Sightseeing in Natchitoches

Select Local Merchants

Typically, when someone walks into a restaurant and leaves with a piece of artwork it's a misdemeanor. But at café @ artspace it's not just legal, but encouraged—as long as you pay for it. Since the café is attached to artspace—a hub for art exhibitions, poetry readings, and live concerts—there's always a selection of original artworks by regional artists on hand in the gift shop. These creations occupy diners as they wait for one of the café's golf-themed sandwiches or housemade desserts, which they can order from the menu or a chalkboard scrawled with the day's specials. Meals may be prepared to go or enjoyed in the café, where free WiFi allows diners to tweet photos of their silverware.

710 Texas St
Shreveport,
LA
US

Hands-on exploration of science, mathematics, and space travel awaits within more than 290 exhibits at Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science center. The 92,000-square-foot nonprofit museum is divided into nine galleries, where visitors can play 3D versions of tic-tac-toe, try on a spacesuit, and even pretend-land a space shuttle inside a simulator. Roaming the galleries, meanwhile, Sci-Port's science-savvy demonstrators invite guests to help them with activities such as dissecting sharks or dissecting all the plot holes in Jaws.

The museum also hosts myriad events throughout the year, from science-of-mixology sessions for adults to famous-scientist "birthday parties" where kids can swap scientist-themed trading cards. Even more scientific enlightenment can be found in Sci-Port's IMAX Dome Theatre and Sawyer Space Dome Planetarium, which show films on subjects such as the human body and the sun, respectively.

820 Clyde Fant Pkwy
Shreveport,
LA
US

Jubilee Zoo corrals a herd of furry and fluffy animals in its spacious conservatorium, allowing visitors to pet, feed, and behold a variety of creatures. Fistfuls of feed in the hands of visitors can win over the hearts of sheep and donkeys in the petting zoo, while alpacas, miniature cows, and Zoe the zebra smile at guests from the fields. Kids can ride a pony, and animal lovers of all ages are welcome to sit perfectly still on the hayride while pretending to be needles. The zoo also contains fun play spaces, including a playground, a mountain of sand, and a swath of inflatable slides and obstacle courses.

6402 Highway 1
Shreveport,
Louisiana
US

Gators and Friends Alligator Park and Exotic Zoo invites all ages to watch gators wrestle each other in the water and chomp down their meals. The zoo was established in 2006 to raise awareness about the habits and survival techniques of wild animals, giving visitors a better understanding of all creatures, from alligators to pet hamsters to the turtles who fight crime from the sewers. The facility doesn't just contain reptiles, either; it also keeps kangaroos, capybaras, goats, and a Scottish cow.

11441 Highway 80
Greenwood,
LA
US

In West Monroe's countryside, 20 acres of grapevines sway among gently rolling hills and tall, old trees. This is Landry Vineyards, tended by Jeff and Libby Landry and their four sons. They began growing hybrid blanc du bois grapes?specially bred to withstand the South's climate?at their first vineyard in Folsom back in 1999. However, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina leveled their crops, inspiring them to move to higher ground.

Today, the Landrys ferment a full roster of wines from blanc du bois and other hardy Southern grapes. The crisp fruit flavors of semisweet blanc du bois white pair well with spicy Cajun and French-inspired fare, whereas the Envie Rouge?made with red Cynthiana-Norton and black spanish grapes?acquires its spice from oak-barrel aging. The Landrys also import and ferment many grapes that they can't grow, including hand-picked bunches of cabernet from Washington state and California. Though locals have been enjoying the fruits of the Landry family's labors for several years, the vineyard's appearance in a 2012 episode of Duck Dynasty introduced the Louisiana-made wines to a national audience, drawing in droves of customers from all over the country.

Besides sipping wines, customers can visit the picturesque vineyard for tastings and cellar and winery tours. And during regular concerts, they can sip wine among the sounds of blues, jazz, and grapes quietly gossiping about which grape pickers have the softest hands.

5699 New Natchitoches Rd
West Monroe,
LA
US

Two-time Grammy Award–winner Rita Coolidge brandishes her dulcet tones and musical pedigree to celebrate the Wonderland of Lights Festival's 25th anniversary with a collaborative holiday-music performance. Under the direction of Stephen L. Hayes, Assistant Professor and Director of Music at Wiley College, the school's a cappella choir blends its melodious harmonies with Rita Coolidge's lead vocalizations as they collectively croon Christmas standards, holiday classics, and famous ballads penned by prodigious reindeer. Marshall Visual Art Center welcomes up to 350 concert-goers in the venue's large, open room with twinkle lights dotting the ceiling at night and unemployed flashlights during eclipses.

208 E Burleson St
Marshall,
TX
US