Here in Louisiana, we are happy for any excuse to celebrate our area's culture and vibrancy. In recent years, March 18 has lovingly been claimed as "318 Day." A day to explore and celebrate all the things that make the 318 area (code) special. In celebration of 318 Day, we are highlighting some of our favorite things to eat, see, and do in our favorite part of the 318: Lincoln Parish.
The North Louisiana Military Museum has a lot to see, and we highly recommend visiting during your celebration of 318 Day. Ruston is home to the only military museum in North Louisiana, which features an extensive collection of war relics and memorabilia. The museum’s local ties make it especially interesting, as a large number of items on display were donated by veterans and families of the 318. An added bonus, the museum is free to visit (although we recommend making a donation to help support the museum).
There is so much talent showcased all over the 318, and here in Lincoln Parish, we feel lucky to have some of the best. From the murals scattered all throughout downtown to the 11 “Bulldog Project'' bulldogs placed all over the city, the talent of our local artists is something to celebrate. Their art embodies the unique culture of North Louisiana, making a tour of it the perfect activity for 318 Day. Snap a photo, share it, and tag us @rustoncvb so we can see how you celebrate the 318.
What better way to celebrate the 318 than by enjoying a meal that from farm to plate was sourced from local producers? Grown and Grazed prides themself on the fact that they do exactly that. Grab the Louisiana Sweet Potato Hash for breakfast or the Farmers Market Burger for lunch from this locally-loved food truck. Looking for options? No worries, Grown and Grazed is housed next to two other local food trucks that are sure to deliver satisfaction.
Owned by two 318 Natives, this local bakery and coffee shop provides homemade bread and pastries along with a coffee menu that is guaranteed to heighten your appreciation of Ruston and its little gems. Common Goods is the perfect spot for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. We recommend the Breakfast Crunch toast and an iced latte, but really you can’t go wrong.
Another reason Ruston is our favorite part of the 318 is that we have our very own microbrewery and pizza restaurant in the heart of downtown. Utility Brewing offers a variety of menu items that incorporate local flavor into familiar favorites: beer and pizza. They partner with other local businesses for several of the ingredients they use for items on both the beer and food menus. We recommend trying their monthly pizza special, and because their beer is made in limited batches, we recommend trying them all by ordering a flight.
Gather your friends and make them a part of the celebration and go for a walk, run, or bike ride along the Rock Island Greenway. Stretching a total of 5 miles across the city, the RIG is a perfect excuse to get outside, explore, and appreciate Ruston on 318 day. Fun fact: the greenway follows the path of the old Rock Island Railroad tracks, which date back to the mid 1800’s!
We highly recommend supporting small businesses on 318 day, and the best place to do that is Downtown Ruston. All of the stores in downtown are locally owned and operated, so you won’t find any big-box stores or national chains. The downtown businesses have an atmosphere of collaboration over competition, where businesses find ways to partner to give residents and visitors the best experience possible. If you’re looking for products or art that were made in the 318, be sure to check out The Collective, Fine Line, Garden Baby, Cotton Top, and Creative Exchange.
We hope you take this day to celebrate everything that makes the 318 special! Be sure to visit our 318 neighbors in your Louisiana adventures, including Shreveport-Bossier, Webster Parish, Union Parish, Monroe & West Monroe, Natchitoches, Alexandria & Pineville.