Throughout my years at the University of Mississippi, I had a lot of time to think about why a person would want to come to school here, and Oxford is one of the biggest reasons. It was named a top 6 college town by USA Today, the number one small town in America, top arts scene, top culinary scene, and so much more. We're a town of about 20,000. We offer one of, if not the, top school system (city and county) in the state. We're the home of William Faulkner and his fictional county, Yoknatawpha, which is based on our county, Lafayette. We have the top independent bookstore in the nation in Square books and its siblings, Off Square Books, Square Books Jr, and Rare Square books. John Grisham sold his first book out of the trunk of his car in front of Square Books! Heck, the former Poet Laureate of Mississippi lives here!
We have the only live show broadcast statewide each week during the school year in Thacker Mountain Radio show (author readings, music, house band, commentary - lots of fun!) There are probably more writers a year who come through here to do readings and sign books than any town our size in the world.
We are the county seat, home to the annual Faulkner Conference (scholarly), Double Decker Arts Festival (arts, crafts, food, fun, GREAT MUSIC), Southern Foodways Festival (scholarly and fun), the Conference for the Book (how to write, publish, etc - celebrating the craft and trappings of writing), and the Annual Oxford Film Festival (local, national and international independent films shown and discussed - kind of like a smaller more intimate version of Robert Redford's Sundance in Colorado). There is more entertainment, including incredible live music all over town about 6 nights a week. We are the home of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, own BB Kings personal blues archive, and are on the Blues Train!
There are about 150 places to eat many of which are unique to just our town and offer a huge variety of incredible food (we have not one but two James Beard award-winning chefs that live and work here!) as well as Sonic, McDonald's, and more.
Oxford has wonderful parks, bike and hiking trails, hunting, fishing, every outdoor activity you could imagine, and I hear even ax throwing! We have art galleries, specialty stores of all kinds, many different religions, have many historic buildings, and are a melting pot of people, with students from all over the world and all 50 states.
We are situated near the largest man-made reservoir in north Mississippi for you fishermen. You can camp there, waterski and sail too. We are 1 hour and 10 minutes from Memphis and the largest commercial airport in the world, about 2.5 hours from the State capital, Jackson, 3 hours from Birmingham, 3.5 hours to Little Rock and Nashville, and about 5.5 hours to St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Oxford is as unique a small town as you'll find. Wrapped in beautiful rolling hills, with four distinct seasons, broad tree-lined main streets, and cute neighborhoods all over! Hey...I'm not done! We don't have some things: high crime, traffic, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, famine, blizzards, and pestilence. Okay - we do have the occasional tornado, and some recent heavy rains, but we are safe from pandemic weather.
The University of Mississippi has about 22,000 students and offers SEC athletics, the number one athletic conference top to bottom in the nation. There is gorgeous natural topography and it has been named the most beautiful campus in America 3 different times in the last 10 years or so. Did I mention Ole Miss has been named a top transfer student campus by PTK international? They have been one of the top universities to work for every year they have had the category. Ole Miss is a Purple Heart University which is tops for veterans.
Our medical center in Jackson is the only level one trauma center in the state (and performed the world's first heart and lung transplant in a human.) I haven't yet mentioned a beautiful new Baptist Memorial Hospital with an incredible array of medical specialists and personnel anywhere.
Folks, I am barely scratching the surface! If you have never been here and are intrigued, come visit and tour the town and you'll find all the information you need. We love our town!