Nestled in the state of Louisiana (or Pelican State), Monroe is an awesome city to be in, with many significant old mansions now converted into museums.
There is the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, owned by Mr. Biedenharn, who was the first person to bottle Coca-Cola, and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, which has close to 500 wild animals.
As well is the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, which contains restored aircraft used in WWII. At the same time, the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers protection for endangered plants and animals.
Let’s see some of the best things to do in Monroe, LA.
Things to Do in Monroe
1. Enjoy a Coke for 5 cents at the Coca-Cola Museum
Though the Coca Cola Museum is situated in the estate of Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, it deserves to be mentioned as an attraction of its own.
It would interest you to know that the now-famous soft drink and brand, Coca Cola had its first bottling in Monroe city before spreading to other parts of the world.
The museum is fascinating as you will get to know about the start-up of Coke and how the bottling process works.
You will learn about the history, take a walk around the museum and see all the displayed artifacts and memorabilia.
You will also find various original vintage wrappers of the bottles and one of the initial delivery trucks used to sell and distribute the first bottled coca-cola.
For only 5 cents you can enjoy a chilled coke from an old style bottle after the museum tour, locate the non-electric vending machine for that.
A visit to the Coca-Cola Museum is one of the top things to do in Monroe.
2. Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course
Now here is something for green lovers – Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course. It comes up as one of the best things to do in Monroe, LA.
People love Frenchman’s Bend Golf Course not only for its golf but for other facilities like its bar and grill.
They have a par 72 golf course, including championship level 18-holes, five sets of tees, and tips played at 6,900 yards.
You would watch out for golf balls because the wind tends to move everywhere – a kind of difficulty some players like.
After you must have played a few golf games, rest and engage yourself in the bar with either food or drink or both!
Address: 1484 Frenchman’s Bend Road, Monroe
3. Visit Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum
The Northeast Louisiana African Heritage Museum is situated just inside Monroe’s Chenault Park, and it is one of the best things to do in Monroe, LA.
It is a small museum established in 1994 to promote and preserve the African-American culture through cultural, educational, and social events.
The museum contains a vast range of research materials relating to the ’60s civil rights movement, which happened in Northeast Louisiana.
The museum promotes and supports the art of the local artists Agnes Hicks, Bernard Menyweather, and Don Cincone by hosting regular art shows.
If you are a lover of history, this museum is for you as it has a collection that comprises African-American art, history, culture, and other artifacts.
Other features include cotton farming tools, furniture from old slave cabins, and the first sacks for picking cotton.
You will find lifelike displays of popular African American trailblazers—the likes of Madame C.J. Walker, Frederick Douglass, and Mary Bethune together with their contributions.
In addition, series of important events and seminars are organized by the museum, which is open for public attendance. Also, the big museum space offers a great venue for diverse social gatherings and celebrations.
Soak up yourself in the Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Museum, as a visit to this museum will shoot you into the past! You wouldn’t want to miss out on this museum during your trip to Monroe.
Address: 1051 Chennault Park Dr. Monroe, LA 71203.
4. See Biedenharn Museum and Gardens
Built in 1913 by Joseph A. Biedenharn, the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens is another interesting sight and top thing to do in Monroe.
Surrounded by the rich ElSong Gardens, it is a house museum situated on the banks of the Ouachita River in Monroe, Louisiana. Biedenharn goes down in history as the first person to bottle Coca-Cola, and this house is fitted with the original decor and furniture from when his daughter Emma Louise lived in it.
There are two fascinating museums in the house: The Bible Museum, a collection of bibles and different biblical literatures, and the Coca-Cola Museum containing Coca-Cola memorabilia. Both are open to the public.
The garden is sectioned into several thematic areas, such as the Four Seasons Garden, a musical grotto, and the Oriental Garden.
Address: 2006 Riverside Dr, Monroe, LA 71201-4268.
5. Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites
Hampton Inn & Suites provides the best possible comfort and amenities to visitors of the city. It makes their stay worthwhile, and it is one of the best places to be in Monroe.
The hotel has great facilities, including a fitness center with a gym, indoor pool, business centers, car hire, meeting rooms, and so much more.
Staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites makes your trip to Monroe even more perfect as you can view parts of this lovely, picturesque city.
Address: 5100 Frontage Rd, Monroe, LA 71202.qs
6. Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Black Bayou Lake is a preserved wilderness area containing a 1,700-acre lake, a restored planter’s house, a visitors center, an arboretum (with over 100 species of woody plants native to Louisiana) the Black Bayou Lake Environmental Education Center.
Other features include a boat launch, a 400-foot-long wildlife pier, an elevated observation deck, a pavilion, a prairie area with native grasses and wildflowers, and many informational boots.
The refuge is a research area used by students and professors from the University of Louisiana. It is also loved by nature lovers who go hiking, canoeing, picnicking, and kayaking.
A trio to Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the top things to do in Monroe.
Address: 480 Richland Place Dr, Monroe, LA 71203-8868.
7. Catch the Ouachita River Cruise
Ouachita River Cruise offers visitors a valuable and memorable experience and should be on your list of the best things to do in Monroe.
You would enjoy the Ouachita River cruise under the guidance of Captain John Brown as your tour guide.
Available cruises at Moon Lake Marina include mini, regular, private, and catering cruises, and you would cherish the nature view from the waterfront.
So, get on an Ouachita River Cruise today and drop every distress by the Ouachita River banks.
Address: 231 Moon Lake Road, Monroe LA 71203
8. Chennault Aviation and Military MuseumThe Chennault Aviation and Military Museum is built to acknowledge the impact of northeast Louisiana on the aviation and military history of the country.
Situated in one of the last standing buildings of that era – the WWII Selman Field Army Air Corps Navigation School- this museum exhibits weaponry, uniforms, various documents, photographs, and all other sorts of artifacts.
You would also fancy the constantly increasing number of military aircraft located in the outside space of the museum. There is evidence from all military branches, cutting across the period from WWI to this day.
There are also interesting exhibits that feature Selman Field and Delta Airlines, which began in Monroe as a crop dusting company of the region.
Be sure to add Chennault Aviation and Military Museum to your bucket list of things to do in Monroe, LA.
Address: 701 Kansas Ln, Monroe, LA 71203-4775.
9. Have Fun at Excalibur Family Fun Center
If you’ve got family around you, don’t miss out on the Excalibur Family Fun Center. It is one of the best fun things to do in Monroe. LA.
The Excalibur Family Fun Center is a fun castle littered with arcade games and a gigantic indoor playground!
You would also find go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, and many other games outside. So you can choose from any of them.
You are in for fun in this medieval castle, much more than that of King Arthur and his knights!
Address: 455 Cheniere Drew Road, West Monroe LA 71291
10. Get Quality Fairtrade Coffee at RoeLA Roaster
RoeLA Roaster is a coffee roasting company located in Downtown Monroe with a primary focus on selling the best type and quality of coffee all over the globe.
A visit to this company should be on top of your list as it is one of the best things to do in Monroe.
RoeLA Roaster sources the highest quality coffee beans from dedicated producers who grow the best coffee beans in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Mexico.
If you are in luck, you can buy nice fair-trade coffee from the RoeLA Roaster or purchase it online through their website.
Address: 523 Desiard St, Monroe, LA 71201.
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11. Munroe must-visit: Lazarre Park
Lazarre Park offers you a cool time while in the city of Munroe. So, get set to launch your boat and be driven by the currents of the Ouachita River.
There is a golf course that hosts the annual Ronald McDonald House Big Bass Tournament. This tournament takes place in May and sees both professionals and rookies assemble.
You can also take advantage of its covered pavilion—a perfect spot for picnics, family and class reunions, or parties.
Get a fishing pole, go catch some fish, and be set for a fish fry! In more than one way, your family will enjoy the meal!
This is one of the top attractions in Monroe, LA to consider for your bucket list of places to visit in Monroe.
Address: Corner of Hamilton & Thompson Street, West Monroe LA
12. Check Cooley HouseOne unusual building in Monroe’s historic district is the Cooley House, and it is one of the best things to see in Monroe.
Designed in 1908 by Walter Burley Griffin (a renowned architect and local entrepreneur) for Gilbert Cooley, the house was built from concrete, with a green tile roof and a wooden trim. The building was completed in 1926.
The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is one of the last instances of the Prairie School residential architecture.
Cooley house is special for its time and has a central vacuum system and steam heating, a sunken tub, an incinerator, the original cork floor, a steam shower, and a detached carport.
This carport came as an addition after Cooley purchased the first automobile in Monroe.
A visit to this structure will certainly make your day!
Address: 1011 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71201.
13. Landry Vineyard
Located in West Monroe, Landry Vineyard features wines such as Redneck Red, Cotton Rogue, Blackberry Merlot, and more.
A visit to this winery allows you to get the wine of your choice from the tasting room with cheese and bread.
The vineyard also hosts some events, like the Outdoor Concert Series, in an addendum to diverse musical assortment from jazz to country.
These festivals are enjoyed mostly with dancing and picnics.
Two other festivals occur here in the summer. Visitors get the opportunity to gather grapes and stomp them. You can even sample the wine made from your efforts. Now, that’s some real fun!
Address: 5699 New Natchitoches Road, West Monroe LA 71292
14. Enjoy your day at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo
Occupying 80 acres, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo is another top thing to do in Monroe, Louisiana. The zoo has about 400 animals from 200 species and a beautifully landscaped garden.
The garden has a walkthrough greenhouse and many interesting plants for you to see, while the zoo houses various animals from all parts of the world. There are bears, lions, tigers, baboons, zebras, kangaroos, bison, peacocks, and many others.
They also have a reptile house, with the Australia House having animals and birds living only on that continent. For the kids, the Children’s Zoo features domestic animals that be fed and pet by children.
You can take advantage of a boat tour that allows visitors to observe animals that are usually not visible from the regular zoo paths. They include hoofed animals and primates.
Don’t forget to check the hands-on insect exhibit – the Hall of Small – as well. It’s some fun!
Address: 1405 Bernstein Park Road, Monroe, LA 71202.
15. Shop at Antique Alley
Antique Alley has more than twenty-five antique shops, a B&B, and boutiques, making it a place worth checking out in Monroe.
Located on the banks of the Ouachita River, Antique Alley is a part of the downtown historic district of West Monroe.
Businesses here include individual antique stores, antique malls, restaurants, and other specialty shops.
Watch out for the lights of Antique Alley because the whole alley and stores are well lighted for Christmas. So, Santa would have no problems finding a safe place to settle.
Address: Trenton Street, West Monroe, Louisiana, LA 71291
16. See Amazing Art at Masur Museum of ArtLocated in Monroe, Louisiana, is the Masur Museum of Art – an art museum occupying the lovely Tudor-style former home of the Mansur family. A visit to this house should certainly be on your bucket list of top things to do in Monroe.
The Mansur family donated their house to Monroe city, and today, it is the biggest visual arts museum in northeast Louisiana. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum has a mission to support and encourage visual arts in the community through regular exhibitions, permanent collections, and educational programs.
Amongst the collection are classics by world-class artists such as Salvador Dali, Auguste Rodin, Joan Miro, Mary Cassatt, and Pablo Picasso.
Events like art classes, demonstrations, summer art classes, and workshops are hosted in the Carriage House, while the Lower Gallery is used for lectures, artist talks, and films.
The museum is open to the public free of charge.
Address: 1400 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71202-2012.
17. The Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe
Amongst the foreign mix of herbs, tea, and spices, the Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe promises to fill and incite your taste buds.
You can try every fine spice blend and exotic spice, flavored sugars, seasonings, salts, and gourmet teas. As a customer, you have the privilege of choosing what herbs and spices you may want for your gourmet cooking.
Tagged as the “sensory utopia” shop, the Spice and Tea Exchange of West Monroe will capture your mind and satisfy your soul.
Address: 229 Trenton Street, West Monroe, LA 71291
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18. Take the Kids to the Northeast Louisiana Children’s MuseumAre you looking for what to do in Monroe with kids? The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is an interactive museum established for kids to learn while playing with the various exhibits.
This museum encourages children to drive an ambulance, try restaurant jobs in Kids’ Café, visit the interactive Discovery Hospital (where they can see what the doctors and nurses do), go to Health Hall, and with a huge crawl-through heart.
Also, they can look through a massive microscope and as well play in a pharmacy. The Hearing Aid allows them to “whack a sound” and have fun with a big ear puzzle.
Other activities include learning about the teeth and dental health in The Big Mouth, blowing bubbles at Bubble Works, and playing at the Baby Bayou. Small kids aged three years enjoy the latter more.
Your kids would have a great time at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, so don’t forget to add it to your list of things to do in Monroe.
Address: 323 Walnut St, Monroe, LA 71201-6711.
19. Eat good food at Warehouse No 1 Restaurant
Located in downtown Monroe is Warehouse No 1 Restaurant. It adds to the list of top things to do in Monroe.
This popular restaurant sits in a former warehouse (existing over a century) on the banks of the scenic Ouachita River.
It retains its original corrugated tin exterior of the old warehouse used to reserve bales of cotton coming down the Ouachita through steamboats.
Its original floors, large beams, and exterior walls were left untouched during restoration, creating a simple natural atmosphere dominated by awesome river views and great food.
A beautiful porch overlooks the river, and it is perfect for family gatherings and celebrations. The restaurant offers something great for everyone.
Their steaks are well-known and pair well with a glass of wine from their selection. Come with your friends and start with a tasty appetizer tray with fried button mushrooms, baked oysters, catfish, and boiled shrimps.
Address: 1 Olive St, Monroe, LA 71201-6251
20. Play, fish, and Hike at the Kiroli Park
If you are a lover of outdoor activities, Kiroli Park is for you. This park is pet-friendly and offers hiking trails, pavilions, playgrounds, and tennis facilities to its visitors.
You can spend an entire day in Kiroli Park as there is so much to do. The kids are not left behind; they enjoy running around the green spaces and feeding the ducks.
There is a dog park available too! This special area would allow you to meet other pet owners while your furry friends unwind and enjoy the wild atmosphere near the main town of West Monroe, Louisiana.
A small token is paid as an entry fee, but it is worth the fun because both the adults and kids will have an exciting time!
A trip to Kiroli Park can’t be separated from the fun things to do in Monroe, LA.
Address: 820 Kiroli Rd, West Monroe, LA 71291-4945
21. Taste fine wine at Flying Tiger Brewery
Flying Tiger Brewery is the first full-scale brewery in northeast Louisiana that produces and packages its beer on-site. A visit to here should be on your list of things to do in Monroe.
In addition to their flagship beers, Flying Tiger has different rotating beers served in their big, popular taproom situated in downtown Monroe.
This brewery honors the WWII legendary Flying Tigers fighter squadron and its famed commander, Monroe resident General Claire Chennault.
The brewery’s taproom features a larger-than-life portrait of the general, funky decor and all kinds of Flying Tiger memorabilia.
At Flying Tiger, food is not served, but you’ll find a food truck always parked outside. There is a nice outside sitting area at the brewery, where live concerts and other events are held.
Address: 506 N 2nd St, Monroe, LA 71201
22. Twin City Ballet
To cap it off is Twin City Ballet Company. It is a non-profit organization chartered by the State of Louisiana to enhance the cultural environment of northeast Louisiana and its environs.
The company is tasked with creating an exciting dance experience in the community by offering training and stage experience opportunities to talented young dancers.
These dancers are trained by an experienced faculty and highly recognized 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 sees serious students attracted from all parts of the south. There are also diverse performances held throughout the year.
You can be a part nu registering with the company or attending a program. By all means, make your stay in Monroe eventful! way
Address: 2905 Desoto St, Monroe, LA 71201-3719
23. Layton Castle
Layton Castle is located in Monroe, a charming red brick castle, and it was initially known as Mulberry Grove.
Layton Castle was settled in 1814 by Henry, a swiss emigrant Judge, as the building has transformed into a complex from an original creole cottage.
Its name is typical of a brick home similar to a two-story building made with a different turret which is now considered a landmark.
This structure was common to the first Louisiana plantations as a two-story building with a whipped roof due to the renovation by Eugenia Stubbs Layton in the 1910s.
Address: 1133 S Grand St, Monroe, LA 71202, United States
24. Forsythe Park
Forsythe Park is an amazing kids’ park with many play facilities for children and adults to have a memorable time.
This is a neighborhood park that stretches for fifty-three acres with picnic areas that are open for the entire family.
The park features a fantastic golf course, sports fields, tennis courts, and a staging area, including wooden pavilions.
Forsythe Park consists of putt-putt golf, beach volleyball courts, a public boat launch, and park restrooms.
Address: 2300 Sycamore St, Monroe, LA 71201, United States
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Plan a Trip to Monroe
Sitting at the eighth-biggest city in the United States of America, Monroe, Louisiana, is an absolutely fun city to visit.The city is full of numerous attractions that make it a famous and a real fit for your next vacation.
The incredible waterfront restaurants, hiking trails, museums, zoos, sculptures, parks, and many more will thrill you.
Start now to plan your visit to Monroe and if you need some help, this piece is always available as a guide.