Hattiesburg Named Top 25 Southern City on the Rise

HATTIESBURG, MISS (March 7, 2024) –– Hattiesburg has once again captured the hearts and attention of readers across the South, earning a prestigious accolade from Southern Living magazine. In the highly anticipated April 2024 issue, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, shines bright as it secures a spot among the South's Best 25 cities on the rise within 16 states.

According to the article by Southern Living, “These reader-selected cities have excellent food scenes, cool yet quaint downtown districts, incredible natural beauty, thriving arts communities, and the warmth our region is known for. And they’re not done growing.”

For Hattiesburg, this recognition as #19 serves as a testament to its unwavering charm, rich culture, and unparalleled hospitality. Hattiesburg has long been celebrated for its unique blend of southern tradition and modern innovation. From its historic downtown to its thriving culinary scene and creative economy, the city continues to captivate visitors and residents alike with its diverse offerings and warm Southern hospitality.

“This recognition not only highlights the beauty and allure of our city but also underscores the hard work and dedication of our community members who strive to make Hattiesburg a premier destination for travelers,” Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said. “I am immensely proud to see our city recognized as a top travel destination in the South, and my hope is that we will continue to grow, flourish, and attract visitors from around the globe.”

Known as the Hub City, Hattiesburg previously was considered a “stop-over destination;” however, in recent years through strategic storytelling, collaboration within the city, and destination development, Hattiesburg has come into its own as a top city in the South.

The recognition as a South’s Best city is voted on by Southern Living’s readership from a “large list of cities based on research, reporting and [editors’] experiences.”

Hattiesburg leadership remains committed to fostering a positive quality of life, connection among visitors and residents, as well as inclusivity for all. With its vibrant arts scene, and burgeoning culinary landscape, Hattiesburg invites visitors to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with discovery and wonder.

"Being recognized by Southern Living as one of the South's Best validates our ongoing efforts in placemaking, destination development, and collaboration. Locally, we have felt the shift in the last decade from being ‘a’ destination to being ‘the’ destination and are thrilled to see that others are experiencing it, too,” said Marlo Dorsey, CEO of VisitHATTIESBURG. “With this momentum, we look forward to continuing to share Hattiesburg’s story far and wide, while keeping its creative spirit and the incredible people and places that make it special at the forefront of all we do.”

This is the second time in recent weeks that Hattiesburg has been featured in Southern Living. In February, Lucky Rabbit owner Abby Thaxton lent her expertise to an article about shopping for vintage and antique kitchenware. The article titled “14 Kitchen Items You Should Always Buy Second-Hand” provided significant coverage for the downtown retailer. 

For more information about Hattiesburg or to plan your visit, go to For a list of all cities in the top 25 South’s Best Cities on the Rise for 2024, visit





ABOUT HATTIESBURG, MS: A premier city in the Gulf South, Hattiesburg blends culture, art, food, and history to create a modern Southern destination. Known as home to the “Roots of Rock 'N Roll” and the site of one of the most significant social movements in U.S. history, Hattiesburg's roots run deep. Today, the city is an emerging civil rights destination, preserving and telling history through attractions like the 1964 Freedom Summer Trail and East Sixth Street Museum District. A creative community adds flair through nearly 200 locally owned restaurants, craft breweries, vibrant public art and boutique shops. Hattiesburg's public art trail boasts nearly 100 installations with a focus on becoming the "City of 100 Murals" in the next few years. Other attractions include the Hattiesburg Zoo, Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, the 54-mile Longleaf Trace cycling trail, 52 miles of recreational waterways, Mississippi's tiniest museum The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, and The Lucky Rabbit self-proclaimed junk shop. For outdoor adventurists, the Hattiesburg GeoTour, the only official geocaching tour in Mississippi, has more than 40 hides. For more information, visit