When you head down to Louisiana, drop by Bossier City, located in the state’s northwestern region, in Bossier Parish.
This city has the second-highest population in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan statistical area, sharing deep ties to its sister city, Shreveport.
The area of Bossier City was once the Elysian Grove plantation in the 1830s, which James Cane and his wife, Mary Doal Cilley Bennett Cane, bought.
James had arrived at Bossier with his first wife Rebecca Bennett, her brother William, and his wife Mary Doal Cilley Bennett.
The family operated a trading post across the river called “Bennett’s Bluff.” Eventually, they acquired a 1/7 stake in the newly settled Shreve Town, which became Shreveport.
Many decades later, James and Mary’s granddaughter, Anna B., got the brilliant idea of turning the Bossier area into a riverfront city.
She and J.J. Stockwell sold the first lots in 1883, which spurred rapid growth, morphing into an unofficial city named Cane City.
In 1907, Cane City became a city under Gov. Newton C. Blanchard, who renamed it Bossier City.
Do you want to know more about Bossier City, Louisiana?
Here’s a list of the best things to do in the city:
Learn Military History at the Barksdale Global Power Museum
Revisit air force history at Bossier City by checking out the exhibits at the Barksdale Global Power Museum.
During your visit, you’ll learn about the history of Strategic Bombardment.
Likewise, you’ll also pay tribute to the home of the 8th Air Force, the 2ndBomb Wing, and the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The museum celebrates the country’s battlefield success, and it also recognizes the equally important efforts to prevent war.
Among its various displays are World War II bombers, like the B-17 and B-24, and their escort plane, the P-51 Mustang.
You’ll also find Cold War-era planes like the B-52G Stratofortress, as well as the fastest jet aircraft ever made, the SR-71 Blackbird, able to reach Mach 3 and above.
Roll a Strike at Holiday Lanes
Since 1960, the Holiday Lanes bowling alley has entertained families in Bossier City, whether residents or guests.
Bring your family and friends for a little friendly competition, with bragging rights as the ultimate prize.
The best thing is that the Holiday Lanes is affordable, so you don’t need to stick to a strict budget.
Your kids will enjoy playing at the bumper bowling lanes while you play with your friends, siblings, or cousins.
Likewise, Holiday Lanes offers a COOL Glow Bowling mode, where you can play with the lights down and music turned up.
You also get cool special lighting effects, so you truly feel like having a night on the town.
Plus, you can also enjoy delicious food there.
Shop ‘til You Drop at the Louisiana Boardwalk
What should you do with your big winnings at the casino?
Bring your family over to the Louisiana Boardwalk, of course, for an afternoon of shopping and delicious dining.
You can find this outdoor shopping center between the Margaritaville Resort Casino and Horseshoe Bossier City.
The Louisiana Boardwalk is also one of the state’s largest shopping malls.
During your visit, you can find several outlet stores like Nike, retail stores, various restaurants, and IMAX theaters.
You can find Bass Pro Shops, Justice, Banana Republic, and other high-end brands in the mall, too.
Engage with the Culture at the Bossier Arts Council
Louisiana is one of the country’s most culturally dynamic states, and organizations like the Bossier Arts Council help keep it that way.
The group devotes itself to promoting and developing the rich cultural heritage of Bossier Parish.
In 1980, a local art group and the city of Bossier established the arts council. Their partnership continues today.
During your visit, you’ll find various artworks on display at the gallery. These artworks are from regional artists who wish to build successful careers.
On the other hand, the council also hosts workshops under experienced artists and instructors.
You can enroll in bonsai, photography, and woodcarving classes, just to name a few.
Grab Fresh Produce at the Bossier City Farmer’s Market
If you’re ever in Bossier City on a Saturday, drop by the spacious parking lot of the Pierre Bossier Mall for the Bossier City Farmer’s Market.
The continued boom of the city has allowed more farmers to join the market, selling farm-fresh produce throughout the year.
From April to November, the farmer’s market is open to the public.
Today, the market already has over 100 vendors signed up.
These vendors sell fresh vegetables, drive food trucks, or sell unique handmade crafts.
Others sell local honey, baked goods, even handmade clothes.
Besides food vendors, local artists have also settled in the farmer’s market.
They sell handmade soap, jewelry, woodworking, paintings, and mixed media creations.
Several businesses in Bossier City started at the farmer’s market, so show your support for the next big thing!
Experience Louisiana at the Krewe of Gemini Mardi Gras Museum
Mardi Gras has become a globally famous festival and shorthand for Louisiana.
Even if you’ve never heard of Louisiana in your life, you’ll have heard of Mardi Gras.
Experience the dizzying joy and celebration of the festival by visiting the Krewe of Gemini Mardi Gras Museum in Bossier City.
The museum features various colorful and glitzy costumes and displays that appear in Mardi Gras.
Boatloads of color, luster, and glamor emanate from the exhibits arranged in the museum.
Likewise, the museum celebrates over ten years of Mardi Gras in North Louisiana.
Its exhibits also continue to receive memorabilia, housed inside a 10,000-square-foot space.
This vast space allows the museum to hold special events from time to time.
Enjoy a Carefree Stay at the Margaritaville Resort Casino
Standing along the Red River, the Margaritaville Bossier City Resort Casino offers guests a carefree stay filled with entertainment and luxury.
The experience is a mix of Las Vegas-style high-stakes gaming and the signature Louisiana laid-back island life.
Likewise, the resort sprinkles in impeccable hospitality in between.
Stay in deluxe accommodations, get pampered at the nearby spa, and enjoy the mouth-watering flavors of the resort’s international restaurants.
Then, cool down with friends at the 5 O'Clock Somewhere bar over some delicious cocktails.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to play at the luckiest casino in the state?
The Margaritaville Casino offers only cutting-edge gaming machines and new renditions of classic games.
Besides gaming, the resort casino also offers facilities for weddings, corporate meetings, and special events.
Bring Your Family to Party Central Family Fun Center
Treat your family to a whole days’ worth of family-friendly entertainment by bringing them to Bossier City’s Party Central Family Fun Center.
For 18 years and counting, this center has entertained families with a range of thrilling games and facilities.
You can race your kids on the go-kart tracks, ride around on bumper cars or bumper boats, and play mini-golf.
Otherwise, you can let them loose on the kiddie rides, the arcade, or the jungle gym.
You can also practice your home run swing at the batting cages.
There are also several other amenities, like the bungee trampoline and the rock-climbing walls.
When you’re done playing, you can head to the pizzeria to share a pleasant family meal.
Win Big at the Louisiana Downs Casino & Racetrack
Bossier City is a place for fun and games, and you should drop by Louisiana Downs if you want to know why.
Since 1974, the casino and racetrack have given big winnings to guests, either by horseracing or slot machines.
More than 800 slot machines run inside the casino, so you have a good chance of winning.
Longtime horseracing supporter and shopping center developer Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr., built the complex.
He had developed two racetracks previously, Ohio’s Thistledown and Oklahoma’s Remington Park.
From May to October, the Louisiana Downs hosts the Thoroughbred meet.
Then, the quarter horse meet takes place from January to March.
You can also bet on the only graded event at the track, the Grade III Super Derby, held every September since 1980.
Enjoy a Night Out at the East Bank District
Your trip to Bossier City will be incomplete without a visit to the East Bank District, the city’s newest entertainment hotspot.
This place has become the heart of city nightlife, so feel free to explore its many options.
Before hitting up the other spots, grab a filling meal at the district’s collection of restaurants, then just pick a direction.
You’ll find places like the Flying Heart Brewing company for a refreshing glass of craft beer, or the Bayou Axe Throwing Co., for a healthy round of stress relief.
If you gravitate toward people, head to the center of the park, the East Bank Plaza, and join the crowd for live music and parties.
You’ll never run out of places to go in the East Bank Plaza.
Conveniently, the district is also a stone’s throw away from Bossier City’s major hotels, including the Margaritaville Resort Casino.
Enjoy New Orleans Style Dishes at Ralph and Kacoo’s
Ralph & Kacoo’s first opened in 1969 in False River, Mississippi, which became an instant hit with locals and visitors in the area.
From humble beginnings, this Louisiana and Cajun seafood restaurant has grown to several branches all across the Southeastern region.
Enjoy the best of New Orleans lunch and dinner specialties in a family-friendly ambiance at their Bossier branch on Old Minden Road.
For lunch, you can start with soups like Shrimp Stew or their gumbo servings of Crawfish Etouffee and R&K Seafood Gumbo, or go for hearty salads like Avocado and Shrimp or King Louie.
You can choose from a variety of chicken, seafood, and steak dishes, pasta specials, and their must-try Louisiana Platters.
If you’re coming for dinner, you’ll enjoy the Fresh Catch of the Day on the grill, Angus Beef Ribeye steak, Southern Fried Chicken, and their French Quarter Starters like oysters, shrimp cocktail, and Fire Cracker Shrimp
Feast on Southern fare at Ralph and Kacoo’s.
Catch World-Class Shows at Brookshire Grocery Arena
Brookshire Grocery Arena, located on the banks of Red River, is a 270,000-square-foot entertainment venue in the city.
Since its opening in 2000, the venue has hosted premier concerts, family shows rodeos, motorsports events, and more.
You can check all featured and upcoming events and book online at their website.
If you prefer to watch in private, you can book the Luxury Suites to watch the action up close. The suites also have amenities like private restrooms, excellent seating, wet bars, upscale foods and beverages, and more.
Guests can also avail of special seating in The Club; this 187-seat club and lounge also include access to two bars, upscale seats, and special food and beverage menus.
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll surely enjoy the large video scoreboard and exciting games, catching instant replays seen over 75 TV screens all throughout the concourse, luxury suites, and the Club.
Catch great acts by popular artists at this venue; Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Pink, Cher, and the Foo Fighters are among the great performers who graced the stage at Brookshire Grocery Arena.
Spend a Relaxing Day at Mike Wood Memorial Park
If you’re looking for a place in the city for some afternoon break, you can drop by Mike Wood Memorial Park.
Located south of the air force base, you’ll find this lovely 30-acre park on Dennis Street.
Enjoy the summer and take the kids for a swim at the pools.
Little ones will have an awesome time climbing and running around the modular playground, too.
For sports activities, you can enjoy some frisbee golf at the course, or swing your rackets at the tennis courts; you can also try the fitness stations for your exercise routines.
Walk along the park trails and smell the fresh air with lines of shady trees in view.
Pack some snacks while relaxing on the benches or bleachers, or enjoy eating with the family at the picnic areas and pavilion.
For sure, you’ll catch aircraft like B-52s taking off and landing from the nearby Barksdale Air Force Base.
Enjoy and relax at Mike Wood Memorial Park.
Get Beers and Pizza at Flying Heart Brewing & Pub
For the best local Northwest Louisiana craft beers, head off to Flying Heart Brewing & Pub on Barksdale Boulevard.
The pub and beer garden has been well-enjoyed by Bossier residents since 2015, with the addition of a pizza kitchen and full bar in 2018.
Grab any of their six signature craft beers like the Louisiana Amber, Milk Maid Stout, Firehouse Blonde, Six of Hearts, Black Heart, and Barrel 52.
You’ll enjoy assorted beer flavors whether you’re looking for something light, hoppy, malty, or dark; they also offer a wide range of craft cocktails you can try.
And there’s no better way to enjoy your drinks than to pair them with unique craft pizzas made from the freshest ingredients on a thin New York-style crust; they serve different pizza creations every month so there’s always something new on the menu.
Try their other food options, like chicken wings, German pretzels, and crawfish rub.
Flying Heart Brewing & Pub is kid and dog-friendly so you can enjoy and raise your glass of good beer anytime.
Bring the Family to Pierre Bossier Mall
Pierre Bossier Mall on East Texas Street is a place you can enjoy shopping, dining, and quality entertainment with the family.
The mall houses local retail shops to popular brands, giving you a great shopping experience for everything you need.
Choose from a wide array of apparel, home decor, accessories, several specialty and service outlets, and much more.
Check out great deals and items on sale from popular brands like Aéropostale, Bath & Body Works, Forever 21, JC Penney, and more.
Dine in for delicious meals at Ichiban Sushi & Grill, Red Lobster, Mandarin Express Gourmet Chinese, and Sam’s Southern Eatery, or grab some sweet snacks from Great American Cookies and Southern Sweets.
You can also catch the Bossier City Farmers Market every Saturday from April to November at Pierre Bossier Mall.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Explore Downtown Shreveport at the Red River District
In 2002, the Red River Entertainment District opened in downtown Shreveport as a 12,000-square-foot development.
The builders put up buildings designed along with 19th-century architectural styles, making the whole space look historic.
You’ll find this lively district in the heart of the Shreveport riverfront.
Several residents and tourists have enjoyed the district’s wide variety of restaurants, live entertainment venues, and other businesses.
Paint the town red with friends or hang out with family.
You can cross the Texas Street Bridge to get some shade or listen to lovely afternoon music.
Likewise, you can bring dogs since the district is pet-friendly.
Learn Science at the Sci-Port Discovery Center
Your kids will surely love hanging out at the Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, just seven minutes away from Bossier City.
This science center will teach your kids everything they need to know about science, technology, math, and engineering.
Moreover, they’ll teach your kids in a fun way, with interactive, hands-on exhibits and programs to keep them engaged.
They also have a planetarium for kids dreaming of becoming astronauts.
Besides the planetarium, they can also climb up a solar observatory to find exhibits about the sun.
Then, you can lead them through the Peggy and Aaron Selber Space Walk, where they can feel like passing through a starfield.
This 15-foot-long tunnel features an array of sparkling lights and mirrors to approximate a vast area filled with stars unfolding in every direction.
Learn History at the Shreveport Water Works Museum
Formerly the McNeill Street Pumping Station, the Shreveport Water Works Museum is a unique historical landmark in Shreveport.
The Smithsonian believes it is the last municipal waterworks in America that ran on steam power.
So, the station became a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, plus a National Historic Landmark.
The station opened in 1887, becoming Shreveport’s first water plant.
In 1890, the station began filtering the water, which was rare at the time.
Then, in 1911, the station became one of the first facilities in the US to introduce chlorine in the treatment process.
After decades of operation, the waterworks retired the aging steam pumps in 1980, the last surviving steam-powered waterworks in the country.
Today, you can find the still-intact physical plant with its original equipment still in its original places.
Marvel at the technology of over a century ago, and the rare example of a fully intact steam waterworks.
Enter One of Shreveport’s Oldest Buildings at the Spring Street Museum
The Spring Street Museum operates inside one of the oldest buildings in Shreveport, which has sat on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.
You’ll also notice that the building’s original exterior and interior remain intact.
In 1866, Tally’s Bank became the building’s first occupant, though people believe the building was already there before the Civil War. Several banks have occupied the building since then.
In 1977, the Spring Street Museum opened to the public, featuring a large array of artifacts from the area.
You’ll find displays of vintage clothes circa 1835, antique firearms, vintage swords, toys, plantation records, Persian rugs, and antique maps.
Likewise, you’ll find furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, along with valuable paintings.
Visit the museum to discover unique items left behind in history.
See the Fish at the Shreveport Aquarium
Bring your family to admire the 3,000-plus animals in the Shreveport Aquarium, near the Texas Street Bridge.
Its nearness to the Red River District means you can grab a bite before or after you go to the aquarium.
Which animals will you find inside?
The aquarium takes care of eels, seahorses, paddlefish, sharks, alligators, stingrays, and many more.
Likewise, the aquarium is open seven days a week for the entire year.
The aquarium also allows guests to feed the stingrays or touch the tanks containing jellyfish, starfish, sea cucumbers, cleaner shrimp, among others.
Likewise, the aquarium has a freshwater-themed gallery named the Dome on the Bayou.
This gallery hosts largemouth bass, alligator snapping turtles, and more.
Many of the galleries belong to the aquarium’s large-scale conservation efforts.
Besides looking at the animals, you can rent the aquarium for birthday parties or summer camps.
You can even hold your wedding there.
Bossier City is not only a city of casinos, but it is a developing city with a lot of arts, history, and culture to share.
The city is also right next to its sister, Shreveport, whose landmarks and attractions complement what you enjoyed in Bossier.
Why hold off on your Louisiana trip?
Visit Bossier City today!