Want to experience Laurel, MS like a local?

We’ve hand-picked some of our favorite “Laurelite” experiences, hidden spots, shops and boutiques, and secrets – just for you! Explore these resources for a behind the scenes look at the filming location for Home Town on HGTV.

fried catfish, greens, and butter beans on a red plate

Where to Eat : Wilson’s Commissary

Meet Member Merchant

Famous People of Laurel Murals

Eating in Laurel on a Diet: Our Top Picks

One of the best parts about traveling is the indulgence of local food. And trust me, Laurel has some fine food options. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can be tricky while traveling– especially in South Mississippi.

But lucky for you, I’m here to give you all the tips and tricks to eating healthy (and low-carb) in Laurel.

Breakfast

The 5000 Food Truck and Lee’s Coffee and Tea are the places to be for breakfast. The Low Carb Breakfast Bowl from The 5000 is divine! This breakfast bowl is filled with eggs, veggies, and the most incredible carne Asada.

Lee’s Coffee and Tea has the best omelette around, and it’s served with a fresh fruit side.

Both of these options will get your metabolism going early and give you plenty of good protein and nutrients to start the day!

Lunch

After walking off your delicious breakfast, I would recommend stopping by Café La Fleur for one of their delicious salads. My personal favorites are the Chef Salad, Pineapple Chicken Salad, and the Blackened Salmon Spinach Salad.

These options are fresh and light, but equally as filling after a good breakfast.

One can’t come to Laurel and not experience PDI. Although most people stay away from bread while dieting, PDI has the best burgers in town and they are more than happy to make it bun-less for you! Trust me, you can’t go wrong with a #5 add jalapeños or the amazing Philly Cheesesteak (bun-less by request as well).

Dinner

When people hear Italian, they generally think it’s a no-go for someone dieting. Mimmo’s Ristorante Pizzeria is a totally different story.

Mimmo’s has a variety of specials ranging from Filet Mignon, Grilled Pork Chops, to Redfish. All of these dishes typically come with a side of angel hair pasta, but you can simply substitute for their sautéed spinach for a healthy side option.

Mimmo makes all his salad dressing daily, and his Caesar salad is at the top of my must-try list.

The Loft on Central Avenue offers a variety of steak, grilled chicken, pork chop, and salad options. If you are looking for a dinner spot to sit, relax, and enjoy a nice glass of red wine (low in carbs), this is the place.

John’s Filet of Ribeye is my personal favorite, with a side of broccoli and a fresh salad.

When visiting a new place, it can be overwhelming to find a healthy restaurant to dine at. Don’t fall off the diet wagon when visiting Laurel!

Support all of our incredible dining options right here in Downtown Laurel for a delicious and nutritious dining experience.

Sign up in the gold box for weekly email updates on our newest tips and tricks for visiting Downtown Laurel!

A Tour of The Pinehurst Rathskeller: Laurel’s Newest Gem

Say hello to your next stop in Downtown Laurel! Owned and operated by Amy Luker, as seen on HGTV Home Town, this Gallery is not something you want to miss.

Floor to ceiling full of original art, supplies, and gifts, this place is sure to bring the inner artist out of you.

And hey, if you are an artist—even better.

Check out the video tour below to get an exclusive look at the space and don’t forget to sign up in the gold box for weekly email updates!

A Closer Look

Follow Pinehurst Rathskeller

Visit the Gallery

A gallery and art supply store showing the work of professional artists in the South.

HOURS

Tuesday-Saturday 11 AM- 5 PM *extended hours for special events

LOCATION

312 Front Street Laurel, MS 39440


Home Town Tourist

Every now and then we love to spend an afternoon with the kids meandering around downtown…getting coffee, visiting the bookstore, and walking through the parks are just a few of our favorite things to do.

It usually involves lots of jumping games and climbing trees to entertain us along the way. 

I was recently asked if Laurel has kept it’s small town charm since the airing of HGTV’s HomeTown. I would answer that, “Absolutely, it has!” Laurel has always been charming and it makes me happy to see other people coming in and enjoying it with us. I love sharing the things I love, including my town! One of the things I like best about the folks in Laurel is how they pull you in and make you feel like you’re part of the community. 

If you haven’t already planned a trip, what are you waiting for?? 

Here’s a few of our favorite family friendly spots!

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art-Mississippi’s first art museum and always a MUST SEE! There will be a Leontyne Price exhibit soon I hear!

Trustmark Art Park- A great little space to let the kids run around that’s in the heart of downtown.

Cottage Books- this little book nook is located inside Southern Antiques (a great store to walk through…it has 2 floors of shopping!)

Handmade – looking for an indoor activity?? Handmade is your place to get CREATIVE.

Gardiner Park

Laurel Jones County Library

Laurel Mainstreet has a ton of wonderful events throughout the year as well…coming soon is the Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

YWCO of Laurel – family bingo night as well as classes and activities for all ages

See you in Laurel, friends!

Laurel’s Art Scene

Laurel has been a hub for innovators, artisans, and creatives since its founding in 1882. Our history is rich with artists of all kinds that have truly made their mark on The City Beautiful.

From the iconic Downtown Laurel mural, to Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, the first art museum in Mississippi, there’s a creative sight to behold everywhere you look.

Murals, Windows, and Signs

Luckily, we’ve got 2 uniquely talented sign painters in Laurel, Mississippi! Our friends, River Prince and Will Sellers, are driving forces that keep Laurel beautiful!

Neither of them are limited to sign painting–they’re behind our murals and most window art. 

The Best Spots to View/Buy Art

Before you leave town, take a piece of Laurel home with you. The best souvenir you could have is a piece of original art by a Laurel artist!

Locals Tip: Wanna meet a Laurel artist? Adam Trest is almost always in his shop on Magnolia Street! Stop by and tell him his friends at Visit Laurel sent you! And before you leave, grab one of his Laurel maps or pillows.

Some of our Favorite Local Artists

We love all of our local artists, and we hope that you’ll explore all of their art! Here’s just a few that we know you’ll love too.

Locals Tip: We’ve got more amazing visual artists! Graphic Designers, calligraphers, photographers, and don’t get us started on our sculptors! If you want to see even more wonderful artisans, visit one of our local festivals like Day in The Park, The Market Beautiful, or Loblolly Festival. 

Convinced yet? There’s plenty of sights to see while you’re in town that will spark your creativity.

Come visit us, take a stroll, and admire some local art!

Want to find out more about Laurel? Sign up for weekly email updates and follow our Instagram for more Laurel fun!

Why Moving Home to Laurel After College Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

Laurel is a vibrant, growing city, where small businesses and groups of regular people, who love to dream, have bonded together in the spirit of community and are dedicated to restoring Laurel to her original glory. But around five years ago, our Home Town was a lot different.

If you would’ve asked me what I wanted to be when I graduated from high school or college, I would have said, “Anything! Just don’t make me move back to Laurel.”

I yearned for the bright, crowded streets of New York, bursting with opportunity for young talent; the willow-lined paths of Charleston, full of sweet tea and social charm or any city with a Chili’s and a Super Target. “Get me out of this hometown box of torture” is probably something I’d be caught saying in the Sonic parking lot on a Friday night.

A little dramatic, you think? Absolutely.

It’s a belief that infests teenagers and college students. That if you don’t run away as fast as you can from your hometown, you’ll never leave it or be successful.

There is some truth to the stigma that small towns don’t offer many opportunities for creatives or fast-paced millennials that hold infinite information at their fingertips. Everyone has experienced or knows someone with a negative connotation of small-town life, no matter where your roots may lie. But we have the ability to change that.

In Laurel’s case, the main obstacle was showing other people how much she had to offer instead of focusing on how much she lacked. As Erin Napier says, “Laurel’s like the pretty girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty.”

I’m here to confess to the world that moving back to my home town after college was the best thing that has ever happened to me and here’s why.

1. I’ve had the chance to recreate what #iliveinlaurel means to me.

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Hidden gems on the ride home 🌈 #iliveinlaurel #HappySunday

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2. It all begins with perspective …

And finding the beauty in what it’s front of you. No matter where you are – big city or small town.

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Sprang #iliveinlaurel

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3. It’s affordable to live here as a young adult, which is super important.

I can live in a comfortable house and enjoy dining out with my friends on a regular basis.

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on this season of New Girl

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finally, a shop with my name on it :)

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4. There are creatives and inspiration at every turn.

5. It’s not hard to build a side-hustle.

Stores across downtown offer young and experienced artists a place to showcase their work and locals are beyond supportive of the arts in Laurel.

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Every morning is a chance to bloom again #HappyThursday 💕

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6. There are a plethora of professional and personal mentors that genuinely care about your well-being and growth.

Community is a really important thing here.

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WE REALLY LOVE #SCARVES #ladieswholunch #interns

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7. Most importantly, my hometown is open-minded.

She stands with open arms for the opportunity to grow from its people’s ideas and values.

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keep Laurel kind 💛 #iliveinlaurel #prettycity

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My favorite piece of advice came from one of my friends, Kaypounyers Maye at the University of Mississippi days before graduation. He told me, “The best part about leaving the place you love, is being able to come back and share everything you’ve learned while you were away.”

While I had moved away from Laurel for a couple of years, learned so much about myself and felt growth like I’d never known before… Laurel did too.

Every time I came home, a new business had popped up, or a mural had been painted.
People would talk about it and become excited. Then HGTV Home Town happened, and the rest is history.

Although this didn’t start with me, I’m choosing to dive in deep now. I want to disprove the stereotype about those who come home because they couldn’t make it in the real world.

I came home because my hometown offered me the entire world and something even better – a place to grow and try new things. I’m working every day to live a life and create the reality I’ve always dreamed of in the place that raised me. I’m choosing to give back to the city and its people that have given me so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wish Laurel had a Super Target. Except now I know it’s not the size of the town that makes a place home or fertile with opportunity. It’s the people that help her grow strong and the life they bring back to her once they leave.

Laurel isn’t done growing and thankfully, neither am I.

Casting for HGTV Home Town

Do you want to be on HGTV’s Home Town?

Casting HGTV Home TownAre you thinking about moving to Laurel? You could be cast on Home Town, get to know Ben & Erin, and – most importantly – get to call our sweet small-town home!

Just for you, we reached out to our friends at HGTV and RTR Media to give you all of the inside info about what it takes to be on the show! Here’s what they had to say:

How to apply to be cast on HGTV’s Home Town

“When it comes to applying to be on Home Town, be prepared to sell yourself! We’re looking for outgoing characters who love to tell a good story and are passionate about wanting to live in Laurel.

The process is pretty simple if you’re interested in being on the show – just send an email to hometowncasting@rtrmedia.com. That’s it! Well… not really, but it’s a darn good start.”

What HGTV needs to know about you:

“In the email, we’d love to know a little about yourself, your family and why you’re moving to Laurel. We’d also like to know if you’ve recently bought a house, or have your eye on one or don’t know where to start and need some help. We are looking for homes of all types, shapes, and sizes in Laurel and require that you have a renovation budget that fits the needs of your new home. Let us know what you’re looking for in your new home!”

The Home Town casting process:

“If your story sounds like a good fit, we’ll have you fill out an application form, and that’s when the excitement really begins. Since every situation is different, it could be the casting process takes 6 weeks or it could be 6 months. The amount of time depends on many factors and we’ll work those out together. For that reason, we encourage everyone to reach out and let us know the who, what and whens of their move to Laurel.”

Apply to be on Home Town today!

Send an email right now to hometowncasting@rtrmedia.com to see if you might be a good fit for Home Town!

Be sure to include:

  1. Your story – tell them all about yourselves!
  2. Why are you moving to Laurel?
  3. Are you looking for a Laurel home, or recently purchased one?
  4. Do you have a budget for the renovations your home needs/may need?

Want to find out more about what it’s like to say “I Live in Laurel?” Click here to see some of our favorite parts of our very own hometown!