The Shreveport/Bossier City metro area is a true Southern experience, with influences from south Louisiana’s Cajun culture and neighboring Texas (Dallas is under three hours away). Shreveport is the largest city in what’s known as the Ark-La-Tex region, which — you guessed it — is where the three states meet. Located on the River Red in Cado Parish, Shreveport and Bossier City boast a generally mild climate; it doesn’t get too cold in the winter (though don’t be surprised by occasional snow), but Southern summers are hot, so pack shorts. It’s an affordable place to live, with an average home listing price of $197,874 and a median monthly rent of only $875.

Defense is a big industry in Shreveport and Bossier City, with Barksdale Air Force Base being the biggest employer; The National Cyber Research Park and its Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) is also located here. Manufacturing and biotech are also leading industries.

It’s a lively place, with a bustling nightlife scene — and 40 percent of residents are single. The downtown riverfront is lined with six riverboat casinos that are open 24/7. The Horseshoe Riverboat Casino is the biggest one in town. There are also nightclubs, bars and live music venues from which the sounds of blues, rock and jazz flow. One unique fact about Louisiana nightlife is that smoking is allowed in all bars and venues — not just casinos. But lawmakers are looking to change that. Also on the riverfront in Bossier, you’ll find the Louisiana Boardwalk, with shopping and riverfront dining. During Mardi Gras, New Orleans doesn’t have all the fun. Shreveport and Bossier City host a massive Mardi Gras celebration each year, which is hosted by some of Louisiana’s largest parading Mardi Gras organizations, known as “krewes."

When it comes to food, there are a few things you need to try: Boudin Noir Sausages and stuffed shrimp. Boudin Noir Sausages are blood sausages popular in Cajun cuisine and stuffed shrimp is a very classic Creole dish served in Shreveport. You’ll also want to chow down on beignets, fried catfish, po-boys, shrimp and grits and BBQ. We never said your diet would survive down here.

So what else is there to do in Shreveport and Bossier City besides gamble, drink and eat? Well, you can head over to the roller derby. That’s right, residents just love the women of the Twin City Roller Derby. Caddo Lake State Park, located between Texas and Louisiana, is a true Southern nature experience, where you can kayak through a maze of bayous draped in Spanish moss.
Also check out the beautifully impressive American Rose Center, where you can feast your eyes on 20,000 rose bushes. Shreveport is actually home to the American Rose Society. If you like flowers, you’ll also want to make it to the annual Sunflower Trail and Festival each June.

Not that you could miss it if you tried, but be sure and check out Shreveport’s iconic “Once in a Millennium Moon Mega Mural.” It’s one of the largest public murals in the U.S. and covers 25,000 square feet of a building.