Top 10 Best Small Towns, 2013

Oxford is more than a town, much more.  It's a way of life, a place built with words that holds the heart, mind and spirit of those who call it home whether for four years or a lifetime.  Oxford is at the crossroads of Southern culture, class and cuisine.  The storied buildings around the picture perfect town square seem to hold the key to Southern culture, equally embracing learning and leisure.  In many ways Oxford is a dichotomy, simultaneously offering stimulation and serenity, creativity and calm.  Oxford is a state of mind, a gateway to some and a lifelong home to others.  It's a place where all four seasons take a firm hold, accentuated by football games, festivals and friendships.  

Oxford is full of stories that resonate with a tenor that can only be found in a town that reverberates Southern charisma and charm.  Enjoy the slices of life that follow as they are but snapshots of the town and university we so deeply love and admire.



Top 10 Best Small Towns, 2013


Oxford, MS, has been called the "Hollywood version" of a Southern town, but the city's architecture and genteel atmosphere are as genuine as the magnolia trees that shade tailgaters before football games at the University of Mississippi. Celebrated authors like William Faulkner, John Grisham and Larry Brown drew inspiration from the city, where intellectual and leisure pursuits often intertwine. Oxford is one of our picks for Top 10 College Towns.

Longtime residents have seen a steady stream of newcomers - the city's population grew by more than 6 percent between 2010 and 2012 - but Oxford's treasured character remains intact. Independent stores in Oxford like Square Books and Neilson's Department Store, the oldest store in the South, remain fixtures of the community's shopping scene. Growth continues to bring improvements to the city. A new $30 million high school is set to open in  2014. Baptist Memorial Hospital is constructing a new regional health-care facility, and developers are building new hotels. In addition to well-groomed parks, athletic fields and recreation centers, Oxford residents have easy access to lakes and natural areas like Holly Springs National Forest and George Payne Cossar State Park.

At the heart of the city's thriving historic district is Oxford Square, which is lined with restaurants, museums, art galleries and shops. Restaurants in Oxford specialize in Southern, sophisticated cuisine. Throughout the year, festivals and special events like the Double Decker Arts Festival, Oxford Blues Festival and Ole Miss sporting events give residents plenty to cheer for. More than 100 places of worship and 20 local nonprofit groups help foster civility and camaraderie throughout the community.

Population: 20,088

Growth rate (2010-12): 6.2%

Size: 16 square miles

Median home value: $212,600

Average commute: 14 minutes