Cleveland, MS may be Mississippi’s best kept secret! With world class dining, history, and shopping, there is not a better place to spend a romantic weekend, a girls getaway, or a business trip!
Filled with high-end boutiques, restaurants, and specialty stores, Downtown Cleveland offers a little bit of everything for visitors, and it would be easy to spend the entire day wandering from business to business, finding unique gifts and clothing. A trip to Cleveland is not complete without a visit to the downtown area. We promise you will leave with something in your hand!
The GRAMMY Museum
Did you know that Mississippi has more GRAMMY winners and nominees than any other state? The GRAMMY Museum in Cleveland offers more than 25,000 feet of exhibits and celebrates Mississippi’s musical heritage and that of the country. The museum offers a wide variety of exhibits, both permanent and rotating, and live events throughout the year. If you are a fan of music, there is no better place to start your visit in Cleveland.
The Cotton House is one of the most remarkable hotels we have ever stayed in! Located in Downtown Cleveland on Cotton Row, the hotel has everything visitors need for comfort and fun. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the Delta Meat Market is just steps away from your room with a soul warming meal ready for you. When in Cleveland, there is just one place that will put you in the center of everything going on in this historic Delta town.
The history of places we visit reverberates in our experiences and Cleveland is no different. Named after President Grover Cleveland, the town began growing and coming to life in 1869 as people moved inland from the reaches of the Mississippi River. Remnants of an earlier time can be found throughout the city, allowing their history to continue telling the story.
Visit the Birthplace of the Blues
Just outside of town is Dockery Farms, best known as the birthplace of the blues, Will Dockery owned 40 square miles of land that by the 1920s and ‘30s had turned into a successful plantation. On the farm were workers who permanently resided there and even more that were seasonal. This land and farm inspired and blues music we know today and some of the biggest names in the industry got their start right here.
Delta Meat Market
Most of the time when we sit down at a restaurant on the road, we are looking for the best food we can find. But, in Cleveland at the Delta Meat Market you are going to find incredible food and a world-renowned chef. Cole Ellis is the Owner and Executive Chef at Delta Meat Market but that is not where his accolades end. Cole was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award “Best Chef in the South,” in 2017 and was listed as #3 in Southern Living’s Best Chefs in the South in 2019. Delta Meat Market has been recognized as much as their owner, being mentioned in Southern Living, Bon Appetit, Delta Magazine, and Garden and Gun. If you are looking for a soul stirring, heart-warming meal, look no further than the Delta Meat Market.
Follow the Blues Trail
It has long been known that Mississippi is home of the blues, and that musical style was born in the Delta region, lending inspiration to rock and roll and country music stars that once called Mississippi home, including Elvis Presley. The Mississippi Blues Trail extends to every corner of the state and tells the stories of the men and women who played the music. With over 100 sites dotting cotton fields, churches, cemeteries, clubs, and city streets, it is easy for visitors to follow the story from one city or county to another. An ongoing project of the Mississippi Blues Commission, there are new markers being placed monthly. Whether you are an avid blues fan or just a traveler through Mississippi, the Mississippi Blues Trail offers one of the most unique and educational ways to experience the roots of music in the state.
The Matthews-Sanders Sculpture Garden
Located in front of the Bologna Performing Arts Building, the Matthews-Sanders Sculpture Garden has several pieces of art on display that are part of a biennial competition where artists from throughout the country get to display their incredible work. Located across from Delta State, this is an easy spot to visit and explore!
Delta State University
The university was established in 1924 and has been a mainstay for students not only in the Mississippi Delta but throughout the southeast since then. Known for their strong athletics programs and their art, music, and flight school curriculums, Delta State has one of the most beautiful campuses you will ever visit. Stop in and see why people make such a fuss about the Statesmen.
The Crosstie Festival
A tradition for more than 50 years, the Crosstie Festival takes place in Downtown Cleveland every April and brings attention to more than 100 art exhibitors! The marketplace is full of gifts for you to take home and the food trucks serve a variety of regional meals and desserts, ensuring no one leaves hungry.
50 Nights of Lights
There is simply nothing like Christmas lights and in Cleveland, their 50 Nights of Lights transform Downtown Cleveland with more than 1,000,000 lights! From November 12 to January 1, the display can be viewed for free. Walk the trail and get up close and personal with the displays or do a drive thru, but just do not miss this incredible display!
Take Home Pottery
Bolivar County is home to two world-famous pottery locations that make perfect gifts for all occasions. McCarty’s Pottery and Gardens is in Merigold and Peter’s Pottery in Mound Bayou. Domestic and international visitors make these journeys regularly to pick up a piece of their work. The Delta clay has a direct impact on the pottery, making it some of the most unique in the world.
The Cleveland staple, Airport Grocery got its start during the Great Depression when Italian immigrant Joseph Rocconi opened Rocconi and Sons and sold cheap food to nearby families, friends, neighbors, and plantation workers. As business grew, Rocconi moved his small grocery store near the airport and the name Airport Grocery stuck. The family had a long history of serving delicious but affordable food and did so for many decades. Today, Airport Grocery continues many of the traditions started by the Rocconi’s including the down-home feel! Even though they have moved on from the farm lunches previously served in this building, their barbecue, hamburgers, steak, seafood and more bring in hungry guests from all over the delta. The delicious food and fun atmosphere will have families visiting regularly for years to come!
Thanks for the great review of our town. I was born here and there were about 20-30 years we had very little of anything here in forms of entertainment . Not so anymore , we have added so much to our little town that I am so proud to call it home. Come back again and visit more places that you didn’t get around too. You will be pleased.
What an amazing place Brandi. I never knew that Cleveland Mississippi is the birthplace of blues. Before we landed a bunch of house sits from Maryland all the way down to the tip of South Carolina, during the lockdown, we had Mississippi set in our sites. We will get there. This region of the US fascinates me. I dig the pace of living in those parts.