Why should North Carolina and Vanderbilt fans make the trip to Shreveport-Bossier for the 2016 Camping World Independence Bowl?

To answer that question, I consulted my trusty friend Chris Jay with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, who did an interview on that very topic today with a sports radio show in Nashville.

Together, we've come up with at least five great reasons why folks from North Carolina and Tennessee NEED to be here on game day.

  • 1

    The food

    A lot of folks outside our area of the state think of New Orleans when they think of Louisiana. But Jay says we have our own food culture in the SBC.

    "Whether you're talking about a Shrimp Buster at Herby K's, or you're talking about a great steak at 2 Johns or from Jack Binion's Steakhouse, I'm trying to get those folks to come here and experience the food scene in Shreveport-Bossier," he said. "Have a slice of pie at Strawn's...sample all the good stuff we've got to offer."

    And many of you know you can find blackened just-about-anything at Blind Tiger.

  • 2

    Craft beer

    Locals know we have not just one, but THREE, craft breweries in town. Craft beer is something that has grown in popularity across the nation.

    "Think about how quickly we've gone from having no craft breweries, to having three really great ones, including one that's thought of nationally as a leader in the southern craft beer movement," Jay said. "It's something that's brought a lot of hometown pride to Shreveport-Bossier, and I think that craft beer does that wherever it goes."

    Fans have Great Raft, Red River and Flying Heart breweries to choose from.

  • Google Maps
    Google Maps

    Places to stay

    Say what you want about that tiny, extra tax on local hotel-motel stays in the area. Jay said our establishments are still affordable for guests.

    "We're in the top teir of affordable hotels, and we also have some great B&B's. We have three Bed and Breakfasts now," he said. "There's kind of a wide range of experiences you can have, whether you want to stay in a nice, limited-service hotel that's affordable and in a good spot convenient to Independence Stadium, or if you want to have a more all-inclusive, more luxurious experience...there's a full range of property to stay at in this market."

  • Google Maps
    Google Maps


    What visit to town would be complete without a little shopping? Jay said there's one particular place visitors are always asking about.

    "A lot of folks who are locals take it for granted, but the Louisiana Boardwalk is the number one thing that visitors ask about when they walk into our Welcome Centers in downtown Shreveport and at the airport," he said. "People like to shop while they're traveling, and they especially love it when they can get a good bite to eat or hit the casino while they're doing it."

    With stores like Bass Pro Shops, Rocket Fizz and Banana Republic (can we say after-Christmas sales??), plus restaurants like Joe's Crab Shack and Fuddruckers, Jay said he expects to see a lot of action at the Boardwalk Outlets the weekend of the Independence Bowl.

  • Google Maps
    Google Maps

    Casinos, casinos, casinos

    Because the game is on December 26, that means a lot of fans will be traveling on Christmas Day. The 26th is also considered a Federal Holiday this year, so it's likely some restaurants won't be open. Enter the 24-7 casino business!

    "One place you can always find something going on is those casinos. They don't shut down on holidays," Jay said. "It's gonna be, I think, something that a lot of those visiting football fans are gonna go do."

    There are many casinos to choose from, too. In Shreveport, we've got Sam's Town and Eldorado. In Bossier, it's Margaritaville, Horseshoe, Harrah's, Boomtown and DiamondJacks.

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