12 Things to Do in Olive Branch, Mississippi

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Olive Branch is a city located in DeSoto County, Mississippi, United States. With a population of over 35,000 residents, Olive Branch has grown rapidly in recent years as part of the Memphis metropolitan area. Though technically a suburb of Memphis, Olive Branch has developed its own unique small-town charm and attractions that bring visitors from across the Mid-South region.

From its historic downtown filled with antique shops and cozy cafes to its numerous parks and recreation centers, Olive Branch offers visitors plenty of sights and activities to fill a weekend itinerary or longer vacation.

Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the mild climate and rolling landscapes perfect for golf, hiking, and biking. Families will enjoy the city’s family-friendly attractions and events happening throughout the year. Foodies will relish the opportunity to sample Southern comfort food classics as well as contemporary cuisine from all over the world.

No matter your interests or travel party size, Olive Branch has something to offer every type of tourist. Read on to discover 12 of the top things to see, do, and explore across this blossoming Mississippi city.

1. Stroll Around Historic Downtown Olive Branch

The heart of Olive Branch resides in its small but lively downtown area. Centered along Hill Street, downtown Olive Branch gives visitors the chance to take an architectural stroll back in time. Historic brick buildings house antique stores overflowing with treasures, cozy cafes dishing out Southern classics, boutiques selling handmade arts and crafts, and much more.

Be sure to stop inside Old Towne Emporium, a sprawling antique mall with various vendors selling everything from vintage jewelry and antique furniture to Hollywood memorabilia and rare glassware collections inherited across generations. Grab a bite to eat at the Hill Street Café,Choose from diner-style burgers and platters or opt for a fancier fare like grilled salmon or seared duck breast.

Don’t miss Olive Branch’s most iconic structure—the Downtown Train Depot. Built in 1886, the Romanesque Revival style depot once served as an important railroad stop between Memphis and Birmingham. Today, it houses the Olive Branch Depot Museum where visitors can learn about the history of the city and view artifacts from its founding pioneers.

2. Play a Round of Golf at HomLake Golf Course

Golfers will feel right at home teeeing off in Olive Branch thanks to its numerous championship-grade golf courses. For a premier public course, head over to HomLake Golf Course just east of downtown. Sprawling across gently rolling terrain blanketed with stands of hardwood trees, HomLake offers 18 holes of parkland-style golf immaculately conditioned year-round.

Designed by acclaimed golf course architect Bob Cupp, HomLake features elevated greens and fairways dotted with bunkers, lakes, and ponds—all carefully placed to test golfers across a range of skill levels. Practice your iron shots and putting at the expansive driving range and putting green or book a golf lesson with the on-site pro.

After working up an appetite on the links, refuel at the Zinnia Grill with a Southern classic like fried green tomatoes topped with lump crab meat or shrimp and grits made from cheese infused stone-ground grits. Wrap up your day at HomLake by having a drink on the Observation Deck as you watch the sun slowly set over the course.

3. Explore the Great Outdoors at Wall Doxey State Park

Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home in Olive Branch with its abundance of parks, trails, and green spaces. For an authentic Mississippi outdoors experience, head over to Wall Doxey State Park just 5 minutes south of downtown. Spanning over 2,500 acres of wetlands, forests, and prairielands, Wall Doxey offers visitors plenty of room to roam and explore.

Go for a brisk hike or leisurely stroll across 25 miles of hiking trails that wind through hardwood bottomlands and across marshes teaming with native plants and wildlife. Cast a line out into Spring Lake or Hurricane Creek from numerous fishing piers and see if you can reel in largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. Paddle a kayak or canoe down the winding Hurricane Creek Water Trail and keep an eye out for herons, egrets, ducks, and even river otters playing along the shoreline.

Wall Doxey also features an 18-hole disc golf course, primitive campsites, picnic areas with pavilions, and an interpretive center highlighting the park’s natural and cultural heritage. With so much to experience across the park, you’ll want to stay for more than a day!

4. Step Back in Time at Burroughs Plantation

History buffs will love spending an afternoon at Burroughs Plantation—a living history cotton plantation offering visitors an insightful look at life in the Mississippi Delta during the Antebellum era. Originally founded in 1857 by Stephen Burroughs, the plantation complex includes an elegant Greek Revival-style mansion filled with period furnishings and artifacts from generations of Burroughs family members.

Guests can tour both the main house as well as its former kitchen, slave cabins, commissary, and other outbuildings still standing to this day.

Costumed tour guides will walk you through each room regaling stories of the Burrough family and pointing out historically significant items—from cooking implements used by enslaved house servants to business ledgers tracking the plantation’s booming cotton harvests that were shipped down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.

Make sure to explore the grounds as well, where heritage breed farm animals like Red Wattle hogs and Dominicker chickens roam just as they would have in the 1800s.

Before leaving, indulge in a Southern lunch buffet served inside a restored sharecropper cabin and browse the gift shop for nostalgic take-home souvenirs. From the knowledgeable staff and meticulously restored architecture to the transportsive grounds, Burroughs Plantation provides an opportunity to experience a pivotal era in Mississippi’s history.

5. Browse the Olive Branch Flea Market

For some thrifty shopping, make your way over to the Olive Branch Flea Market held every weekend just north of downtown. What began as a small parking lot sale between friends has flourished into one of the Mid-South’s premier flea markets attracting hundreds of vendors and thousands of treasure-seeking shoppers each month.

Spread out across a 25-acre field, the Olive Branch Flea Market features aisle after aisle of vendors selling antiques, collectibles, upcycled crafts, homemade food items, tools, electronics, jewelry, custom clothing, and endless arrays of knick knacks and curiosities.

Strike up a conversation with the talented artisans and hear the stories behind their creative works. Haggle for a good price on vintage finds like costume jewelry, antique dishware, or classic turntables that just need some TLC. Take a break from browsing to grab a snack like fresh squeezed lemonade, homemade fudge, or fried apple pies baked right on site.

The Olive Branch Flea Market is open every weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) from 9am to 5pm. Just look for the rows of vendor tents lining Parker’s Crossroads a few miles north of downtown to join in the hunt for hidden treasures and small town bargains you won’t find anywhere else!

6. See a Show at the DeSoto Family Theater

For some indoor entertainment, Olive Branch families will want to check out a show at the historic DeSoto Family Theater located just a few blocks south of downtown. In operation since 1948, the DeSoto Theatre began as a movie house screening Hollywood classics and blockbuster films. Today, it functions as a nonprofit community theater hosting musicals, plays, concerts, and other performing arts shows nearly every weekend.

The intimate 340-seat theater features state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems along with original mid-century modern architecture that looks straight out of a movie itself. See heartwarming musicals like Annie and Beauty and the Beast brought to life by talented local performers.

Laugh out loud watching goofball comedies like Nobody Loves You or Catch Me If You Can. Enjoy a night of music ranging from jazz ensembles and gospel choirs to the Olive Branch Community Orchestra. The DeSoto Family Theater even hosts magic shows, dance recitals, boxing matches, and other community happenings.

Before the show, stop by the concession stand for popcorn, soda, and old-fashioned sweet treats. The all-volunteer cast, crew, and supporters of The Desoto Family Theater work hard to keep live performing arts accessible and affordable for Mississippi families and visitors alike to enjoy.

7. Tee Off at Audubon Golf Trail

Named after famed naturalist and painter John James Audubon who once lived in Mississippi, the Audubon Golf Trail features a collection of championship-level golf courses winding through forests, wetlands, and pastoral landscapes where Audubon sighted and studied numerous bird species. Olive Branch happens to be home to two stand-out courses along the Audubon Golf Trail—The Preserve and Springridge.

The Preserve Golf Club lives up to its name with a stunningly natural 7089 yard, par-72 layout crafted seamlessly into the surrounding woodlands and wetlands. Strategically placed bunkers and water hazards challenge golfers across the sprawling Greensbrier swampland—all while encountering birds, deer, and other wildlife roaming freely.

After playing 18-holes surrounded by towering pines, magnolias, and cypress knees, relax on the clubhouse patio for a bite to eat or cold drink at The Grove restaurant overlooking the course.

Just up Highway 178, golfers will discover the beautiful Bartholomew course at Springridge. Designed by Keith Foster, Bartholomew at Spring Ridge winds through 587 acres of pristine Southern country with sweeping views of the surrounding hill country.

This par 72 plays 7,043 yards from the farthest tees with holes framed by mature hardwood forests, tranquil lakes, and even an old country chapel built in 1897. Swing by Al’s Pizza and Grill in the clubhouse once you complete your round for Southern comfort food overlooking the putting green.

With two award-winning courses set within nature sanctuaries, Olive Branch surely delivers an authentic Audubon golfing experience visitors will want to come back and play again.

8. Cheer on the Memphis Redbirds at AutoZone Park

Baseball fans visiting Olive Branch will want to take the quick 20 minute drive into downtown Memphis during spring and summer to catch the Memphis Redbirds Minor League Baseball team competing at AutoZone Park.

Regarded as one of the best ballparks in Triple A, AutoZone Park impresses spectators with a retro-style brick exterior, wide concourse wrapping the entire field, distinctive neon guitar scoreboard, and stunning views of the Memphis skyline beyond center field.

As the largest economic development in Memphis history when it first opened in 2000, AutoZone Park transformed a previously abandoned downtown warehouse district into a thriving entertainment center that attracts families and tourists from across the region.

In addition to Redbirds home games from April through September, the park also hosts college matchups, concerts, movie showings, festivals, and community events. Visitors can even take tours of AutoZone to go behind the scenes exploring areas typically reserved for players and coaches.

Before the first pitch, get to the park early to wander along the outfield concourse checking out the barbecue tents serving up classic Memphis dry rub ribs, the craft beer garden pouring local brews like Wiseacre, or the fan zone where kids can take batting practice against pitching machines.

Find your seats along the lower or upper deck to cheer on the Redbirds with thousands of die-hard baseball lovers. No trip to the Memphis area is complete without taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and peanuts and Cracker Jacks at an iconic Minor League game!

9. Spend a Night Out in Southaven

Located directly across Interstate 55 from Olive Branch lies the vibrant city of Southaven—one of Mississippi’s fastest growing cities and epicenter of entertainment in the Greater Memphis area. Spend an evening exploring “Mississippi’s Happening Spot” checking out famous chain shops and restaurants, locally owned boutiques and eateries, as well as major family attractions.

Start off browsing the impressive 150 store line-up at Tanger Outlets Southaven. Shop racks upon racks of designer brands like Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Banana Republic, and others all for 30%-70% below regular retail prices.

Work up an appetite strolling down the open-air pedestrian mall then grab a table on the patio at Tom+Chee to custom make your dream grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with gourmet ingredients like wild mushroom medley, hickory bacon, and oven-roasted tomatoes.

Continue your Southaven food and shopping tour at the sprawling Landers Center complex. Catch an IMAX movie on a six story tall curved screen showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters and nature documentaries at Malco Paradiso Cinema Grill.

Strike for a turkey by rolling balls down a real bowling lane inside the 20 lane Buff City Soap Entertainment Center. Satisfy your sweet tooth by ordering gelatos, crepes, macrons, and giant two-hands-needed milk shakes overflowing with whipped cream to share at Le Macaron French Pastries.

10. Experience the Children’s Museum of Mississippi

No visit to central Mississippi is complete without stopping at the top-rated Children’s Museum located in Jackson—just under an hour drive southwest of Olive Branch at the cross section of Interstates 55 and 20.

Situated on a sprawling green space in the heart of downtown Jackson, the Children’s Museum contains over 40,000 square feet of interactive exhibits spanning art, culture, literacy, math, health, science, and history specifically designed to inspire investigation and hands-on creativity for toddlers through elementary school aged children.

Some of the many highlights at the Children’s Museum include a giant treehouse built around a real magnolia tree, an interactive Farmer’s Market grocery store, bustling Mini City that teaches kids financial literacy concepts, innovative Idea Lab with building materials and prototyping tools, literacy themed Shadow Room, and an entire Safari exhibit where kids can pretend to be zoologists tracking animals across an African savanna.

Parents will also appreciate quieter Nursing Nooks, family restrooms with changing tables, as well as the Children’s Café serving up healthy kid-friendly meals and snacks.

With constant rotating exhibits, daily programs, special member events, and seasonal festivals, the Children’s Museum delivers seemingly endless hands-on learning fun worth the drive down from Olive Branch time and time again.

After closing down the Museum, continue exploring Jackson by checking out the capitol building, civil rights museums, and burgeoning downtown dining scene.

11. Celebrate at the Landers Center

Olive Branch visitors looking to join in celebrations, tournaments, conferences, and cultural events need look no further than the Landers Center complex located just over the state line in Southaven, Mississippi.

As the largest event facility for hundreds of miles around northwest Mississippi, the Landers Center campus contains over 300,000 square feet dedicated to hosting major happenings of all sorts that attract participants across Memphis and the Mid-South region.

The main Landers Center arena features 33,000 square feet of wide open, pillarless space that can be configured to host everything from big name concerts seating over 7,000 screaming fans to trade shows, motorsports events, and rodeos spotlighting talented regional cowboys and cowgirls.

Additionally, visitors will discover over 75,000 square feet of dedicated conference and expo halls ideal for hosting business meetings, educational seminars, competitive dance showcases, and martial arts tournaments welcoming athletes from around the world.

Need to host a large wedding reception or milestone birthday party? Look no further than the elegant Lynn at Landers Catering facility.

Before heading home, extend your time at the Landers Center by catching dinner and a movie, hitting a strike while bowling, or even checking out the saloon and comedy club.

Thanks to its immense size and versatility, the Landers Center promises visitors something exciting happening every week—from eSports exhibitions to pet adoptions to comic conventions and more!

12. Chow Down at Olive Branch Restaurants

No activity will better acquaint you with Olive Branch’s blend of Southern hospitality and cosmopolitan energy than exploring its booming culinary scene. Across this thriving suburb, visitors will discover a growing collection of restaurants spanning different cuisines, settings, and price points to satisfy any taste bud.

Start your food tour by fueling up with a hearty Southern breakfast at hometown staple Peggy’s Family Diner opened in historic downtown since 1989.

Belly up to the counter stool, take a spin on the soda shop swivel seats, or slide into a vinyl booth to devour fluffy biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, crispy fried catfish, and other stick-to-your-ribs classics. Make sure to try their famous giant caramel cinnamon roll practically the size of your head!

For lunch, continue exploring downtown Olive Branch along West Sandidge Street—the main thoroughfare lined with historic brick buildings housing unique eateries.

Options range from the cozy Olive Branch Bakery known for its fried pies, cookies, and elaborate custom cakes to Southern & City dishing out regional favorites with contemporary Zest like their fried green tomato po’boy with lemon aioli.

Don’t miss City Grocery, a go-to spot among locals since 1996 serving up hearty sandwiches stuffed with premium deli meats as well as salads, pastas, steaks and comfort plates ideal for sharing with the family.

At dinner time, head just over the state line into Southaven to experience Olive Branch’s more worldly cuisine offerings. Sushi lovers will delight over the creative rolls at Tokyo Grill—ranked among the best sushi restaurants in the entire Memphis area.

Carnivores will want to sink their teeth into succulent dry aged steaks and fresh seafood at Mahogany Bar Steakhouse. For a unique dining adventure perfect for special occasions, make reservations at Shogun Hibachi and Sushi, where skilled hibachi chefs put on a theatrical cooking show complete with onion volcano explosions and catching shrimp tails in their hats!

After stuffing yourself with everything from crispy catfish to sizzling fajitas and triple layer chocolate cake, waddle on over to the Malco Paradiso Cinema and Chill Luxury Theater at the Landers Center to put your feet up and digest while taking in a newly released film.

From downhome cooking to haute cuisine, Olive Branch’s dining scene offers hungry visitors a scrumptious representation of everything the city has to offer.

Conclusion

Olive Branch encapsulates small town Mississippi charm paired with suburban convenience at the footsteps of bustling Memphis. Its historic downtown overflows with hidden gems like antique stores and cozy cafes neighboring new developments as the city experiences rapid growth. Such juxtaposition of old and new creates a distinctive sense of place welcoming to longtime residents and new transplants alike.

Visitors will discover natural wonders like the 25 miles of trails weaving through Wall Doxey State Park and the two Audubon Golf Trail courses at The Preserve and Springridge.

Families have their pick of attractions from the Desoto Theater to the Landers Center drawing major concerts and events to Southaven. Foodies indulge in everything from fried green tomato po’boys at downtown bistros to theoretical sushi rolls across the state line.

While the city offers plenty to occupy a full-fledged vacation, Olive Branch also makes an ideal home base for exploring popular destinations like Memphis, Tunica, Oxford and more.

The blend of small town Southern hospitality with big city amenities 15 minutes up I-55 gives visitors the best of both worlds. Discover for yourself why Olive Branch represents the future of Mississippi and the Mid-South for both travelers and residents setting down roots.

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