Alexandria, Pineville and several surrounding nearby towns have a variety of attractions and things to do.
From museums and zoos, to outdoor recreation and historical sites, there is something to do for area residents, and visitors alike!
The city also enjoys annual events such as the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races, Holiday Trail of Lights, the Louisiana Elvis Festival and the Alex River Fete. Popular every year are the Mardi Gras festivities and parades sponsored by the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association.
WinterFETE is held in December in downtown Alexandria. An assortment of events are typically scheduled, including the Alexandria Christmas Parade, ice skating, Santa's Village, fireworks, food vendors, gumbo cook-off, live music and much more.
Standing on the original land grant from the King of Spain to Pierre Baillio II, Kent Plantation House offers a glimpse of the French, Spanish and American cultures that have influenced Louisiana. All three flags fly over the entrance.
The plantation house is one of the oldest standing structures in the state of Louisiana. Together with its outbuildings, it preserves the homestead of a successful Creole family typical of a Louisiana colonial era working plantation. Kent Plantation House, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is an authentic Creole plantation house built circa 1796 prior to the Louisiana Purchase. The house was built by Pierre Baillio II, whose family came from France.
Kent House is located 3601 Bayou Rapides Road, just west of MacArthur Drive in Alexandria. For more information, tour options, hours and admission prices, phone 318.487.5998 or visit the Kent Plantation House website.
Alexandria Zoological Park
The Alexandria Zoological Park is a 33-acre zoo, first opened in 1926. It is home to about 500 animals, and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). It is one of only approximately 200 accredited zoos in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda.
The Zoo is one of only 20 in the world to house Malayan tigers, one of 10 zoos in North America to exhibit lowland anoa, and the only AZA facility in North America to exhibit two white-tailed sea eagles.
Main zoo areas include Festival Plaza, the Australian Walkabout, Asian Area, Louisana Habitat, Land of the Jaguar, the African Experience, and an education center.
It also features a train, the Bayou Le Zoo Choo Choo, a scale model of a C.P. Huntington steam engine. The zoo grounds also house the Palm Cafe at Festival Plaza, and a gift shop.
The zoo is located at 3016 Masonic Drive in the Alexandria City Park. An admission fee is charged. For more information, visit the website of the Alexandria Zoo
Alexandria Museum of Art
The Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA) was founded in 1977 and occupies an historic Rapides Bank Building on the banks of the Red River. The bank building was constructed in 1898 and is listed on the National Historic Register.
The Museum entered operates a collaborative endeavor agreement with Louisiana State University of Alexandria (LSUA). AMoA now also serves as a downtown campus for LSUA classes and is host to multidisciplinary community events, including concerts and recitals, lectures, yoga classes, Second Saturday Markets, and Museum Afterhours. These events support all art forms – film, literature and poetry, songwriting and visual arts.
Typically, The Museum holds between five and seven exhibitions each year, displaying a variety of historic and contemporary subjects. AMoA offers multidisciplinary programming surrounding every exhibit, including lectures and master classes on the subject of or in the medium of the exhibit.
MoA is located 933 2nd Street in downtown Alexandria. Phone 318.443.3458 or visit the website of the Alexandria Museum of Art for information and current hours of operation.
Louisiana History Museum in downtown Alexandria
Louisiana History Museum
The Louisiana History Museum, located in downtown Alexandria, is dedicated to collecting, presenting, interpreting and promoting understanding of the wealth of history associated with Alexandria, and all of Louisiana. The museum maintains one of the foremost collections of historical objects in the state.
The collection has grown from several display cases upstairs in the Alexandria Genealogical Library to over 50 displays and exhibits on the ground floor of the historic Alexandria Public Library.
The building housing the Louisiana History Museum and Alexandria Genealogical Library started life as the Alexandria Public Library in 1907. Admission is free and guided tours can be arranged.
The Louisiana History Museum is located at 503 Washington Street. Phone 318.487.8556 for more information or visit the website of the Louisiana History Museum.
Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center
Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center
The Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center is located at 1202 Third Street, in downtown Alexandria.
This beautiful facility, opened in 2004, features a 615-seat state-of-the-art theater, and is owned by the City of Alexandria Louisiana and operated under contract by the Arts Council of Central Louisiana.
The Arts Center is the location of concerts, plays, recitals, ballets, dramas, musicals, Rapides Symphony Orchestra performances and a wide variety of cultural events and performing arts.
The facility, and its lobby, can be rented for receptions and special events by businesses, schools, churches and other groups. Visit the Coughlin-Saunders Web site to access box office information, parking information and the calendar of upcoming events at this beautiful new facility!
Arna Bontemps African American Museum
The museum in downtown Alexandria is housed in the restored home that was the birthplace of the poet Arna Bontemps, renowned as one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance.
The museum and cultural center is located at 1327 3rd Street, and is one of the featured sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Phone 318.473.4692 or visit the website of the Arna Bontemps African American Museum for information and current hours of operation
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral
The first Catholic church, St. Francis, was built in 1817 in Alexandria, actually the first church of any denomination in the city.
In 1895, Reverend Leonard Menard envisioned a larger place of worship. The cornerstone of the present cathedral building was laid on December 3, 1895, the feast day of St. Francis Xavier. A few weeks later, on December 30, 1895, the original church on Front Street burned.
Today, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral still boasts some of the most beautiful stained-glass windows in the state of Louisiana. The rose windows in the apex of the transept are the largest in the state, and the main altar is hand-carved walnut.
The St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral complex includes the cathedral building itself, located at 626 Fourth Street, St. Francis Academy (erected in 1897), and the rectory.
River Oaks Square Art Center
River Oaks is a visual arts and crafts center located in the Bolton House (circa 1899) and a newer studio annex building.
It is home to more than 30 resident artists with a combination of activities including workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and special events.
Visitors also have the opportunity to visit with the artists as they work. The Arts Center is located at 1330 Second Street in downtown Alexandria. Admission is free. Phone 318.473.2670 for additional information.
The Rapides Exploratory Education (T.R.E.E.) House provides children with a sensory-engaging, interactive and fun learning experience.
The Museum is located at 1403 Third Street in downtown Alexandria. Opening hours are Tuesday-Friday 9:00am - 3:00pm, and Saturday 9:00am - 4:00pm.For more information, phone 318.619.9394 or visit the TREE House website.
Buhlow Lake is a popular destination near Pineville in Central Louisiana for various boating, racing, fishing and recreational activities. Built in 1956, it covers an area of 282 acres.
Buhlow Lake is located on the north side of Pineville, bounded on the south by U.S. Highways 165-71, and the Red River to the north.
Buhlow Lake has been the site of power boat racing since the 1960s, and is known for its flat, fast race course due to the shallow lake being sheltered from winds by surrounding hills. The City of Pineville has several sanctioned motor boat racing events annually on the lake.
It has the distinction of being the location for many world speed records. The lake is often called "The Fastest Lake in the USA". At the west end of the lake is the historic Civil War-vintage Fort Buhlow.
In addition to Buhlow Lake, other bodies of water close to Pineville include the giant Catahoula Lake, Cocodrie Lake, Saline Lake, Cotile Lake, Williams Lake, Little River, Walker Lake, Hog Lake, Kincaid Lake, and others. The Red River in downtown Pineville has become a popular spot for boating, fishing, hiking and walking.
Fireworks, Music and Fun at Buhlow Lake!
Fort Buhlow Recreation Area
The Fort Buhlow Recreation Area is nestled between Buhlow Lake and the Red River. Access to this area is via the Lake Buhlow Road past the Pineville Airport.
It features a three lane boat launch, boat dock, picnic shelters, hiking trails, parking, comfort stations, lighted ballfield, disc golf courses, and more facilities. Access to this area is via the Lake Buhlow Road past the Pineville Airport.
It is a popular venue for many sports, from bass fishing in the Red River to cross-country track events to disc golf tournaments. For example, the Louisiana D.A.R.E Officers Association’s (LDOA) 5K in support of the Buddy Camp, and the Running Man Dash, have been held at the recreation area.
Visitors to Buhlow Recreation Area can take advantage of two woodland disc golf courses. Although shaded by surrounding forest, the fairways are kept trimmed and neat.
The Gold 6,483' course contains a number of longer holes including an 846', par 5, along with forested, tunnel holes, and has more elevation than the Purple course.
The courses have been the site of the two-day Louisiana State Disc Golf Championship Tournament, and the Red River Rendezvous Tournament.
The recreation area is operated by the Red River Waterway Commission.
Fort Randolph & Fort Buhlow State Historic Site
Located on the Red River in downtown Pineville, the Fort Randolph & Fort Buhlow State Historic Site includes a visitor center with exhibits on the Civil War Red River Campaign, an elevated boardwalk around the fort area, with an overlook near the Bailey's Dam site, and an open field for Civil War re-enactments. Forts Randolph & Buhlow were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Visitor Center at the Forts Buhlow and Fort Randolph State Historic Site (Courtesy of the Louisiana Dept of Culture, Recreation and Tourism)
The Fort Randolph & Fort Buhlow State Historic Site includes a visitor center, interpretive areas and walkways.
The site is today commemorated with interpretive signage and a scenic overlook of the Red River. Located on the Red River in downtown Pineville, the site includes a visitor center with exhibits on the Civil War Red River Campaign, an elevated boardwalk around the fort area, with an overlook near Bailey's Dam site, and an open field for Civil War re-enactments.
Forts Randolph & Buhlow were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
The historic site is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. A small entrance fee is charged. Seniors over 62 and children 12 and under are admitted free.
Phone 318-484-2390 or 1-877-677-7437. The official address is 135 Riverfront Street, Pineville, LA 71360
Take I-49 into Alexandria and take Exit 85A onto 10th Street; visitors exiting from I-49 northbound will turn right onto Jackson Street (Hwy. 165), while visitors exiting from I-49 southbound will turn left onto Jackson Street (Hwy. 165). Cross the Red River, then take the first right onto Main Street, then right onto Riverside Drive, which will take you to the site.
Kisatchie National Forest
The Kisatchie National Forest offers many opportunities for visitors to enjoy and explore the beautiful natural scenery of Central Louisiana. The forest includes more than 604,000 acres, is spread across seven parishes in Louisiana. Operations are divided into managed units called Ranger Districts, including:
Visitors can utilize many recreation areas, view endangered species or geologic sites, ride the trails, camp, and hike.
Popular Mutli-Use trails are available at the former Camp Livingston and Camp Claiborne sites and are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Kisatchie National Forest.
The national forest also includes Kincaid Recreation Area, Valentine Lake Recreation Area, and the Wild Azalea Trail. Admision fees may be charged. The main office is located at 2500 Shreveport Highway in Pineville. Phone 318.473.7160 for more information.
Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry ... Filming Location of the History Channel's "Cajun Pawn Stars" TV Series
The History Channel announced in December of 2011 a new television series to take place in Alexandria, Louisiana. "Cajun Pawn Stars" featured Alexandria's Silver Dollar Pawn & Jewelry Center.
Silver Dollar Pawn Shop is one of the largest pawn shops in the South. The 20,000-square-foot store houses more than 100,000 items, and is an attraction for school and tourist bus tours.
The main room alone displays more than 43,000 items of inventory. Among the more popular items are Hollywood memorabilia, autographs, old coins, collectible firearms, antiques, and of course jewelry.
Silver Dollar Pawn Shop's address in Alexandria is 2417 Lee Street, at its intersection with Masonic Drive near Alexandria City Park, and across the street from Fire Station Number Four. It is just a few blocks from Alexandria's famous Hokus Pokus Liquor store and its iconic neon sign.
Silver Dollar can be found on the web at http://silverdollar-alexandria.com and reached at telephone number 318.487.6005, or toll-free 888.945.3168.
OakWing Golf Course and Club
Designed by Mr. Jim Lipe, one of the premier golf course architects in the country, OakWing Golf Club offers 18 holes of "Championship golf with first-class clubhouse and practice facilities.
OakWing Golf Club, which opened in September 2002, offers a unique design interwoven throughout its beautiful England Air Force Base location. This 7,043-yard, links-style course blends the natural beauty of Louisiana bayous, lakes and towering treelined fairways with the challenge of rolling hills and undulating greens. It is part of the Audubon Golf Trail.
Open to the public seven days a week, OakWing is conveniently located just 1 mile off of Interstate 49 at the site of the former England Air Force Base.
Phone 318.561.0260 for more information.