Clarksdale is a small town in the Mississippi Delta. About an hour south of Memphis, this little podunk town draws visitors from all over the world for its blues clubs and blues history.
Downtown Clarksdale is a little north of the junction of Highway 61 and Highway 49 (the famous "Crossroads"). Memphis, Tennessee is about 75 miles north of Clarksdale on Highway 61. Jackson, MS is about 150 miles south. It is about 15 miles east of the Mississippi River.
Clarksdale is served by a public airport, which is capable of serving large private airplanes. There are no commercial flights into Clarksdale, but Memphis International Airport is only 75 miles north of Clarksdale.
- Greyhound Bus Line, 1604 N State St., ☏ +1 662 627-7893.
Having a car is pretty much a requirement in Clarksdale. According to one website, 91% of Clarksdale residents drive to work. However, visiting for a short time does not require driving as the downtown is entirely pedestrian-friendly.
- Jerry's Cab Co., +1 662 624-9222.
- Jolly Cab, +1 662 624-9256.
- Pro Taxi, +1 662 302-0864. At Your Service 24/7 Pro Taxi
- 1 The Crossroads (Where US-49 and US-61 intersect). The intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61 where Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius.
- 2 The Delta Blues Museum, 1 Blues Alley Lane, ☏ +1 662 627-68, fax: +1 662 627-7263, email@example.com. Mar-Oct: M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Nov-Feb: M-Sa 10AM-5PM. A museum founded in 1979 and dedicated to "the blues," which is in the restored Illinois Central Railroad freight depot. $7, ages 6-12 $5, under 6 free.
- 3 Rock 'N Roll & Blues Museum, 113 East Second Street.
- Clarksdale Film Festival (January)
- Juke Joint Festival and Related Events (April)
- Mini Blues Fest (April)
- Crossroads Half-Marathon (Look for date)
- Annual Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival (August)
- Pinetop Perkins Homecoming at the historic Shack Up Inn and Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale. (Oct)
- Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival (October)
- [dead link] Blues Harmonica Jam Camp, ☏ +1 310 457-8278. "Shack Up Inn & Hopson Comissary, 001 Comissary Circle. If there is one place where you can say the blues was created it is Mississippi Delta. Learn to play blues harmonica in the heart of the Blues Country at a 5-day seminar filled with classes, jams, and friendship. Travel out to Sonny Boy Williamson's grave, visit Muddy's cabin, and learn and play harmonica with some of America's great teachers and players.
- 1 [dead link] Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue, fax: +1 662 627-4070, firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers wilderness expeditions on the Lower Mississippi River, its Back Waters, Bayous, Oxbows, and Flood Plain between the levees. Tours can be arranged by the day or the week.
- 1 Cat Head delta blues and folk art, inc., 252 Delta Ave, ☏ +1 662-624-5992. According to its website, "Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, Inc. is a 6-day-a-week store that features a full selection of blues CDs, videos, DVDs, books and collectibles as well as an affordable mix of Southern self-taught, folk and outsider art. 'It's kind of like shopping in a juke joint,' Roger (Stolle - owner) said, describing the building's rustic interior, colorful artwork, and down-home music. 'It's the kind of store we always dreamed of finding in our Delta travels but never did.'"
- 2 Miss Del’s General Store, 145 Delta Ave, ☏ +1 662-624-2381. You can buy pretty much anything here! Interesting browse and food.
- 3 [formerly dead link] Mag-Pie Gift & Art Shop, 253 Delta Avenue, ☏ +1 662 624-8385. The Mag-Pie Gift & Art Shop has been open for 96 years. It features unique gifts, home accessories and a Bridal Registry. It is across the street from Cat Head and is within easy walking distance from Ground Zero and other blues venues in the downtown area.
- 1 Abe’s Barbecue, 616 N State St, ☏ +1 662-624-9947. At the Crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. Opened in 1924. According to its website, entertainers eating there include ZZ Top, Paul Simon, Big Jack Johnson, Thomas Harris, Steve Azar, Charlie Pride, Conway Twitty. Abe’s is famous for its barbecue pork and beef, hot tamales, and ribs.
- 2 Atzimba Mexican Restaurant, 706 S State St (Highway 61). This has become a popular spot in Clarksdale since it opened. The restaurant is usually filled to capacity, but there is never a long wait. If it’s your birthday, be sure and tell them as they love to put a traditional sombrero on your head and sing “happy birthday” to you in Spanish.
- 3 Oxbow, 316 Yazoo Ave, ☏ +1 662-627-6781. (Appears to be permanently closed.) Serving lunch Mon-Sat and dinner on Mondays, Fridays, and special occasions, Oxbow serves gourmet fare for under $10 - lightly seared ahi tuna tacos are a favorite, and the classic burger-stand burger with Angus beef, gruyere cheese, balsamic shallot jam, and housemade pickles is ridiculously good. Specials every day!
- 4 Ramon's, 535 Oakhurst Avenue, ☏ +1 662 624-9230. Fried Butterfly shrimp is one of the favorite dishes at Ramon's, which has a full menu of delicious food. Ramon's is only open evenings.
- 5 The Ranchero (know locally as “The Ranch”), 1907 North State St (Hwy 61). (Appears to be permanently closed.) A family-owned restaurant that opened in 1959. On display are photographs and sports memorabilia that the owners have collected over many years.
- 6 Rest Haven, 419 State Street. A Clarksdale tradition for more than 50 years. Middle Eastern cuisine shares the same table with traditional southern food, such as black-eyed peas and turnip greens. The specialty is kibbie, and include stuffed kibbie, kibbie patties, kibbie sandwiches, and even raw kibbie. The coconut and chocolate cream pies that have been popular for almost 30 years.
- 7 Rust Restaurant, 218 Delta Avenue, ☏ +1 662 624-4784. Rust Restaurant is a trendy, upscale restaurant which was opened in 2008 by Randall Andrews, a Clarksdale native who graduated from the Memphis Culinary Academy. Rust Restaurant's fare includes gumbo, crawfish, and seared tuna.
- 8 Stone Pony Pizza and the brick bar, 226 Delta Avenue (Downtown), ☏ +1 662 624-PONY (7669). 4PM - late. Its building that has been in Clarksdale since 1912 and has been renovated. The restaurant has five flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi accessibility, and a pictorial history of Clarksdale and many of its colorful residents. The food is homemade, hand-tossed pizza.
- 9 Yazoo Pass, 207 Yazoo Avenue (downtown), ☏ +1 662 627-8686. M-Sa 7AM-9PM. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and a fresh baked pastry in the cozy atmosphere. Offers free wireless internet. $1-12.
- 1 Bluesberry Cafe, 235 Yazoo, ☏ +1 662 627-7008. A dive with live blues on Mondays.
- 2 Ground Zero Blues Club, 252 Delta Ave. So named because of the wide-spread belief that Clarksdale is where “the blues” began. The club is partly owned by actor Morgan Freeman, who is a native of the Delta area of Mississippi. He helped open both Ground Zero Blues Club and Madidi’s Restaurants partly because he wanted some to make sure he had good restaurants when he returned home from Hollywood. Ground Zero has pool tables in the front part of the restaurant, exposed brick walls, rough wooden floors, and purposefully mismatched furniture that could have come from a garage sale. In the evening, it is an excellent place to hear live music and drink cold beer.
- 3 Hopson Plantation (Hopson Commisary) (Hopson Pickley Rd just west of US-49), ☏ +1 662 624-5756. Has a big music hall with live music.
- 4 New Roxy, 363 Issaquena Ave, ☏ +1 206-683-4917. An old movie theater with a roof that caved in, now an open air live music venue.
- 5 Red’s Lounge, 395 Sunflower Ave. A genuine juke joint with regular live music, and one of the last great juke joints in the Delta region.
- 6 Rust, 001 Commissary Circle (At the Shack Up Inn), ☏ +1 662 624-8329.
- 1 America's Best Value Inn, 350 South State St, ☏ +1 662 621-1110.
- 2 Budget Inn (Formerly Plantation Inn), 420 South State St, ☏ +1 662 624-6541.
- 3 Quality Inn, 818 South State St, ☏ +1 662-627-5122. The pool area is not exactly overflowing with foliage. $90+.
- 4 Riverside Hotel, 615 Sunflower Ave, ☏ +1 662 624-9163. Formerly "the Afro-American Hospital," the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale was the site of the dedication of the fourth historic marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. It's where Bessie Smith died on 26 September 1937 after her auto accident on Highway 61. Ike Turner wrote the first rock n' roll tune of all time here, Rocket 88. Sam Cooke lived here. Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters stayed here. To spend your nights at the Riverside is to immerse yourself in the history of the blues, and the proprietors will help you explore the past and present of the town. Accommodations are very basic, with shared bathrooms and window A/C units/gas heaters, but you don't stay here for the luxury, or for that matter, come to Clarksdale for luxury! Very close to Red's. $40-70.
- 5 Royal Inn (Formerly Days Inn), 1910 North State St, ☏ +1 662 624-4391.
- 6 Southern Inn, 1904 North State St, ☏ +1 662 624-6558.
- 7 Uptown Inn, 305 East Second St, ☏ +1 662 627-3251. Cheap, more reliable than some other motels, and close to Ground Zero.
- 8 Blues Hound Flat, 309 Issaquena, ☏ +1 901-272-0230. Wide open loft space with stained concrete floors, combo living, dining, kitchen, and bedroom area, all featuring local artwork.
- 9 Ground Zero, 387 Delta Ave, ☏ +1 662-621-9009.
- 10 The Lofts at the Five and Dime, 211 Yazoo Avenue. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 3PM. These lofts have 1 bedroom, 1½ bathrooms, a kitchen, and a great room. The full-size bathroom has a large marble shower. There is a half bath in the hallway. In the bedroom are a king-size bed and a pull-out queen size sleeper sofa in the living room. Plasma televisions in the living room and bedroom. Each loft is approximately 985 square feet. $150-175.
- 11 Shack Up Inn-Cotton Gin Inn, 001 Commissary Circle, ☏ +1 662 624-8329. For those blues lovers visiting Clarksdale who want something different, you can have the experience of staying in one of the renovated shotgun shacks or one of the newly renovated bins in the Cotton Gin Inn. These buildings are restored only enough to accommodate 21st-century expectations (including indoor bathrooms, heat, and air conditioning. Besides, there are coffee makers, refrigerators, and microwaves in all units).
- 12 The Squeeze Box, 108 East Second St, ☏ +1 732 740-6155. Decorated in true funky "Delta Style" by local artisans, John Magnusson and Randall Andrews.
- Cleveland — 37 miles to the south
- Tunica — just north of Tunica on the Mississippi River are numerous casinos that are always open. They are about 45 miles north of Clarksdale.
- Oxford is the home of Ole Miss, and seeing the university is worth the trip. Also, there are many fine restaurants, Square Books, and some good shopping.
- Memphis, Tennessee is about 75 miles north of Clarksdale and has all the amenities you would expect of a large city.
- Helena, Arkansas — just before crossing the bridge into Helena, there is the Isle of Capri casinos. They are about 25 miles from Clarksdale. Helena is also home to the Delta Cultural Center, and the well-known Blues and Heritage Festival.
|Routes through Clarksdale|
|Jonesboro ← Helena ←||N S||→ Splits into and|
|Merges onto ←||N S||→ Indianola → Jackson|
|Merges onto ←||N S||→ Greenwood → Jackson|
|Memphis ← Tunica ←||N S||→ Cleveland → Vicksburg|
|Greenville ← Cleveland ←||W E||→ Batesville → Oxford|