Just a quick drive up I-59 into Mississippi and the first major city is the college town of Hattiesburg. The town hums with University of Southern Mississippi activities, but Hattiesburg offers so much more. There’s an outstanding zoo, the 44-mile Longleaf Trace for bikers and hikers, and sites marking the 1964 Freedom Summer Trail, Hattiesburg’s participation in the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, two museums are dedicated to America’s military history, the African American Military History Museum and the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby.

And that’s just the tip of the Burg. Check out our suggestions for a great weekend getaway.

Get Tiny
Get ready to Instagram the heck out of the Hattiesburg Pocket Alley, located between Main and Forrest streets. The art-filled alley has taken on a life of its own but it began when a 48-inch by 36-inch boarded-up window of the Saenger Theatre was transformed into The Pocket Museum, filled with tiny items in exhibits that rotate every month. Nearby is The Pocket Theater, where visitors can view short films through an eye piece, and the Pocket Gallery, the tiniest art gallery in Mississippi. Street artist Kelsey Montague has painted dragonflies cascading up the side of a parking garage, part of her “WhatLiftsYou” collection, and a sidewalk duck turns 3-D if you shoot the photo just right. Be sure to find the tiny treasures everywhere, from cat murals to miniature canoeists riding a wave on a street pipe.

View More Art
Hattiesburg recently developed a public art trail, but its offerings were expanded greatly during the pandemic. The trail now offers 44 sites, with 33 murals, 20 of which were installed in the last two years. The murals are a combination of local artists, such as Heidi Pitre of Marrero, and those chosen worldwide through competition. The city’s goal is to feature 100 murals throughout town.

Stay
Indigo Hotel in Hattiesburg’s new Midtown District offers boutique accommodations with design accents of the town’s timber and railroad origins and nods to the University of Southern Mississippi. The hotel’s located across from the university and only minutes from downtown and includes a fitness room and signature cocktails in the hip Brass Hat Lounge.

Eat
There’s plenty of great places to eat in Hattiesburg, including the many fine restaurants of Chef Robert St. John. His Midtowner, for instance, serves up delectable breakfasts and lunches in a diner-style atmosphere, its wall filled with old Hattiesburg photos. New to the city is the HattiesBurger Trail, a selection of burger spots downtown, Midtown and throughout the suburbs. Look for the official trail stop sticker or go to VisitBurg.org for a complete list — note, there are many!

Something Different
The Lucky Rabbit not only sells antiques and collectibles, but attracts visitors to its vast warehouse space with recreations of film and TV sets in the back. We’re talking “Home Alone,” “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Office.”

“Their attention to detail is crazy,” said Paige Robertson of Visit Hattiesburg. “Even down to what’s written on the notepad on the desk.”

Lucky Rabbit is only open on weekends, so plan ahead. And to quench your thirst after a day of antiquing, grab a craft brew at Southern Prohibition Brewing down the street.

Getting There
Hattiesburg is only a two-hour drive from New Orleans, but if you want to leave the driving to someone else, Amtrak’s Crescent City departs at 9:15 a.m. from Union Station, arriving in Hattiesburg around noon. Best of all, the cost to sit in coach is only $32.