Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Natchitoches, LA

  • Published 2022/09/23

Natchitoches is a historical landmark of Louisiana and was discovered by Antoine Juchereau de St. Denis – a French Canadian.

The city of Natchitoches was often regarded as the region’s first established habitation and the oldest in the world.

Despite the French Colony, the European flavor of the city is still present to this day from heritage, architecture, lifestyle, and culture, which made it widely known for its attraction.

Without further ado, here are the 2o best things to do in Natchitoches:

Visit the Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception Church

Entrance to  Immaculate Conception Church

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

Spending time with your family celebrating the holy mass is one of the beautiful feelings in the world.

Serving as Diocese of Alexandria’s parish church, Immaculate Conception Church is what most people love visiting in Natchitoches.

View of Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception Church

Danae Abreu/

This cathedral is built in the same style as other religious institutions in the surrounding region.

Following the construction of a few different churches, the Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception Church is loved by many people today for its abundance.

This beautiful iconic church is something that you should not miss to visit together with your family!

Discover Plantation History at Melrose Plantation

Outside View of Melrose Plantation

Z28scrambler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Melrose is an unincorporated community situated in the city of Natchitoches.

If you love learning about the plantation history in the city, this place is the perfect one for you.

The lives of Creole people 150 years ago are showcased in the 63-acre area preserved and maintained to captivate people who wanted to discover more about the plantation’s history.

A White House in Melrose Plantation

Stephanie Byrd, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Inside, you can get to learn about the Oakland Plantation and Magnolia Plantation.

Other than that, if you visit the place, you will also discover the culture of Creole people.

Your eagerness to learn about history will indeed emanate the moment you visit Melrose Plantation.

This place is indeed one of the best things to do in the city.

Artists' Cabin at Melrose Plantation

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

Head to the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

If you are searching for a place to witness various species such as snapping turtles and alligators, Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium is a great place to visit!

They manage and control the eggs of the animals for recreational and educational purposes for the students.

The place is not just suitable for the students, but for everyone who wishes to see the impressive displays about the tribe who settled before the hatchery was established – the Caddo people.

Generally, the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium is a perfect place for everyone to try and discover something interesting.

Stop by the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile

A Sign in Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile

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

The shop is one of the famous and best destinations to visit if you are in the city of Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Located at 758 Front St, Natchitoches, the shop was substantially established in 1863 and was now regarded as the oldest prevailing store in Louisiana with an exciting history.

Its popularity was not just a mere recognition as one of the oldest general stores in the country, but it can also offer a wide variety of stuff.

If you are looking for something unique for yourself or as a gift, this store has everything for you.

Inside the shop, you can buy old-fashioned hardware, cookware, home supplies, and others.

Other than the old original products, they also offer unique creations of the modern day.

What’s best, they are all reasonably priced!

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile.

Explore at Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site

Outside View of Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site

dcy3, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In just 3 minute drive time from Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile, why not visit the Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site?

It is one of the most suitable places in the town if you want to learn more about the Natchitoches.

The fort is part of the heritage area of the Cane River and was built by Sieur Charles Claude in the year 1716.

Indeed, insofar as the age of the fort, it existed thousands of years ago, which made it popular among the people in the city of Natchitoches.

View of Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site

dcy3, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fort served as a trade and military station, and it eventually became a focal point of economic activity in the surrounding region.

Even though the original fort is nowhere to be found, the current replicated defense never failed to offer exhaustive discovery about the city’s history.

Going inside the historical fort is a kind of experience that you don’t want to miss!

Have a Day Trip Relaxation at Ecore Visitor Center

In just 10 minute drive from Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, check out the Grand Ecore Visitor Center nearby!

Situated at Par Rd 429, Natchitoches, the place is the perfect one if you are looking for a day trip to unwind from the crowd.

Grand Ecore Visitor Center is commonly known as J. Bennett Johnston Waterway.

The place is not just for solitude, but it is also ideal for family and friends.

The tranquil scenery of the environment will surely make you feel at home.

Other than its calm atmosphere, you can also see historical and art displays; and various wildlife!

The tremendous astounding exhibitions are all about the historical stories of the city, which includes the Civil War.

Moreover, there is an engaging movie that you can watch that will feature the key individuals who played a significant part in establishing the city.

Make sure to include the Grand Ecore Visitor Center in your list of destinations!

Sail Around the Cane River Lake

View of Cane River Lake

Rita Robinson /

We sometimes come to the point where we find something away from the crowd in the city and would instead appreciate the beauty of nature.

With just 10 minutes away from Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, you can enjoy the cruise at the Cane River Lake!

View of Cane River Lake

Matt Howry from Ardmore, OK, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Outdoor activities are exciting, especially if it is a water activity, such as swimming, jet skiing, kayaking, and canoeing are just some of the Cane River Lake has to offer!

You can also have a romantic date with your significant other here by simply having a tour around the river.

While these activities are popularly known as fun and exciting, most of the time, people visit Cane River Lake for fishing.

If you haven’t tried fishing yet, this place is perfect for you!

View of Cane River Lake

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

Pamper Your Taste Buds at Merci Beaucoup Restaurant

After visiting some of the beautiful attractions at the Natchitoches, you need to satisfy your cravings and have yourself full because there are a lot of destinations that you have yet to visit.

In just less than 10 minutes’ drive time, why not eat at the Merci Beaucoup Restaurant?

This restaurant is one of the most visited places in Natchitoches for those people who want to have some delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It has been well proven insofar as the quality is concerned that Merci Beaucoup Restaurant has been consistent in providing a high rate of food, cleanliness, and service.

Not only that, there are many dishes that you will indeed find new to your taste buds.

Their best-selling dishes include sausage gumbo, chicken, meat pie plate, crab St. Dennis, oyster plate, and many more that you can freshly enjoy!

Your incredible experience in the restaurant will surely make you not forget it.

Explore Around the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

Outside View of Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

Larry Rowland, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are interested in sports and the city’s history, be prepared to see them in an astounding museum!

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is one of the most famous places in the city of Natchitoches, for you can discover a lot of things inside.

The museum’s exhibitions are all about the history of Natchitoches and the local athletes and celebrities who had received recognition as one of the Hall of Fame in sports.

Going inside the museum will surely give you the impression that the people of Louisiana are incredibly skilled and talented!

Inside, the museum also exhibits artifacts and explores the world of tradition and culture of the area from the ancient times of Native-Americans, Spanish, and French to the civilizations.

One of the best exhibitions in the museum is the 12 different works of the famous folk artist Clementine Hunter about her life and the Melrose Plantation.

No wonder the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is one of the best places to visit in Natchitoches; because the exciting things you can see inside are limitless!

Check Out the American Cemetery

If you are interested in trying something completely different from what you enjoy, why not visit the iconic American Cemetery?

It was established way back in the year 1737, and it is the oldest cemetery in the country of Louisiana.

American Cemetery is not the usual cemetery you could ever imagine because the people buried in this place are the known villains and heroes, educators, and doctors during the world war.

Not only that, since these are not ordinary people; they have outstanding contributions to the city’s independence, their graves are also extraordinary.

There are many beautiful tombstones and graves, and you can enjoy walking around.

What’s best in American Cemetery is that you can have lots of information about a particular person, as some of them have a piece of brief details engraved in the tombstone.

Join the Natchitoches Christmas Festival

People in Natchitoches Christmas Festival

millicent_bystander, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As December is fast approaching, save the date in your calendar so you can join the excitement at Natchitoches Christmas Festival.

The traditional celebration in Natchitoches began way back in 1972, and it was recognized as a community-based event in Louisiana.

It was initiated by the Superintendent of Utilities of the city, believing that the Christmas Season should have a special celebration in the community as a whole.

In every celebration, everybody’s free to participate, and it is where you will see endless Christmas decorations around the town.

Other than that, the fun is also unlimited, and it is best to bring your family and friends with you to feel a sense of solidarity!

Joining the celebration of Natchitoches Christmas festival will be one of the Christmas you will never forget; so, don’t miss the chance!

Explore Around the Natchitoches Historic District

Street view of Natchitoches Historic District

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

Roaming around the Natchitoches Historic District is an excellent place to start if you want to learn more about the city’s history in a detailed manner.

The Historic District is not just a place where you can walk around, but many businesses are filled with a bounty for you to explore and see.

Boat rides, cemeteries, historic homes, art galleries, restaurants, books, art galleries, and more!

Natchitoches is one of the ideal places in Louisiana if you want to unwind and get away from stress.

Imagine walking around the heart of Natchitoches and experiencing all the incredible destinations; how cool is that?

Whether you have a vacation or stay in the city, you will never regret roaming around at the Historic District.

Eat at the Iconic Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant

Outside View of Lasyone's Meat Pie Restaurant

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

You might have heard of this famous pie restaurant before in Louisiana since this is widely known for its unique menu.

Undoubtedly, Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant has the best pie in the city of Natchitoches at all reasonable prices.

Other than pies, the restaurant also serves traditional Southern foods with the recipes of the old family, such as Cornfritters, toffee, Crawfish, grits and shrimp, and many more.

Everything you choose from their menu will surely give you satisfaction on your taste buds with zero regrets.

Make sure to bring your friends and family so you can have enjoyable dining together, having the best pies in the town!

Relax at Magnolia Spa and Wellness

If you want to experience a magical spa and wellness massage, this place is perfect for you.

One of the best ways of relaxing is having a massage that is rejuvenating to your body and soul.

You will be accommodated and massaged by experts in pressing the appropriate points that will heal you.

The place is widely known for its consistently high quality of service among clients regardless of age.

Make sure to book your appointment so you can enjoy a relaxing massage at Magnolia Spa and Wellness.

Watch Some of the Iconic Films in Steel Magnolia House LLC

Outside View of Steel Magnolia House LLC

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

Watch some of the famous showing films in the town at Steel Magnolia House LLC.

Steel Magnolia House is one of the popular filming sites as they have a comfortable atmosphere, and you can relax and watch some action, romance, and horror films.

At an affordable price, you can enjoy dozens of films with your friends and family.

Be sure to purchase a ticket and enjoy watching!

Snap a Photo of Various Animals at Gator Country Louisiana

The biggest alligator park in the country is Gator Country, Louisiana.

It has housed over 250 American alligators for about 25 years and was once called Bayou Pierre Alligator Park.

It is the biggest park of its sort in Louisiana, measuring seven acres, with Cajun music, several ravenous alligators, caimans, turtles, and other wildlife.

Observe hundreds of alligators from covered, secure pathways and platforms in their natural habitat.

The Petting Zoo, Jungle, Tortoise Exhibit, Reptile House, Rocky Racoon Resort, and many more attractions are also beloved by kids.

You may snap pictures with various reptiles and browse the interesting items in their souvenir shop.

Keep an eye out for one of their entertaining and instructive alligator feeding demonstrations!

Admire the City View from Château Saint Denis Hotel

In the center of the earliest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory lies the Château Saint Denis Hotel, a luxury hotel with French Creole design influences.

The French adventurer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis is the source of the namesake of the Château Saint Denis Hotel.

The boutique hotel has rooms with balconies that gaze out over sections of scenic Natchitoches and a concrete courtyard with views of the city center designed in the French Quarter fashion.

With an elaborate 18th-century fountain as its focal point, the expansive courtyard is ideal for unwinding, socializing, and taking in the surroundings.

Comfortable seats in the welcoming foyer surround a dual-sided fireplace.

Just a few feet from the foyer, Lounge 1714 provides cold drinks and a comfortable setting for entertainment and relaxation.

Delight in Sweets at Louisiana Purchase

In the center of Natchitoches’ downtown Area, Louisiana Purchase has been honoring Louisiana heritage and southern charm since 2006.

They are a must-see location for travelers who have come to wander the roads of Louisiana’s oldest city since they provide a wide variety of Louisiana and Natchitoches presents, souvenirs, and freshly baked fudge and pralines.

Louisiana Purchase prides itself on its fudge; hence they only use the best ingredients, such as fresh cream, butter, and delicious Louisiana pecans.

On the other side, the Praline is a delectable Creole confection made with pecans, butter, sugar, and cream.

If you’re searching for a present, a trinket to keep as a remembrance, or some rich fudge and pralines, head to Louisiana Purchase.

Shop for Gardening Items at Natural Springs Garden Center and Nursery

Since 2005, Natural Springs Garden Center and Nursery have been improving the landscapes’ appearance across Natchitoches.

Using their tools and resources for gardening, establish a distinctive, healthy garden.

You may start a lovely garden with the supplies available at Natural Springs Garden Center.

You may choose from various garden items, such as ceramics, birdhouses, wind chimes, herbicides, and more.

They also supply landscape mixtures in bulk when you have a sizable gardening idea.

They cultivate around 90% of the goods they offer to you on-site.

Shop at their fully stocked garden store and nursery to delight your green thumb.

Prepare to be Thrilled at Dark Woods Haunted Attraction

The Dark Woods Haunted Attraction season starts in late September and lasts through October 31.

Two attractions at Dark Woods provide a dynamic, entertaining Halloween experience with roving ghouls and mayhem that will frighten you!

The overall theme encounter at Dark Woods Haunted Attraction features character actors, intricate costumes, realistic settings, and Hollywood-style special features that change every year.

Every time you cross the woods, it will be a different experience since every season brings fresh thrills and shivers.

The Black Cat Café in Dark Woods is open every night of the week and offers delicious appetizers, hot beverages, and cold beverages to satisfy your appetite.

Final Thoughts

Natchitoches is just one of the cities in Louisiana that provides plenty of beautiful destinations from historical sites, events, activities, restaurants, and a lot more.

The best things to do in Natchitoches are indeed interesting that we can say everybody should do and visit.

So, if you wanted to know what are the 15 best things to do in the city, make this list as your reference and see how great Natchitoches, Louisiana is.

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