Right now, lots of eyes are on Shreveport-Bossier, especially as the city prepares to host the highly-anticipated 47th annual Bayou Classic.
Shreveport-Bossier tourism officials say their destination is eager to welcome visitors for the ideal “nearcation” — or short-distance destinations. Affordable accommodations, outdoor experiences, culinary offerings, gaming and other fun things to do make Shreveport-Bossier a great getaway.
With just an easy drive, friends or family looking for a change in scenery can opt for a quick vacation getaway closer to home and within driving distance.
Here’s a list of experiences to include when planning a “nearcation” to the Shreveport-Bossier area.
Port City Fest & 47th Annual Bayou Classic
This year, Shreveport hosts the 47th annual Bayou Classic, which is normally played in New Orleans, at Independence Stadium on Saturday, April 17.
Even before Southern University and Grambling State University face off in the highly-anticipated matchup, Shreveport will buzz with several activities surrounding the big game.
In celebration of the game, Shreveport hosts Port City Fest, a long weekend of off-the-field events happening April 15 to April 18. It’s a great way to enjoy all the festivities whether you’re planning to attend the game or not.
Port City Fest features the Classic Expo, a showcase of local Black-owned businesses, educational seminars and engaging panel discussions at the Shreveport Convention Center from April 15 to April 17.
At Port City Fest, there’s also an event called Party on the Red, which runs from the Red River District to Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport. The event features all-day entertainment, food and craft vendors. Some artists scheduled to perform include rapper Bun B, R&B singer-songwriter Tank, R&B and soul singer-songwriter Calvin Richardson, among others.
Organizers say all social distancing protocols will be mandated.
Several other events will happen in the Shreveport area during Port City Fest weekend, including an outdoor concert with New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia. Shreveport-Bossier’s official destination blog, 20 x 49 curated a full list of events to check out.
Learn more about Port City Fest here.
Casinos and Entertainment
Shreveport-Bossier is home to six casinos, making the area a prime spot for visitors looking to test their luck.
The area’s riverboat casinos offer a winning combination of table games, slots and poker for your choice of fun on penny slots or high-stakes games.
One location, Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel & Casino, boasts the “home of the best odds” and the famous World Series of Poker Room. Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino offers three floors of gaming, while Eldorado Resort Casino offers more than 1,500 of the newest slots and video poker machines.
Other locations for gaming include Margaritaville Resort Casino, Boomtown Casino & Hotel and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
In addition to chances to hit the jackpot, visitors can enjoy performances, luxury spas, indoor shopping and a wide variety of dining options. Each casino also offers hotels with well-appointed guest rooms when you’re finally ready for a rest.
Located in the heart of downtown Shreveport, animal lovers can explore the underwater world at the Shreveport Aquarium.
The destination boasts more than 3,000 animals from more than 300 species of marine life, including turtles, eels, seahorses and sharks.
Shreveport Aquarium allows guests the ability for guests to customize their visit with interactive experiences like up-close-and-personal stingray feedings, unique mermaid photo opportunities, interactive touch pools and an ancient treasure mine.
This attraction opens Monday to Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Restaurants, Food Trucks and Culinary Experiences
Like many parts of Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier is known for traditional Cajun and Creole foods, such as seafood gumbo, crawfish étouffée, po-boys and muffulettas.
Tourism officials say visitors should also check out the area’s essential dining experiences with iconic foods: Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp, overstuffed beignets and craft beer-marinated oysters.
Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp is a local delicacy that originated in the kitchen of the Freeman & Harris Café, a now-shuttered historic black-owned restaurant. These large, succulent shrimp are stuffed with fiery Creole dressing, deep-fried and served with a spicy tartar sauce.
Shreveport-style stuffed shrimp are found at a number of eateries around town, including Eddie’s Seafood and Soulfood Restaurant, which was named one of the “Best Soul Food Restaurants in the South” by Southern Living in 2015.
Another spot located in Bossier City’s up-and-coming entertainment district, Frozen Pirogue, features chargrilled oysters bathed with a local craft beer and parmesan cheese.
Continue your adventure through the area’s restaurants, food trucks, culinary experiences to discover your new favorite dish, dessert or drink. Shreveport-Bossier’s official destination blog, 20 x 49 features a list of the newest restaurants and experiences to check out during your visit.