There are few things more exciting than the Louisiana Tech football season here in Ruston. It’s a special time of year when students, alumni, locals, and fans from all over the country come together to watch the Bulldogs take the field. While you’re in Ruston for the game, we want you to make the most out of your trip by experiencing the local attractions and culture of Louisiana’s College Town.
There’s no better way to start your visit than with a hot cup of coffee and a homemade pastry from Common Goods Co. Conveniently located right off I-20, it is the perfect place to stop for breakfast on your way into town. You can also grab your breakfast to-go and head to Hideaway Park, where you can enjoy your meal under a covered pavilion followed by a morning stroll around the walking path or a relaxing hammock session. If you’re looking for a little more activity, the park also features an 18-hole frisbee golf course and a 7-acre pond for fishing.
Ruston’s walkable historic downtown, where you’ll find unique shops, local restaurants, and several outdoor art installations to discover, including The Bulldog Project. Be sure to take a minute and snap a photo in front of one of the many colorful murals in the district! Some of the must-visit shops include Chartreuse Pear, The Collective, Cotton Top Print Shop, The Fashion of Ruston, Fine Line Supply, Garden Baby, Goldie Boutique, and No. 9 Books & Records. A full list of downtown stores can be found here.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, walk on over to the Heard Freighthouse Food Park, where you can choose from several local food trucks serving up burgers, sandwiches, barbecue, and other specialty items. The park also features an outdoor dining area with covered picnic tables, which makes for the perfect place to dine on a nice fall afternoon.
After lunch, take your pick from several outdoor adventures in the piney hills. You can enjoy an afternoon of biking or water activities at the pristine Lincoln Parish Park, which boasts world-class bike trails, a 1.25-mile walking path around the beautiful lake, a sandy beach, and several fishing piers. If you’re really looking for an adventure, set up camp at one of the park’s primitive or RV campsites for the weekend. If observing nature is more your speed, then grab your binoculars and head to the James Lake Birding Trail, where you can unplug and connect with nature from a peaceful viewing platform overlooking the lake and all its wildlife.
Go ahead and break out one of the new outfits you bought for dinner and drinks at Utility, known for their house-made craft beer, brick-oven pizza, and specialty cocktails. Also be sure to check our calendar of events to see what's happening that weekend, including any home game weekend celebrations.
The best way to start a Saturday morning in Ruston is at the Farmers Market. This open-air market features fresh produce, meats, eggs, honey, jams, salsas, baked goods, and other locally-made items. You can even fuel up with coffee and breakfast options from area vendors. The market is open year-round every Saturday from 9:00 am-1:00 pm.
We recommend hanging around downtown to shop and grab a bite to eat before the game. If you need a last-minute game-day outfit, be sure to swing by FanBase for all your official Louisiana Tech merch. For lunch, head over to Ponchatoulas, a staple of Downtown Ruston. This Louisiana Tech alumni-owned restaurant offers Cajun classics and southern specialties in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Avoid game-day traffic and stadium lots by staying parked downtown and taking advantage of the Tech Trolley. This shuttle service picks up in Railroad Park and takes fans to and from Joe Aillet Stadium for tailgating activities and the game, running continuously each hour, completely free of charge. Get to the stadium early for tailgating in Bulldog Village, an experience you must not miss during game days in Ruston.
No tickets? No problem! There are plenty of places in the area to kick back and watch the game. Eat, drink, and enjoy the game from the comfort of your favorite Ruston restaurant/bar.
After cheering on the Bulldogs, catch the Tech Trolley back to downtown, where the game day fun continues. Champs Sports Bar and Sundown Tavern are both great options for post-game snacks and drinks. For continued football watching, we suggest grabbing a table at Champs. For celebratory cocktails on the patio, head over to Sundown.
While the game day festivities may be wrapped up, there’s no rush to head out of town. Sleep in a bit, then make your way to Beau Vines for a delicious Sunday brunch. The menu offers classic brunch dishes and some with a signature twist. Aside from truly delicious food and wonderful service, Beau Vines provides a relaxing atmosphere that’s perfect for an easy Sunday.
We hope you enjoy your gameday weekend experience, complete with some great, local shopping. Be sure to visit again soon!
For more information on any of these attractions, or for other trip ideas, visit www.experienceruston.com.
Maggie is a Shreveport native and senior marketing student at Louisiana Tech University. She loves living and working in Downtown Ruston, all things Twilight, and is a pizza connoisseur. As Marketing Assistant, Maggie helps with special projects, communications, and content planning and creation.