Visit Central Louisiana

25 AMAZING THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA


Come Explore the Splendors of the Area

This list is the perfect guide to fun and adventure in central Louisiana. Outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife fanatics, art aficionados and everyone in between can find a venue or event that has something they’ll enjoy and bring them back for more.

Visit the Alexandria Pineville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for more travel information.

Downtown Alexandria Arts and Cultural District

Dotting the downtown Alexandria streetscape are several venues where culture and the arts come alive. The Alexandria Museum of Art, the River Oaks Square Arts Center, the T.R.E.E. House and Children’s Museum, the Arna Bontemps African-American Museum and the Coughlin Saunders Performing Arts Center are all must-sees. Pops in the Park with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra and various other events taking place at the Alexandria Amphitheater are a great way to absorb some culture and the beauty of the area. www.louisiana-arts.org

Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Learn about the rich history of Alexandria and Pineville by taking a self-guided walking tour of the downtown areas.  50 sites, many of which are on the National Register, take you from the civil war era, through the Art Deco period, to modern. Brochure

Alexandria Zoological Park

Observing wildlife up close is what the Alexandria Zoological Park is all about. Guests can explore habitats such as the Land of the Jaguar and Australian Walkabout, learn about swamp and bayou creatures in the award-winning Louisiana Habitat Exhibit, or kick back and relax as you take in the sights of the zoo from aboard the Bayou Le Zoo Choo Choo! Special events like Les Fest in September, Zoo Boo in October and Holiday Light Safari in December shouldn’t be missed. www.thealexandriazoo.com

The Northup Trail

Follow the path of Solomon Northup during his twelve years as a slave in central Louisiana.  Northup was an African-American farmer and musician from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1941.  His story is told in the film, “12 Years a Slave.”   Visit the Epps Plantation House, now on the campus of LSUA, that Northup helped build.  Or go geocaching and locate the buried treasure at 15 sites in Rapides, Avoyelles and St. Mary Parishes.    www.alexandriapinevillela.com/northuptrail

Historic Sites

Attention all history buffs! The area is packed with a rich and intriguing history. Some of the most notable locations to visit to uncover that incredible heritage include Fort Randolph & Fort Buhlow State Historic Site, Old Town Hall Museum, Rapides and Mt. Olivet cemeteries, as well as the Alexandria National Cemetery in Pineville. In Alexandria, historic St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, the Hotel Bentley and the Alexandria Genealogical Library are excellent stops. The Alexandria Garden District features a Holiday Tour of Homes sure to make all merry and bright. www.alexandriapinevillela.com

Historic Museums

Not-to-miss sites include the Louisiana History Museum in downtown Alexandria, and the Southern Forest Heritage Museum in Long Leaf, which showcases the oldest complete sawmill facility in the South. Dating from the early 20th century, the complex contains the most complete collection of steam-powered logging and milling equipment thought to be in existence. http://louisianahistorymuseum.orgwww.forestheritagemuseum.org

AlexWinterFête

What’swinter without snow? This new festival—hosted by the city of Alexandria and the Alexandria-Pineville Area Convention & Visitors’ Bureau during the first weekend of December—features giant “snow globes” where kids can jump and play, ice skating, a Vendors’ Village, musical concerts, a holiday tree lighting and more. This event kicks off the city’s annual 12 Nights of Christmas program. www.cityofalexandriala.com

Mardi Gras

This Louisiana tradition is a celebration of local culture. Festivities take place over two weekends, commencing with the Light the Night Mardi Gras Parade in Pineville. The weekend prior features four popular events in Alexandria and the Hixon Classic Cars & College Cheerleaders Parade, followed by A Taste of Mardi Gras food extravaganza. The Children’s Parade and Krewes’ Parade round out the revelry. www.alexmardigras.com