Alexandria is a charming city located in the heart of Louisiana, known for its beautiful natural landscapes and vibrant culture. Although it may not be as popular as other tourist destinations, there are still plenty of things to see and do.
The city boasts an acclaimed zoo, a contingent of high-quality museums, a vibrant arts district downtown, and lively festivals, among several others.
So if you’re planning a visit here, be prepared for an adventure filled with natural beauty, history, and culture. In this article, I’ll take a look at the 23 best things to do in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Things To Do In Alexandria, Louisiana
1. See Exotic Animals At Alexandria Zoological Park
Alexandria Zoological Park is one of the most famous attractions in the city, providing you with an opportunity to see a wide variety of animals from around the world.
This zoo was established in 1926 and has been a beloved destination for locals and visitors. It features over 500 animals from over 160 species, including chimps, pumas, lions, Indian blue parakeets, wolves, and many more. The Louisiana Habitat exhibit is a must-see, as it showcases the state’s unique flora and fauna, including red wolves, alligators, black bears, and otters.
And for a more fun experience, you can take a train ride around the zoo and admire the wonderful vistas of tall trees and lush vegetation.
All in all, this is a must-visit attraction in Alexandria, especially if you’re traveling with children. This is because it offers a great opportunity for them to learn about different animal species in a fun and interactive way.
2. Tour The Alexandria Museum Of Art
Founded in 1977, the Alexandria Museum of Art is a premier destination for art lovers, opposite the City Hall downtown.
This museum focuses on showcasing modern and contemporary art by artists from Louisiana and the surrounding region. The museum’s permanent collection features a wide range of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works.
Additionally, the museum also hosts a variety of educational programs, camps, movie film screenings, free yoga classes, and other big annual events that I can’t list them all here.
So it won’t just be a place to admire art, but also a place to learn and engage with the community. And for that reason, it deserves a spot on this list of the best things to do in Alexandria. After all, art has the power to inspire, educate, and bring people together.
3. Learn The History Of Louisiana At The Louisiana History Museum
To learn about Louisiana’s rich history and cultural heritage, a visit to the Louisiana History Museum is a must. This museum is located in a building constructed in the Beaux Arts style in 1907 and was then used as Alexandria Public Library.
Today, this museum has one of the largest collections of artifacts and exhibits showcasing the history of Louisiana, from its earliest inhabitants to the present day. Visitors can explore exhibits on the state’s Native American tribes, the French and Spanish colonizers, the Civil War, and the state’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.
4. Visit St. Francis Xavier Cathedral And Admire Its Architecture
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral is a historic Roman Catholic cathedral that serves as the seat of the bishop of the diocese. The cathedral was rebuilt in 1899 after the first structure burned down in 1895.
But what makes this cathedral one of the top things to see in Alexandria is its impressive Gothic revival architecture, hand-carved woodwork, and exquisite glass windows. So it is a great destination for those interested in history, architecture, and religious heritage. It’s also a beautiful place to visit, reflect, and pray.
5. Catch A Show At Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center
How about enjoying some live entertainment in the heart of downtown Alexandria? Established in 2004, the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art theater that offers a wide variety of performances, including music, theater, dance, and comedy. It can seat up to 615 people and features a spacious stage and professional lighting & sound equipment.
So when looking for fun and entertaining things to do in Alexandria, check out this arts center’s schedule. No matter what your interests are, there’s something that will appeal to you.
6. Take A Tour Of The Kent Plantation House
The Kent Plantation House is a historic house built in 1796 and is one of the oldest surviving structures in the state. This was the home of Pierre Baillio II, who was a wealthy sugarcane planter and slave owner.
Over the years, the Kent Plantation House has undergone several renovations and additions, but it still maintains its original colonial architecture and character. And in the 1970s, it was opened to the public as a museum, showcasing the history and lifestyle of the Louisiana plantations during the 18th and 19th centuries.
You can tour the main house and outbuildings, including the slave quarters, blacksmith shop, milk shop, and kitchen. The house is furnished with period pieces, including a collection of original family artifacts and furniture.
There is a lot to explore and learn at the Kent Plantation House, as it offers a glimpse into the lives of wealthy plantation owners and their slaves. Therefore, it is one of the top Alexandria attractions that should not be missed if you’re interested in Louisiana’s rich history and culture.
7. Watch A Movie At The Grand 16 Cinema
Watching a movie at the Grand 16 Cinema is an experience like no other. The theater boasts state-of-the-art technology, including RealD 3ds max, Dolby digital Subwoofer, Christie Laser Projection, plush leather recliners, and 16 screens. As you can imagine, the picture and sound quality are absolutely stunning, making it the perfect place to watch the latest blockbuster or indie film.
In addition, the cinema offers in-theater dining options so you can enjoy a meal or a snack while you watch your movie. The menu includes a variety of options, from classic movie theater snacks like popcorn and candy to more substantial options like burgers and pizza.
Therefore, don’t let boredom take over. Instead, head to the Grand 16 Cinema for a truly immersive and enjoyable movie-watching experience. It’s one of the points of interest in Alexandria that provides a complete package of entertainment, food and technology.
8. Visit Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site
These two historic forts on the Red River in Pineville offer visitors a glimpse into the state’s military history. They were built in 1864 to protect the area from the advance of Union forces during the Civil War.
Fortunately, the forts were never attacked, and today, you can explore them and learn about their history through guided tours and exhibits. At the visitor’s center, you will watch the Civil War reenactment documentary and see other artifacts and exhibits related to the forts and the Civil War.
And away from the visitors center, you can explore the fort grounds, go hiking and picnicking on the nature trails and enjoy the beautiful views of the Red River. In addition, you’ll also come across a variety of bird species and other wildlife as you explore the natural surroundings.
9. Attend A Show At Rapides Parish Coliseum
Next on my list of the best things to do in Alexandria, Louisiana, is to visit the Rapides Parish Coliseum. It was built in 1965 and is the perfect place to catch a concert or a sporting event. It has a capacity of 10,000 people, making it one of the largest arenas in the state.
Some popular events performed here include circus shows, WWE, horse riding, exhibitions, pickup truck displays, and many other live acts.
In addition, Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Ronald Reagan are some of the big names that have graced this stage. So if you’re in the area and are looking for something to do, just check out if there’s anything going on here.
10. Relax And Have Fun At Alexandria Levee Park
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy some fresh air and beautiful views at Alexandria Levee Park. Located along the Red River, this park features a scenic walking trail that runs along the river, offering beautiful views of the water and the surrounding area. The trail is a popular spot for walking, jogging, and biking.
The park also features a playground, over 20 picnic tables, grills, a shelter, and an amphitheater that is often used for events and activities. It also includes a three-lane boat launch, making it a popular spot for boating enthusiasts.
What’s more, the park is known for its beautiful sunsets, and it’s a perfect spot to relax and enjoy nature. All these make this park one of the best spots in Alexandria to have fun with family or friends in a relaxed environment.
11. Work Your Way Out At Key2Escape
If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to spend a day with your family or friends, why not try Key2Escape? This is an interactive game where groups are locked in a themed room and have to solve puzzles and clues to escape within a set time limit. Each game is designed to be a fun and exciting experience, with various themes to choose from.
You’ll have to work as a team to find clues, solve puzzles and escape the room before time runs out. The rooms are designed for groups of 2-10 people, making them perfect for birthday parties, corporate team building, or just a fun night out.
12. Spend Your Day At Lake Buhlow
Lake Buhlow is a man-made lake that was created in 1956 by the construction of a dam on the Red River. It covers more than 280 acres and serves as a source of drinking water for the city of Alexandria and also for irrigation and power generation.
Today, it is a popular spot for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming. The lake features a boat launch, a fishing pier, picnic areas, and several areas that offer beautiful views of the lake. You can enjoy fishing for a variety of species, including white crappie, black crappie, largemouth bass, and many more. The lake is also home to a variety of bird species, and it’s a great spot for bird watching.
What’s more? Lake Buhlow is also known as the watersports hotspot. The lake hosts several events and tournaments for water sports enthusiasts every year. However, one of the year’s biggest events is the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races, which happens in May.
Overall, Lake Buhlow is one of the top sites in Alexandria if you’re looking to spend a day outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
13. Take Your Kids To T.R.E.E. House Children’s Museum
We rarely remember to include educational and fun activities for children when planning a day out. Therefore, T.R.E.E. House Children’s Museum is a must-visit destination if you’re traveling with kids.
This interactive museum is dedicated to providing children with hands-on learning experiences that are both fun and educational. The museum features a variety of exhibits that focus on science, humanities, social studies, math, art, and culture.
Kids can pretend to be a scientist in the science lab, where they can conduct experiments and learn about different scientific concepts. Or act as doctors in the medical exhibit, where they can learn about the human body and how it works.
There are a lot of interactive exhibits here that will allow your kid to learn through play and exploration. So, it’s definitely one of the fun things to do in Alexandria, Louisiana, for kids under the age of 12.
14. Admire The Beautiful Arts At The River Oaks Square Arts Center
This is another spot in Alexandria where art lovers can enjoy a variety of exhibitions and events. The River Oaks Square Arts Center is a contemporary visual arts and fine crafts center that showcases the work of local and regional artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, and jewelry.
The center also offers educational opportunities for both children and adults, including classes, workshops, and lectures on various art-related topics. Therefore, I highly recommend visiting this art center if you want to explore and engage with the local art scene. The exhibitions and events are always changing and provide diverse perspectives and styles to experience.
15. Shop For Fresh Produce At Alexandria Farmers Market
There’s no better place in Alexandria to find fresh, locally-sourced produce and handmade goods than at the Alexandria Farmers Market. The market is held on Saturdays and features a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, squash, and berries, as well as honey, jams, jellies, and preserves.
The market also features homemade crafts, such as pottery, candles, and soaps, as well as baked goods, such as bread, cakes, and pastries.
The market also provides a great opportunity to buy fresh, healthy and locally sourced food, learn about farming practices from the vendors, and get to know the community. It’s a perfect destination for families, foodies and anyone looking for fresh and healthy options.
16. Take Your Kids To Gone Wild Safari
Located 11 miles from Alexandria, Gone Wild Safari is a unique and exciting destination for animal lovers. The facility is only ten acres in size and is home to a wide variety of exotic animals.
Some animals you can expect to see include zebras, giraffes, camels, kangaroos, tortoises, goats, and Indian peafowls, among several others. The park also features a petting zoo, where you can get up close with some animals and feed them by hand.
The safari offers guided tours led by knowledgeable and experienced staff. They will take you around the park and provide information about the animals and their habitats. The tour also includes a stop at the feeding station, where you can watch the animals being fed and learn about their diet and behavior.
Overall, Gone Wild Safari is a great destination for families with kids, offering a unique and exciting experience. And for that reason, this is one of the must-visit attractions in Alexandria, Louisiana, if you’re looking for a fun-filled day out.
17. Visit Randolph Riverfront Center
The Randolph Riverfront Center is a multi-purpose facility that serves as a venue for a variety of events and activities, including conventions, conferences, trade shows, and other public events.
The center features a large exhibit hall, a ballroom, several meeting rooms, a full-service catering kitchen, and ample parking. The center’s large exhibit hall can accommodate up to 2,600 people, making it an ideal venue for large events such as trade shows and conventions.
Therefore, when you’re in town, check out the schedule to see what’s happening because it is bound to be interesting.
18. Attend The Louisiana Mardi Gras Parade
Attending the Louisiana Mardi Gras Parade is a unique and one of the most exciting things in Alexandria to experience. Mardi Gras, also known as last Tuesday, is a traditional celebration that takes place in Alexandria before the start of the Christian season of Lent. The parade in Alexandria is a colorful and lively event featuring a wide variety of floats, marching bands, costumed participants, motorcycle shows, vintage car shows, and much more.
The parade route is usually located in the downtown area, and spectators can line up along the route to watch the parade. The parade is family-friendly, and children can enjoy colorful floats, costumes, and live music.
In addition, you can also enjoy food and drinks from local vendors, adding to the festive atmosphere. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
19. Go Shopping At Treasure Chest Flea Market
The Treasure Chest Flea Market is a popular destination for shoppers looking for unique and interesting items. The market features a wide variety of vendors selling a wide range of goods, such as antiques, collectibles, crafts, vintage clothing, apparel, handmade decorations, and more. The vendors at the market are carefully curated to ensure a diverse and interesting selection of items.
What I loved most about the market was the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Vendors are often passionate about their products and happy to share information and stories about their items. It’s a perfect destination for those looking for something different and out of the ordinary.
20. Visit The Louisiana Maneuvers And Military Museum
Established on December 9, 1995, the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum provides a glimpse into the World Wars. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the United States military, with a particular focus on World War I and II.
Therefore, you can expect to find a wide variety of exhibits and displays, including uniforms, weapons, vehicles, cannonballs, artilleries, and other artifacts from the wars. The museum also has a large collection of photographs and documents that provide a deeper understanding of the historical events and the people who lived through them.
I recommend taking a guided tour of the museum if you want a deeper understanding of the artifacts and the stories behind them. And being one of the top attractions in Alexandria, LA, the museum also offers educational programs for students and adults, as well as special events throughout the year.
21. Have Fun With Your Friends At Four Seasons Bowling Center
We now move to a fun-filled and exciting destination, the Four Seasons Bowling Center. This state-of-the-art bowling center offers a wide range of activities for all ages. With 40 lanes, an arcade, glow bowling, laser tag, and a complete bar & restaurant, it’s a perfect place for a family outing, a birthday party, or a night out with friends.
The bowling lanes are equipped with automatic scoring, so you can focus on your game and enjoy yourself without worrying about keeping score. In addition, the arcade has a variety of games that will keep you entertained, from classic arcade games to modern ones.
Therefore, if you’re looking for fun activities to do in Alexandria, this is a great destination for an evening of entertainment.
22. Enjoy Nature At Kisatchie National Forest
You can now experience the beauty of nature at Kisatchie National Forest, a protected area located in Alexandria. The park covers over 600,000 acres of scenic vistas, diverse wildlife, springs, rolling hills, serene lakes, prairies, swamps, and dense verdant forests.
This means that you enjoy a wide range of recreational activities such as hiking, camping, bird watching, horseback riding, and fishing. You can also take a scenic drive on the park’s scenic byway to enjoy the views of the forest, wildflowers and wildlife. The park also has several picnic areas and campgrounds with amenities like restrooms, drinking water and fire rings.
Kisatchie National Forest is located about 30 miles from Alexandria. So you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly and be prepared for the adventure in the wilderness. However, it is one of the best places to visit near Alexandria, Louisiana, and I highly recommend it.
23. Visit Rivers Oaks Square Arts Center
I end my list of the best things to do in Alexandria, Louisiana, with a visit to the River Oaks Square Arts Center. This is a modern visual arts museum that supports and promotes local and regional artists. It has a number of galleries and studios used to showcase the artistic works of the artists. This art center hosts around 25 exhibitions annually, providing a platform for artists to display their work and engage with the community. Additionally, it offers art classes, workshops and other educational programs.