About Hattiesburg

The Hub City

Home to The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg blends a college town atmosphere with an upscale entertainment district downtown and numerous outdoor opportunities.

You'll see plenty of black and gold in local shops and restaurants that support Southern Miss. Dining opportunities abound, particularly local flavors such as New Orleans-style seafood, fried catfish and barbecue. 

Center Stage: Arts and Music

Hattiesburg has a thriving arts community, both on campus and off, as well as plenty of venues for live music that continue a rich history of blues and rock.

The Saenger Theater, one of seven that operated in the South, dates to 1929 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1,000-seat venue is a downtown fixture and the home to local and regional productions.

Other local events:

  • HubFest, the city's signature arts and heritage festival
  • Historic Mobile Street Festival, with gospel, blues, barbecue and arts and crafts
  • Festival South, the state's  only multi-week, multi-genre music festival
  • Twice-a-year art walks at galleries and shops downtown, plus food and music
  • Candlelit Victorian Christmas, with caroling, a tour of homes and carriage rides in a historic downtown neighborhood

Outdoors: Take a Hike, Go Fish

The Longleaf Trace is a 41-mile stretch of reclaimed railroad tracks that serves as a walking, jogging, biking and equestrian trail. Parking and access to the trace are on the north edge of the Southern Miss campus, near the new Century Park residence halls.

Kamper Park & Zoo, just a mile from campus, is a 40-acre park that houses a 12-acre zoological garden. With exhibits dedicated to areas such as South America and the African Veldt, Kamper Park & Zoo is home to everything from prairie dogs to zebras to howler monkeys. The zoo also houses a variety of exotic birds, American alligators and the tiger boardwalk exhibit. In addition, zoogoers can enjoy a peaceful train ride, a trip around the carousel or shop in the gift shop or concession stand.

Paul B. Johnson State Park, 20 minutes south of Hattiesburg, offers vacation cabins, a nature trail and fishing, boating and swimming at Geiger Lake. It's also the place to be for a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display.

Eight other states lakes are nearby in south Mississippi, including Lake Perry in the Desoto National Forest. DeSoto offers camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, golfing and more. It is home to the state's only national scenic river, Black Creek.

Past and Present: Railroads to Healthcare

Known as the Hub City because of its proximity to New Orleans; the Mississippi Gulf Coast; Mobile, Ala.; and Jackson, Miss., Hattiesburg was founded in 1882 and incorporated in 1884. It developed as a railroad terminus to support the lumber industry.

Today, Hattiesburg's population is around 52,000. In addition to the university, the military installation at nearby Camp Shelby is another key member of the community. The camp is the largest National Guard training base east of the Mississippi River.

The city has been recognized by numerous publications and rankings as a retirement destination because of the area's amenities, low cost of living and strong healthcare services - two hospitals and a multi-specialty clinic.

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