Some of the best things to do with one night in Shreveport.
Culture is everywhere you look in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana. Within four hours of many Texas cities, including Dallas and Houston, this Texas road trip destination offers lots to see on an overnight visit.
We were there to meet up with family, whose casino incentives were burning holes in their pockets. Luckily for us, those incentives included free rooms at Bally's Shreveport Casino & Hotel (formerly Eldorado Casino Shreveport). With the biggest travel expense of this trip taken care of, our quick trip was a very affordable one as well.
Shreveport Art & Architecture
We arrived in Shreveport at the "magic hour" and spent as much time as possible chasing the light around downtown Shreveport. We were there on a Sunday afternoon, so most businesses had already closed. But the beautiful buildings with their historic architecture, murals and public art provided more than enough entertainment.
The Strand Theater in downtown Shreveport broke ground in 1923 and opened in 1925 as a vaudeville theater, After a restoration in 1974, it has consistently shown modern theater productions, and sits at the West Edge of Shreveport's arts district.
Street parking is generally available, and The Strand was a convenient central stop to explore the surrounding blocks, which include Art the Dog, who watches over Shreveport's Central ARTSTATION. Our walk also took us past the beautiful Andress Artist and Entrepreneur Center, a recently renovated historic building that formerly housed downtown Shreveport's first auto dealership, the Andress Ford Motor Company.
Donuts & Dinner in Shreveport
After a swing past the Caddo Parish Courthouse and another important landmark, the original Southern Maid Donuts and its glowing, retro neon, it was time for dinner.
In all of our travels, we had never actually experienced the Waffle House magic, but it's a favorite of my parents, aka our hotel room benefactors, and we were more than happy to have dinner there.
Waffle House is a uniquely southern experience and has infiltrated southern culture. It is beautiful in a way that home is beautiful, even if home is a little shabby and badly lit. The food was solid and of course we had a waffle - pecan, if anyone is asking - along with a really good biscuit sandwich. My father orders an off-menu hash brown dish called "scatter," which looked tasty. And the best part, hot coffee to go, poured into a huge styrofoam cup. We were there at a normal dinner hour but I imagine that big, hot coffee fuels many long drives for late-night gamblers.
Which brings us to the next stop - Bally's Shreveport Casino & Hotel. It's pretty much what you expect, and most of what you want in a casino hotel. Pretty carpeting and views in the hotel floors, and plenty of slot machines that keep you entertained for a while even if you don't hit a jackpot.
Muffy's & King Cakes, Shreveport Traditions
But we weren't there (only) to gamble. We were there for a Muffy and King Cake. And on Monday morning, we set out to find both.
The term "Muffy" is specific to a sandwich served at Fertitta's Delicatessen in Shreveport. It varies a bit from the traditional New Orleans-style muffaletta, with its cold cuts, mozzarella cheese, and a secret family recipe blend of olive mix and other spices. We couldn't possibly pick a favorite muffaletta - we like them all - but Fertitta's serves our favorite Muffy.
When you search for the best King Cake in Shreveport, you get a lot of opinions. Limited on time, we picked Lilah's Bakery to try this year. There were only four of us, and only two households per King Cake. So, we bought four King Cakes. The Black Forest flavor came home with us, and my parents took a Cinnamon 'n Sugar, Pralines 'n Cream, and Apples 'n Cinnamon to divide among friends, family and my mother's workplace. (So they say, and we don't judge.) I can definitely report that it is the best King Cake I have ever had. The icing and dough were soft, with a flavor profile that actually tasted like its label - not overwhelmingly sweet like others I have sampled. Lilah's is only open during Mardi Gras, so mark your calendars!
Shreveport Local Shopping
We made sure to budget enough time to hit some local stores on our quick trip to Shreveport. We chose ArtiFact and C&C Mercantile. These next door, connected neighbors are located in downtown's historic St. Paul's Bottoms district, across from Shreveport's longstanding Antioch Baptist Church.