All You Need to Know About I-59

Southeastern I-59 begins south in Louisiana and runs north to Georgia, connecting New Orleans, Birmingham, and Chattanooga along the way.
Written by Sophie Boka
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Southeastern Interstate 59 highway (I-59) spans over 445.23 miles of the country. It begins southwest in Slidell, Louisiana, and meanders northeastern up to Wildwood, Georgia.
I-59 is a big southeastern interstate highway built to connect many major cities in the south, including New Orleans, Birmingham, and Chattanooga. Its destinations make it the perfect road for commuters and
Whatever your itinerary, we're here to help with a guide to I-59. Read on for a breakdown of this freeway and some must-see hidden gems along the way.
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What is an interstate highway?

Aptly named, the term pretty much gives its definition away: an interstate highway is a highway that runs between states
They’re designed to increase the flow between busy city hubs, promoting the exchange of ideas, business, and tourists. The government likes to encourage motion because it benefits the local, state, and, ultimately, federal economy.
The numbers assigned to each interstate are part of an organizational numbering system, which helps keep track of the interstates. There’s a trick or two to understanding this system:
  • Odd-numbered interstates, like 59, run north and south
  • Even-numbered interstates run east and west
  • Major interstates are those ending with a zero or five

What states does I-59 run through?

I-59 runs through a few states. It begins to the southwest of its route in
. It then finds its way up through
, travels onward to
, and it finally ends up north in

Major interchanges on I-59

Interstate 59 hooks up to several major connections and interchanges across its four states, making it an important interchange in the southeast. Its connections direct drivers to big cities in the area, including
New Orleans
, and
Look out for these major interchanges on your next drive:
  • I-10 at Alton, LA
  • LA I-12 at Alton, LA
  • LA I-20 at Meridian, MI
  • MS I-65 at Birmingham, AL
  • AL I-24 at Lookout Mountain, GA
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Best places to eat along I-59

The South is famous for some renowned all-American food traditions, from fried chicken to jambalaya. Some fast-food restaurants have tried to copy these recipes, but they just aren’t the same. When you’re driving down south, you have to stop at a local joint to get a real taste of the action
Here are a few of our local favorites to check out on your next drive down 59:
  • Que Rico! Cuban Cafe
    (Slidell, LA): Reviewers would pay money to give this cafe higher ratings. It’s that good. The flavors transport you to the warmth and colors of Cuba. The Sweet Pickled Cuban and Lechon Asado are life-changing.
  • Palmettos on the Bayou
    (Slidell, LA): Right on the water, nestled between cypress and oak trees is Palmettos. It serves up American Cajun and Creole favorites in a beautiful setting. Stop by for their jazz brunch to really feel the ambiance.
  • Weidmann’s
    (Meridian, MI): Weidmann’s roots go back to the 1870s and it's been a Meridian hotspot ever since. It’s known for its homemade peanut butter, which comes in individual crocks, accompanying its table bread. Try the shrimp and grits—and don’t forget to order the blueberry crumble.
  • Cater’s Market
    (Meridian, MI): Caters market caters to southern foodies. Everything is prepared in-house, including their famous chicken salad, and can be eaten in the market or taken home. Cater’s also carries unique finds from local food purveyors for purchase. 
  • Mr. Taco
    (Meridian, MI): Stop by Mr. Taco for low frills, fresh Tex-Mex cuisine. Everything is affordable, costing you under $8. The California Burrito is a fan fav.
  • Mia’s Caffe
    (Meridian, MI): This Front Street gem is the perfect stop for a quick bite. Mia’s offers fresh made-from-scratch southern favorites and the best coffee in town. The vibe is artsy. The muffins are out of this world. And the Cajun Turkey Sandwich’s spice factor delivers.
  • Melt
    (Birmingham, AL): Melt reimagines the classic grilled cheese, offering sandwiches for every eater. This kid-friendly spot is great for folks of all ages. Be sure to catch Melt’s live music for a fun dining experience.
  • The Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe
    (Chattanooga, TN): Purple Daisy offers some of the best BBQ in the city. Quick service, solid prices, great ribs. 
  • Bluegrass Grill
    (Chattanooga, TN): Walk into the Bluegrass Grill, and you’ll be treated like a regular. This restaurant serves made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch five days a week, attracting locals and travelers. Try their homemade bread and baked goods!
Pro Tip Before you decide where to go, give the restaurant a call to make sure they’re open. Nothing is worse than showing up to a restaurant only to find out it's closed.

What is there to do on I-59?

So much! I-59 takes you through plenty of lovely areas of the southeast. Stop by small towns for a unique experience of local culture or through big cities for a metropolitan destination. If you need a few ideas to get your itinerary started, here are some recommendations:

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I-59 is one long route. It sees travelers from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and all over the nation. With so many drivers on the road, you’re going to want to ensure you’re protected with the best
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