Divided only by the waters of the Ouachita River, Monroe and West Monroe make up Northern Louisiana’s version of the Twin Cities. Until recently, the Monroe area was known as the home of Pecanland Mall, the largest shopping venue in Northern Louisiana, and for the sprawling campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Now? Fans of the A&E network show Duck Dynasty will immediately recognize this city as the headquarters of the Robertson family and their duck-call business.
With the facilities of the university sports complex on hand, sports planners should seriously consider Monroe as more than a place to shop for duck-hunting paraphernalia. Monroe has the lodging and the space to take on just about any kind of event, from rodeos to golf tournaments. And once the game has been played, Monroe has the shops, restaurants and other activities to keep visitors happy.
Monroe has facilities large and small sprinkled thickly throughout the parish. Neighborhood schools and parks provide a multitude of places to organize smaller sporting events. You’ll find almost every type of sport, including golf, softball, baseball, basketball, volleyball, football and tennis.
What if you need a serious amount of room? Then consider these facilities:
Monroe Civic Center
While the Civic Center contains space for events of all kinds, it does have two venues specifically designed for sports − a 46,000-square-foot arena that seats up to 7,600 people and a 30,000-square-foot equestrian pavilion with 76 commercial-sized stalls.
Ike Hamilton Exposition Center
Perfect for equestrian, rodeo and livestock events, the Hamilton Expo Center sits on 40 acres of land. This means plenty of room for parking – 1,200 spaces for autos and 180 spaces for RVs, to be exact. There’s a total of seven acres of facility space, a main arena with the capacity to seat 2,900, a second covered outdoor arena, cattle pens, and cow and horse barns.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
The sports complex of ULM offers top-notch facilities for field sports, swimming, basketball and much more. In addition to the venues listed here, there are many more, including a softball complex and 15 tennis courts.
- Fant-Ewing Coliseum. Ideal for basketball, the 8,000-seat Coliseum has an NCAA-regulation court with newly refurbished hardwood floors, concession stands, ample parkin, and all the amenities.
- Warhawk Field. A lit baseball field that seats 2,000 people, this field comes with all the standard amenities.
- Malone Stadium. The stadium has a regulation-sized, synthetic-turf football field with a video lab, concessions and all the trimmings.
- Brown Stadium. Open for all types of events, this NCAA-regulation sized field boasts a fully resurfaced, eight-lane quarter-mile track.
- Oxford Natatorium. Ideal for swimming and diving competitions, this facility has a 50-meter competition pool and a 25-yard by 12.5-yard diving well with five diving boards.
Attractions and Accommodations
Sports might be the reason your group comes to Monroe, but it’s not the only thing Louisiana’s Twin Cities have to offer. Like any destination worth its salt, Monroe offers golf courses, parks and a treasure trove of shops. Pecanland Mall has 100 stores, plus a handful of retailers in the nearby Pecanland Plaza. There’s also Antique Alley, a collection of eclectic shops, and Downtown Rivermarket, an open-air community experience that happens every Saturday from April to July and again from September to December.
For a relaxing change of pace, make time to stop at the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge or Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. At Landry Vineyards you can enjoy wine and cheese tastings and the occasional outdoor concert.
Staying in the cities of West Monroe and Monroe gives you the choice of several national hotel chains that include plenty of space for meetings and groups. the area offers more than 2,000 hotel rooms. If your sports group prefers something a little more rustic, there are several campgrounds and RV parks in the area.
Finally, don’t forget the food. In this area, food is central. You can stick with beloved local favorites like catfish, barbeque and crawfish or sample some delicious Cajun cuisine. Monroe also offers a variety of tastes from around the globe, including restaurants that feature Thai, Italian, Greek, Lebanese and Japanese dishes.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Conveniently located on I-20 and US-165, Monroe is easy to reach. The Twin Cities of North Louisiana are approximately 270 miles northwest of New Orleans and 290 miles east of Dallas. Nearer metro areas include Jackson (120 miles), Shreveport (100 miles) and Little Rock (180 miles).
Flying into Monroe isn’t complicated; Monroe Regional Airport is served by American Airlines, Delta and United. Direct flights to Atlanta, Memphis, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth make connecting to other cities easy.
If you need personalized assistance in arranging your event, contact the Monroe-West Monroe CVB. They’ll help you with everything from planning to check in, including:
- Hotel leads
- Site visits
- Email/postcard marketing assistance
- Local PR assistance
- Welcome packets and badges
- Registration Assistance
ContactMonroe-West Monroe CVB Scott Bruscato, Director of Convention Sales & Sports Marketing 601 Constitution Drive, West Monroe, LA 71292
800-843-1872, firstname.lastname@example.org www.monroe-westmonroe.org