Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana: Dining, Shopping and More
Located in northern Louisiana, Monroe and West Monroe have diverse offerings for its visitors. If you’re looking for some museum time, time in nature, time shopping and time in great restaurants, it is the ideal destination.
Small-Town Shopping Charm
If you like antiques, you will love Antique Alley in the Cotton Port historic district of West Monroe. Charming storefronts of dishes, silver, books, furniture and jewellery await you and you’ll find the prices quite reasonable. There are also some children’s stores here and a fabulous spice and tea shop. Most of these diverse shops are open Tuesday through Saturday and are located on Trenton Street, so it’s perfectly walkable, too.
Wine and Cuisine
I was blown away by Restaurant Cotton. Chef Cory Bahr, winner of the television show “Chopped” on Food Network, really does elevate Southern cooking at this trendy spot which also features a great bar. Here you can have an inventive artisanal drinks and Southern favourites with a twist, like the smoked Old Fashioned we had. And the food? Wow. Just wow. The pimento cheese beignets were the definition of comfort food, the shrimp so fresh and the grits delightfully creamy, and the salads were all works of art.
Our next stop was the beautiful Landry Vineyards. What wonderful wine Louisiana has to offer! Here, the friendly owners, Jeff and Libby Landry, greeted us with a delicious glass of their popular Blanc du Bois as we toured the property. They host many outdoor concerts on the property in the evenings, so be sure to include that in your travel plans as well.
If you love World War II history, you’ll enjoy the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum as much as I did. General Chennault’s granddaughter has put together an incredible collection of artefacts which not only detail her family’s story and that of the Flying Tigers, but it focuses on the personal stories of other Army men – not just the historical facts of the battles.
I also loved the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, which was extremely different in focus but terrifically entertaining. As the home of Joseph Biedenharn, the first person to bottle Coca-Cola, we learned all about the history of the iconic beverage. Here there are also beautiful gardens and a Bible museum that belonged to Biedenharn’s daughter.
And if you’re looking to round out your vacation with a little time in the bayou, Monroe and West Monroe offer that, too. Kids will love the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge with its beautiful interpretive center, and adults will love taking a stroll on the tranquil boardwalk. You can also rent canoes and fish here.
If you can’t decide what you want to do for your next vacation – shop or dine, explore nature or museums – come to Monroe and West Monroe where you don’t have to choose and can do it all.