"Clarksdale, MS: Blues for the Whole Family!" Clarksdale by BuickMackane

Clarksdale Travel Guide: 30 reviews and 85 photos

The Crossroads: Kid-Tested, Mother-Approved

My daughter Nathalie and I have spent three wonderful vacations this year in Clarksdale, Mississippi -- "The Crossroads" you've heard about in songs by Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin. We took lots of photos, met plenty of fascinating people, and learned a lot about the Delta Blues that shaped the music of today. It was a very educational experience that we can't wait to share with you!

For maximum enjoyment, come to this area with a very open mind and don't jump to any quick conclusions. At first glance, downtown Clarksdale is a place where you wouldn't normally expect to take the kids on vacation. Time seems to stand still here, as if someone stopped the clock around 1972 and forgot to turn it back on. The storefronts are rundown and dilapidated, and 30-year-old Buick and Cadillac sedans still prowl the one-way streets. A thick paste of shattered glass from countless decades of beer bottles glitters from the parking lots of graffiti-covered juke joints, and the bottlecaps are fashioned into folk art. Ancient electric guitars that would fetch thousands of dollars on eBay collectors' auctions are still in everyday use, their elderly owners seemingly unaware of the treasures cradled in their hands.

Blues purists make pilgrimages to Clarksdale from countries all over the world, most notably Scandinavia. They take maps of the Mississippi Delta region and spend their vacations driving countless miles up and down backroads past cotton plantations, shooting pictures of tombstones erected in memory of the legendary musicians hailing from the Delta. There are huge festivals held here in the summertime that attract music lovers by the thousands. Hence, Clarksdale has been dubbed "Ground Zero" for the Delta Blues scene.

By visiting Clarksdale in the off-season, Nathalie and I were able to probe beneath the surface and do plenty of research. We learned firsthand that this is one place where your entire family can listen to unbelievably good music and have a delightful time. There's no doubt in our minds that we will return to Clarksdale for another happy vacation as soon as possible, and we encourage you to do the same!

In case you are new to VT, there are links from this intro page containing much more info about Clarksdale, including photo travelogues -- be sure to click on them all! Please also visit my related VT page on the town of Rosedale, Mississippi, another integral part of the "Crossroads" legend. Thanks for dropping by!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Music lovers from all over the world make pilgrimages to Clarksdale. It's 100% authentic and old-fashioned Delta Blues. Come see for yourself what all the commotion's about!
  • Cons:Don't let the rundown buildings scare you away. The more dilapidated the exterior, the more likely you'll enjoy the music inside!
  • In a nutshell:Get here quick before some rich developer turns Clarksdale into a theme park!
  • Last visit to Clarksdale: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (19)

Comments (13)

  • Jul 4, 2009 at 9:03 AM

    Fine dining restaurants are for a quiet romantic evening! No crying or being annoyed by kids. It is an adult restaurant for adult people. There are restaurants for kids that are nice but we do need a few just for us adults. :)

  • Jul 6, 2007 at 12:14 PM

    Found your Clarksdale page after my recent trip, and I could not agree with you more about Ground Zero Apartments. Ours "Strict Good Ordinary" was great. Nice page

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2006 at 11:15 AM

    An impressive combo of personal writing style, photos and appreciation for blues. I'll get to the cross roads one of these days! Birthday greetings from Alaska!

  • Feb 15, 2006 at 1:16 PM

    Just wanted to drop and a note and say how much I appreciated the Shack Up Inn tip. I was recently passing thru and remembered your tip, what a fun stay it ended up being! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2005 at 9:21 AM

    A very proper place for ground zero - blues! Nice pages!

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2005 at 2:20 PM

    Great page on a place I really did know nothing about at all! Thanks for introducing it to me!

  • aussiedoug's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2005 at 2:27 AM

    Was thinking "Last train to Clarksville" (Monkees) so was blown away by your fantastic, substantial & genuinely interesting tips. Loved the restaurant tips so you might visit my Sydney restaurant tips too. Enjoyed these pages soooooo much. Thanx!

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2005 at 8:24 PM

    Your daughter is quite the traveller... I wish I was that travelled so early on!!

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2005 at 8:35 AM

    Sounds like a nice place for a good vacation and music! Excellent page!

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2005 at 4:55 AM

    Went to the Crossroads Concert.. fabulous. What a great time you and your daughter had. That must have been a big cinnamon bun ;-)


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