via Flickr: Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau
By Derick Jones, NewsCastic
If you’ve ever visited Shreveport, then you know there’s something very charming about the northwest Louisiana city.
Perhaps it’s the brights lights of the riverboat casinos reflecting on the Red River or the true “blue” Louisiana homestyle cooking. Maybe it’s the downtown architecture or the plethora of festivals all year long.
A little history: Shreveport was originally established in 1835 as a convergence town for the Red River and the Texas Trail. The Red River was cleared and made navigable by Captain Henry Miller Shreve. An 180-mile-long natural log jam, the Great Raft, had previously obstructed passage to shipping. It was then that Shreve Town was born. In 1838, Caddo Parish was created from the larger Natchitoches Parish, and Shreve Town became its parish seat. On March 20, 1839, the town was incorporated as Shreveport.
As a Shreveport native (born and raised), I know I spent a lot of time taking road trips Dallas. Now it’s your turn to visit Shreveport.
Here are 12 things I promise will make your Shreveport trip worth it.
1. Breakfast is a must
If you’re driving into Shreveport in the early morning, go ahead and exit onto Kings Highway — the original Strawn’s Eat Shop is waiting. Now with three locations, Strawn’s serves up your classic diner faire. And even if it is 9 AM, I suggest ordering the strawberry pie. It’s their signature dessert and quite honestly, all you really need.
2. Art is everywhere
And at The Agora Borealis, there’s no shortage. This is your next stop. The Agora Borealis opened in 2014 as Shreveport’s first permanent art/gallery space housing 100% local goods, and if you’re looking for amazing things to bring back to your friends — you can get them right here. From postcards to original art, food, soap, jewelry and more, the Agora carries products from artists and artisans all over Louisiana and parts of Texas.
3. The sound of music
You’ll have to plan accordingly, but the Strand Theatre is in downtown Shreveport near the Agora. Whether it’s a stage production, traveling show or band, the Strand has played host to a number of events in it’s nearly 100 years. The theatre, built in 1925, is the Official State Theatre of Louisiana and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But it’s the inside that’s really worth noting. The Strand interior features a breathtaking ceiling and dazzling chandeliers, including the massive 14 ft. tall main chandelier in the center of the theatre. Gorgeous!
4. All the casinos
It wouldn’t be a trip to Shreveport (and sister city, Bossier City) without checking out the riverboat casinos. With seven casinos total (including the LA Downs race track), the odds are always in your favor. Night clubs, poolside parties and never ending buffets truly help transport you to a little slice of Las Vegas.
5. Slap ya mama seafood
If the buffets didn’t impress you (though I’m sure they did), bounce your way over to another downtown delight — The Blind Tiger. The Blind Tiger is a staple in Shreveport food culture, just ask anyone. Look at this fried catfish dish. Need I say more? Also, if you’re feeling like having an extra fun night, I suggest their mason jar Long Island Iced Tea. One is enough — trust me.
6. Adult fun
For someone not from Louisiana (or who hasn’t experienced it), drive-thru daiquiris are sort of the stuff of legend. Well, there’s no shortage in Shreveport. They’re practically everywhere! AlkyTherapy is one of Shreveport’s newest hot spots and serves up a true artistic creation. How could you not want one of these?
7. Family fun
Have you visited @sciport in downtown #Shreveport? If you're looking for an excuse to visit, hit the link in our bio and sign up for a special National Travel and Tourism Week coupon that'll get you free center admission with the purchase of an #IMAX ticket. Discount may be used May 1-7 only. #sciport #sciencecenters #nttw16 #beafanofsb #travel #louisiana #visitlouisiana
When I was a kid, Sci-Port was where it was at — and continues to be. Even as an adult I’m in awe of the amazing science that takes place inside. Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center houses over 200 interactive science exhibits and programs in six Discovery Galleries, an IMAX Dome Theatre, a demonstration theater, 60 astronomy and space science exhibits, 30 applied mathematics exhibits and the world’s first open-access, interactive, laser Space Dome Planetarium, plus a cafe and gift shop.
Coming soon: Sci-Port began construction in May 2016 on Power of Play (POP), a children’s museum within the center. The museum is greated for ages 8 and under and will open October 2016. The 10,000-square-foot, hands-on museum will allow guests to experience a kid’s-sized version of Shreveport. Guests can visit community spots such as University Health hospital, Brookshire’s grocery store and a recreation of Shreveport’s own duck pond.
8. Thrifting can’t be beat
While antique stores may be on every other corner, it’s the Greenwood Flea Market that’s the real show stealer. If you’re coming to Shreveport over the weekend (and you love thrifting), this is a must stop.
Technically located in Greenwood (a suburb of Shreveport), the flea market is the largest indoor/outdoor one in the area. My personal suggestion: Start on the inside and work your way through, double back around and stop by the cafe. Get a cheeseburger and Coke. I promise, it’ll be one of the best burgers you’ve had. Then after regaining your composure, head outside and work your way through the outdoor vendors. There’s always a treasure to find!
9. Southern comfort food, with a twist
Two words: Blue Burger. If you get one thing from Blue Southern Comfort Food, this is it. Topped with melted Swiss cheese and bacon jam, owner Carolyn Huggins Simmons has taken this burger all the way to New York and made it famous. In 2015 she competed with restaurants across the nation in the James Beard Foundation’s #BetterBurgerProject in NYC. Also, try the pulled pork. It’s beautiful. And any of her sweets! Just thinking about it makes me miss home.
10. Spend a day (or night) at the farm
Mahaffey Farms is a near hidden gem for the Shreveport-Bossier community. Located in Princeton (but during Farmers Market season, Shreveport), the farm specializes in meat and produce. Prep early and you can book the farmhouse as an Airbnb.
11. Sunday is the day to chill
And usually the best day to hit the theater. The Robinson Film Center is Shreveport’s only independent cinema, but you can always count on their lineup to be phenomenal. New movies, old movies, foreign film, new wave — sometimes they even have Harry Potter marathons. And, if you go, try anything at Abby Singers Bistro upstairs. It’s all to die for.
12. End your weekend with El Compadre
Ask anyone in Shreveport their favorite Mexican restaurant and you’ll find a divided population. Some people like Taco Mania, some people like El Compadre. My vote: El Compadre. I’ve experienced both multiple times (and I had a small stint working at Taco Mania), and hands down, every time I choose El Compadre. The atmosphere is perfect. Their mini salsa bar is on point. The service is impeccable and literally everyone is super nice.
Now go! You have a plan for the weekend — just make sure to bring a larger size pants (you will be eating everything).