The Free Spirit Of Cleveland, Mississippi

Courtesy of Cleveland Chamber Of Commerce
Courtesy of Cleveland Chamber Of Commerce
Isabelle Pitman

Join us in the Mississippi Delta to discover the charming town of Cleveland. Although small, the city is teeming with innovation and creativity, and maintains a youthful feel of positivity. We spoke to Kelli Carr from the city’s chambers of commerce to find out what makes Cleveland tick.

Courtesy Of Cleveland Chamber Of Commerce

Where should culture lovers go in Cleveland?

We are known as quite an artistic area, so for sure McCarty’s Pottery in Merigold, Po Monkey’s Juke Joint for a great blues experience (which is only open on Thursday nights); the Martin and Sue Railroad Heritage Museum, which tells the story of how the rail shaped our town, complete with rail artifacts, agriculture items. We often have cotton growing outside of the museum and you wouldn’t believe how many people have never seen cotton in its raw form! We also have the largest O-Gauge model train in the state of Mississippi. It’s really amazing and also free!

Why do you think your town has made the top 10 in Mississippi?

Courtesy of Cleveland Chamber Of Commerce

Tell us about the typical local cuisine in Cleveland.

We really have something for everyone. We have amazing soul food places that have been nationally recognized, such as the Country Platter and the Senator’s Place (which was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown). We also have fantastic gourmet burgers at Hey Joe’s (their Nirvana Burger was featured on Morgan Murphy’s last cookbook On the Road), as well as local southern staples such as catfish and grits, barbecue, hot tamales and more. Plus, we have a super ‘farm-to-table lunch hot spot called the Delta Meat Market. The menu changes weekly as to what’s fresh and available. It’s pretty much amazing.

Where’s the go-to place to find this authentic local cuisine?

The Senator’s Place hits it out of the park with their soul food, barbecue and catfish.

What makes your town unique?

Is it the people, the sights, the food scene, or something else entirely? I think it’s really the mix of different things. We have a great organization called Keep Cleveland Boring that plans events, hosts craft beer and music festivals, supports original music, holds free art shows, trivia nights and more. It’s a tongue-in-cheek name, and it’s become really popular. They sell ‘Keep Cleveland Boring’ t-shirts and merchandise. They are always a big hit.

Courtesy Of Cleveland Chamber Of Commerce

Whats brings tourists to Cleveland?

People certainly come for different reasons. There is a group that comes for the amazing shopping and pottery, another group that comes for the blues and civil rights history in the area, and soon many people will be coming for the Grammy Museum Mississippi, which opens March 5, 2016!

Do you have any exciting upcoming events?

YES!! The Grammy Museum Mississippi, the only one outside of Los Angeles, will open on March 5, 2016. When it opens, it will be the most technologically advanced music museum in the world. Why in Cleveland, Mississippi you ask? Well, why not place it in the land where American music was born, the Mississippi Delta. Since the blues is the base of almost all american music, it was appropriate. Plus, Delta State University here in Cleveland has a stellar music production program called the Delta Music Institute. Those students will get a good first-hand experience working with the museum. The Grammy Museum Mississippi will not just be about Mississippi music, although that will be included, but will feature Grammy winners throughout the decades. It is very interactive. You can write and produce music, learn to do dances from Neo, play instruments and more. The first rotating exhibit will be ‘Ladies and Gentlemen… The Beatles.’ It will be the first time this exhibit will be featured in the Southeast. To say that we are excited is an understatement.

What’s Cleveland’s most bizarre tradition?

I would have to say our town University, Delta State University, has an unofficial mascot known as the Fighting Okra. You will see the Okra with boxing gloves in many places around town… and Hey Joe’s even serves a pickled okra as garnish on top of their burgers!

Courtesy of Cleveland Chamber Of Commerce

Cleveland is one of the winners of The Culture Trip’s Mississippi Local Favorite 2015 Award. The Local Favorite badge is awarded to our favorite local towns, restaurants, artists, galleries, and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talents on a global scale, so we have cultivated a carefully selected, but growing community.
Interview by Isabelle Pitman

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article