A refreshingly sophisticated little town that’s bustling and prosperous, Oxford was named by colonists after the English city in hopes it would open a school as revered as its namesake. The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) opened in 1848, and provides Oxford’s heartbeat. (You know a town has an intellectual bent when its favorite native son is a literary lion like William Faulkner. But former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning runs a close second; the speed limit here on campus is 18mph, in deference to his old uniform number.)
Social life in Oxford revolves around ‘The Square,’ a series of downtown blocks dotted with shops and eateries. It’s the city’s main geographical reference point, too, so if you’re turned around ask somebody for directions to (or from) the Square.