Slightly off the beaten path, Jackson, Tennessee, is the perfect complement to any Memphis or Nashville getaway. This quiet town has deep roots in the early days of blues and rock n’ roll, a quality that becomes evident as you tour the region’s cultural institutions.
From classic cars to railroad legends, Jackson is well aware of its heritage; and the importance of preserving it. When looking for destinations to visit in Jackson, you’ll find acclaimed wineries, museums, family-friendly activities and the great outdoors, all either in the city or within a 30-minute drive of downtown.
Jackson is two hours west of Nashville and about an hour and a half east of Memphis, meaning you can easily pair it with a visit to either of Tennessee’s cultural hubs.
Ready to learn more? Here are 13+ things to do in Jackson TN that you and your crew will love.
WEST TENNESSEE FARMERS’ MARKET
For a taste of all the state has to offer, stop by Downtown Jackson’s West Tennessee Farmers’ Market, open Tuesday through Saturday. You’ll get the chance to meet local farmers and growers as you pick out fresh produce, meat and dairy.
If you’re staying primarily in Jackson or making your way over to Memphis, the market is a classic way to get to know the heartland in between.
With food trucks, bakery stalls and on-the-go eats, the market is more of a destination than a grocery run; you can easily spend an entire morning meeting the vendors, enjoying breakfast or lunch and scouting out Tennessee-made products to bring home.
RUSTY’S TV & MOVIE CAR MUSEUM
Automobile aficionado Rusty Robinson’s TV and Movie Car Museum is a beloved Jackson staple, drawing visitors from around the United States. Family-friendly and ever-expanding, the museum houses over 50 cars that you’ll recognize from your favorite movies and TV shows.
Many of the cars are original models that made their way off the big screen and ended up in this pocket of Western Tennessee, thanks to Robinson’s passion. This one-of-a-kind collection allows fans to admire classic rides in an intimate and well-organized museum setting, worlds away from Hollywood.
The museum is open regularly Friday through Sunday; visits can be made by appointment over the rest of the week.
CASEY JONES VILLAGE
By far one of the town’s most famous residents, railroad engineer Casey Jones remains part of Jackson lore over a century after his untimely death. Known for his engineering skills, dedication to train operation and warning whistles, the conductor moved to Jackson to raise a family along with his wife, Joanna. After losing his life in a train crash in 1900, Jones was immortalized through music, becoming the subject of multiple songs and ballads.
Today, visitors can meander through the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum to learn about early locomotives that once rolled through Tennessee. Displays focus on the engineer’s story, the onset of the Civil War and Jackson’s role in 19th century railroad routes. A replica of Jones’ engine 382 locomotive is also on site for photo ops. The museum is open daily, with shortened hours on Sundays.
Alongside its historic value, Casey Jones Village is also a town hub for family fun, welcoming visitors to the Old Country Store and Dixie Cafe seven days a week. Breakfast is available at both locations, with a breakfast buffet open at the Old Country Store on weekends.
After you’ve eaten, drop by the village’s many walkable shops and small businesses, including the Village Baker, the Wellwood Store and the Shoppes at Casey Jones Village. Other historic attractions include the Village Chapel and the Milton Brown Pullman Railcar.
A visit here is one of the best things to do in Jackson TN!
CENTURY FARM WINERY
Located on a designated “Tennessee Century Farm,” Century Farm Winery is a family-owned business resting on over 150 years of history. The plot of land has been providing operator Bart Horton’s ancestors with crops since their arrival in 1830, and now brings award-winning wine to Jackson’s residents.
A number of red and white varieties round out the selection, along with limited seasonal products like the company’s holiday cranberry wine.
Far enough outside of town to feel like a rural retreat, but close enough to drive to later in the day, Century Farm’s tasting room is open daily, serving samples, slushes, wine by the glass and plenty of non-wine choices. If you’re arriving with a large group, be sure to book a private tasting in advance to secure your spot.
CYPRESS GROVE NATURE PARK
Cypress Grove Nature Park is a great place to walk, fish, and get out in nature and enjoy everything the outdoors in Jackson has to offer.
Enjoy a 1-mile elevated boardwalk through the cypress forest, visit the Rockwell Observation Tower and the Aerie Trail Raptor Center, and take in the beauty all around you. The nature park is home to waterfowl, plants, trees, Wood Duck Lake and a pond.
Located just minutes from downtown Jackson, and easily accessible from I-40, this is the perfect place to visit.
CARL PERKINS CIVIC CENTER
Jackson’s Carl Perkins Civic Center is as much a community venue as it is a cultural one. Here, you’ll find live music and dance acts sharing the stage with local events like the Miss Tennessee Volunteer America Pageant.
The auditorium seats over 2,000 guests, and hosts acts like the Jackson Symphony and the Jackson Choral Society, both of which celebrate the town’s heritage.
If you’re willing to take a short drive to continue your West Tennessee wine trail, head north to the town of Humboldt, home to Crown Winery. Known for its elegant tastings, the winery doubles as a vineyard and brewery, producing small batch beer along with 17 unique wines.
Nine varieties of fresh grapes harvested from the vineyard turn into a selection of classic favorites and featured flavors, including Cranberry Rose and Chambourcin Special Reserve. Guests can enjoy flights, glasses and bottles in the tasting room or on the patio on warmer days. Light bites and artisan pizzas are available if you want to have lunch at Crown after your drive.
For those who are curious about what it takes to run a fully operational vineyard, the winery offers regular tours that give visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process; tours can be reserved online, and advance booking is required to participate.
Crown Winery holds two fun-filled annual events open to the public. August’s Annual Grape Stomp invites wine lovers to not only learn how to stomp grapes, but compete against other teams to see who has the most foot power.
If you’ll be visiting in the fall, don’t miss the winery’s Oktoberfest event, which includes a specially made batch of beer, live music, and plenty of food to complement the brews. Make sure you keep an eye on the calendar; yoga nights, art sessions and “Wine Down” music performances are among the smaller events happening at the winery throughout the year.
SAMUEL T BRYANT DISTILLERY
Back in Jackson, spend an afternoon at Samuel T. Bryant Distillery to sample spirits and learn what goes into creating the perfect jar of Tennessee Moonshine. Set on a family farm, the distillery’s tours start at the top of the hour and introduce you to the artisanship and history behind the art of distilling.
After your tour, take part in a free tasting featuring four Samuel T. Bryant products; additional tastings can be purchased for a small fee. The menu also includes cocktails for guests who want to spend more time enjoying the space.
On your way out, grab a bottle of your favorite spirit from the distillery shop to enjoy later; ask your server for recommendations on the best cocktail combos to prepare at home.
THE CARNEGIE FEATURING THE TENNESSEE LEGENDS OF MUSIC MUSEUM
Boasting the roots of rock n’ roll, Jackson is home to plenty of music history that is more often associated with Memphis. It’s also where the original Hard Rock Cafe was brought into business by Isaac Tigrett, a Jackson local.
Formerly a grand town library, the Carnegie-built building now holds a small theater and the Tennessee Legends of Music Museum, which features a permanent collection of memorabilia not found anywhere else. Carl Perkins’ first guitar and mementos of Tina Turner and Sonny Boy Williamson’s careers are among the treasures on display.
If you’re a Hard Rock Cafe devotee, you won’t want to miss the chance to purchase a collectible t-shirt from the very first location in the country.
JACKSON BOWLING AND SKATING FAMILY FUN CENTER
For a kid-friendly night out, plan an evening at the Jackson Bowling and Skating Family Fun Center, located just north of downtown. Along with bowling, try your hand at mini-golf, laser tag and the virtual roller coaster, a life-like simulator that catapults you through a gravity-defying adventure. Go-karts are also available, along with a skating area.
JACKSON SCAVENGER HUNT
A great way to get to know Jackson, TN in a unique way is by taking part in the Jackson Scavenger Hunt: Jive Through Jackson.
Once you sign up, you and your group can do the scavenger hunt when you please. The 2-hour hunt will take you to well-known landmarks, as well as some off-the-beaten path places. You’ll be able to get everywhere you need to go by walking!
Stop by a well with healing powers, see the old NC & St L Depot, visit a stately hotel, and more. It’s a great way to explore this fun town.
ABOUT 30 MINUTES FROM DOWNTOWN
For a quick day trip, head to one of the following regional attractions, all of which are only about 30 minutes from Downtown Jackson.
CHICKASAW STATE PARK
Located outside of Henderson, Chickasaw State Park is a perfect introduction to Western Tennessee’s woodlands.
Along with taking on hiking and biking trails, guests can rent kayaks, take a dip in the park’s Lake Placid, tour the park on horseback with Chickasaw Riding Stables, or play a round of golf at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Golf Course. Spend the day paddling the park’s two lakes or birdwatching among the pines that line the area’s walking trails.
If you’re planning a weekend escape, take advantage of one of the park’s three campgrounds, all of which have amenities. If the weather is turning chilly and you’d prefer to stay indoors, rent one of the park’s cabins for a cozy forest experience. The cabins overlook Lake Placid meaning you’ll be steps away from one of Chickasaw State Park’s main attractions.
TENNESSEE SAFARI PARK
Located just south of the town of Alamo, Tennessee Safari Park is a drive-through destination that also offers a walk-through safari, the chance to meet animals up close, and a petting zoo. Feed cups for the animals are available as you enter, and the drive-through takes about an hour to complete. If you’re up for it, tour the park on foot afterwards, stopping to feed Jackson the giraffe or admire the aviary.
The park is open daily until 5pm, with the last cars allowed in an hour before closing time. Gift shops and a concession stand make this an all-day adventure, so set aside plenty of time to experience every aspect of the park.
TINA TURNER MUSEUM
Located within Brownsville, Tennessee’s Western Tennessee Heritage Center, the Tina Turner Museum is an ode to the influential musician as well as the state’s Delta region. The museum is housed in the singer’s former schoolhouse, whose single room is now filled with memorabilia.
Artifacts span Turner’s early experiences and later career, showcasing an entire lifetime. The schoolhouse’s original furniture remains, lending an irreplaceable authenticity to the exhibits. The Tina Turner Museum is truly one of the best museums in Jackson.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and is adjacent to the former home of blues great Sleepy John Estes. This is an ideal stop to add to any Tennessee itinerary focusing on the state’s wealth of pioneering musicians.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO TENNESSEE
- YOUR TENNESSEE VACATION
- WATER PARKS: 7+ Water Parks In Tennessee Your Family Needs To Visit Now
- GATLINBURG: 31+ Essential Things To Do In Gatlinburg, TN for Family Fun
- FRANKLIN: 18 Things To Do In Franklin TN You’re Gonna Love
- MEMPHIS: 34 Amazing Things To Do In Memphis You’ll Love
WHERE TO STAY IN JACKSON TN
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