Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Monroe, LA

  • Published 2022/09/30

Nestled in Louisiana, Monroe is a beautiful city with tons of places to see and things to do.

Monroe is the eighth-largest city in the United States of America, with a population of 47,906 at the 2020 consensus.

This fantastic city has everything from museums and sculptures to zoos and wildlife refuges.

The food scene is also incredible.

Here, you will find some of the best waterfront restaurants serving delectable food and drinks.

So if you like escaping into nature or experiencing vibrant cultures, Monroe will be a pure delight and will surely win your heart!

Interested to know more about this city?

Here are the 25 best things to do in Monroe, Louisiana:

Stroll around the City

The waters of Monroe, Louisiana

Jarred Armfield /

Monroe is a gorgeous picturesque town with lots of stunning places to see and lovely things to do.

The city is delightful, with splendid architecture that will win you over.

Though Monroe is the eighth largest town, it does not make it’s not worth exploring on foot.

Welcome sign of Monroe

David L. Hoover /

Make sure to visit as many streets and neighborhoods on foot as possible.

Here, you will find fine places and discover restaurants with fantastic food along the way.

Long and peaceful walks in the city like a true local will refresh your mind, body, and soul!

Visit the Lovely Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

Exterior of Biedenharn Museum & Garden

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along the Ouachita River in Monroe, Biedenharn Museum & Gardens was built in 1913 by Joseph A. Biedenharn.

The home and garden are now open for a public visit; the estate also has two museums with historical artifacts and memorabilia.

Those two museums are the Coco-Cola Museum and the Bible Museum.

The Coca-Cola Museum contains everything related to Coca-Cola, and the Bible Museum includes several biblical works of literature and various bibles.

Entrance to the Biedenharn Museum & Garden

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The house has original grandeur furnishings that deserve to be seen by everyone.

The garden or the ELsong Garden is a beautiful formal English Garden with several thematic areas, such as the Four Seasons Garden, a Musical Grotto, and the Oriental Garden.

The elegant and well-maintained alone is very impressive, with flowers blooming year-round.

Make sure to visit this gem to enjoy Monroe’s history, art, and beautiful outdoors!

Fountain at Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pay a Visit to the Coca-Cola Museum

Coca-Cola exhibit in Biedenharn Museum

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Though Coca-Cola Museum is located in the estate of Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, it is worth mentioning as an attraction of its own.

Monroe was the first city in the world to start bottling Coca-Cola, the most famous soft drink around the world.

The museum is fascinating and very well worth visiting.

Here, you will learn about the beginnings of Coke and how the bottling process works.

First advertisement of Coca-Cola shown in Coca-Cola Museum

Billy Hathorn, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

After learning about the history, you can walk around the museum to see all the artifacts and memorabilia.

You will also see one of the original delivery trucks used to sell the first bottled coca-cola, as well as various original vintage wrappers of the bottles on display.

After the museum tour, enjoy a chilled coke in the old-fashioned glass bottles from the old non-electric vending machine.

Visit this museum to see where the beloved Coke started and enjoy a Coke bottle.

Visit the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum of Louisiana

Welcome sign of Chennault Aviation & Military Museum

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Selman Field Army Air Corps Navigation School, the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum of Louisiana celebrates and highlights the impact of General Claire Chennault and northeast Louisiana on the military and aviation history of the United States.

The museum showcases the artifacts and exhibits related to aviation and military history, such as uniforms, documents, photographs, weapons, and more.

Exterior of Chennault Aviation & Military Museum

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum displays all the U.S. Military branches, from World War I to the present day, along with an extensive exhibit dedicated to the life of General Claire Chennault.

You will also see substantial military aircraft outside the museum.

You can take guided tours of the museum to learn more about the museum from knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides.

Interior of Chennault Aviation & Military Museum

Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Boardwalk at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bonita R. Cheshier /

When visiting Monroe, you cannot miss the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge!

It is a protected wilderness area popular among locals and tourists alike where they can relish and appreciate Monroe’s beautiful natural green space.

The wildlife refuge consists of a 1,700-acre Roasterke, an educational center, an arboretum, a visitor’s center, a prairie area, a wildlife pier, a pavilion, an amphitheater, a nature trail, a boat launch, and much more.

Welcome sign of  Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Brandy McKnight /

This beautiful green space is filled with diverse plant life and wildlife.

A butterfly at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bonita R. Cheshier /

You can spot several woody plants of Lousiana, native wildflowers and grasses, and several animals, including red-winged blackbirds, turtles, coyotes, deers, and alligators.

You can enjoy hiking on nature trails, birdwatching, boating in the lake, or having a picnic, among many other activities.

Visit this breathtaking refuge to experience the splendid natural wonders of Louisiana and relax in a tranquil environment.

The waters of  Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Spot Animals at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo

A lion at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo

RyanThomasParker /

Located on Bernstein Park Road, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo is an 80-acre garden and zoo with more than 500 animals from over 200 different species.

The garden is very well maintained and beautifully landscaped with different plants and trees, and it also has a greenhouse that you can walk through.

The zoo exhibits several animals in various exhibits, such as The Australian Exhibit that contains wallabies, cockatoos, wallaroos, emus, a kookaburra, and more.

Other animals you can spot around the zoo are tigers, lions, zebras, baboons, bears, peacocks, kangaroos, leopards, gibbons, parrots, and many more.

A hippo at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo

RyanThomasParker /

You can also attend a boat tour to see the animals that are not visible from the regular walking paths.

In the petting zoo, you can pet goats, zebus, sheep, horses, cattle, and many more animals.

Visit the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo to see many beautiful animals and see the lovely gardens!

Stop by the Northeast Louisiana African Heritage Museum

Northeast Louisiana African Heritage Museum is a small museum located in Monroe’s Chenault Park.

The museum was founded in 1994 and aimed to preserve the African Heritage of Louisiana.

It hosts several social and cultural events open to the public to educate the community about African Heritage.

The displays and exhibits showcase the 60s’ civil rights movement.

The museum also supports local artists by regularly organizing art shows featuring local artists.

Visit the Northeast Louisiana African Heritage Museum to learn about Louisiana’s African Heritage and see notable works by local artists.

Visit the Cooley House

Exterior of G.B Cooley House

Rswood, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Cooley House, located along South Grand Street, is a worthwhile historical attraction in Monroe.

This site is the last remaining structure built by Walter Burley Griffin for famous Monroe entrepreneur Gilbert Brian “Captain” Cooley in 1908.

The house is renowned for its rare prairie-style architecture.

Inside, it still features its first owners’ original furnishings.

At the same time, numerous galleries displaying artifacts and other relevant items are worth seeing inside.

The Cooley House is on the National Register of Historic Places list to preserve its historical value.

Touring this famous historical house in Monroe is a fascinating experience, especially for those interested in local history.

Check Out Layton Castle

Monroe is home to a magnificent historical attraction known as Layton Castle, situated on South Grand Street.

It is renowned throughout Monroe for its elegant red brick castle design, which was initially built as a Creole cottage in 1814.

In 1910, it underwent a massive upgrade, eventually converting it into the 60-room castle known today.

Suppose you’re interested in learning more about Monroe’s backstory; visiting Layton Castle is an excellent way to do so.

Aside from day tours through Layton Castle, visitors can stay the night at its restored carriage house.

It features its original owners’ furnishings and displays other significant items and heirlooms in its galleries.

Spending an hour or two at this castle is a worthwhile experience, especially for history buffs.

Play Outdoor Sports at Forsythe Park

The grounds of Forsythe Park

Sam Brandon /

Located along Sycamore Street, Forsythe Park spans over 53 acres and is equipped with more than your typical park amenities.

Locals love heading to this spacious neighborhood park to break a sweat and have fun.

Waters of Forsythe Park

Sam Brandon /

It has a tennis court, nine-hole golf course, soccer field, softball diamond, putt-putt golf course, and beach volleyball courts, making it ideal for those interested in sports.

There’s also a jogging patch and a public boat launch.

In addition, Forsythe Park features an outdoor theater where local musicians regularly perform.

See Visual Arts at Masur Museum of Art

Exterior of the Masur Museum of Art

Larealtor, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Masur Museum of Art is Northeast Louisiana’s most significant visual arts museum.

It is situated in a stunning Tudor-style former home, the old home of the Masur family.

It was built in 1914 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The museum aims to promote and support the visual arts of the local community of Monroe.

It has displays and exhibitions and educates visitors through its educational programs.

The museum is home to art by various renowned artists, including Robert Motherwell, Mary Cassatt, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, and many more!

The Lower Gallery in the museum screens various films and hosts artist talks and lectures as well.

Visit the Masur Museum of Art to see the works of various noted artists and learn about the visual arts a bit more.

Stop at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum

Exterior of the colorful Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is an interactive children’s museum with educational and engaging exhibits and displays to help kids learn fun and exciting.

The kids can engage in various activities to learn about the world.

They can try a job as a waiter in the Kids’ Cafe, visit the hands-on hospital, drive an ambulance, go to the health hall and see what doctors and nurses do, among many other activities.

The kids can also encase themselves in giant bubbles in the bubble maker activity.

Visit the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum with your little ones and watch them have tons of fun while learning valuable things and lessons.s

Dine at the Warehouse No 1 Restaurant

Overlooking the scenic banks of Ouachita River, Warehouse No 1 Restaurant is located in Downtown Monroe and is probably the city’s most famous dining spot.

The restaurant serves America, French, Cajun, and Creole food in a rustic setting with a stunningly gorgeous backdrop.

The vast and diverse menu caters to its large customer base with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

This place is famous for its correctly done steaks accompanied by wine from their extensive and impressive collection.

But do not forget to try fried button mushrooms, cajun shrimps, fried green tomatoes, and blackened redfish when you dine at the Warehouse No 1 Restaurant.

Try the Chilled Beer at Flying Tiger Brewery

Flying Tiger Brewery is a beautiful brewery in Monroe that makes and packages its beer on-site.

The brewery serves various delicious flagship beers in its spacious taprooms.

When the weather is perfect, you can enjoy your chilled beer on the patio outside.

The brewery does not serve food; however, there is a food truck always outside from where you can buy quick bites to accompany your beer.

Visit the Flying Tiger Brewery to enjoy the best craft beer in Louisiana.

Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites

Hampton Inn & Suites offers guests the best possible amenities and comfort to make their stay worthwhile.

The facilities provided by the hotel include a fitness center with a gym, meeting rooms, business centers, car hire, an indoor pool, and so much more.

Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites to make your trip even more perfect.

Shop for Great Finds at the Pecanland Mall

Exterior of Pecanland Mall

Limontes1125, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting North Louisiana’s most extensive shopping mall is something you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Monroe.

Pecanland Mall, located along Millhaven Road, is one of the main shopping centers in the entire region.

Spanning over 964,123 square feet, this mall features over a hundred stores, restaurants, and specialty shops, keeping you busy browsing the entire day.

Interior of Pecanland Mall

PCHS-NJROTC, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stores like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Dillard’s, H&M, JCPenney, Belk, and plenty more can be found at this shopping mall.

At the same time, treat your taste buds to various restaurants at Pecanland Mall.

Take a Look at Contemporary Art at Levee Gallery

In Monroe, Louisiana, the Levee Gallery displays the creations of well-known and up-and-coming local, modern, and regional artists.

The Levee Gallery, which opened its doors in 2017, is an art gallery specializing in transient exhibitions of contemporary art.

It provides you with access to a variety of breathtaking pieces of art that you and your traveling companions may view.

Other activities include talking to artists, seeing unique exhibits, witnessing painters create their works of art, and much more.

Levee Gallery is a must-see when you are in Monroe.

Learn Something New at Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum

Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum is a fascinating historical attraction to add to your Monroe itinerary.

This museum along Chennault Park Drive has been around since 1994.

It showcases the most significant collection of works from the expressionist artist Don Ciccone, a Northeast Louisiana native.

Touring this fascinating museum will take you through various galleries featuring Cincone’s famous masterpieces.

Likewise, Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum has galleries featuring archives of local African American personalities, leaders, and statesmen.

Join guided tours to make your visit to this museum worthwhile, and drop by its gift shop for some unique souvenirs.

Cheer for the ULM Warhawks at Malone Stadium

The field of Malone Stadium

JonRidinger, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For top-notch college football action in Monroe, head to JPS Field at Malone Stadium, located at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM).

This massive football stadium serves as the home field of the ULM Warhawks, the university’s official men’s collegiate football team.

Exterior of Malone Stadium

Billy Hathorn, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Suppose you’re an avid football fan or an average tourist in Monroe who wants sports entertainment; Malone Stadium is your go-to place.

This football stadium, with a capacity of 27 617 people, opened in 1978.

Attend a Workshop at Twin City Ballet Co

If you’re seeking indoor ventures to do while it’s rainy or freezing, visit the Twin City Ballet Co.

The Twin City Ballet Co is a ballet school that offers seminars, lessons, and captivating live performances.

It was established in 1970.

Get ready to be stunned as you see a captivating ballet performance at this spectacular tourist site!

This venue also offers a relaxed setting to witness a stunning ballet performance with your friends, partner, or family.

You may also consider signing up for a workshop if you plan to stay a few weeks or live nearby so you can develop your abilities.

Watch Hard Court Action at Fant-Ewing Coliseum

Exterior of Fant-Ewing Coliseum

JonRidinger, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fant-Ewing Coliseum is a must-visit sports attraction in Monroe.

It is part of the University of Louisiana Monroe campus and the home court of the ULM Warhawks men’s and women’s basketball teams.

In addition, it is the home court of the ULM Warhawks women’s volleyball team.

Interior of Fant-Ewing Coliseum

JonRidinger, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for more college sports action, head to this famous stadium and watch the Monroe Warhawks take on various collegiate teams in basketball and volleyball.

Join thousands of sports fans cheering at this 7,085-seater coliseum during the college sports season.

Far view of Fant-Ewing Coliseum's exterior

JonRidinger, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fill Your Stomach and Re-Energize at Parish Restaurant & Bar

Cory Bahr, born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, is the founder and owner of Parish Restaurant & Bar.

With weekends spent at the family hunting camp and casting fishing lines, Cory acquired a love of the great outdoors and cuisine.

Parish Restaurant & Bar emphasizes carefully utilizing seasonal, fresh foods.

The menu includes a seafood platter, filet mignon, homemade pasta, duck wraps, salads, scallops, and other dishes.

Furthermore, Parish Restaurant & Bar has a lively bar and a wide range of wine lists.

Buy Local Products at Monroe Downtown RiverMarket

During the spring and fall seasons, local farmers, artisans, and vendors gather at South Grand Street to open Monroe Downtown RiverMarket.

This French-style local market is best known for its fresh produce and wide array of food and craft vendors, drawing visitors from in and around Monroe.

Aside from being an essential marketplace for locals for food and other supplies, this place is also famous for tourists.

Monroe Downtown RiverMarket highlights local cuisines, culture, and entertainment, making it fascinating and fun to visit.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Walk around the Kiroli Park

Kiroli Park has 150 acres of breathtaking natural scenery.

The majority of the park is covered in trees.

It is reachable by paved roads and paths with unexpected features, including a covered bridge, suspension bridge, observation tower, and high walkways.

Multiple playgrounds, a special conservatory, a dog park, tennis courts, several gardens, picnic spaces, fishing ponds, and hiking paths are all located inside the park.

The magnificent lodge in Kiroli Park is ideal for hosting sizable indoor gatherings.

Several picnic shelters are also available for a little cost and are excellent for birthday celebrations.

Spend the day in Kiroli Park with your traveling friends and have a blast in nature.

Final Thoughts

As you get ready for an amazing getaway with your loved ones, close friends, or partner, explore Monroe’s numerous treasures.

Monroe offers a ton of magnificent museums, enthralling performance spaces, breathtaking art galleries, and much more.

You may stroll around many captivating and eye-catching sights in this lovely city.

Make your vacation plans right off the bat!

More Louisiana

Best Things to Do in New Orleans

Best Things to Do in Alexandria, Louisiana

© All rights reserved.