Robert E. Lee Hotel: Exterior Images
Down a couple of blocks from the Marriott Hotel, and near the old art-deco Greyhound Bus Station, is what was once the largest hotel in Jackson, the Robert E. Lee Hotel. I wasn't able to research the heritage of this highrise building, but I was able to go inside and shoot some photos. I believe the building was built in the 1920's or 30's, given the architecture and workmanship. This is one of many heritage buildings in Jackson, MS, which has been protected from demolition and is likely to undergo renovation in the future.
The Land of Many Waffle-House's
"What is it, how to get around, and get here!"
Jackson Mississippi does not have any major tourist attractions to draw in outside visitors (from surrounding states or foreign countries). Usually, most people who visit the Jackson area are visiting their relatives for the weekend or have a business trip they must take to the area.
If you expect to travel around Jackson (or nearly ALL of Mississippi) you WILL have to rent a car. Public transportation within this state is nothing short of a joke. There is public bus called JATRAN, but not too many people use it as the city does a VERY poor job of listing the fares and schedules (see http://www.city.jackson.ms.us/jatran/default.htm) for more information. The "international airport" is anything but international, as there are NO international flights arriving or departing from Jackson. Also, the airport shuts down at 10:30 PM, so don't count on taking a red-eye flight in or out of the city.
"What's to do in Jackson??"
Although the weather in this part of the country is tolerable (except for the summer months, as the humidity can be unbearable) you would have thought that someone would have created a decent theme park in Jackson, to capitalize on the weather. There is an older water amusement park near the reservoir (about 10 miles from Jackson) called Rapids on the Reservoir, but I would recommend the amusement park near Philadelphia Mississippi (see the web page at www.pearlriverresort.com for more details) if you’re looking for something you would see at a larger and newer park.
Do expect to see several golf courses in the Jackson area (the average cost is about $50 a game w/ club rental), and a local baseball team (that keeps changing its name every two or three years). There is little to see in downtown Jackson, as it is filled with government offices and large Baptist churches. Oddly enough, Jackson MS is home to the International Ballet Competition that comes once every four years (http://www.usaibc.com/).
The city is home to both the Dixie National rodeo show, and the annual state fair (at the state fairgrounds no less). The state fair isn't really that exciting, but it is something to do on a Saturday. Consider carpooling to see these events, as parking is a little hard to find. The city does a better job of advertising the rodeo, state fair, and gun shows than any cultural events (such as art, dance, or science), as that is their money makers (tax revenues).
"Shopping? Keep your expectations low."
There are no shopping outlet malls, nor are there any decent sized malls to speak of (don't expect to find a Macy's or Nordstrom - it's not going to happen, despite what the local newspaper “The Clarion Ledger” wrote). The largest shopping mall in Jackson (Metro Center, http://www.shopmetrocentermall.com) which was built in 1979 is definitely showing its age, as there are many empty stores inside, and one often has to seriously consider their personal safety when patronizing this mall.
The nearest malls that aren't quite as run-down are North Park (in Ridgeland - again, several stores have closed shop and it’s not a very big mall), Dog Wood Festival (designed like a strip mall in Flowood - don't go if it raining, as the stores are NOT linked together), and Highland Village (an older mall that caters to a more sophisticated crowd – see it’s webpage at http://www.highlandvillagems.com/).
Highland village is ok, but there’s only one upscale boutique (at a store called Maison Weiss in Highland Village). But to be fair, the shopping in Flowood is improving (recently a Kohl’s department store opened), but as I mentioned, don’t expect to find any high-end department stores that specialize in fine designer clothing or exceptional customer service (such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, or Saks).