Natchitoches is a city unlike any other in Louisiana.
Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase (1714) and today boasts a 33-block Landmark Historic District, numerous buildings on the Historic Register (some from the 18th century) and a National Heritage Area (see below). Additionally, Natchitoches is home to Northwestern State University, a public four-year university founded as the state’s “Normal” school (for educators) and today serving nearly 10,000 students.
Natchitoches is within four hours of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, greater Houston, New Orleans, and Little Rock and provides Interstate (I-49), rail, port and air access (KIER, with a 5,000 ft runway). The beautiful Cane River runs through downtown and the associated Riverbank area hosts more than a dozen festivals annually, including the long-running Natchitoches Christmas Festival (each year, first Saturday in December) which this year celebrates 90 amazing years! The Festival caps the six-week Christmas Season and features fireworks over Cane River each Saturday evening, live music, parades, food vendors, arts and crafts, and children’s entertainment. Each year, nearly 500,000 visitors attend the Festival of Lights to enjoy all the festivities, as well as the 300,000 plus lights strewn about downtown and the more than 100 set pieces that reflect upon Cane River.
All of this is evidenced in numerous magazine from Southern Living, to USA Today, to Garden and Gun as well as the many, many blog references to best places to eat, to visit, and to explore. In short, Natchitoches is a beautiful town with a rich history and vibrant culture.
Cane River National Heritage Area
Roughly 116,000 acres of land, the Cane River National Heritage Area begins just south of Natchitoches and extends south and west for 35 miles.
Being one of the United States National Heritage Area, there are many historical sites and parks in the area. It is also home to a multitude of flora and fauna that is unique to Louisiana and the southern United States.
More than anything else, the Cane River area is known for its rich red soil that comes directly from Red River deposits. The surrounding area is considered prime farmland and can best produce food, feed, forage, fiber and oilseed crops. The agricultural fertility of the soil has long played a major role in the history of Natchitoches and its success in its early settlement days and throughout its history.
Our iconic red brick and riverside lends the downtown of Natchitoches to a classic and quaint small town “feel”. Surrounded by a gorgeous national park, Natchitoches is also home to the Cane River National Heritage Area. Where southern Louisiana is full of bayous and swamps, Natchitoches prides itself on its fertile red soil (thanks to the Red River) and gorgeous trees like Live Oaks, Catalpa, Crepe Myrtles, and more.
Natchitoches, as with most Louisiana cities, prides itself in our delectable local cuisine. From home-grown cooking, to creole and Cajun recipes, Natchitoches has a great blend of unique restaurants with original recipes and flavors for everyone.
Whether you plan to stay here permanently or just passing through, Natchitoches has a unique dining experience and the best lodging with all the signature southern charm.
Being in the South, we are known for our hospitality and charm, and Natchitoches takes that reputation very seriously.
Besides the usual excellent hotel chains that people know and trust, Natchitoches also offers a few different local run hotels and bed and breakfasts. We also have a resort perfect for business conferences, golf tournaments and weekend getaways.
Influenced by so many different cultures, ours is a uniquely spun tapestry of food, art, music and traditions.