The most wonderful time of the year is here—and there’s no better place to spend it than in your favorite place in northern Louisiana!
Pack up the family and head to Monroe and West Monroe for a memorable and magical Christmas on the River, a month-long celebration filled with stunning light displays, festive parades, amazing fireworks, great shopping and more.
Take your pick of the stocking full of fun things to do and see on your holiday retreat to Monroe and West Monroe.
Christmas Lights Galore and More
The holiday fun officially kicks off on Saturday, November 21, with the debut of the downtown Christmas lights. Grab your walking shoes and a cup of holiday cheer and enjoy a leisurely stroll along Trenton and Desiard Streets taking in the beautiful light designs through New Years Eve. While you enjoy the lights, pop into some of the downtown shops to cross off some names on your Christmas list.
Next stop: The Freedom Trees at Chennault Aviation & Military Museum. Each year, the museum lights five Christmas trees honoring the service of the men and women of the five branches of the U.S. military. These beautiful, festive trees can be viewed beginning Veterans Day, November 11, through New Years Eve.
The Christmas lights fun doesn’t end there! Don’t miss driving through the favorited Candy Cane Lane, a mile-long wooded drive decorated with more than one million lights. This festive attraction is open nightly from November 13 to January 2.
Take the holiday fun to the next level with a trip to Santa’s Christmas Village where family-friendly activities abound. Experience the beauty and wonder of the beautiful lights and snow shows. Pretend you’re at the North Pole and take a joyful ride down Mount Sneaux. Decorate delicious cookies to take home and feast on. Visit with Santa Claus and get a photo for lasting memories. Check out the captivating Coca-Cola Christmas Village train exhibit. Make your own custom holiday ornaments to cherish for years to come.
‘Tis the Season for Shopping, Parades and Wagon Rides
Christmas on the River is just getting started! The festival fun heats up after Thanksgiving, so throw on your favorite holiday attire and get ready to make some wonderful memories in Monroe and West Monroe.
Load up the kiddos and head to Antique Alley on Friday, November 27, for the annual Children’s Parade at 6 PM. This parade of fun is open to all pre-school and elementary school age children, and features local Monroe-West Monroe kids spreading the holiday cheer from decorated bikes, floats and wagons.
Bring your walking shoes and Christmas list for a full day of Shop Small Saturday and explore the 30-plus antique shops and trendy boutiques along Antique Alley.
When evening falls, bundle up for a half-hour open wagon ride through the festive lights in Monroe and West Monroe. Rides are $5 per person and begin at 5 PM at Alley Park.
End the full, festive day with a night under the Christmas lights watching one of your favorite holiday movies. It’s free for everyone!
Christmas on the River Festival Weekend
Finally the most wonderful event of the year is here—Christmas on the River Festival Weekend, taking place Saturday, December 5, and Sunday, December 6.
Lace up your running shoes for the annual Christmas on the River 5K on Saturday at Antique Alley. The race starts at 8:30 AM and takes runners through downtown West Monroe and along the river.
After conquering the 5K—or supporting your favorite runner in the race—head over to Thomas Road near S&J Farm and Feed for the Bawcomville Redneck Christmas Parade. This one-of-a-kind parade starts at 10 AM and features festive floats with fun-loving redneck themes and throws that range from beads to toys to other surprises!
Take a break to fuel up for more merry fun to come and discover Monroe and West Monroe’s unique eateries—and don’t forget to explore local shops along the way.
When you’re feeling refreshed and ready for more, the afternoon brings opportunities to catch live performances and of the Strauss Youth Academy of the Arts’ Holiday Hoedown 2: Christmas Around the Campfire at 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students, and free for children under age 3. If you can’t make it on Saturday, they’re also doing a show on Sunday, December 6, at 2 PM.
Ready for more parade festivities? The annual Kiwanis Christmas Parade kicks off at 3:30 PM at the corner of DeSiard and Trenton Streets. This year’s theme is Christmas in Paradise, giving you the perfect opportunity to break out that classic Hawaiian shirt that’s collecting dust in the closet.
At nightfall, more activities await. The annual Christmas Fireworks start at 6 PM. Enjoy this favorite holiday event before heading to Strauss Theatre Center at 7 PM to reminisce on past Christmases with a viewing of A Christmas Carol.
A December to Remember
Whether you were unable to join the festivities on Festival Weekend or you’re simply craving more holiday fun, there are still a number of Christmas events and attractions to enjoy in December.
Open wagon rides will still be taking place Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12, as well as on Friday, December 18, Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20.
The Strauss Youth Academy of the Arts will be offering another performance of Holiday Hoedown 2: Christmas Around the Campfire Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13.
West Monroe will be hosting An Artisan Christmas on December 12 at Alley Park from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM, which includes a bustling Christmas Market filled with handmade gifts and goodies made by local artists and craftsmen; all your favorite Christmas tunes; and another chance to enjoy an outdoor holiday movie at 5:30 PM.
The main holiday festivities wrap up with Christmas at Kiroli Park, taking place Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19, as well as Monday, December 20 and Tuesday, December 21. This fun annual celebration includes a walk-through Christmas light display, hot cocoa, s’mores and an array of family-friendly holiday activities.
Ready to celebrate the magic of the holiday season at Christmas on the River in Monroe and West Monroe? Visit our website today to start planning your holiday retreat.