Discovering The 25 Best Things to do in Monroe LA

Looking for the best things to do in Monroe LA? Monroe is a picturesque city located in Louisiana, offering numerous attractions and activities. It was named after the paddle wheeler James Monroe that reached the Ouachita River from the Mississippi in 1819. The city is a hub of culture in the region, boasting impressive museums, a symphony orchestra, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. 

Monroe has been the birthplace of notable figures such as Joseph A. Biedenharn, the first to bottle Coca-Cola, and Claire Lee Chennault, the leader of the Flying Tigers during World War II. This wonderful city offers a diverse range of attractions, from art museums and sculptures to zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens and the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, located near Monroe Regional Airport, showcase both historical and cultural figures. 

In addition, the food scene is amazing, with fantastic waterfront restaurants serving delicious food and beverages. If you enjoy exploring nature or immersing yourself in vibrant cultures, Monroe is a delightful experience that is sure to capture your heart. Would you like to learn more about this city?

Disclosure: Due to new safety regulations, some of the information regarding the attractions and sites listed below may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please contact the location.

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Here are the 25 best things to do in Monroe LA:

1. Visit Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum


One of the best things to do in Monroe LA is visiting the Northeast Louisiana African Heritage Museum located in Chenault Park. This small museum, established in 1994, celebrates and preserves African-American culture through events, education and cultural exhibitions. With a vast collection of research materials on the 1960’s civil rights movement in Northeast Louisiana, the museum also showcases the works of local artists Agnes Hicks, Bernard Menyweather, and Don Cincone through regular art exhibitions.

For history enthusiasts, the Northeast Louisiana African Heritage Museum offers a rich collection of African-American art, history, culture, and artifacts, including cotton farming tools, slave cabin furniture, and original cotton picking sacks. Visitors can also see lifelike displays of renowned African Americans such as Madame C.J. Walker, Frederick Douglass, and Mary McLeod Bethune, showcasing their achievements and contributions.

The Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum organizes significant events and seminars open to the public. Its spacious facility also makes it a suitable venue for various social events and celebrations. A visit to the museum takes you on a journey back in time, so don’t miss the chance to experience it when visiting Monroe.

Address: 1051 Chennault Park Dr. Monroe, LA 71203

2. See Biedenharn Museum and Gardens


The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, built in 1913 by Joseph A. Biedenharn, is one of the best things to do in Monroe LA. This historic house museum, situated along the Ouachita River and surrounded by the beautiful ElSong Gardens, offers a unique glimpse into the past. As the first person to bottle Coca-Cola, Biedenharn holds a special place in history and his former home is now filled with original furniture and decor from when his daughter, Emma Louise, lived there. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history and culture.

The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens in Monroe LA features two captivating museums: The Bible Museum, showcasing a diverse collection of bibles and biblical literature, and the Coca-Cola Museum, which displays memorabilia related to the famous soft drink. These museums are open for all to visit. The surrounding gardens are divided into several themed areas, including the Four Seasons Garden, a musical grotto, and the Oriental Garden, offering a visually stunning experience.

Address: 2006 Riverside Dr, Monroe, LA 71201-4268

3. Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites


The best things to do in Monroe LA include staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites. The hotel offers top-notch comfort and amenities, making your visit to the city truly memorable. With a fitness center, indoor pool, business centers, car rental options, meeting rooms, and more, the Hampton Inn & Suites provides all the facilities you need for a comfortable and productive stay. Moreover, its location in the heart of Monroe allows you to easily explore this charming city and its many sights.

Address: 5100 Frontage Rd, Monroe, LA 71202

4. Enjoy a Coke for 5 cents at the Coca-Cola Museum


One of the best things to do in Monroe LA is to visit the Coca Cola Museum located at the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens estate. It’s worth mentioning as a separate attraction because it showcases the birth of the iconic soft drink and brand, Coca Cola, which was first bottled in Monroe before spreading globally. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the history and bottling process of Coke, making it a must-visit destination for visitors.

At the Coca-Cola Museum in Monroe, you’ll explore the history, take a tour of the museum, and view all the displayed artifacts and memorabilia. You’ll also see original vintage bottle wrappers and one of the first delivery trucks used for selling and distributing Coca-Cola. After the tour, you can treat yourself to a chilled Coke from an old-style bottle for just 5 cents by finding the non-electric vending machine. Visiting the Coca-Cola Museum is a must-do experience in Monroe.

5. Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course


Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course is a must-visit for green enthusiasts in Monroe, LA. Known for its top-notch golfing and bar and grill, the course offers a challenging par 72 with 18 holes and 5 sets of tees that can be played at 6,900 yards. However, beware of the wind, which can make your game a bit more difficult. After a day on the course, relax and unwind at the bar and grill, where you can enjoy food and drinks.

Address: 1484 Frenchman’s Bend Road, Monroe

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6. Layton Castle


One of the best things to do in Monroe LA is to visit Layton Castle. This charming red brick building was originally known as Mulberry Grove and was established in 1814 by Swiss emigrant Henry, who was a judge. Over time, the original creole cottage transformed into a more complex structure. 

Its unique design, featuring a two-story building with a different turret, earned it the name Layton Castle and made it a well-known landmark in the area. The building was also typical of first Louisiana plantations and underwent renovation in the 1910s by Eugenia Stubbs Layton, which added a whipped roof to the two-story structure.

Address: 1133 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71202, United States

7. Forsythe Park


Forsythe Park in Monroe, LA offers some of the best things to do for families. This 53-acre neighborhood park features play facilities for both kids and adults, picnic areas, a challenging golf course, sports fields, tennis courts, a staging area with wooden pavilions, putt-putt golf, beach volleyball courts, a public boat launch, and park restrooms.

Address: 2300 Sycamore St, Monroe, LA 71201, United States

8. Twin City Ballet


Adding to the list of the best things to do in Monroe LA is the Twin City Ballet Company, a non-profit organization chartered by the State of Louisiana. Their mission is to enrich the cultural atmosphere in northeast Louisiana and surrounding areas. The establishment provides a unique dance experience to the community through training and performance opportunities for talented young dancers, taught by a seasoned faculty and renowned guest artists serving as teachers, performers, and choreographers.

Twin City Ballet and the University of Louisiana – Monroe’s School of Visual and Performing Arts host a ten-day Summer Dance Intensive Workshop annually, attracting serious dance students from across the South. The company offers various performances throughout the year and you can participate by either registering with the company or attending a program, making your stay in Monroe an unforgettable experience.

Address: 2905 Desoto St, Monroe, LA 71201-3719

9. Taste fine wine at Flying Tiger Brewery


Flying Tiger Brewery, the first full-scale brewery in northeast Louisiana, is a must-visit destination in Monroe. They produce and package their beer on-site, including their flagship beers and a variety of rotating options, which are available at their popular taproom located in downtown Monroe. This brewery pays homage to the legendary WWII Flying Tigers fighter squadron and its commander, General Claire Chennault, a Monroe resident.

The taproom at Flying Tiger Brewery boasts a grand portrait of the legendary general, a quirky decor, and an array of Flying Tiger memorabilia. Although food is not offered at the brewery, you can find a food truck parked outside. Additionally, the brewery features a lovely outdoor seating area, which serves as the venue for live concerts and other events.

Address: 506 N 2nd St, Monroe, LA 71201

10. Play, fish, and Hike at the Kiroli Park


For those who enjoy outdoor recreation, Kiroli Park is a must-visit destination. With its pet-friendly environment, visitors can enjoy hiking trails, pavilions, playgrounds, and tennis facilities, all in one place. Spend a full day exploring the park, as there is plenty to keep you and your family entertained, including green spaces for the kids to run around in and feed ducks. Additionally, there is even a dog park available.

Visiting Kiroli Park in West Monroe, Louisiana, offers a unique opportunity to connect with other pet owners and let your furry friends roam and play in a natural setting near the city center. A small fee is charged for entry, but the experience is well worth it, providing fun for both kids and adults. A visit to Kiroli Park is a must-do for anyone looking for exciting activities in Monroe, LA.

Address: 820 Kiroli Rd, West Monroe, LA 71291-4945

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11. Eat good food at Warehouse No 1 Restaurant


One of the best things to do in Monroe, LA is to visit Warehouse No 1 Restaurant located in downtown Monroe. This century-old former warehouse, situated along the picturesque Ouachita River, boasts its original corrugated tin exterior and serves as a top destination for dining. Don’t miss out on this unique restaurant experience on your next trip to Monroe.

The restaurant underwent restoration while preserving its original features, such as the flooring, large beams, and exterior walls, resulting in a simple and natural ambiance with stunning river views and delicious food. The porch overlooking the river is ideal for family events and celebrations. The menu caters to everyone with famous steaks and a choice of wine to complement them. Gather with friends and begin the meal with a delectable appetizer platter of fried button mushrooms, baked oysters, catfish, and boiled shrimps.

Address: 1 Olive St, Monroe, LA 71201-6251

12. Take the Kids to the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum


If you’re searching for activities to do with kids in Monroe, consider visiting the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum. This interactive museum offers kids the opportunity to learn through play with exhibits such as the Kids’ Café, where they can experience restaurant jobs, and the interactive Discovery Hospital, where they can see what healthcare workers do. Other highlights include the Health Hall and a crawl-through heart, as well as a large microscope and a play pharmacy.

The Hearing Aid activity at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum allows kids to have fun with a large ear puzzle and “whack a sound.” They can also learn about dental health in The Big Mouth, blow bubbles at Bubble Works, or play at the Baby Bayou, which is more enjoyed by younger kids aged three. Don’t miss out on the fun for your kids and add the museum to your list of things to do in Monroe.

Address: 323 Walnut St, Monroe, LA 71201-6711

13. The Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe


The Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe offers a unique blend of foreign herbs, teas, and spices to tantalize your taste buds. With a wide selection of fine spice blends, exotic spices, flavored sugars, seasonings, salts, and gourmet teas, customers have the opportunity to handpick the perfect ingredients for their gourmet cooking. This sensory utopia of a shop promises to captivate your senses and fulfill your culinary desires.

Address: 229 Trenton Street, West Monroe, LA 71291

14. See Amazing Art at Masur Museum of Art


In Monroe, Louisiana, one of the best things to do is visit the Masur Museum of Art. Housed in a beautiful Tudor-style former home of the Mansur family, this museum is a must-see on any list of top activities in Monroe. The Mansur family donated their home to the city, and it is now the largest art museum in northeast Louisiana. Additionally, the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum aims to promote visual arts in the community by showcasing regular exhibitions, showcasing its permanent collection, and offering educational programs. Its collection boasts masterpieces from renowned artists such as Salvador Dali, Auguste Rodin, Joan Miro, Mary Cassatt, and Pablo Picasso. Art classes, demonstrations, summer programs, and workshops are held in the Carriage House, while the Lower Gallery serves as a venue for lectures, artist discussions, and movie screenings. The museum is open to the public free of charge.

Address: 1400 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71202-2012

15. Shop at Antique Alley


Antique Alley in Monroe, LA, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in antiques and unique shopping experiences. With over 25 antique shops, a B&B, and boutiques, this street located in the downtown historic district of West Monroe, on the banks of the Ouachita River, offers a variety of businesses including individual antique stores, antique malls, restaurants, and specialty shops. 

Address: Trenton Street, West Monroe, Louisiana, LA 71291

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16. Enjoy your day at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo


One of the best things to do in Monroe LA is to visit the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, covering 80 acres of land. This top attraction boasts over 400 animals from 200 species and a stunningly landscaped garden. Visitors can take a stroll through the walk-through greenhouse and admire a diverse array of plants. The zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world, including bears, lions, tigers, baboons, zebras, kangaroos, bison, peacocks and many more.

The zoo features a reptile house, specifically the Australia House, with exclusively Australian wildlife including animals and birds. The Children’s Zoo offers a fun and interactive experience for kids with domestic animals they can feed and pet. Visitors can take a boat tour to see animals not usually visible from the normal paths, including hoofed animals and primates. Lastly, the Hall of Small, a hands-on insect exhibit, is a must-see for a fun experience.

Address: 1405 Bernstein Park Road, Monroe, LA 71202

17. Landry Vineyard


The Landry Vineyard in West Monroe offers a variety of wines including Redneck Red, Cotton Rogue, Blackberry Merlot and more. At the winery, you can taste and purchase your favorite wine, accompanied by cheese and bread, in the tasting room. The vineyard also holds events such as the Outdoor Concert Series featuring a range of musical styles from jazz to country.

The festivals in this area are primarily celebrated through dancing and picnicking, with two additional summer festivals that offer visitors the chance to participate in grape picking and stomping. The experience is made even more enjoyable as you can sample the wine made from the grapes you helped to process.

Address: 5699 New Natchitoches Road, West Monroe LA 71292

18. Check Cooley House


The Cooley House, located in Monroe’s historic district, is a noteworthy building and a must-see attraction. Designed in 1908 by the famous architect and local businessman Walter Burley Griffin for Gilbert Cooley, the concrete structure features a green tiled roof and wooden accents and was completed in 1926. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the final remaining examples of Prairie School residential architecture.

The Cooley house is unique for its era with features such as a central vacuum system, steam heating, a sunken bathtub, an incinerator, original cork flooring, a steam shower, and a detached carport which was added after Cooley became the first person in Monroe to own a car. Visiting this historic structure is guaranteed to enhance your day!

Address: 1011 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71201

19. Munroe must-visit: Lazarre Park


The best things to do in Monroe LA include visiting Lazarre Park for a fun-filled experience. Launch your boat and let the currents of the Ouachita River take you away. Another must-visit spot is the golf course, which hosts the annual Ronald McDonald House Big Bass Tournament in May. This tournament attracts both professional and amateur anglers, making it a great event for fishing enthusiasts.

Take advantage of the covered pavilion at Monroe, LA for picnics, family gatherings, class reunions, or parties. Fishing is also an option, making it possible to have a delicious fish fry with your catch. This is a must-visit attraction in Monroe and should definitely be on your list of places to see.

Address: Corner of Hamilton & Thompson Street, West Monroe LA

20. Get Quality Fairtrade Coffee at RoeLA Roaster


The best things to do in Monroe LA, should include a visit to RoeLA Roaster, a coffee roasting company located in Downtown Monroe. RoeLA Roaster is renowned for its exceptional quality coffee, which is sourced from the best producers in countries like Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

This coffee roasting company should be on your list of top things to do in Monroe, as it offers the chance to sample and purchase some of the finest fair-trade coffee available. If you’re unable to visit the company in person, you can also purchase coffee online through their website.

Address: 523 Desiard St, Monroe, LA 71201

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21. Have Fun at Excalibur Family Fun Center


If you’re visiting Monroe LA with your family, don’t miss out on one of the best things to do in the area – visiting the Excalibur Family Fun Center. This fun castle is filled with arcade games and a huge indoor playground, as well as outdoor activities such as go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, and more. Get ready for a fun-filled adventure in this medieval castle that will surpass even the excitement of King Arthur and his knights.

Address: 455 Cheniere Drew Road, West Monroe LA 71291

22. Chennault Aviation and Military Museum


The Chennault Aviation and Military Museum honors the role of northeast Louisiana in shaping the aviation and military history of the US. It is housed in one of the remaining structures from that time period, the WWII Selman Field Army Air Corps Navigation School, and displays weapons, uniforms, documents, photographs, and other artifacts. Visitors will appreciate the growing collection of military aircraft displayed outside the museum.

The Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe, LA is a must-visit with evidence covering all military branches from WWI to present day. The museum also showcases interesting exhibits on Selman Field and Delta Airlines’ humble beginnings as a crop dusting company in the area. Don’t miss out on adding this museum to your list of things to do in Monroe LA.

Address: 701 Kansas Ln, Monroe, LA 71203-4775

23. Catch the Ouachita River Cruise


The Ouachita River Cruise provides a memorable and worthwhile experience for visitors to Monroe and is a must-do on your list of activities. With Captain John Brown as your guide, you will relish the beauty of the Ouachita River. The cruises offered at Moon Lake Marina range from mini to private, and catering cruises and offer stunning views of nature from the waterfront. Book a cruise today and unwind by the banks of the Ouachita River.

Address: 231 Moon Lake Road, Monroe LA 71203

24. Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge


One of the best things to do in Monroe, LA is visiting Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a preserved wilderness area offering a wide range of activities and attractions. The refuge features a 1,700-acre lake, a restored planter’s house, a visitors center, an arboretum with over 100 species of native Louisiana plants, a boat launch, a 400-foot wildlife pier, an elevated observation deck, a pavilion, a prairie area with native grasses and wildflowers, and many informational boots. It is also a popular spot for hiking, canoeing, picnicking, and kayaking and is used as a research area by students and professors from the University of Louisiana.

Address: 480 Richland Place Dr, Monroe, LA 71203-8868

25. Pecanland Mall


Pecanland Mall, which opened in 1985, is a popular shopping destination in northern Louisiana. It features over 80 stores and services, anchored by a ten-screen Cinemark theater. The mall has a diverse range of stores including JCPenney, H&M, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, Belk, Dillard’s, Old Navy, rue21, Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle and many others. The mall also has a bright and bustling food court near the Cinemark entrance, offering options such as Chick-fil-A, Raising Cane’s, Sbarro, Auntie Anne’s and Yummy Japan.

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Final Thoughts

Monroe, Louisiana, the eighth largest city in the US, is a vibrant and exciting destination for your next vacation. With a plethora of attractions, including museums, performance spaces, art galleries, and more, Monroe offers endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Take a stroll through its charming streets and visit its stunning sights, including waterfront restaurants, hiking trails, museums, zoos, sculptures, parks, and more. Begin planning your trip to Monroe today, and our guide on the best things to do in Monroe LA is always available to assist you.

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