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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.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Downtown Clarksdale is situated 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.

By plane[edit]

Clarksdale is served by a public airport, which is capable of serving large private airplanes. There are no commercial flights into Clarksdale at present, but Memphis International Airport is only 75 miles north of Clarksdale.

The Blues Museum

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound Bus Line, 1604 N State St., +1 662 627-7893.
Ground Zero Blues Club

Get around[edit]

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.

Taxi services:

  • 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


Muddy Waters exhibit at the Delta Blues Museum
  •   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.
  •   The Delta Blues Museum1 Blues Alley Lane +1 662 627-68fax: +1 662 627-7263, e-mail: . Mar-Oct: M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Nov-Feb: Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM. A museum founded in 1979 and dedicated to "the blues," which is in the restored Illinois Central Railroad freight depot. $7.00, ages 6-12: $5.00, Under 6: Free.
  •   Rock 'N Roll & Blues Museum113 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)
  • 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 seminars 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 Americas great teachers and players.
  •   Quapaw Canoe Company291 Sunflower Avenuefax: +1 662 627-4070, e-mail: . 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.


  •   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.'"
  •   Miss Dell’s General Store145 Delta Ave +1 662-624-2381. You can buy pretty much anything here! Interesting browse + food.
  •   Mag-Pie Gift & Art Shop253 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 located across the street from Cat Head and is within easy walking distance from Ground Zero and other blues venues in the downtown area.


  •   Abe’s Barbecue616 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 -- “just to name a few.” Abe’s is famous for its barbecue pork and beef, hot tamales and ribs.
  •   Atzimba Mexican Restaurant706 S State St (Highway 61). This has become a popular spot in Clarksdale since it opened about ten years ago. 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.
  •   Oxbow316 Yazoo Ave +1 662-627-6781. 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!
  •   Ramon's535 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.
  •   The Ranchero (know locally as “The Ranch”), 1907 North State St. (Hwy 61). A family-owned restaurant that opened in 1959. On display are photographs and sports memorabilia that the owners have collected over many years.
  •   Rest Haven419 State Street. A Clarksdale tradition for more than fifty years. Middle Eastern cuisine shares the same table with traditional southern food, such as black-eyed peas and turnip greens. The speciality 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.
  •   Rust Restaurant218 Delta Avenue +1 662 624-4784. Rust Restaurant is a new trendy, upscale restaurant which was opened in March of 2008 by Randall Andrews, a Clarksdale native who graduated from the Memphis Culinary Academy. Rust Restaurant's fare includes gumbo, crawfish, and seared tuna.
  •   Stone Pony Pizza and the brick bar226 Delta Avenue (Downtown),  +1 662 624-PONY (7669). 4PM - Until. Located in a building that has been in Clarksdale since 1912 that 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. $$.
  •   Yazoo Pass207 Yazoo Avenue (downtown),  +1 662 627-8686. Mon-Sat 7AM-9PM. You can enjoy a cup of coffee and a fresh baked pastry in the cozy atmosphere. Offers free wireless internet. $1.00-$12.00.


  •   Bluesberry Cafe235 Yazoo +1 662 627-7008. A dive with live blues on Mondays.
  •   Ground Zero Blues Club252 Delta Ave. So named because of the wide-spread belief that Clarksdale is where “the blues” actually 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.
  •   Hopson Plantation (Hopson Commisary) (Hopson Pickley Rd just west of US-49),  +1 662 624-5756. Has a big music hall with live music.
  •   New Roxy363 Issaquena Ave +1 206-683-4917. An old movie theater with a roof that caved in, now an open air live music venue.
  •   Red’s Lounge395 Sunflower Ave. A genuine juke joint with regular live music, and one of the last great juke joints in the Delta region.
  •   Rust001 Commissary Circle (At the Shack Up Inn),  +1 662 624-8329.


Clarksdale crossroads


  •   America's Best Value Inn350 South State St +1 662 621-1110.
  •   Budget Inn (Formerly Plantation Inn), 420 South State St +1 662 624-6541.
  •   Comfort Inn818 South State St +1 662-627-5122. $90+.
  •   Riverside Hotel615 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 obviously don't stay here for the luxury, or for that matter, come to Clarksdale for luxury! Very close to Red's. $40-70.
  •   Rodeway Inn (Formerly Best Western), 710 State St +1 662 627-9292. $60+.
  •   Royal Inn (Formerly Days Inn), 1910 North State St +1 662 624-4391.
  •   Southern Inn1904 North State St +1 662 624-6558.
  •   Uptown Inn305 East Second St +1 662 627-3251. Cheap, more reliable than some other motels, and close to Ground Zero.


  •   Blues Hound Flat309 Issaquena +1 901-272-0230. Wide open loft space with stained concrete floors, combo living, dining, kitchen, and bedroom area, all featuring local artwork.
  •   Ground Zero126 Desoto Ave +1 662-621-9009.
  •   The Lofts at the Five and Dime211 Yazoo Avenue. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 3PM. These lofts have 1 bedroom, 1-1/2 bathrooms, a kitchen and great room. The full size bathroom has a large marble shower. There is a half bath in the hallway. In the bedroom is a king size bed and a pull out queen size sleeper sofa in the living room. Plasma televisions in living room and bedroom. Each loft is approximately 985 square feet. $150 -$175.
  •   Shack Up Inn-Cotton Gin Inn001 Commissary Circle +1 662 624-8329. For those blues lovers visiting Clarksdale who want something really 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. In addition, there are coffee makers, refrigerators and microwaves in all units).
  •   The Squeeze Box108 East Second St +1 732 740-6155. Decorated in true funky "Delta Style" by local artisans, John Magnusson and Randall Andrews.


Go next[edit]

  • 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. In addition, 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
JonesboroHelena  N US 49.svg S  Splits into US 49W.svg and US 49E.svg
Merges onto US 49.svg  N US 49W.svg S  IndianolaJackson
Merges onto US 49.svg  N US 49E.svg S  GreenwoodJackson
MemphisTunica  N US 61.svg S  ClevelandVicksburg
GreenvilleCleveland  W US 278.svg E  BatesvilleOxford

34.197778; -90.571944Map mag.png
This city travel guide to Clarksdale is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page