Baton Rouge, the vibrant capital city of Louisiana, is a hidden gem that beckons travelers with its unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor adventures. From the majestic Mississippi River to the lively streets filled with the aroma of Cajun spices, Baton Rouge offers a diverse range of experiences for every type of traveler. Here’s a curated list of things to do that will make your visit to Baton Rouge truly unforgettable.
1. Immerse Yourself in History at the Old State Capitol: Begin your journey through Baton Rouge’s rich history by visiting the Old State Capitol. This architectural masterpiece, perched on a bluff overlooking the river, has witnessed pivotal moments in Louisiana’s past. Explore exhibits that transport you back in time, and don’t miss the awe-inspiring stained glass dome that graces the interior.
2. Stroll through the Louisiana State Capitol: A visit to Baton Rouge wouldn’t be complete without exploring the Louisiana State Capitol, the tallest capitol building in the United States. The art deco design and panoramic views of the city from the observation deck are sure to leave you in awe. Take a guided tour to uncover the stories and secrets held within its walls.
3. Discover the Culture at the LSU Rural Life Museum: Step into the past at the LSU Rural Life Museum, a 450-acre complex dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s agricultural history. Authentic structures, artifacts, and exhibits showcase the daily life of early Louisiana settlers. This living history museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the state’s diverse cultural heritage.
4. Cajun Cuisine Delight: Baton Rouge is a food lover’s paradise, and you can’t leave without savoring its delectable Cajun and Creole cuisine. From gumbo to jambalaya and crawfish etouffee, local restaurants serve up authentic flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Don’t forget to try a beignet for a sweet treat that rivals those found in New Orleans.
5. Riverside Charm at the Baton Rouge Riverfront: Take a leisurely stroll along the Baton Rouge Riverfront and soak in the picturesque views of the mighty Mississippi River. The riverfront features parks, walking trails, and the USS Kidd Veterans Museum, a decommissioned World War II destroyer turned floating museum. It’s a serene escape in the heart of the city.
6. LSU Campus and the Rural Life Museum: Explore the sprawling campus of Louisiana State University (LSU). The vibrant energy of college life blends seamlessly with the rich cultural offerings on campus. While there, visit the LSU Museum of Art and take in the impressive collection spanning centuries.
7. Outdoor Adventures at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo: For a family-friendly outing, head to the Baton Rouge Zoo, nestled within Greenwood Park. Home to over 1,800 animals, the zoo offers an engaging experience for visitors of all ages. From the Safari Playground to the Otter Pond, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
8. Evening Entertainment on Third Street: As the sun sets, make your way to Third Street, the hub of Baton Rouge’s nightlife and entertainment scene. Enjoy live music, eclectic bars, and a variety of restaurants serving up local and international cuisines. The atmosphere is lively, making it the perfect way to cap off a day of exploration.
9. Artistic Enchantment at the Shaw Center for the Arts: Indulge your creative side at the Shaw Center for the Arts, a cultural haven housing the LSU Museum of Art and the Manship Theatre. Explore thought-provoking exhibits, attend live performances, and admire the contemporary architecture of this cultural gem located in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge.
10. Louisiana Art & Science Museum: For a family-friendly and educational outing, visit the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. Featuring engaging exhibits, a planetarium, and interactive displays, this museum caters to art lovers and science enthusiasts alike. It’s a perfect destination for those looking to combine learning with fun.
11. Take a Swamp Tour: Delve into the natural beauty of Louisiana with a swamp tour. Several operators offer guided tours where you can witness the unique ecosystem of the Atchafalaya Basin, spot alligators in their natural habitat, and learn about the importance of wetlands in Louisiana’s ecology.
12. LSU Lakes: Escape the hustle and bustle by visiting the serene LSU Lakes. These picturesque lakes, nestled on the university’s campus, provide a tranquil setting for walking, jogging, or simply unwinding. The lush greenery and scenic views make it a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon.
13. Explore the Baton Rouge Blues Trail: Louisiana is known as the birthplace of the blues, and Baton Rouge is no exception. Follow the Baton Rouge Blues Trail, which showcases significant sites and landmarks in the city’s rich blues history. From juke joints to recording studios, the trail offers a musical journey through time.
14. LSU Rural Life Museum: Dive deeper into Louisiana’s rural history at the LSU Rural Life Museum. This living history museum features reconstructed buildings, traditional crafts, and demonstrations that highlight the agrarian lifestyle of early settlers. It’s a fascinating immersion into the state’s agricultural roots.
15. Attend a Sporting Event: Baton Rouge is passionate about sports, especially college football. If your visit aligns with the college football season, catching an LSU Tigers game at Tiger Stadium is a must. The energy of the crowd and the iconic traditions make it an unforgettable experience.
16. Red Stick Farmers Market: For a taste of local flavors, visit the Red Stick Farmers Market. Held on Saturdays, this market showcases fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local crafts. It’s a great opportunity to interact with locals, sample regional specialties, and bring home a piece of Baton Rouge.
17. USS Kidd Veterans Museum: Delve into naval history at the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. Explore the decks of this historic destroyer, learn about its role in World War II, and pay homage to the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The museum offers a unique blend of history and maritime heritage.
Baton Rouge, with its warm Southern hospitality and diverse attractions, promises a memorable experience for every traveler. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, this Louisiana gem has something special in store for you. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the unique charm of Baton Rouge, and create lasting memories in the heart of the Pelican State.