Nestled in the state of Louisiana (aka the Pelican State), Monroe is a beautiful town with many notable old mansions that have now been converted into museums.
It is home to the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, owned by Mr. Biedenharn, who first started bottling Coca-Cola, and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, which has nearly 500 wild animals.
Also, there is the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, which features restored aircraft used in World War II. The Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge also offers protection to endangered plants and animals.
Let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in Monroe (LA)
Fun Things to Do in Monroe (LA)
1. Don’t Miss the Ouachita River Cruise
The Ouachita River Cruise offers visitors a valuable and memorable experience and should be on your to-do list of things to do in Monroe (LA) whenever you visit.
You would enjoy a cruise down the Ouachita River with Captain John Brown as your guide.
Cruises available at Moon Lake Marina include mini, regular, private, and catered cruises, and you’d love to enjoy nature views from the waterfront.
So take an Ouachita River Cruise today and leave all your worries behind on the banks of the Ouachita River.
2. Have Fun at Twin City Ballet
Finally, there is the Twin City Ballet Company. It is a non-profit organization established by the State of Louisiana to improve the cultural environment of Northeast Louisiana and its surrounding area.
The company’s mission is to create an exciting dance experience in the community by offering training and theater experience opportunities to talented young dancers.
These dancers are trained by experienced teachers and highly acclaimed guest artists as teachers, performers, and choreographers.
Every year, Twin City Ballet hosts a ten-day summer dance intensive workshop in collaboration with the University of Louisiana – Monroe’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.
The workshop attracts serious students from all parts of the South. Various performances are also held throughout the year.
You can be part by registering with a company or participating in a program. In any case, make your stay in Monroe rich in experiences! way
3. Shop at Pecanland Mall
Pecanland Mall is an enclosed shopping center that was opened in July 1985
It has six anchor stores and 93 other stores.
Do you long to spend quality time with your friends and go on a great shopping spree? If you do, then Pecanland Mall is one of your best options in Monroe.
It features countless stores such as Dillard’s, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Hot Topic, JCPenney, and many more.
You will also find a cinema with ten screens, several restaurants, a food court with a capacity of 450 seats and many other facilities and equipment.
Get together with your friends and have a great time shopping for things like clothes, shoes, makeup, bags, accessories and lots more.
Afterward, stop by the salon for a mani-pedi, recharge at the restaurant or catch a movie at its high-tech cinema.
Things to Do in Monroe (LA) at Night
1. Grab a Bottle of Coke at the Coca-Cola Museum
Although the Coca-Cola Museum is located within the estate of the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, it deserves to be mentioned as its own attraction.
You may be wondering that the now famous soft drink and Coca-Cola brand had its first bottling in the town of Monroe before it spread to other parts of the world.
The museum is fascinating as you learn about the beginnings of coke production and how the bottling process works.
You will learn about the history, walk around the museum and see all the artifacts and memorabilia on display.
You will likewise find different unique classic bottle packaging and one of the first conveyance trucks used to sell and circulate the first bottled and packaged Coca-Cola.
With just 5 cents, you can enjoy a cold Coke from an old bottle after a museum tour; you will find a non-electric vending machine for that.
Visiting the Coca-Cola Museum is one of the best things to do in Monroe (LA).
2. Watch a Show at Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts
Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts presents many phenomenal productions for families throughout the year.
Looking for places to go today and watch fun live shows with family or friends?
Then, the Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts is highly recommended.
It offers a number of themed performances of well-known favorites such as the Little Mermaid, the Iliad, Trolls, Legally Blonde, the Great Gatsby, and many more.
Spend a few hours watching a fun and entertaining show by talented and skilled artists.
If you live nearby, you can also try signing up for private lessons here to learn something new, such as piano, violin, or voice.
3. Admire the Art at Levee Gallery
Founded in 2017, Levee Gallery is an art gallery that mainly offers temporary exhibitions on contemporary art.
It offers many amazing works of art for you and your friends to check out on the go, as well as engaging workshops for your enjoyment.
Get ready to see stunning contemporary artwork by both local and regional artists as well at the Levee Gallery.
There are other activities that might interest you, like interacting with the artists, special exhibitions, watching the painters make their masterpieces, and much more.
Things to Do in Monroe (LA) For Couples
1. Try to Beat Each Other at Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course
Now there’s something for lovers of the green – Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course.
People love it here not only for the golf course but also for other facilities the Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course has, like the bar and grill, which is very popular.
The Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course also has a par 72 golf course, including 18-hole championship levels, tips played at 6900 yards, and five sets of tees.
You would be careful with the golf balls as the wind tends to move all over the place – the kind of difficulty that some players like.
After you’ve had to play a few rounds of golf, relax and join the bar for food or drink or both!
2. Enjoy the Beauty of Lazarre Park
Lazarre Park offers you a great time in Munroe. So get ready to launch your boat and let the currents of the Ouachita River guide you.
There is a golf course that hosts the annual Ronald McDonald House Big Bass Tournament. This tournament takes place in May and brings together both professionals and novices.
You can also make use of its covered pavilion – an ideal place for picnics, family and class reunions, or parties.
Get your fishing rod, catch some fish and get ready to spawn!
This is one of the best attractions in Monroe, LA, that you should consider for your list of places to visit in Monroe.
3. Spend Some Time at Purchase Gardens and Zoo
The Louisiana Purchase Gardens has about 400 animals from 200 species and a beautifully landscaped garden covering over 80 acres.
The Louisiana Purchase Gardens has a walk-through greenhouse and many interesting plants for display, while the zoo also houses various animals from all over the world like bears, lions, tigers, baboons, zebras, kangaroos, bison, peacocks, and many more.
They also have a reptile house, with animals and birds only found in that continent living in the Australia House. For the kids, the petting zoo has pets that the kids feed and pet.
You can take a boat tour that allows visitors to see animals that are not usually seen on the regular zoo trails. These include ungulates and primates.
Don’t forget to also check out the hands-on insect exhibit – Hall of Small. It is fun!
Things to Do in Monroe (LA) For Kids
1. Don’t Miss a Trip to Excalibur Family Fun Center
If you have family around, don’t miss the Excalibur Family Fun Center. It’s one of the best fun things to do in Monroe (LA).
It is a fun castle filled with arcade games and a gigantic indoor playground!
Here at Excalibur Family Fun Cente, you will also find laser tag, find go-karts, bumper cars, and many other games outside, so you can choose from any of them.
In this medieval castle, you’ll have more fun than King Arthur and his knights!
2. Give Them the Time of Their Lives at Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum
Looking for things to do in Monroe with kids? The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is an interactive museum designed for children to learn while playing with a variety of exhibits.
This museum encourages children to drive an ambulance, try their hand at working in a restaurant in the children’s cafe, visit the interactive Discovery Hospital (where they can see what the doctors and nurses do), go to the Health Hall and a giant crawling heart.
They can also look through a massive microscope and play in the pharmacy.
The hearing aid allows them to “make a sound” and have fun with the big ear puzzle.
Other activities include learning about teeth and dental health at the Big Mouth, blowing bubbles at Bubble Works, and playing at Baby Bayou.
Young children at the age of three enjoy the latter more.
Your kids will have a blast at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, so be sure to add it to your list of things to do in Monroe (LA).
3. Let Them Take an Educative Tour of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
Built in the mid-19th century, Louisiana’s Old State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark.
Once a government building, it is now one of the most visited museums in the state.
End your getaway right away by enjoying one of the best things to do in Monroe (LA) by touring this castle-like museum with your companions.
It offers you several interactive tour packages to choose from depending on how adventurous you want to be and what you want to see.
It also has many temporary and permanent exhibitions to view and many fun events throughout the year.
Enjoy an unforgettable tour experience with your travel buddies at the Louisiana Old State Capitol.
You can explore the captivating building on your own, with the help of an audio guide, or with a guide for a more interactive and in-depth experience.
A fun option is the Ghost of the Castle tour, which includes a 4D immersive theater performance where you can hear stories and learn something new from the Ghost of Sarah Morgan, a real-life Civil War character.
Indoor Activities to Do in Monroe (LA) For Adults
1. Learn About Ancient History at Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum
The African Heritage Museum of Northeast Louisiana is located right in Monroe’s Chenault Park, and it is also one of the best things to do in Monroe (LA)
The African Heritage Museum of Northeast Louisiana is a small museum founded in 1994 to promote and preserve African American culture through cultural, educational, and social events.
The museum contains a wide variety of research materials related to the civil rights movement of the 1960s that occurred in Northeast Louisiana; it is a treasured history of the locals.
The museum promotes and supports the art of local artists Agnes Hicks, Bernard Mayweather, and Don Ciccone by hosting regular art exhibitions.
Should you be particularly interested in history, then this museum is for you as it has a collection that includes African American art, history, culture, and other artifacts.
Other features include tools for growing cotton, furniture from old slave cabins, and the first sacks for picking cotton.
Here you will find lifelike examples of popular African-American pioneers – such as Madame C.J. Walker, Frederick Douglass, and Mary Bethune, along with their contributions.
In addition, the museum organizes a number of important events and seminars that are open to the public. The museum’s large space also offers a great place for various social gatherings and celebrations.
Immerse yourself in the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum because a visit to this museum will take you back in time! You won’t want to miss this museum on your trip to Monroe.
2. Go Shopping at Antique Alley
Antique Alley has over twenty-five antique stores, B&Bs, and boutiques, making it a must-visit in Monroe.
Antique Alley is part of West Monroe’s downtown historic district as it is located on the banks of the Ouachita River.
Businesses here include individual antique shops, antique shops, restaurants, and other specialty shops.
Watch out for the Antique Alley lights, as the entire alley and shops are well lit up for Christmas, so Santa will have no problems finding a safe place to settle down.
3. Go on a Winetasting Tour at Flying Tiger Brewery
Flying Tiger Brewery is the first full-fledged brewery in Northeast Louisiana to produce and package its beer on site.
Flying Tiger Brewery, in addition to its flagship beers, also offers a variety of rotating beers at their large, popular taproom in downtown Monroe.
This brewery honors the legendary World War II Flying Tigers fighter squadron and its famous commander, General Claire Chennault, a Monroe resident.
The brewery’s taproom features a larger-than-life portrait of the general, funky decor and all kinds of Flying Tiger memorabilia.
Flying Tiger doesn’t serve food, but you always park a food truck outside.
Romantic Things to Do in Monroe (LA)
1. Spend Some Time at Biedenharn Museum and Gardens
The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, built in 1913 by Joseph A. Biedenharn, is another interesting landmark and the best thing to do in Monroe.
Surrounded by ElSong’s lush gardens, it’s a house museum located on the banks of the Ouachita River in Monroe, Louisiana.
Biedenharn made history as the first person to bottle Coca-Cola, and this house features original decor and furniture from when his daughter Emma Louise lived there.
The house houses two fascinating museums: The Bible Museum, a collection of Bibles and various biblical literature, and the Coca-Cola Museum containing Coca-Cola memorabilia. Both are open to the public.
The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens is divided into several themed areas, such as the Four Seasons Garden, the Music Grotto, and the Oriental Garden.
2. Spend a Night at the Hampton Inn & Suites
Hampton Inn & Suites provides city visitors with the best possible comfort and amenities. This makes their stay worthwhile and one of the best places in Monroe.
The hotel has great facilities, including a fitness center with gym, indoor pool, business center, car rental, meeting rooms, and much more.
A stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites will make your trip to Monroe even more perfect as you can explore parts of this beautiful, picturesque town.
3. Go on a Winetasting Tour at Landry Vineyard
Located in West Monroe, Landry Vineyard offers wines such as Redneck Red, Cotton Rogue, Blackberry Merlot, and more.
A visit to Landry Vineyard allows you to get the wine of your choice from the cheese and bread tasting room.
The vineyard also hosts some events, such as a series of outdoor concerts, which complement the diverse musical assortment from jazz to country.
These festivals are enjoyed mostly with dancing and picnics.
Two more festivals are held here in the summer. Visitors have the opportunity to collect grapes and stomp them. You can even taste the wine produced by your efforts. Well, it’s really fun!
Free Things to Do in Monroe (LA)
1. Appreciate Art at Masur Museum of Art
Located in Monroe, Louisiana, the Masurian Museum of Art is an art museum housed in the beautiful Tudor-style former Mansur family home.
A visit to this home should definitely be on your list of top things to do in Monroe.
The Mansur family donated their home to the city of Monroe, and today it is the largest visual arts museum in Northeast Louisiana.
The museum’s mission is to support and encourage the visual arts in the community through regular exhibitions, permanent collections, and educational programs.
Among the collection are classics from world-class artists such as Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Joan Miro, Mary Cassatt, and Pablo Picasso.
Events such as art classes, demonstrations, summer art classes, and workshops are held in the Carriage House, while the Lower Gallery is used for lectures, artist talks, and films.
The Masurian Museum of Art is freely accessible to the public.
2. Explore the Kiroli Park
This pet-friendly park offers its visitors hiking trails, pavilions, playgrounds, and tennis courts.
You can spend a whole day in Kiroli Park because there is so much to do. Children are not left behind; they enjoy running around the green areas and feeding the ducks.
There is also a dog park! This special area allows you to meet other pet owners while your furry friends relax and enjoy the wild atmosphere near the capital city of West Monroe, Louisiana.
There is a small token as an entry fee, but it’s well worth the fun as both adults and children will enjoy it!
A trip to Kiroli Park cannot be separated from the fun things to do in Monroe (LA).
3. Take a Walk Around University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)
Arts University of Louisiana System, ULM was founded in 1931 and had many things to pique the interest of visitors.
One of these is the new Bayou Pointe Event Center, which was dedicated in 2018 and is home to a state-of-the-art theater for performances by the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Something else to keep in mind is the Museum of Natural History, with a special focus on Louisiana, and blessed with a huge collection including Native American artifacts, dinosaur bones, minerals, and wildlife specimens.
Sports ULM has 15 teams competing in NCAA Division I as the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the women’s volleyball team, play in the 7,085-seat Fant-Ewing Coliseum, which also hosts concerts and major university events.
Cheap Things to Do in Monroe (LA)
1. Grab Some Coffee from RoeLA Roaster
RoeLA Roaster is a coffee roasting company based in downtown Monroe with a primary focus on selling the finest grade and quality coffee worldwide.
Visiting RoeLA Roaster ought to be the first spot on your list as it is quite possibly the best thing to do in Monroe.
RoeLA Roaster sources the greatest coffee beans from expert makers who develop the best coffee beans in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Mexico.
If you’re lucky, you can buy a nice fair-trade coffee from RoeLA Roaster or buy it online through their website.
2. Experience the Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe
Among an exotic mix of herbs, teas, and spices, the Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe promises to fill and tantalize your taste buds.
You can try all the fine spice blends and exotic spices, flavored sugars, spices, salts, and gourmet teas.
Visiting here for the first time and always, you have the privilege of choosing which herbs and spices you want for your gourmet cooking.
Billed as a “sensory utopia,” this West Monroe spice and tea shop will engage your mind and satisfy your soul.
3. Grab a Meal at Warehouse No 1 Restaurant
This popular restaurant is located in a former warehouse (it’s been there for over a century) on the banks of the scenic Ouachita River.
It retains its original corrugated iron exterior of an old warehouse used to book bales of cotton coming down the Ouachita on steamboats.
Its original floors, large beams, and exterior walls were kept intact during the restoration, creating a simple, natural atmosphere dominated by stunning river views and great food.
The beautiful veranda overlooking the river is ideal for family gatherings and celebrations. The restaurant offers something great for everyone.
Their steaks are renowned and go well with a glass of wine from their selection. Come with your friends and start with a tasty appetizer of fried mushrooms, baked oysters, catfish, and boiled shrimp.
Cool Places to Visit in Monroe (LA)
1. Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
This is a protected wilderness area containing a 1,700-acre lake; a restored grow house, a visitor center, an arboretum (with more than 100 species of trees native to Louisiana), and the Black Bayou Lake Environmental Education Center.
Other features include a boat launch, a pavilion, a 400-foot wildlife pier, an elevated observation deck, and many information booths.
It is also a popular place among nature lovers who enjoy hiking, canoeing, picnicking, and kayaking.
The Trio to Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best things to do in Monroe (LA).
2. Chennault Aviation and Military Museum
The Chennault Air and Military Museum is built to recognize Northeast Louisiana’s influence on the country’s aviation and military history.
This museum displays weapons, uniforms, various documents, photographs, and all sorts of other artifacts.
You would also be delighted to see the ever-increasing number of military aircraft located in the outdoor areas of the museum. There is evidence from all branches of the military, spanning the period from the First World War to the present day.
There are also interesting exhibits that feature Selman Field and Delta Airlines, which started in Monroe as a crop dusting company in the region.
Be sure to add the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum to your list of things to do in Monroe (LA).
3. Cooley House
One unusual building in Monroe’s historic district is the Cooley House; it was designed in 1908 by Walter Burley Griffin (a noted architect and local businessman) for Gilbert Cooley.
The house was constructed of concrete with a green tile roof and wood paneling.
The house is one of the last examples of Prairie School residential architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cooley house is unique for its time and has central vacuum and steam heating, a sunken bath, incinerator, original cork flooring, steam shower, and a detached carport too.
The carport in Cooley’s house came as an addition after Cooley bought the first automobile in Monroe.
A visit to this structure will surely make your day!
Sitting in the eighth biggest city in the United States of America, Monroe, Louisiana, is a totally fun city to visit.
The city is loaded with numerous attractions that make it popular and truly appropriate for your next getaway.
Begin arranging your visit to Monroe now, and if by any chance you need assistance, this post can come in handy as a guide to the best things to do in Monroe (LA).