extends through parts of Alabama and Tennessee. The route is lined with historical lookouts and trails, great for biking and hiking.
Major annual events celebrate the city’s food, culture and arts scenes.
Spring (March -April) & Fall (September-October) Pilgrimage – In a tradition dating back to 1932, Natchez welcomes “pilgrims” into its historic homes for tours by costumed hosts in 19th-century character. The celebrations include theater performances, special presentations and live music, all focused around the city’s stunning antebellum homes. The spring event takes place in March and April, with the fall event in September and October.
Natchez Powwow (March) – Traditional Native American dancing, singing, and fun comes to the Natchez Bluff every year for this annual event. Thousands of people attend the event to celebrate the rich Native American heritage of the Natchez area.
Natchez Festival of Music (May) – A collection of the country’s most prominent entertainers celebrate the arts in Natchez throughout May each year, and take part in a series of live performances that together encompass the Natchez Festival of Music. Throughout the month, visitors and locals are exposed to special performances from musicians spanning genres including blues, rock and roll, theater and much more.
Natchez Food & Wine Festival (July) –Every year, this festival brings together some of the South’s finest chefs, best breweries and most respected wineries.
Natchez Balloon Festival (October) – Starting with “Balloon Glow” Friday night, and continuing through Sunday afternoon, the Natchez Balloon Festival is the most colorful annual event in Natchez, with gorgeous hot air balloons filling the skies over the Mississippi River as local and national talent fill the air with live music at Rosalie Bicentennial Gardens.
Jeweled Christmas (December – January) – Located at the beautiful Towers Mansion, Jeweled Christmas provides a floor-to-ceiling spectacular event thanks to a jaw-dropping display of vintage costume jewelry numbering in the thousands. The Towers, which was originally constructed in the late 1700s, operates as a B&B throughout the year, but each holiday season incorporates a dazzling display of diamonds and hosts this incredible event. The display is entirely indoors and is one of the most unusual seasonal tours the South has to offer.
Natchez has a gentle subtropical climate – mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and plenty of sunshine. Average temperatures range from:
Spring: High 70s, low 50s
Summer: High 90s, low 70s
Fall: High 70s, low 50s
Winter: High 50s, low 40s