Mississippi is full of quaint and historic downtowns that make a perfect location for meetings or events. From Mississippi River towns to the Gulf Coast, meeting planners will find plenty of full-service meeting spots surrounded by fun attractions to keep attendees entertained.
Located on 200-foot bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, Natchez is known for its beautifully maintained historic homes. Its downtown area is full of locally owned shops and restaurants, and visitors love that the town has a go-cup entertainment district that allows people to visit local establishments, buy an adult beverage and take it with them to enjoy the sunset over the Mississippi River.
Meeting planners will love that the Natchez Convention Center is right downtown with 32,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and exhibit spaces that are also supported by an adjacent Community Center. Across the street, the Natchez Grand Hotel has 119 rooms and a ballroom that can be divided into three rooms. Many groups hosting events at the convention center will use the hotel’s meeting rooms for breakout sessions.
The convention center has upstairs and downstairs meeting spaces, with most general sessions and luncheons taking place downstairs in the larger spaces and breakout sessions for up to 100 people in each of the upstairs meeting rooms. The second floor also features beautiful balconies that are perfect for watching the city’s famous Mardi Gras parades.
Nearby, the town has a Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Hotel Vue, which sits high on the bluffs overlooking the river. All three have meeting space. Magnolia Bluffs Casino Hotel has 133 rooms and a ballroom that can be divided into three rooms. It also has a smaller room for board retreats.
Downtown Biloxi is experiencing a rebirth, with several new multi-use developments in the works, including The District on Howard, comprising restaurants, shops and apartments. Howard Square, formerly a dairy and costume shop, is bringing nearly two dozen apartments to downtown Biloxi, with some overlooking MGM Park, where the Biloxi Shuckers minor league baseball team plays.
Once known as the Seafood Capital of the World, Biloxi is finding a new identity with visitors flocking to the area for its beautiful location on the Gulf Coast, miles of beaches and water-based activities.
Meeting planners wanting to tap into the burgeoning vibrance of the downtown area can host events at Beau Rivage Casino and Resort, with its 1,740 guest rooms and 50,000 square feet of meeting space. The Hard Rock Casino and Resort has 479 rooms, 47 suites and several meeting spaces, including Hard Rock Live, which contains a 9,000-square-foot theater and 4,000 additional square feet of space. Its Rock and Roll meeting room has 1,800 square feet of space. The largest meeting venue in Biloxi is Mississippi Coast Convention Center with 400,000 square feet of space.
Meeting attendees will enjoy taking a cruise with Biloxi Shrimping Trip and learning about the coastal fishery. The Biloxi culinary scene is thriving, with plenty of waterfront seafood spots serving fresh gulf seafood, as well as several hip bars and breweries within walking distance of the casinos.
Tupelo is steeped in Elvis Presley history. Not only is it the birthplace of the legendary singer, but there are several Elvis-related sites downtown, including Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis got his first guitar. Downtown Tupelo has the city’s largest meeting facility, Bancorp South Arena and Conference Center, which was renovated and expanded in 2021. The newly expanded conference center has 22,000 square feet of function space. The East Hall can accommodate up to 520 people for a banquet, while the West Hall can host 600 for a banquet and 1,000 theater-style. There are 14 meeting rooms altogether.
The conference center is attached to a Hilton Garden Inn, which has two smaller meeting rooms and 100 guest rooms. Across the street is a brand new 79-room boutique hotel that opened in February, Hotel Tupelo. It has a restaurant and bar onsite that serves surf and turf for dinner and brunch on the weekends. It also has a smaller meeting room.
The meeting venues are about one mile away from the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, which is Tupelo’s main attraction, and there are plenty of locally owned shops, art galleries and restaurants to explore throughout the downtown area.
The Birthplace and Museum has an event space that can host 160 people. There’s also a 126-seat theater for performances, movies and events, a boardroom and a full catering kitchen.
Despite being the home of Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi’s main campus, Oxford maintains its small-town charm. With four independent bookstores, the main square downtown is a major destination for anyone who loves books. It also has a robust culinary scene with more than 25 locally owned restaurants and unique shopping.
Visitors to the city can tour the area on a vintage 1958 AEC Routemaster double-decker bus imported from England, take in an Ole Miss sporting event or tour Rowan Oak, the home of author William Faulkner.
The Oxford Conference Center is two miles off the square with more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space and three hotels within walking distance: Hampton Inn, Towne Place Suites by Marriott and Tru by Hilton. There are several restaurants and attractions that are walkable from the facility, including a movie theater, bowling alley and coffee shops. On the square, Chancellor’s House hotel is a boutique establishment with 40 rooms and a 2,000-square-foot ballroom, boardroom, public areas and an outdoor terrace that can be used for events.
Graduate Oxford has 136 guest rooms and a smaller meeting room. It also has a terrace, a rooftop bar and a coffee bar area that can be used for smaller events. The Inn at Ole Miss is located on campus, about a mile from the downtown square, with 146 guest rooms and more than 10,000 square feet of event space.
Cleveland is a very walkable Mississippi Delta town that was built along a railroad with buildings on both sides of the tracks. Cleveland’s railroad tracks were converted into a greenway flanked by locally owned boutique shops and restaurants in renovated historic buildings.
Cotton House Cleveland, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, has 95 guest rooms and a ballroom that can host 200 guests for a banquet. The lawn offers outdoor space adjacent to the ballroom. The property, which overlooks the greenway, boasts a James Beard-nominated chef and a rooftop bar with incredible views and an outdoor firepit.
The Grammy Museum Mississippi is a couple of minutes away and makes a nice offsite venue for meeting planners wanting to escape the hotel ballroom. The museum can host groups of 250 for a standing reception or 130 for a banquet.
Cleveland is the home of Delta State University, so a college town atmosphere permeates the city. The Lyric Hotel anchors Cleveland’s West End District and is across from the university. It has 63 guest rooms and was built for meetings. The Gin event space is across from the main hotel and can host up to 450 people. The Clubhouse, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the hotel’s central courtyard and pool, has a pair of large meeting areas that can seat 70 people classroom-style or 80 for a banquet. The Statehouse is a two-story mansion that features 13 suites, a wraparound balcony and veranda and an elegant double parlor that can host groups of 200. The front porch and lawn also serve as event venues.