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What to See and Do in Vicksburg, Mississippi

What to See and Do in Vicksburg, Mississippi


By avatar  Stacy
Posted On 06/13/2019 16:50:10
Trip Date 04/14/2019  

Destinations | Mississippi | Vicksburg | DIY Touring in Vicksburg | Sightseeing in Vicksburg | Vicksburg National Military Park | Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum | Vicksburg Riverfront Murals



Our RV journey continued north from Natchez to Vicksburg where we packed in two full days of sightseeing. The city is filled with history, but that's not all. There's art, gaming, pop culture, scenic overlooks and even a unique area for kids.

If you have plans to be in Mississippi and are in search of ideas for DIY Touring in Vicksburg, you're in the right place. You've likely heard about the Vicksburg National Military Park and the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals. There's more, however, to sightseeing in Vicksburg than those two destinations! Read on to discover some of the low cost (or free) local museums including the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum. There's fun for all ages in Vicksburg!



HISTORY: Vicksburg National Military Park

The Vicksburg National Military Park pays tribute to the sacrifices of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Nicknamed "the largest outdoor art gallery in the world", the park today includes a visitor center as well as a 16 mile self-guided driving (or walking or biking) tour around the battlefield.

The entrance fee of $20.00 per vehicle (valid for 7 consecutive days) is waived for those with an America the Beautiful National Park Pass. Getting a good overview of the entire park requires at least two hours. History lovers or those wanting a more in depth tour of this important site in America's past can spend many more hours or even days trying to truly see it all.


Entrance to Vicksburg National Military Park

Entrance to Vicksburg National Military Park

Visitor Center

Any visit to Vicksburg National Military Park should begin at the Visitor Center. In addition to both indoor and outdoor exhibits, a 20-minute video explains the 47 day Battle of Vicksburg which took place from May 18 to July 4, 1863.


Artillery from the Battle of Vicksburg

Artillery from the Battle of Vicksburg

Memorial Arch

After getting your fill at the Visitor Center, pass through the Memorial Arch to begin your tour of the battlefield. About 8,000 veterans attended a Veterans' and Peace Reunion sponsored by congress at the military park in 1917. Funds remaining from the appropriation for the reunion were used to create the Memorial Arch dedicated in 1920 to commemorate the event.


Memorial Arch at Vicksburg National Military Park

Memorial Arch at Vicksburg National Military Park

Completing the entire journey through the military park by car requires a 16 mile relatively slow moving drive plus numerous stops along the way. We spent close to 2 1/2 hours and got just a taste of everything. We did drive the entire tour however made few stops other than those for photos from our car.



For those with less time available, signage at the park as well as the brochure offered upon your entrance include multiple options for shorter tours. If you have specific interests, take a peek at the map and plan your route accordingly.

Monuments and Memorials

In just a few hours it's impossible to see all of the over 1,400 monuments and memorials who make their home inside Vicksburg National Military Park. From markers, plaques and tablets to busts, larger than life statues and state memorials, there's a wide variety of "art" in the "outside gallery".


Major General Ulysses S. Grant

Major General Ulysses S. Grant

Union Battery

Union Battery

Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman

Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis

If your home state was a part of the Union or Confederacy, you might like to find your state's memorial.


Illinois Memorial

Illinois Memorial

Texas Memorial

Texas Memorial

It's interesting to know that the park was established in 1899 and the first state memorial was placed within the park in 1903. Nearly all of the remaining monuments were dedicated within the next 15 years.



USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum

The Union's USS Cairo, one of the first ironclad warships, was put into service in 1862. Just seven miles north of Vicksburg in the Yazoo River, two explosions caused the ship to take on water and sink in a mere twelve minutes. The entire crew was able to escape without a single injury or death.

Covered in silt, sand and mud which actually preserved the gunboat, it was rediscovered nearly 100 years later in 1956. It took another eight years to remove the Cairo from the river. It was not until 1977 that the gunboat was placed in its current location at Vicksburg National Military Park.


USS Cairo Gunboat

USS Cairo Gunboat

Cannon aboard USS Cairo

Cannon aboard USS Cairo

In addition to seeing the actual restored gunboat, dedicate some time to walking through the museum and watching the short video. Recovered items which are amazingly preserved and on display in the museum include medical supplies, kitchen (mess) utensils, tools, weapons and much more.



Vicksburg National Cemetery

Along with veterans of several other wars, almost 17,000 Union Soldiers are buried at Vicksburg National Cemetery. Of the Union Civil War casualties, about 13,000 are unknown.


Vicksburg National Cemetery

Vicksburg National Cemetery

Gun Monument at Vicksburg National Cemetery

Gun Monument at Vicksburg National Cemetery

Confederates are buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery located just outside of the Vicksburg National Military Park.



SCENIC OVERLOOKS: Navy Circle and Louisiana Circle

Louisiana Circle and Navy Circle, two of four detached units of the Vicksburg National Military Park, both have great views of the Mississippi River from above. Navy Circle can be found next to the Mississippi State Welcome Center on Washington Street. Between July 1 and July 4, 1863, this was the home of the Union's Battery Benton.


Battery Benton

Battery Benton

Mississippi River from Louisiana Circle

Mississippi River from Louisiana Circle

Next to Riverfront Park and about one mile north of Navy Circle is Louisiana Circle. In addition to the view of the river and bridges, you'll also find a cannon belonging to the Confederate forces. The Widow Blakely is located on the hill just a few steps above the paved drive.


The Widow Blakely

The Widow Blakely

Bridges over the Mississippi River in Vicksburg

Bridges over the Mississippi River in Vicksburg

GAMING: Riverfront Casinos

With two each on Washington Street and Warrenton Road, the casinos in Vicksburg offer much more than gaming. In addition to appealing to those who are trying to win big at the slots or tables, the casinos offer live entertainment, drinks, dining and hotel accommodations.



HISTORY: Vicksburg's Old Court House Museum

The Old Warren County Court House which houses the Old Court House Museum was originally built in 1858. Several years after the 1939 opening of a new courthouse, there was speculation that the old building would be demolished. After all, it had been hit during the Civil War, suffered tornado damage and sat vacant and in need of repairs. Fortunately an effort to clean the building and collect artifacts for display was undertaken beginning in 1947 and the museum opened in 1948.

Although the posted hours both online and on signage at the site said it's open seven days a week, all entrances were locked during our early Sunday afternoon arrival. Priced at $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for students (1st through 12th grades), the museum is reportedly filled with thousands of artifacts likely to appeal to a wide audience. If you have the opportunity (and the doors are open), try to stop by to see:

  • the gift given to a child by Theodore Roosevelt (a teddy bear);
  • the trophy won in a race by the steamboat Robert E. Lee (antlers); and
  • Jefferson Davis' tie worn during his inauguration as Confederate President.



POP CULTURE: Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum

Open seven days a week (although Sunday hours are limited to 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM), the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is easy to spot in downtown Vicksburg. The two-story brick building was constructed by father (Herman) and son (Joe Biedenharn) in 1890. Joe's wholesale candy store & soda fountain and Herman's shoe store each operated on one side of the building.


Biedenharn Candy Company

Biedenharn Candy Company

In 1894, Joe got the never before tried idea to bottle the popular fountain drink Coca-Cola so that it could be shipped to rural areas. Originally shipped out of town down the Mississippi River by boat, the rest, as they say, is history!



The family eventually sold the building but repurchased it in 1979. Upon completion of a project aimed at restoring the building, they donated it to the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation. Priced at $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for kids 6 - 12 years old, guests touring the "museum" today can see exhibits about both the history of Coca-Cola, the original bottling process and the Biedenharn family. The museum is also full of plenty of memorabilia from days gone by.


Vintage Bottle Rack and Coca-Cola Vending Machine

Vintage Bottle Rack and Coca-Cola Vending Machine

Coca-Cola Memorabilia

Coca-Cola Memorabilia

Museum Reconstruction of circa 1900 Soda Fountain

Museum Reconstruction of circa 1900 Soda Fountain

After touring the museum, it's hard to pass up enjoying something from the reconstructed candy store and soda fountain. In addition to offering bottled soft drinks, ice cream and coke floats, there's an assortment of souvenirs for sale as well.


Soda Fountain

Soda Fountain

HISTORY: The Old Depot Museum

We missed out on the highly recommended Old Depot Museum as it is closed on Sundays and Mondays. While the name of the museum makes me think of trains, the museum is actually dedicated to transportation and travel. You'll definitely see trains throughout, but don't miss the scale models of military and maritime boats and ships dating back hundreds of years. The museum is also home to a one-of-a-kind diorama of the Siege of Vicksburg. Going back in time on a trip to the Old Depot is a must for our next opportunity to spend time in Vicksburg!



ART: Vicksburg Riverfront Murals

The Vicksburg Riverfront Murals can be found on the flood wall on Levee Street right at the historic waterfront.


"A Fascinating City of National Importance"

"A Fascinating City of National Importance"

The 32 murals were unveiled between April 2002 and April 2009. The image captured on each panel of the flood wall pays tribute to a historical point in Vicksburg's past. In addition to admiring the art, you can even learn a little something about the city by reading the plaques located at ground level in front of each panel.


"The First Bottling of Coca-Cola"

"The First Bottling of Coca-Cola"

"The Big Mama of the Mississippi"

"The Big Mama of the Mississippi"

"Beginnings of the World's Largest Hardwood Mill"

"Beginnings of the World's Largest Hardwood Mill"

"One of America's Most Beautiful Sunsets"

"One of America's Most Beautiful Sunsets"

To learn more about each of the images and their sponsors before you hit the road, check out Murals at Vicksburg Riverfront.



HISTORY: Lower Mississippi River Museum

The last of the Vicksburg museums that we missed out on (this one because it closed earlier than advertised) was the Lower Mississippi River Museum. Admission to the museum located at 910 Washington Street is free and it is advertised as being open seven days per week with more limited hours on Sundays.

In order to get the full experience at the museum, start in the Orientation Theater. Interactive displays in the museum include the Mississippi River as a highway, how the river benefits the life of of those nearby, protecting the river for tomorrow and so much more. There's even an indoor aquarium filled with fish native to the lower Mississippi River.



Although we missed out on all of the indoor displays, we saw (but didn't really experience) the outdoor Mississippi River Flood Model. The scale model is designed to teach visitors how various factors impact a river. Outside of the museum is also a great place to be on the lookout for riverboats cruising (or docked) on the Mississippi River!


Mississippi River Flood Model

Mississippi River Flood Model

Docked on the Mississippi River

Docked on the Mississippi River

FUN FOR KIDS: Art Park at Catfish Row

If you're traveling with youngsters, they might enjoy spending some time at the Art Park at Catfish Row. Located on Levee Street between Clay and Grove Streets (very near the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals), kids will love the play areas, splash fountain and garden walks designed just for them. The park is even adorned with kid created artwork!


Art Park at Catfish Row

Art Park at Catfish Row

Day Trips from Vicksburg

If you'll have some more time while in Vicksburg, be sure to see our post titled Day Trips from Vicksburg, Mississippi. Whether you want to drive north or south, there's ideas to fill even more of your time is this part of the state. You'll find a couple of recommended lunch or dinner restaurants plus sites including a petrified forest, ruins and an even larger (but quite dilapidated) model of the Mississippi River!

Vicksburg Attractions

If you had the opportunity to return to Vicksburg but could only spend one day in the city, what sites would be first on your list to see and why?




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What to See and Do in Vicksburg, Mississippi






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Created On 06/12/2019 09:31:07  
Updated On 06/20/2019 16:52:45
Scheduled On 06/13/2019 13:50:10
Posted On 06/13/2019 16:50:10
Last Editor Stacy
Location  Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, MS, United States
LinkId  VicksburgAttractions
StoryId  1560346267942





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