As you ease into town, your first stop should be at the Crossroads, at the intersection of highways 49 and 61. The site is legendary as the place where bluesman Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the guitar prowess that has made him one of the most revered musicians of the past century. A guitar statue marks the spot.
From here, your next stop should be the Delta Blues Museum, 1 Blues Alley (tel. 662/672-6820; www.deltabluesmuseum.org). Housed in a renovated train depot built in 1918, it includes a treasure-trove of old blues memorabilia, including the log cabin where Muddy Waters grew up, on a cotton plantation not far from here. There are displays, musical instruments, and costumes of some of the Mississippi-born greats, such as Albert King, James Cotton, and Son House. Admission is $6 adults, $3 children 6 to 12; it is open daily except Sunday. Bessie Smith fans can do a drive-by tour of the Riverside Hotel, 615 Sunflower Ave. (tel. 662/624-9163), the former blacks-only hospital where the great blues singer died after a car crash in 1937. Blues legends Sonny Boy Williamson II, Ike Turner, Robert Nighthawk, and even politician Robert F. Kennedy once stayed here. Today it still operates as a motel, but most visitors see it only from their windshields.
While downtown, don't miss Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art, 252 Delta Ave. (tel. 662/624-5992; www.cathead.biz). The store sells new blues CDs, DVDs, and books, as well as eye-catching -- and affordable -- folk and outsider art. The hepcat-cool hot spot also serves as a clearinghouse for what's going on around town. Check Cathead's chalkboard that tells of weekly music events and updates. The store also occasionally has book signings and special events. You'll likely find the owner chatting up tourists who've made the pilgrimage for some serious blues sightseeing.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.