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The heart of the oldest permanent settlement in Louisiana is downtown Natchitoches.
Here the cobblestone street parallels the Cane River providing a beautiful backdrop to the national historic landmark district which comprosises the historic downtown area.
While the best way to visit the area is to spend at least 2-3 days, this article will focus on one day you’ll want to spend in the downtown historic district.
Boutique Shopping Along Front Street
Start your day by grabbing a coffee and treat at StoryBrew Coffee Cafe.
After you have coffee, or tea, in hand spend some time strolling down the street and browsing the boutiques along Front Street. Be sure to check out the shops on the side streets as well.
There are so many great shops here, but the one I want to make sure you don’t miss is the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile Store.
Here you’ll experience even more history, this is the oldest general store in the state and is part museum, part “they have everything you need” general store.
Historic Natchitoches Tour
If you have the opportunity, take the horse drawn carriage ride around the historic downtown. They’ll share some fun facts about the area and a bit of history. Plus, is there really anything better than a horse drawn carriage ride?
If you’re in town around 10:30 a.m. head over to the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, located right downtown on Front Street for a free historic guided walking tour offered by the Cane River National Heritage Area.
Note–the tours are offered Wednesday – Saturday.
When you’re ready for lunch there are two places to consider and it will just depend on the type of food you’d like to have that day.
Your first choices is Lasyone’s Restaurant that is renowned for its famous Natchitoches meat pies. If you don’t want a meat pie for lunch be sure to bring a cooler with you so you can take frozen pies home.
Your other choice is Merci Beaucoup Restaurant. This repurposed gas station is a culinary gem in downtown Natchitoches.
It has a diverse menu with something for everyone, but my favorite thing to order is their harvest salad or their crawfish stuffed baked potato.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & NW Louisiana History Museum
Explore the rich sports history of Louisiana at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, a branch of the Louisiana State Museum.
The Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements of Louisiana’s sports legends, from iconic athletes to influential coaches.
Exhibits feature memorabilia, interactive displays, and stories that showcase the state’s deep-rooted connection to sports.
The Hall of Fame is conveniently located downtown and also houses the Northwest Louisiana History Museum.
The history museum covers 3,000 years of history and showcases the unique cultural traditions that survive and thrive in the region today.
The museum is a must-visit for sports enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Kakak the Cane River
Cross over Front Street and walk down to the riverfront to Cane River Paddle & Sport and rent a kayak.
Spend an hour or two paddling the Cane River and enjoy the tranquility the comes from floating on water. This is a fun way to experience Natchitoches.
Steel Magnolia Film Trail
Walk in the footsteps of the iconic movie “Steel Magnolias.” Visit locations immortalized in the film and experience the charm of the town that served as the backdrop for this cinematic classic.
Use the above map, find the letter on the map that coordinates with the letter below, to visit these Steel Magnolia filming sites.
These sites are easily walkable from historic downtown Natchitoches:
E. Steel Magnolia’s House – Eatenton home (Also a Bed & Breakfast), 320 Jefferson
F. Truvy’s church – Trinity Episcopal Church, 533 2nd Street
G. Mrs. Robeline’s boarding house — Private Home, 301 Rue Touline
H. Aunt Fern’s home – Chaplin House (Private Home), 434 2nd Street
J. Truvy’s No. 2 – Blanchard Building, 700 block of Front Street adjacent to Ducournau Square
K. Easter egg hunt – Beau Jardin, 800 block of Washington Street
DINNER IN HISTORIC NATCHITOCHES
Situated along the picturesque Cane River, this restaurant blends classic flavors with a modern twist. From mouthwatering steaks to flavorful pasta dishes, Maglieaux’s menu caters to everyone in your group. Outside seating is available weather permitting and live music happens on select nights.
Mayeaux’s offers a cozy and welcoming ambiance, making it an ideal spot for a memorable meal. A small venue steak house and seafood restaurant serving only the highest quality prime USDA beef. Live music on select nights.
After a full day you’ll be ready for a restful night consider one of these accommodations:
More Things To Do In and Around Natchitoches
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