Experience peak holiday joy this season in Ruston and Monroe-West Monroe. Between incredible shopping, fantastic locally-owned restaurants and the awe inspiring Holiday Trail of Lights, everyone in the family will find something to love.
Local Dining in Ruston
Whether it’s a table for two or a big ol’ family affair, the restaurants around Ruston offer big flavors and Bayou State favorites. Not far from the Christmas light installation at Railroad Park are the twin food trucks of Staple Sandwich Co. and Grown and Grazed. Staple Sandwich Co. uses house-made focaccia bread for its offerings, like the Muffuletta, Cuban and Pimento Cheese sandwiches.
At Grown and Grazed, you can expect to find breakfast and lunch items that include Louisiana Sweet Potato Hash and several Smith Family Farms beef hamburgers (don’t miss the Patty Melt!).
Each with its own comfortable atmosphere, Trio’s Ruston and White Lightnin’ Cocktail & Culinary Co., a Louisiana-centric restaurant with a respectable bar scene, serve up fancier plates. At Trio’s (which also has a location in Monroe), try the Blackened Grouper & Crab; at White Lightnin’, pair one of the Prohibition-era cocktails with New Orleans’ favorite BBQ Shrimp & Grits or Creole Fish Meunière.
For a casual meal of pizza with a rotating selection of locally brewed beers, don’t miss Utility Brewing Co., conveniently located next door to the Dixie Center for the Arts.
Attractions & Experiences
Throughout the holiday season, Ruston offers a wide variety of events and experiences. From downtown carriage rides and a drive-through light display at Lincoln Parish Park to art marketplaces and the locals’ favorite Christmas Parade, there is plenty to pack your calendar and excite the whole family. The Dixie Center for the Arts, a 1928 building once known for being “North Louisiana’s most magnificent showhouse,” puts on showings of popular classic holiday films such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Polar Express, as well as seasonal stagings by the Ruston Community Theatre. Ruston’s walkable downtown provides a bounty of shops, restaurants and boutiques all within a few minutes’ walk of the Dixie Center for the Arts. Creative Exchange and Ruston Artisans act as hubs for the local art scene, and Patton’s Downtown (which opened 15 years ago in Ruston and has grown to four stores around Louisiana) is an ideal place to pick up clothing or gifts for loved ones. A few doors down from Patton’s, you can relax and recharge at Railway Coffee with a mug of hot chocolate and a sweet treat.
Holiday Trail of Lights
Countless twinkling holiday lights between seven northern and central Louisiana destinations is just the beginning for the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights. Since 1992, towns including Alexandria/Pineville, Logansport, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches, Ruston and Shreveport-Bossier have come together to make one magical holiday experience. Catching a horse-drawn carriage ride in Ruston, shopping at Antique Alley in West Monroe and taking a cruise through the nearby Candy Cane Lane (a mile-long attraction with more than a million lights) are just a few of the memorable moments you and your family can make on the short trip between these cities. Theatrical performances, parades and dazzling fireworks displays fill out the schedule. For the full slate of events, visit holidaytrailoflights.com.
The beautiful and historic downtown area that Ruston has today hearkens back to a time when the arrival of the railroad offered fantastic opportunities to local cotton farmers. Now, Ruston is home to two growing colleges, and its central location on the Holiday Trail of Lights makes it an even more enticing location to visit during late fall and winter.