Louisiana’s twin cities of Shreveport and Bossier City
offer double the holiday delights.

By Elaine Warner

Shreveport’s riverfront is a night photographer’s dream. The Texas Street Bridge, clad in candy-colored neon, stretches across the Red River to Bossier City, leaving glittering reflections in the water. Vegas-style casinos add to the collage. And in RiverView Park, towering stainless steel roses glow through a series of shades of purple, blue and red.

The Louisiana Boardwalk on Bossier City’s riverfront has shops and restaurants.
This colorful canvas is even brighter during the Christmas season, when fireworks and thousands of lights set the two cities aglow. Welcome to the twin cities on the Red River.

When the sun goes down

Shreveport and Bossier City are two distinct cities but the distinctions are seamless to visitors. Walk just a few blocks from RiverView Park to find the Red River District, downtown Shreveport’s party place. Restaurants like Brothers Seafood and Nicky’s Mexican Restaurant, plus nightlife and shopping venues regularly draw residents and visitors to the area that’s just below the Texas Street Bridge.

Casinos in both towns line the Red River. The Eldorado and Sam’s Town are in Shreveport. DiamondJacks, Boomtown and Horseshoe sparkle on the Bossier City side. Like their Las Vegas big brothers, the casinos offer more than gambling. Most host live entertainment, all offer hotel accommodations and several even have luxury spas. Bossier City is also the site of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs racetrack with live racing (May through October), year-round simulcasts and casino action.

Other accommodations that are close to the river and downtown Shreveport attractions include a new Hilton Hotel (104 Market) adjoining the convention center and the AAA three Diamond Best Western Chateau Suite (201 Lake St.), which offers discounts to AAA members. Its restaurant, Guillame’s, is known for fine Cajun cuisine and sweet potato pie.

Shreveport’s big holiday event, Rockets Over the Red, takes place on Nov. 24 at the riverfront and features fireworks plus food, music, games and Santa’s Train.

When the sun comes up

Although evenings are lively along the river, there are plenty of things to do when the sun comes up. You can see the stars at Sci-Port Discovery Center, 820 Clyde Fant Parkway. This hands-on science museum features the world’s first open-access, interactive laser planetarium. Almost 300 exhibits cover everything from mathematics to the mysteries of plumbing.

Other museums focus on different aspects of history and culture. Military buffs will want to visit the Eighth Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. Indoor exhibits showcase military history and artifacts, while outside an extensive collection of aircraft impresses with its size and scope. A big favorite is the menacing-looking SR-71, a sleek reconnaissance plane.

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery, 4747 Creswell in Shreveport, is like a little jewel box. Inside are fine works by American and European masters, while A Fairy Tale Sculpture Gallery invites children to touch the art–a friendly pat for the Frog Prince or a lucky nose rub on Wilbur, the pig from “Charlotte’s Web,” are expected. On Nov. 3, a free Images of Family tour will be offered, along with inspirational readings. A Christmas-themed tour will be Dec. 1.

Shreveport’s Red River District virtually glows at night. Shreveport/Bossier City Convention & Tourist Bureau photos
For a really big art experience, just drive around Shreveport. Sculptures are found on street corners, and murals decorate many of the buildings. The AT&T Building, located at Cotton and Marshall streets, is decorated on two sides with “Once in a Millennium Moon.” At 25,000 square feet, it’s believed to be the country’s largest public mural.

The Louisiana Boardwalk on Bossier City’s riverfront has dozens of shops, eateries and a 14-screen cinema. It’s a hot spot for nightly entertainment, suitable for the season, throughout December. It’s located off Interstate 20 at exit 19B.

For the sports-minded crowd, catch a CHL (Central Hockey League) game featuring the hometown Mudbugs at CenturyTel Center in Bossier City. Also, college football’s Independence Bowl on Dec. 30 will match up teams from the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference.

Holiday theater, music and dance offerings will be at several venues, including Shreveport’s historic Strand Theater (619 Louisiana Ave.), which hosts the Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” on Nov. 19, and “Babes in Toyland” on Dec. 8.

A city for festivals

Other holiday fun includes the December on the Red opening ceremony on Nov. 19 in Shreveport’s Festival Plaza. Also, the Christmas on the Caddo Fireworks Festival will be held on Dec. 1. Caddo Lake, located in nearby Oil City, will glow with fireworks, lights and a boat parade.

Another glittering event, Mardi Gras, once again rolls into Shreveport/Bossier City in February. The celebrations are family friendly and none more so than the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade. And if you can’t be here for the real thing, get a glimpse of the glamour at the Ark-La-Tex Mardi Gras Museum, 2101 E. Texas St., in Bossier City. The collection includes costumes, crowns, scepters, throws and floats.

Beauty of a more natural kind can be found at the Gardens of the American Rose Center, 8877 Jefferson-Paige Road in Shreveport. From Nov. 30–Dec. 26, thousands of twinkling lights turn bare branches into a winter wonderland. Between April and October, roses bloom in 60 different gardens.

Whatever the season, Shreveport and Bossier City offer a double dose of fun.

Elaine Warner is a contributor from Edmond, Okla.
Nov/Dec 2007 Issue

For details, contact the Shreveport/ Bossier City Convention and Tourist Bureau at (888) 45-VISIT (458-4748) or www.shreveport-bossier.org.

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