Posted on: January 30, 2024 Posted by: Niru Sherman Comments: 0
Fun Things to Do in Baton Rouge

As the capital and second-largest city in Louisiana, Baton Rouge offers a unique blend of Southern culture, lively nightlife, and historic attractions. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway or looking for things to do as a local, Baton Rouge has something for everyone. If you’re looking for things to do in Baton Rouge, you won’t be disappointed. From exploring the statewide attractions to enjoying the vibrant local arts scene, this city is full of rich experiences waiting to be discovered.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Local Parks

Baton Rouge is home to numerous beautiful parks and green spaces perfect for soaking up the Southern sun. Head over to the 600-acre City Park near Downtown for paddling on the lake, walking the gardens, or playing a round of golf. The park features botanical gardens, a museum of natural science, an antique carousel, batting cages, a dog park, and more.

Just north of Downtown, visit the BREC Memorial Stadium and Hatcher Hall for tennis courts, a public pool, playgrounds, and walking trails. The spacious grounds provide plenty of room for sports, picnics, and community events.

For more hiking and biking trails, check out the Comite River Park or Jaycee Park closer to LSU’s campus. With open fields, forests, and riverside views, you’ll forget you’re in the heart of the capital city.

Tour the Louisiana State Capitol

No trip to Baton Rouge is complete without visiting the iconic 34-story Louisiana State Capitol building. Completed in 1932, this Art Deco skyscraper houses the state’s legislative chambers and offices. Guided tours provide insights into the Capitol’s unique architecture, symbolic details, and political history.

Don’t miss the most recognizable feature – the 27-story tall tower inspired by the skyscrapers of New York City. After your tour, enjoy panoramic views of Baton Rouge from the public observation deck. The Capitol grounds also feature monuments honoring prominent Louisiana governors and politicians.

Cheer on LSU at a Football Game

Cheer on LSU at a Football Game

As home to Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge lives and breathes college football. Attending a game at the iconic Tiger Stadium is an essential experience whether you’re an LSU fan or not. With over 102,000 seats, it’s one of the largest stadiums in the NCAA.

The energetic atmosphere and school spirit create an electric environment from start to finish. Arrive early to tailgate with fans before the game. Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by a sea of purple and gold. Grab some classic Southern grub like jambalaya or gumbo and yell “Geaux Tigers!” as LSU battles their SEC rivals.

Stroll Along the Mississippi River

The mighty Mississippi River flows right through the heart of Baton Rouge. Take a relaxing stroll along the riverfront park downtown to admire views of the waterway and watch the barges drift by. Extending three miles from the Old State Capitol to LSU is the scenic levee path perfect for walking, jogging, or biking.

Visit the USS Kidd Navy destroyer ship museum on the river near downtown. Tour the restored aircraft carrier and naval exhibits to learn about life at sea. Wrap up your time on the riverfront with a delicious Cajun meal at a local restaurant while you watch the sunset over the Mississippi.

Explore Baton Rouge’s Historic Districts

With a vibrant history and culture, Baton Rouge has several historic districts worth exploring. Start in Beauregard Town established in 1806, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The historic homes and landmarks transport you back in time to Baton Rouge’s early development.

Next, head to Spanish Town established in 1805. Now a trendy arts district, it was once home to immigrants from the Canary Islands. Check out the colorful cottages adorned with quirky decorations as you stroll through the neighborhood.

No visit is complete without seeing the top historic attraction – the Old Louisiana State Capitol. Built-in 1847, this National Historic Landmark now operates as a museum housing exhibits on Louisiana history and culture.

Experience Live Music Around Town

From intimate music clubs to massive arenas, Baton Rouge boasts a pumping live music scene. Hit up local staples like Fred’s Bar downtown for homegrown blues, rock, and jazz. Mid City Ballroom also brings in top touring acts from country and Americana to indie rock.

For big-name concerts, head to venues like the River Center Arena, Raising Cane’s River Center Arena Theater, or Tiger Stadium to see chart-topping pop, rock, and hip-hop artists. Keep an eye out for music festivals too like the annual Blues Festival or the Baton Rouge Blues Festival. With local student bands, respected headliners, and everything in between, music lovers will always find something to enjoy in Baton Rouge.

Shop Till You Drop at Mall of Louisiana

Mall of Louisiana is one of the top shopping destinations in the state located just minutes from downtown Baton Rouge. With over 160 stores, it’s the ideal spot to find all your favorite national retailers. Shop department stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods or browse specialty boutiques. When you need a break, refuel with a meal at one of the mall’s casual dining restaurants.

For more local flavor, check out downtown’s Third Street, a pedestrian-friendly strip with boutiques, galleries, cafes, and bars. From records to antiques, you’ll discover quirky shops alongside main street favorites. The spacious Towne Center also recently opened with shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Tour the Rural Areas Nearby

Tour the Rural Areas Nearby

Although Baton Rouge offers plenty to do in the city, the surrounding rural areas beg to be explored too. Heading south, make your way to St. Francisville – one of the state’s oldest towns with Victorian cottages, shopping boutiques, and gorgeous plantation estates.

Continue west to check out the quaint, artsy town of Zachary, LA. For outdoor adventures, drive over to Port Hudson for biking trails with a historical twist – part of the trails go straight through Civil War battlefields.

Finally, nature lovers shouldn’t miss Bogue Chitto State Park just 45 minutes north of the city. It offers cabins, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and moreover its 36 pristine acres. Enjoy a peaceful escape into Louisiana’s natural side.

Learn at Fascinating Museums

From art to science, Baton Rouge’s museums cover a diverse range of interests. The top choice is the Louisiana Art & Science Museum downtown. Their permanent exhibits highlight art, astronomy, natural history, and more through interactive displays.

At Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, dive into informative exhibits on the state’s governing history and culture. The LSU Museum of Art houses over 4,000 objects spanning ancient to modern art.

For aviation lovers, tour the massive aircraft at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum at the airport. And kids will love the hands-on children’s museum and planetarium located within City Park.

Take in the Local Arts Scene

Baton Rouge is brimming with cultural institutions that celebrate the arts. Attend an opera or Broadway performance at venues like the River Center Theater downtown. The local Shaw Center for the Arts brings music, theater, dance, comedy, and visual arts downtown through their resident organizations.

Visit the LSU Museum of Art to see their latest exhibitions of regional and national artists. For edgier fare, head to the Mid City Theatre which features experimental and fringe productions.

Downtown’s Third Street arts district contains several artist studios and indie galleries like the BR Walls Project displaying colorful outdoor murals. With so many creative outlets, Baton Rouge’s arts scene has something for all tastes.

Grab a Bite at a Local Restaurant

From Cajun staples to international cuisines, Baton Rouge’s food scene reflects the city’s diversity. Right by LSU, local favorite Louie’s Cafe dishes out hearty breakfast plates like grits, omelets, and southern Benedicts. For authentic Louisiana fare, try the crawfish etouffee, fried catfish, and more at Sammy’s Grill downtown.

The Chimes East offers an extensive craft beer selection alongside their famous gumbo and shrimp po’boys. Or opt for burgers and barbecue classics at City Pork Brasserie & Bar.

For a nice night out, visit restaurants like Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine or Mestizo Downtown Mexican Cuisine. With cuisine representing Jamaican, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian, and more, you’ll find plenty of mouthwatering flavors to sample across the city.

Enjoy the Nightlife

When the sun goes down in Baton Rouge, the nightlife heats up. Just across from LSU, Tigerland is the hub for lively college bars and dance clubs catering to students. For a more laidback vibe, grab a beer at places like The Bulldog downtown or Mid Tap on Third Street.

Looking for something groovier? Hit up the live music venues like Mid City Ballroom or check the calendar at venues like Manship Theatre for concerts and shows.

Dress up for a fancy cocktail experience at Olive or Oil or The Overpass Merchant near downtown. And you can always find a great sports bar scene around LSU and Southern University to watch the game.

Relax at the Baton Rouge Zoo

Relax at the Baton Rouge Zoo

The small but immersive BREC Zoo in Baton Rouge provides a perfect family-friendly outing. Get up close to exotic creatures like tigers, giraffes, rhinos, monkeys, and bears in naturalistic habitats. Don’t miss Louisiana-native exhibits like the black bear and pelican habitats too.

Kids will love feeding the friendly goats at the petting zoo and riding the Zoo Train for a tour around the grounds. Special events like Booroo at the Zoo also offer live music, arts and crafts, and other family activities. With affordable admission and compact size, the Baton Rouge Zoo is an ideal way to enjoy a relaxed, fun day.


With its unique culture, vibrant dining scene, and endless entertainment options, Baton Rouge truly has something for every type of traveler. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the parks and trails around LSU or along the Mississippi River. Families will love kid-friendly attractions like the zoo and children’s museum. Sports fans can catch an LSU Tigers football game for an electrifying experience. And everyone can appreciate Baton Rouge’s rich history and arts scene through museums, galleries, musical venues, and more.

Whether you’re planning a weekend trip or looking for things to do in Baton Rouge, this city offers discoveries around every corner. From the towering State Capitol and lively downtown to the nearby rural landscapes, a visit here provides the quintessential taste of Louisiana. With so many flavors, sights, and sounds waiting to be explored in the capital city, Baton Rouge is guaranteed to win the hearts of visitors in search of Southern hospitality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Baton Rouge safe for travelers?

Like any major city, Baton Rouge has areas that are safer than others. However, thousands of visitors travel to Baton Rouge each year without incident. Downtown, Mid City, and the Garden District tend to be the most tourist-friendly. As long as you take normal safety precautions like avoiding deserted areas at night, Baton Rouge’s top destinations and attractions are very safe.

What is the best time of year to visit Baton Rouge?

Fall and spring tend to be the most pleasant times to visit Baton Rouge. September through November sees warm sunny days and cooler evenings perfect for enjoying the city and attending LSU football games. March through May brings similar comfortable weather during spring.

Summers can be hot and humid in the South. However, there are still many indoor activities and museums to enjoy. Winters are relatively mild compared to other parts of the country, but the rainy winter months tend to be slower for tourism.

What is the easiest way to get around Baton Rouge?

Driving your own car is the most convenient way to get around Baton Rouge. Downtown is compact and walkable depending on where you stay. For sights further like LSU or the Mall of Louisiana, having a car makes transportation much easier. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also readily available.

The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) does operate local buses throughout the city if you prefer public transportation. Just plan extra time as routes are limited.

Does Baton Rouge have kid-friendly activities?

Absolutely! From the BREC Zoo to the Louisiana Children’s Museum inside City Park, Baton Rouge has many attractions perfect for kids and families. The USS Kidd battleship, Rural Life Museum, and LSU Museum of Natural Science all provide interactive exhibits to keep children engaged. City Park offers plenty of playgrounds, mini golf, batting cages, pedal boats, and more to enjoy.

What food is Baton Rouge known for?

Baton Rouge’s location in Louisiana means seafood and Cajun classics like jambalaya, gumbo, po’ boys, and etouffee are local staples. The city also has strong Southern roots, so you’ll find dishes like fried catfish, crawfish boils, BBQ shrimp, grits, and biscuits on many menus. The Louisiana influence means local cuisine features bold seasonings like cayenne, paprika, thyme, and pepper.