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From oil and commerce to arts and music, Shreveport has been leaving its mark on American culture since its earliest days. Home to performance centers, casinos, and an almost constant string of festivals, the city boasts a broad collection of museums and historic buildings well worth checking out when you’re looking for things to do in Shreveport. Rock out at performance halls where Elvis Presley got his start, take a cruise down the Red River, and explore one-of-a-kind attractions and activities that make this the next great city of the South.
With easy access to both I-20 and the river, the central business district is home to Shreveport’s highest buildings, convention centers, and historic clubs. Modern convention centers stand beside 19th-century storefronts, busy performance halls showcase the arts with year-round shows, and locally loved restaurants serve up a rich variety of lip-smacking Texas and Louisiana cuisine.
Home to the State Fair of Louisiana and the Independence Bowl, this neighborhood features boutique stores and sunny parks amid quiet clusters of single-family bungalows. Cajun restaurants and no-frills bars offer up authentic dishes in this melting pot neighborhood that offers a clear look at how the cultures of Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana have combined in Shreveport.
Featuring golf courses, shopping centers, and the wetlands of Champion Lake, the Broadmoor area has both the lush greenery of the countryside and the convenience of the city. Roads lined with tall pines, magnolias, and purple tulip trees run between an outdoor shopping center and a selection of unique local diners, offering dishes that range from Vietnamese cuisine to Southern barbecue.
It’s easy to get a look at the richly colored waters that give the Red River its name, with a string of boardwalks and parks that run along the western bank. The inland neighborhoods are a combination of gleaming modern venues and historic buildings, from the grand brick buildings of downtown to the colonial country manors on Fairfield Avenue. The countryside itself isn’t far away, either, and the Red River National Wildlife Refuge lets you find native animals like butterflies, colorful wood ducks, and even toothy alligators in a habitat just across the water. Don’t miss the Gardens of the American Rose Center, whose 20,000 rose bushes offer plenty to see and smell among an arrangement of sculptures, reflecting pools, and woodlands.
Music has been a part of life in Shreveport since the days of Lead Belly and his twangy 12-string guitar. Uncover the legacy of the city’s earliest musicians at the Stage of Stars Museum at Memorial Auditorium, or check out one of several live music halls that bring Shreveport to life once the sun goes down.
Art lovers can admire the exhibits at Meadows Museum of Art, the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, or the Louisiana State History Museum which showcases local life and bygone days. At the Shreveport Water Works Museum, you can even get up close to one of the last steam-powered pumping stations in the country.
For a more active excursion, go for a ride on the Red River Bicycle Trail, which runs for more than 8 miles (13 km) past riverboat casinos and forested shores, or skip the leg work and hop on a boat to cruise the river or the islands of Cross Lake, where you can surround yourself with nature without even leaving town.