When out-of-towners think of Baton Rouge, mostly LSU-football comes to mind. But when it’s not a game day, how do you explore Baton Rouge like a local?
Today, I’ve teamed up with SFT, a Baton Rouge-based tee and tank company (also seen here and here), to bring you the LOCAL GUIDE for a trip to Baton Rouge. We’re covering places to stay, eat, drink, see and visit!
Shop my SFT Local Tank here & share your local love with the hashtag #SFTLocal.
Hilton Baton Rouge (Downtown) – This hotel is located right in the middle of downtown near many restaurants and attractions. The rooftop pool gives you a great view of the Mississippi River and bridge. Plus, if you stay during Mardi Gras, just walk out the front door and you’re right on the parade route!
Hotel Indigo (Downtown) – Also located right in the middle of downtown, Hotel Indigo is a modern boutique hotel. There’s a great bar downstairs that often houses live music. You can also rent bikes from here to explore more of the area.
Renaissance (Bluebonnet) – This hotel is great if you want to be out of the downtown area, but still near lots of shopping and restaurants. The Renaissance is minutes away from the Mall of Louisiana and Perkins Rowe.
The Cook Hotel and Conference Center (LSU) – This hotel is located right on the edge of campus and overlooking the University Lakes. Perfect if you’re coming into town for an event at LSU.
Although there is much more to see than LSU when visiting Baton Rouge, taking a drive or stroll through campus is a must. With a live tiger mascot like Mike, you can’t not go visit him! While you’re at it take a look at the football stadium, the stately oak trees, the outdoor Greek amphitheater and the architecture throughout the Quad.
The LSU Lakes are also great to bike or walk around to see parts of campus and some gorgeous Southern homes. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can even rent kayaks or paddle boards through the University’s Recreation Center.
USS Kidd (Downtown) – Located in the heart of downtown on the Mississippi River, you can take a tour of the World War II destroyer ship, the USS Kidd. The ship serves as a memorial to honor the men and women in our armed forces, plus it’s a great way to step back in time and learn a little history on your visit.
Louisiana Art & Science Museum (Downtown) – Also located along the river in downtown Baton Rouge and only a short walk from hotels is the LASM. Some of the permanent galleries include the Ancient Egypt exhibit (there’s a REAL mummy!), the solar system stations, and the Planet Tower. If you’re visiting on the weekend, admission is free the first Sunday of each month.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol Building (Downtown) – This 165-year-old building is a National Historic Landmark overlooking the Mississippi River and a must-see on your visit to Baton Rouge. Walk around the premise enjoying the Gothic architecture (it makes for some great photo ops!), then step inside to see the stained glass windows and visit the museum.
Louisiana State Capitol Building (Downtown) – When you drive into Baton Rouge, you can’t miss the State Capitol Building since it’s 34 stories high and by far the tallest building in the city. It sits on a beautiful 27-acres with a garden, which you’ll definitely want to stroll through before heading up the steps. Once you get inside, you can take the elevator to the top (for free) to see the entire city and the Mississippi River. Fun fact: It’s also the tallest capitol building in the U.S!
LSU Rural Life Museum – If you really want to go back in time, give this 40-acre agricultural Louisiana museum a visit. Book a tour to explore the lifestyles and working plantation homes of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Magnolia Mound Plantation (Nicholson) – This French Creole house was constructed in 1791 near the Mississippi River. Today it’s a Baton Rouge landmark and you can explore the property, which sits on seven acres.
BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo – The zoo is a great place to visit for adults and kids if you’ve got lots of free time. The Baton Rouge zoo is home to rhinos, flamingos, tigers, bears, giraffes and lots lots more. They’re open most days of the year until at least 5 p.m. and admission is less than $10.
Mason’s Grill (Jefferson Hwy) – If you’re on the hunt for the best Bloody Mary of your life, then give Mason’s a try. But if you’re headed there for Sunday brunch be prepared to wait for a while — even though it’s a huge restaurant with two dining rooms, a bar, and a patio, it’s always packed. So you know it’s good.
Magpie Cafe (Perkins) – This locally owned cafe should be where you stop for coffee on your visit. For breakfast and throughout the day, the cafe serves foods crafted from seasonal ingredients bought from local farmers, local dairies, and bread artisans.
Louie’s Cafe (LSU) – This 24-hour diner is usually saved for the end of a long night out (if you know what I mean), but it’s a great place for some eggs and hash browns any time of the day. It’s located right out the North Gates of LSU’s campus and is considered a legend in Baton Rouge — I mean, it’s been around since the 1940s!
Raising Canes (Multiple Locations) – There’s only one thing on the menu — and that’s chicken fingers. This original Baton Rouge fast-food chain is great if you want something fast and delicious (and maybe not so healthy). On that note, ask for extra Cane’s sauce — you’ll want it.
Poor Boy Loyds (Downtown) – This is a casual spot for lunch in downtown Baton Rouge. They specialize in po’ boys and fried seafood. It’s in the perfect location to sit on the sidewalk and enjoy your lunch outdoors.
George’s (Perkins) – If you’re wanting a good burger, then this is the place to go. It’s located under the overpass and not necessarily the fanciest place (ok, it’s an old bar with no windows), but it’s so worth it.
Burgersmith (Perkins/Seigen) – This chain originated in Lafayette, but is also one of Baton Rouge’s best burger spots. Their French fries are pretty high on my list too. Get the spicy Louisiana Smith Style Fries or the Butter and Garlic Fries with your meal — you won’t be sorry.
City Pork Deli & Charcuterie (Jefferson/Perkins) – This is a neighborhood deli, sandwich shop, and charcuterie specializing in house-made meats. Along with local favorites like boudin, tasso, and andouille sausage, they also feature European specialties like confits, pâtés and dry-cured meats.
Tsunami (Downtown) – If you’re looking for the best view in Baton Rouge for dinner, then this sushi place is a must. Located in the Shaw Center downtown, Tsunami’s rooftop overlooks the Mississippi River. Get there in time to see the sunset and watch the bridge light up!
The Chimes (LSU) – To really get a feel for LSU life and cajun food, visit The Chimes located right outside the North Gates of campus. The Chimes has multiple locations, but I love the lively atmosphere of this one. The boudin balls and blackened gator are must-haves for appetizers. As far as entrees, I’m a huge fan of the red beans and rice and the crab cake sandwich. They’re also a popular spot for their oyster bar. And did I mention there are over 100 beers to choose from?
Capital City Grill (Downtown) – This restaurant is really good anytime of the day — brunch, lunch, or dinner. It’s one of the more affordable restaurants downtown, and they have everything from seafood and steaks to salads and sandwiches. They have a great happy hour as well!
Rum House (Perkins) – This Caribbean and Latin American cuisine restaurant is another place that’s good any time of the day with awesome lunch specials and a great happy hour. They have swings instead of bar stools, so sit on the patio and enjoy a margarita or something from their extensive rum list. You’ll want to try all their different tacos, and make sure you get a side of fried plantains or roasted poblano & manchego polenta!
Stroubes Seafood + Steak (Downtown) – If you’re looking for a bit more upscale place for dinner, Stroube’s focuses on southern cuisine inspired by local ingredients and fresh seafood. Try the duck and andouille eggrolls or crawfish beignets for appetizers, and I always go for the Shrimp and Tasso Pasta as my entree.
Sammy’s Grill (Highland) – For some of the best cajun food and crawfish, you’ll want to visit Sammy’s. You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. On the top of my list is the Acadiana Catfish and Chicken Fried Chicken. Really just order anything that comes with gravy. So good.
Parrains Seafood Restaurant (Mid-City) – If you really want to feel like you’re down on the bayou, then Parrains has you covered with its atmosphere and Louisiana seafood. They’re also a great brunch spot and another go-to if you’re wanting raw oysters!
Olive or Twist (Perkins) – This bar is known for its handcrafted cocktails and they’re only $5 during happy hour! I always go for the French 75, but they also have a great Old Fashioned, Pimms Cup, and Moscow Mule. Plus, their bartenders wear suspenders… I mean, come on. Adorable.
Blend (Downtown) – This wine bar is where the locals love to go after a long day of work. It’s exposed brick and wooden beams make it a really cool place to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail.
Bar Louie (Bluebonnet) – Located outside the Mall of Louisiana, Bar Louie specializes in cocktails and martinis. They also have a full menu of flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and burgers. Sit outside on the patio to enjoy the fountains and people watch.
The Bulldog – If you’re like me and crave some serious outdoor patio time, then The Bulldog is a great place to visit and relax with your friends — and dog! With more than 100+ beers to choose from, you’ll definitely find something new to try.
Superior Grill (Mid-City) – If you ask anyone in Baton Rouge who has the
strongest best margaritas, they’ll definitely say Superior. Don’t think you can handle more than one though — trust me. Grab a seat on the patio to enjoy live music and delicious Mexican food.
Pelican House – If Macaroni Grill had to be replaced with anything, I’m glad it was the Pelican House. They have so many beers on tap to choose from, plus great martinis for ladies night. This is a great spot to watch a big game or Food Network (it’s always on!). You can also play an intense game of Jenga on the patio with your friends.
Stroll down Third Street (Downtown) – When you want to hop around and really enjoy Baton Rouge’s downtown bar scene, you can bar hop down Third Street. You’ll hit bars like Happy’s Irish Pub, Roux House, Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s, Huey’s Bar, Draft House, 1913 and so many more.
Radio Bar (Mid-City) – For a more low key night, this is a cool neighborhood bar with an industrial vibe and garage doors that open to a great patio. It’s a neat (more hipstery) place to enjoy a few beers or creative cocktails. It’s also great for a good game of shuffle board!
The Varsity Theater (LSU) – Located right outside LSU’s North Gate, this venue is the place to go for live music. It’s also one of my favorite places to watch LSU games on the big screen.
Have a favorite spot that didn’t make the list? Comment below or send me an email at email@example.com
All photos by Maggie Bowles at Blue Lemon Co.
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