Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Downtown Ruston: Not Your Mama's Mainstreet

Written By Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Ruston, La. was put on the map in 1883 to serve as a railway town that would help connect the Deep South with the West. Today, you can still hear the trains rolling through Downtown Ruston several times a day; we like to think it adds some character to the town. While Ruston remains true to its historic roots, there’s no denying that it’s evolved and grown over the years. 

Downtown Ruston, photo by Adam Mullins
It seems like every day we hear at least one visitor, Ruston native or Louisiana Tech alum talking about how much the “little town of Ruston has grown” since the last time they were here. Within the last 10 years alone, Ruston has seen some very big changes. A great deal of the growth happening in Ruston has to do with its now-thriving downtown district.

Downtown Ruston is an 18-block historic district that serves as the heartbeat of this town. With local restaurants, shops and historic landmarks all within walking distance, Downtown Ruston is the ideal place to visit when you find yourself in the area.

There is a great selection of restaurants downtown ranging from Italian to Japanese to Cajun and everything in between. While there are some amazing new restaurant additions to the downtown district, like RAW and Roma Italian Bistro, traditional local favorites, like Sundown Tavern, are still thriving. You can even get some fresh, sweet treats in Downtown Ruston at the local cupcake bakery, Social Bites. It’s undeniable that some of the best Ruston eats can be found downtown.

RAW, Downtown Ruston 
Sundown Tavern, Downtown Ruston

Additionally, the shopping in Downtown Ruston has been taken to the next level in the last few years.  There is an abundance of clothing boutiques located downtown, as well as other charming shops featuring home décor, gifts, jewelry, antiques and more. The local stores in Downtown Ruston have truly evolved over the years into gorgeous, sophisticated shops, which has greatly added to the aesthetics of downtown. After going to shops like Chartreuse Pear, The Fashion of Ruston and Fine Line Supply Co., visitors are always pleasantly surprised at the quality and diversity of our downtown shopping options.

The Fashion of Ruston, Downtown Ruston 
Display at Chartreuse Pear, Downtown Ruston

You can also catch annual events downtown like the Ruston Makers Fair, ARToberfest, Holiday Arts Tour, Ruston Fashion Week and more. Most notably, Downtown Ruston is home to the  Louisiana Peach Festival, which takes place every summer during the fourth weekend of June. Next year's festival is on June 23-24, 2017 so make plans now to visit Ruston for this fun event!

Concert at the 2015 Louisiana Peach Festival in Downtown Ruston

The Dixie Center for the Arts is also located downtown and serves as a hub for the arts in Ruston. They feature productions by the Ruston Community Theatre, various musical ensembles, film viewings, local events and more. It’s always a good idea to check the Dixie’s marquee when driving through downtown.

The Dixie Center for the Arts, Downtown Ruston

Every year the downtown district continues to grow and improve due to the outpouring of creativity and innovation from local business owners and community leaders. Ruston’s ability to remain a tight-knit community while continuously growing year after year is a truly special quality that captures the hearts of locals and visitors alike.  It’s a town that stays with you long after you leave its quaint and homey atmosphere. We hope that you’ll take a day or weekend in the near future to visit historical Downtown Ruston and everything it has to offer!

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.  

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