Photos by Trilla Cook: 1 - Family fun at the Red River Revel. 2 – Janie Williams and Liz Mullins enjoy a fun day at The Louisiana Boardwalk shopping and dining extravaganza. 3 – A unique statue welcoming visitors to The R.W. Norton Art Gallery.

Red River Revel 2012 is the place to be Oct. 6-13.

Merely a four-hour drive from Houston, Shreveport-Bossier City is a perfect solution to a weekend road trip or fun get-away. Yes, Texans are made to feel right at home here! Shreveport-Bossier is a piñata of surprises – plentiful and something for everyone! Every venue for art, from museums to film studios, can be found here, along with plentiful, excellent dining establishments.

You will also find a shopper’s paradise at The Louisiana Boardwalk, slots and tables to play at a variety of casinos nearby and, best of all, top notch entertainment – we’re talking headliners here!

PLACES TO GO AND THINGS TO DO

The Louisiana Boardwalk offers outlet shopping, an entertainment district and riverfront dining – this is a shopper’s paradise! From here visitors can also enjoy a cruise on the Spirit of the Red River and learn about the history surrounding Shreveport-Bossier. It is said that Shreveport-Bossier is the festival capitol of North Louisiana, from Mardi Gras to the Red River Revel and parties honoring arts, crawfish, spring blooms and much more. It is a great, fun weekend getaway!

While taking my up-close and personal look around the city, the Red River Revel 2011 Arts Festival was in full swing, with continuous, exciting entertainment and hot, savory food everywhere. The Red River Revel is said to be the largest outdoor arts festival in North Louisiana. And did I mention the arts and crafts vendors? With 140-plus visual art vendors, non-stop live music, family activities and food vendors from around the world, this was a treat for the mind, body and soul! The eight-day long, family-friendly annual event draws in more than 180,000 "Revelers” each fall. Red River Revel 2012 takes place Oct. 6-13 at Festival Plaza and promises to be bigger and better! To find out more, visit .

FOR THE LOVE OF ARTS

We visited only a few, but the list of museums is impressive and diverse, and deserves full attention: The Multicultural Center of the South is dedicated to the enhancement, understanding and appreciation of the history and diverse cultures of northwest and other parts of Louisiana. The Louisiana State Exhibit Museum is a Smithsonian Institute Museum, which has a unique circular layout and offers world-renowned dioramas.

Artspace, entertained us with the production of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which was a unique, interactive puppet theater. Artspace is housed in a three-story art gallery in downtown Shreveport’s West Edge Arts District. The R.W. Norton Art Gallery spotlights art of the American West by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, and proved to be mesmerizing. Amazing – is the word that came to mind when we visited with Shreveport’s local artist, Dr. Bennett Sewell, who was featured in the September 2011 issue of “Our Louisiana Magazine.” Sewell is known for creating bizarre figures out of “scrap” objects, and recently held a one-man show “It’s What You Make of It” at the Meadows Museum of Art. It may be small, but the Barnwell Garden and Art Center is riverfront, and features art exhibits, a nature conservatory and more – all within walking distance to the Shreveport-Bossier answer to the “Vegas Strip.”

Hotel/casinos are in abundance here: Sam’s Town, The Eldorado, The Horseshoe, Boomtown and newcomer Margaritaville Resort Casino, to name a few. The later is expected to open in the summer of 2013. Sci-Port has something for everyone. It’s a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center, which features more than 290 science exhibits, an IMAX Dome Theatre, laser Space Dome Planetarium, with a gift shop and café. Film buffs will enjoy The Robinson Film Center – a two-screen, independent art house cinema, which also houses a full-service restaurant and bar. It is said that film stars might be seen in the vicinity while on location in Shreveport making a movie or screening a film – you never know.

Actually, downtown Shreveport is like its own museum. There’s the Fairfield Historic District, which includes The Strand Theatre and Once in a Millennium Moon Mural – the largest mural in America. One thing is certain – Shreveport-Bossier can also boast many eye-catching and interesting murals. TASTY cuisine We dined elegantly at The Glenwood Village & Tearoom Saturday morning, and then we enjoyed a casual, yet unique, brunch at Marilynn’s Place on Sunday.

Marilynn’s Place is a converted gas station that captures a little bit of south Louisiana, especially with their Sunday brunch specials. A favorite from the menu was eggs served over cornbread and topped with gravy and bacon. The beignets were also very yummy! Visit Fertitta’s Delicatessen, Chef Jason Brady at the Wine Country Bistro or try Abby Singer’s Bistro at the Robinson Film Center and you can’t go wrong. The Wine Country Bistro offers excellent food and wines reasonably priced in a comfortable, yet refined setting. According to our host, this is one of the more popular restaurants among members of the film and television industry – in other words “Stars!” For a refreshing pause, “geaux” to Geauxsicles Gourmet Ice Pops to experience all the different and unique flavors offered there – they are unbelievable! Find their list of flavors on.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The Hilton Hotel is conveniently located in downtown Shreveport, where we enjoyed a rela stay with excellent service. Downtown casinos, including Sam’s Town and The Eldorado are nearby. Shreveport-Bossier boasts that they are Louisiana's Other Side, “Here, we are a mix of wide-open Texas spirit and spicy Cajun attitude. We took the best of big Texas and the tastiest of Louisiana and blended it into our own brand of entertainment and fun. With so much to do in Shreveport-Bossier, why go anywhere else?!” To learn more about all there is to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit .