I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Louisiana’s capital city twice now and fell in love with it a little more each time. First, it was the cool downtown, with live concerts, people walking around with daiquiris, and the magnificent views of the Mighty Mississippi River. Then, it was exploring the Old State Capitol and seeing its gorgeous stained glass windows, eating the tasty cuisine, and drinking delicious craft beer. Here are things to do in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that I recommend.
Baton Rouge Attractions and Activities
The Capitol Park Museum is one of the most-visited attractions in Baton Rouge, with exhibits including pop culture, agriculture, Louisiana state musicians, and cajun culture, to name a few. You can learn a lot about what makes Louisiana so unique here, also a branch of the state museum.
In the spring and fall, free concerts (Live After Five) are offered from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the downtown City Hall Plaza. Families and friends come out in droves to enjoy Baton Rouge’s parks, scenery, water attractions (kids love the splash pad at Repentance Park), and outdoor life. Feel free to roam around the city, enjoying the sights and sounds, with a cold flavored Spanky’s Daiquiris to-go cup. I recommend the Pineapple Painkiller and Bushwhackers. Be on the lookout for great street art and murals while you wander the downtown area.
You can’t come to Baton Rouge without seeing the home of the LSU Tigers (winner of the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship) and Louisiana’s flagship university. Take a walking tour of Louisiana State University’s campus (LSU), see a game, or even say hello to Mike the Tiger, the official mascot and moniker of the LSU Tigers (live and costumed) since 1936.
Shoppers will love the Town Center at Cedar Lodge, with stores like Bath Junkie, J. Jill, Don Juan Cigar Company, and Soft Surroundings. If you’ve never been to a Bath Junkie store before, it is great fun. You can design your own fragrance for your bath and body products.
The Louisiana State Capitol
Also in Baton Rouge is the Old Louisiana State Capitol. The Gothic castle features amazing stained-glass windows, has extraordinary historical exhibits, and is a National Historic Landmark. The Spiral Staircase is made of cast iron and has 32 steps. The magnificent stained-glass dome (the most photographed element of the Capitol) consists of 2,054 glass panes. Admission is free to this treasure, open Tuesday through Saturday.
The seat of today’s government is at the Louisiana State Capitol, a 34-story limestone skyscraper. Louisiana’s Capitol features art-deco elements, making it a tad bit different than other state capitols. The landscaped grounds are immaculate and the whole setting is gorgeous.
Tip: If you are like me, you like checking off state capitols from your travels. Louisiana’s is super easy to get to for just that.
A Phenomenal Day Trip
The Houmas House Plantation is the best thing/attraction/historical venue I’ve seen in the state of Louisiana. It’s well worth the 30 minute drive from Baton Rouge to get there.
This grand antebellum estate (a sugarcane plantation of the 1800s) is jaw-dropping. From the impeccable gardens to the sculptures and antiques, this is one house tour you won’t ever forget. Houmas House is the jewel of the River Road, offering lodging, pristine gardens and grounds, and a variety of restaurants. For me, the gardens, fountains, and artwork were like therapy for my soul. This is a treasure that I’d visit again and again.
Fun Fact: Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Green Book, The Bachelor, and Wheel of Fortune have filmed at the Houmas House.
Places to Eat and Drink
Christina’s is a no-frills favorite eatery in downtown Baton Rouge with amazing breakfast dishes all day and delicious homemade biscuits. My favorite dish is the Shrimp & Cream Cheese Omelet, with a luscious cream cheese sauce, savory sautéed shrimp, and fresh sliced green onions.
Capital City Grill will satisfy your palate with a selection of flavorful salads, gourmet burgers, and a noteworthy happy hour. The location can’t be beat, plus there is outdoor seating to take advantage of the river views.
You’ll find a decadent Italian dinner at the Little Village Restaurant. Start with the Village Bread with red sauce. Huge, billowy puffs of bread, swimming in garlic and a buttery glaze will whet your appetite, plus go hand-in-hand with a nice glass of wine. The Shrimp and Lobster Cream pasta dinner is a winning choice for a flavorsome Italian meal.
Be sure to pop into District Donuts for cold brew, sliders, and craft donuts. Everything is scratch-made, including the sprinkles. Or, try something original like a bonut (a hybrid of a biscuit and donut) from Batch 13. Specializing in biscuits (a Southern staple) and breakfast bowls, Batch 13 is a vibrant restaurant that cannot be missed.
You’ll find a dozen or so craft breweries in Baton Rouge, one being Rally Cap Brewing. This is a fun place to hang out in a baseball-themed setting and enjoy a cold IPA or stout. My favorite is the Failed T-Shirt Company, an oatmeal stout.
Other Points of Interest
Downtown Baton Rouge has some fabulous architecture, restaurants, churches, and street art to be admired. You’ll also find eight art galleries, five concert venues, and eleven public greens-spaces.
A fun free thing to do in Baton Rouge is to stroll along the riverfront by the Riverfront Plaza and USS Kidd war museum. The area is gorgeous of the day or night, with the stately Horace Wilkinson Bridge over the Mississippi River in the background.
Where to Stay in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
My top pick for where to stay in Baton Rouge is the L’Auberge Casino and Hotel. Besides hotel rooms in a variety of prices, size, and amenities, L’Auberge has 74,000 square feet of non-smoking gambling space (and a small gambling terrace for smokers) with 50 table games on the casino floor. It is the premier hotel in Baton Rouge and has several fantastic restaurants.
Another great choice is the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, offering 291 rooms and a gorgeous pool deck overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. The conveniently located hotel also offers complimentary airport shuttles and an onsite restaurant and bar in downtown Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge: A Southern City To Check Out
With a wide array of cultural opportunities, historical attractions, and Southern charm, Baton Rouge is a place you’ll love visiting. Hopefully this list of things to see and do in Baton Rouge will help guide your visit to make the most of it.
Baton Rouge Photo Gallery
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