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It may seem odd to call a town of 23,000 a cultural destination. But Oxford, Mississippi, is indeed a place of deep and enduring culture. Square Books, which opened on the historic courthouse square in 1979, is one of the nation’s top booksellers. Vishwesh Bhatt, an Indian immigrant at the helm of Oxford’s Snackbar, was a 2018 James Beard finalist for Best Chef in the South.
When people speak of Jackson, Mississippi, the conversation often turns to the past—the complicated civil rights history that has both shamed and shaped the city. But increasingly, they also talk about momentum.
Knoxville’s population—approximately 185,000—is about one-third that of Memphis and Nashville. And while Memphis claims Elvis and Nashville the Grand Ole Opry, Knoxville boasts an unlikely pair of native sons: country singer Kenny Chesney and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.