Monroe and West Monroe, located in northeast Louisiana, is situated on the banks of the Ouachita River and offers a range of unique activities steeped in the culture of this diverse area. Delicious restaurants, local breweries, concerts at the vineyard, drive-up farmers market, national wildlife refuges and shopping galore, Monroe offers activities for everyone.
Top Things to Do in Monroe-West Monroe
Biedenharn Museum & Gardens
Part Coca-Cola museum, part botanical gardens, part historic home and part Bible museum, Biedenharn Museum & Gardens is one of the most diverse attractions you’ll find anywhere in Louisiana. Learn about bottling pioneer Joe Biedenharn’s ties to soft drink history — Biedenharn and his brother Herman were the first-ever Coca-Cola bottlers. You can still purchase a 5-cent coke from the soda jerk at the soda counter.
Chennault Aviation & Military Museum
All war veterans return to the home front with stories, but few could match General Claire Lee Chennault’s. The World War II fighter pilot from the tiny farming town of Gilbert, Louisiana, rose through the ranks to become one of the war’s most celebrated aviators. At the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum, you’ll be taken to the front lines with the general, seeing the battlefront through his eyes as he led campaigns for both the U.S. and Chinese air forces. Wartime artifacts, compelling stories and interactive exhibits tell of the challenges and triumphs that Chennault and his allies faced in wartime.
Breweries in Monroe
Flying Tiger Brewery - With a moto like “Drink Heroic Beer”, Flying Tiger Brewery pays tribute to the military history that has shaped our modern day lives. Since 2016, they have been crafting courageous and bold beers. A visit to the tap room will not disappoint — sip on a flagship beer like the Burma Blonde or the Warhawk Kolsch and step outside to enjoy the large backyard perfect for a game of cornhole or lounging under the covered patio. See how these bold beers are crafted with on a Flying Tiger Brewery tour.
Ouachita Brewing - Located in West Monroe, Ouachita Brewing crafts uniquely Louisiana beers that reflect the culture and landscape of the State. Visitors get a behind-the-scenes look at how the beers are made on free tours offered every Saturday afternoon. After your tour, order a pint of their signature beer, the LouisiAmber, the DeltaPils, or the coffee-infused porter named Conflicted.
Parish Restaurant offers up delicious Southern cuisine that is as fancy or traditional as you might like it. Chef Corey Bahr designed the restaurant to be inviting and colorful with lots of local art to be enjoyed over a cocktail and shrimp and grits. Bahr is known for his culinary technique that honors the flavors, culture and regional foods that are found in the north Louisiana region. Learn more about Parish Restaurant and other restaurants in Monroe.
This magical 20-acres is home to Landry Vineyards, the only vineyard in North Louisiana. A wide variety of grapes are grown and harvested to make their signature wines ranging from Syrah and Merlot to more unique Louisiana flavors like the Peach Muscadine, or the Redneck Red Muscadine. Be adventurous and try the Blueberry Merlot or the port-style Cotton Rouge. Tasting and winery tours are just the beginning! In the summer months visit for the outdoor concert series. Here’s five reasons why you should go sip wine and enjoy an outdoor concert (in case you need more convincing).
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is an incredibly diverse wildlife area with 4,500 acres of lake, swamp, cypress, bottomland hardwood, pine and mixed hardwood forests teeming with plants and wildlife. Visitors can see anything from alligators and turtles to coyote, deer and water fowl. This is an active birding spot with herons, egrets, orioles, red-winged blackbirds and many more. Visit the lake to rent a canoe or throw in a line from the dock and go fishing.
North of West Monroe is D’Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge which is even larger 17,000 acres of cypress swamps and similar land terrain as Black Bayou. It is also known for the migratory songbirds, wintering migratory fowl. Keep your eyes peeled for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and even the Louisiana black bear.
And dive further into your outdoor adventures at the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge that is great for hunting, crawfishing, fishing for bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass.
Masur Museum of Art
Set in a 1920s Tudor-style house on the National Register of Historic Places, the Masur Museum of Art is the largest collecting and exhibiting visual arts museum in Northeast Louisiana and features a stunning visual arts collection of paintings, prints and sculpture. They also have rotating exhibitions of art from museums and artists nationwide. Stop to enjoy the art in a less-than-predictable setting and even join an art class or sign up the kids for children's workshop. See the current exhibitions.
Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum
Get ready for fun with the whole crew at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum. It’s an super interactive museum meant to make learning so much fun, the kiddos won’t realize they are in a museum. Kids can play in the replica firehouse, act as Kid-President in the White House exhibit and be inspired to become a medical professional in the Discovery Hospital.
Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo
The Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo is an 80-plus-acre zoological park and gardens is perfect for some family fun and education. Wander throughout the animal exhibits where you can see more than 100 species of birds and animals. You might spy addax, hippopotamus, leopards, ocelots, boar, tigers, macaws and many more. Don’t miss the ZOOasis Splash Pad, Children’s Zoo and Safari boat ride.
Downtown River Market
Monroe knows how to celebrate the good life! Seasonally, the Downtown River Market celebrates the vibrancy of Monroe and it’s abundance of local resources. Visitors can shop the farmer’s market featuring the freshest produce and food, or visit for the weekend events like the Food Truck Fest, International Food Festival, Bloody Mary Fest and Blues, Brews & BBQ. Check event schedules and farmer’s market dates.
Antique Alley is the setting the stage for an epic shopping spree, the antique shops on Trenton Street greet visitors with picturesque old storefront facades that appear as if they’ve hardly changed in the past century. Begin your antiquing odyssey at the Cotton Port Antique Mall, with more than 20 shops whose wares range from vintage glassware to classic jewelry and furnishings. After a stop at the antique mall, walk down the street to any of the many stores lining Trenton Street, including Trenton Street Antiques and Rialto Antique Market.