Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Shreveport, LA

  • Published 2022/11/11

Shreveport is a city in the northwestern region of Louisiana, situated in two parishes, Caddo and Bossier.

It is known for its rich history, booming art scene, and riverside casinos.

As one of the biggest cities in Louisiana, Shreveport is the third most populous city in the state.

The city offers plenty of spaces where visitors of all ages can enjoy various recreational activities.

If you are traveling on a budget but want to make the most of your visit, check out this list of free things to do in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Take a Glimpse of the 1930s at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum

Exterior of the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum

Kit Leong /

Located on Greenwood Road, Louisiana State Exhibit Museum is one of the most remarkable buildings in the country.

The museum is beautifully designed with marble, granite, and polished aluminum.

It features a well-maintained courtyard in the middle of the circular building and hand-cut limestone.

Interior of the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum

Kit Leong /

The museum opened in 1939, displaying one-of-a-kind art depicting the state’s history.

It boasts a diorama by Conrad Albrizio, a famous muralist, representing life in Louisiana during the 1930s.

There is also a topographical map created by Duncan Ferguson showing the state’s cultural geography.

A display in the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum

Kit Leong /

Make sure not to miss the impressive murals made by various Louisiana artists in the museum’s Rotunda that illustrate the state’s significant landscapes and historical events.

The museum also features different exhibits in its West Wing Gallery, so there is always something to look forward to every time you visit the museum.

One of the most extensive collections of Louisiana Native American artifacts dates from prehistoric times until today.

Spend the day at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum.

Insect exhibit in the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum

Kit Leong /

Immerse Yourself in Art and Nature at R. W. Norton Art Gallery

Whether you are traveling with your family or friends or alone, R.W. Norton Art Gallery is one of Shreveport’s attractions that you should not miss.

Since it began in 1966, R.W. Norton Art Gallery has become famous around the country for its impressive collection of art.

It houses over 400 paintings made by over 100 artists.

It also features numerous miniature and life-sized wooden, marble, bronze, and silver sculptures.

For visiting art and history buffs, the museum also boasts a research library with 15,000 volumes of books about fine arts, genealogy, and the history of Louisiana and the United States.

After immersing yourself in art from different countries and eras, take a walk at the museum’s botanical garden for a relaxing visit.

Enjoy the fresh air and the gorgeous greenery spanning over 40 acres of perfectly landscaped grounds.

Relax as you stroll along the stone bridge and listen to the sound of the stream beneath it.

If you need to take a rest, do not worry, as there are wood and cast iron benches available in the garden that you can use.

Enjoy a Picnic with Your Loved Ones at Betty Virginia Park

For travelers who like to stay active during their vacation, Betty Virginia Park offers trails where you can walk or jog while enjoying the outdoors with your loved ones.

This 23-acre park is centrally located along Fairfield Avenue, making it one of the most visited parks in the city.

If you are traveling with kids, there is also an outdoor playground with slides, climbing walls, and a vast open space where they can run around and have fun with other kids.

For those who want a laid-back afternoon, there is a vast picnic area where you can munch delicious snacks with your family or friends.

If you are traveling alone, this is also a great place to read your favorite book while lying down on the grass and enjoying the cool breeze.

Baseball/softball fields are also available here if you want to play with locals or your friends.

Spend the day at Betty Virginia Park!

Revisit the Past at Shreveport Water Works Museum

Interior of Shreveport Water Works Museum

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

Are you looking for something unique to Shreveport?

Then you are in for a treat as the last operating steam-powered municipal water works in the country is in the city.

Known as the city’s first water plant, Shreveport Water Works Museum started working in 1887 and has operated for 100 years.

Machines in Shreveport Water Works Museum

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

Today, Shreveport Water Works Museum is a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Situated in McNeill Street Pumping Station, this water plant featured advanced technology during its operation, using filtration systems and chlorine to treat water.

So, visit this museum to discover how water is purified today and in the past.

Filter room in Shreveport Water Works Museum

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

Learn Railroad History at the Shreveport Railroad Museum

Do not forget to visit the Shreveport Railroad Museum, a small museum next to the Shreveport Water Works Museum.

Learn more about how steam was used for transportation in earlier years by checking out railroad artifacts and exhibits on display.

You will also see a functioning HO-scale model railroad that gives a glimpse of 1960s downtown Shreveport.

Venture into history at the Shreveport Railroad Museum!

Interior of Shreveport Railroad Museum

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

Take Your Kids to the Duck Pond at East Kings Highway Park

Are you looking for family-friendly activities that can keep your kids entertained?

Bring them to East Kings Highway Park and let them feed the ducks at the park’s pond.

After engaging in this thrilling activity, picnic areas allow you to sit back and eat delicious snacks with the whole family.

With playgrounds and trails, East Kings Highway Park offers many activities for people of all ages.

There are also benches near the playground so guests with children can rest while the kids take advantage of the amenities there.

If you want to get close to nature, you can jog along the park’s trails while enjoying the gorgeous outdoor views.

Meet Local Artists at Artspace

Art lovers looking for new ways to connect with art should visit Artspace.

Artspace is the city’s first arts center committed to educating audiences from different parts of the world, from creating to exploring various art forms.

Once you enter the gallery, you will see various art exhibitions and interactive art made by local artists.

If you want to bring home a souvenir from your trip to Artspace, stop by the gift shop full of crafts from local artisans.

There are also art classes offered here.

If you want to try a fun activity with friends, check out the available classes at Artspace.

Keep your eyes peeled for free workshops at Artspace, as this is a popular event venue.

Look for Red River District’s Street Art

Bridge at the Red River District

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

The historic-looking Red River District is a tourist destination you should see.

This is an excellent backdrop for your photos and a great place to wander.

Filled with 19th-century-inspired architecture, the Red River District offers many restaurants and live entertainment venues.

Visit Texas Street Bridge when you want to feel the breeze while walking and listening to live music.

Watch out for fantastic street art in the district as well, most of which you can find along the columns of the Texas Street Bridge.

There are also plenty of establishments here that offer free workshops, perfect for those looking to spend quality time with their loved ones.

Take a Refreshing Swim at David Raines Community Center

If you want to take a break from the usual touristy activities in your itinerary, check out David Raines Community Center.

Invite all your friends to the center’s 17-acre recreation area.

Take a refreshing dip or laps in the center’s swimming pool.

You can also play basketball with your friends and other visitors for an exciting day.

If you are visiting with young ones, a spray pad here will surely keep them rejuvenated and entertained.

You can also find a tennis court, a playground, a softball field, and picnic shelters at the David Raines Community Center.

Enjoy Picturesque Views at Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park

Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park is a 160-acre park that people who enjoy the outdoors should include in their itinerary.

The park is filled with nature trails, hiking trails, live animal exhibits, and a nature center that will make you feel closer to nature.

The hiking trails feature picturesque views and interpretive signage that will make your journey enjoyable and easy to navigate.

For a relaxing day, go to the Bird of Prey enclosure, where you can go bird-watching while listening to calming bird sounds.

You can also find a deer enclosure at the Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park.

There are also plenty of family-friendly activities here, such as hands-on exhibits in the visitor center and a play area.

Conveniences like restrooms and parking are also available.

Take a Photo at the Elvis Presley and James Burton Statues

Daytime view of the Elvis Presley and James Burton Statues

Allen J.M. Smith /

Standing outside the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is a tall bronze statue dedicated to the “King of Rock n Roll,” Elvis Presley.

The Elvis Presley Statue is popular among tourists, especially music enthusiasts, so drop by the auditorium for some photos.

The auditorium is where Elvis Presley first performed for the Louisiana Hayride, a radio show that turned into a TV country-music show in 1954.

The Elvis Presley and James Burton Statues in front of Shreveport Municipal Auditorium

Donna Chance Hall /

Another treat for music lovers is the James Burton Statue, standing beside the Elvis Presley Statue in front of the auditorium.

James Burton, a native of Shreveport, has made a mark in music history for his distinct style when playing the guitar.

Shreveport unveiled the James Burton Statue on August 21, 2005, on his 66th birthday.

Take a Self-Guided Road Trip along Boom or Bust Byway

Pack snacks, blankets, and cold drinks, and go on a road trip with the crew.

This 136-mile-long Boom or Bust Byway road trip crossing Caddo, Bossier, Webster, and Claiborne is an excellent way to bond with your loved ones.

This is also a good idea for those who would like some alone time, as you can start on the byway from anywhere and any time you want.

You must simply download the app from Apple App Store or Google Play for a fuss-free journey.

You can even download an itinerary from their website for a more convenient trip.

Learn more about the four parishes of North Louisiana as you experience the different Southern flavors and visit various historical museums during your excursion.

You can also stop by several campgrounds along the way for a more memorable time with your group.

Take a drive along the Boom or Bust Byway!

See a Film about the Red River at J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center

Whether you want to go to Red River or know more about it, you can visit J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center for some exciting things.

People looking for stuff to do on the river often come here to get some ideas for their trip.

The 8,300-square feet visitor center features a theater and an exhibition hall.

Interactive exhibits are available here as well to keep guests entertained.

Enter the multi-purpose hall for an exciting way to get educated about the Red River.

The hall screens a continuous film about the river to ensure that your visit is fun and informative.

While here, you will also learn about the different states crossed by the Red River, like New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

State maps and tour guides are also available for everyone who goes to the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore the Barksdale Global Power Museum

Exterior of Barksdale Global Power Museum

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

Located in Bossier City, Louisiana, the Barksdale Global Power Museum is a tourist destination worth the 12-minute drive from Shreveport.

Located in Barksdale Air Force Base, this museum is a testament to the battles the country has fought.

It also represents the hard work and training spent to stop wars worldwide.

Check out the aircraft on display here, like the B-17 and B-24 used during World War II.

B-24 aircraft at Barksdale Global Power Museum

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

Also available for viewing are B-52D and B-52G Stratofortress, used during the Cold War.

Then, look at the MACH 3+ SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet aircraft that can fly at the highest altitude.

Afterward, enter the museum for the six exhibits that feature the aircraft and the heroes who played an essential role in US history.

A plane at Barksdale Global Power Museum

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

Visit the 9/11 Memorial at Liberty Garden

This famous landmark in Bossier City is just nine minutes away from Shreveport.

Located near the Central Fire Station, Liberty Garden is a beautifully decorated memorial with lush greenery and a fountain.

Pay your respects to the country’s brave police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.

Benches are available here so you can take breaks while exploring the memorial.

Final Thoughts

Shreveport is an excellent destination for families, friends, and even solo travelers.

You can do various activities for free, whether you are into art, nature, or fitness.

If you plan to check out this city soon, check out this list of free things to do in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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