Bossier City is the second-largest city in Northern Louisiana and the largest city in Bossier Parish. Home to Barksdale Air Force Base, which hosts several Air Force commands, as well as the backup landing site of Air Force One, Bossier City's recent history revolves largely around the U.S. military. In addition, most of the casinos in the Ark-La-Tex (the three-states region where Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas intersect) are within the corporate limits of Bossier City.
Bossier City is on the east bank of the Red River and faces Shreveport to the west. The city is home to several casinos and a horse-race track. In fact, most of the casinos in the Shreveport area are actually inside the city of Bossier City, including the "riverboat" casinos; Boomtown, DiamondJack, Horseshoe, and Margaritaville. In addition, Harrah's Louisiana Downs racetrack has a casino next to the track. Between Margaritaville and Horseshoe is the Louisiana Boardwalk shopping and entertainment center with a movie theater and a Bass Pro Shop.
While the town was founded in the 1800s around the same time as Shreveport, it remained a sleepy bedroom community of Shreveport, the latter remaining the economic center of the area, until the 1930s. Around this time, Barksdale Air Force Base was founded in the city, which led to an increase in population and commercial business. The growing importance of Barksdale often meant simultaneous growth for Bossier City as well. One of the largest military aircraft in the world, the B-52 Stratofortress, has several units based at Barksdale. In the 1990s, the first casinos came to this area and is where most of the gaming remains in the area. Bossier City has also become the home for many prior Shreveport residents, looking to escape the problem of the growing crime rate on the west bank of the Red River.
As Bossier City is directly across the river from Shreveport, most methods of transportation that serve Shreveport also serve Bossier City.
The nearest commercial airport is across the river in Shreveport (SHV IATA), about 9 miles from the city center of Bossier City. This is the gateway for most visitors arriving in Bossier City by airplane. From the airport in Shreveport, rental cars as well as rideshare/taxi services are available to provide transportation into Bossier City.
- Interstate 20, an east-west route between Dallas and Jackson, Mississippi, passes through Shreveport.
- US Highway 71 enters the city from the south, coming from Natchitoches and Alexandria and merges with I-20, just before crossing into Shreveport to the west.
- US Highway 80 is an east-west route that is parallel to Interstate 20 for its entire length in Louisiana, never more than 10 miles from the interstate highway at any point. Entering Bossier City from the east near Harrah's Casino, it passes much of the suburban development of Bossier City and merges with US 79 just before crossing the Red River into downtown Shreveport. The route is considered a historic US Highway, and is also a Louisiana-designated scenic byway.
- Louisiana Highway 3 is a north-south route that terminates in Bossier City. To the north is the parish seat of Benton and the town of Plain Dealing, which is a jumping on-off point for motorists wanting to drive the Louisiana Boom or Bust Scenic Byway, a route in the far north of the state that parallels the Arkansas state line for most of its length, and explores the state's oil and gas heritage. The route terminates at the Arkansas state line and continues north as Arkansas Highway 29.
The city is very easily navigable by car, and many destinations will be within very close proximity of Interstates 20 and 220, as well as US Highway 71. Barksdale Boulevard is also an important street used by visitors and residents alike, as it passes within the 5-block East Bank District, running east from the Horseshoe Casino, and is home to various restaurants, arts dealers, and a small brewpub.
- The same public transportation system that serves Shreveport also serves Bossier City. However, the portion of the system in Bossier City is not nearly as extensive. There are only 3 routes in the city and they do not serve all destinations. It may be prudent to take a bus to as close to your destination as possible, and then hail a rideshare or a taxi to continue on to your destination. This will be most notable with any destinations south of Interstate 20.
Due to the size of Bossier City, walking is only recommended in the vicinity of the casinos and the Louisiana Boardwalk outlet mall on the Red River. It is also possible to walk in the compact East Bank District, and may be more beneficial than driving in this area. Most other attractions and destinations are several miles apart.
- 1 Barksdale Global Power Museum, 88 Shreveport Road, ☏ . Daily 9:30AM-4PM. Museum dedicated to the Air Force bombers and many of the Air Force's commands. Multiple exhibits and full size aircraft on display. Contains a gift shop with Air Force memorabilia. NOTE: This museum is on an active military base and has unique entrance requirements. Only active duty members of the United States military have free access to the base. All other visitors will need to enter through the North Gate and let base security know you are visiting the museum. They will take your ID / Driver's License while visiting. It is not advised to visit any other area of the base, as your access will be restricted to the museum. If caught, you will be promptly escorted off base and will likely not be allowed back in again....at a minimum.
- 2 Cross on the Hill, 700 US-80, Haughton. 199-foot cross near the intersections of I-20, I-220, and US-80. One of the tallest crosses in America. Cross is lit up at night and makes for a good photo opportunity.
- 3 Mardi Gras Museum, 2101 E. Texas St., ☏ .
- 4 Red River National Wildlife Refuge, ☏ . Daily, Daylight hours. Visitor Center: M-F 8AM-4PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. Weekend hours may vary due to volunteer staffing.
Bossier City, along with Shreveport, is a regional home of gaming in the Ark-La-Tex region, and often attracts visitors from as far away as Oklahoma City or the Texas Panhandle. Most of the casinos offer the usual fare of slot machines, table games, and lotteries. All contain impressive dining and lodging. Most of the casinos are along the Red River, with the exception of Harrah's, which is also a racetrack, and sits near the intersection of Interstates 20 and 220.
- 1 Johnny's Pizza House, 4100 Barksdale Blvd., ☏ . Su-Th 9AM-11PM, F Sa 9AM-12AM. Locally based pizza chain that serves a unique combination of both pizza and New Orleans style cuisine, including muffalettas. Alcohol served on premises.
Other than Shreveport, there are several places nearby that make for a good day trip if you have a car or motorcycle. In fact, having a car is the only practical way to take any kind of day trip out of Bossier City, especially if planning to return.
Nearby day trip destinations are:
- Minden - Home to Northern Louisiana's German heritage country and a charming Main Street district
- Ruston - Louisiana Tech University and the center of the Louisiana peach industry. In season, pick a fresh peach from one of the local farms in the area.
- Winnfield - Museums and historic sites dedicated to the most famous of the state's political families, the Longs, and especially the most debated politician in Louisiana's 300-year history: Huey Pierce Long.
- Kisatchie National Forest - The Caney Ranger District of this forest northeast of Bossier City offers some of the best hiking in northern Louisiana.
- Plain Dealing - The midway point of the Louisiana Boom or Bust Scenic Byway (roughly Louisiana Highway 2), which explores the state's oil and gas heritage that began in the early 20th century and continues today.
- Bradley, Arkansas - A small village that is home to the Conway Cemetery State Historic Park, honoring the life of the first governor of the state of Arkansas.
|Routes through Bossier City|
|Dallas ← Shreveport ←||W E||→ Minden → Monroe|
|Texarkana ← Shreveport ←||N S||→ Coushatta → Alexandria|
|Pine Bluff ← Magnolia ←||N S||→ Shreveport → Round Rock|
|Dallas ← Shreveport ←||W E||→ Minden → Monroe|
|Hope ← Becomes ← Plain Dealing ←||N S||→ END|