Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital, is a lively spot rich in Southern culture, history, and tasty eats. Whether you’re into art, nature, music, or adventure, Baton Rouge has loads of things to explore that match your interests and budget. In my blog, I’ll spill the beans on the 22 best things to do in Baton Rouge, sharing insights from my own experiences and research.
I’ll walk you through cool spots, fun activities, and exciting events that make Baton Rouge a special place to visit. For your convenience, I have included Google Maps links indicating the exact locations of all things to do in Baton Rouge. This will make it easier for you to navigate, especially if you get inspired by my blog to plan a trip. So, let’s jump right in and discover the awesome side of Baton Rouge waiting for you!
Map of best things to do in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Experience the Heart of Louisiana: Here are the 22 Things to Do in Baton Rouge
1. Louisiana State Capitol
Delve into Baton Rouge’s captivating history with a visit to the Louisiana State Capitol, an integral part of the city’s vibrant tapestry and a standout among the top things to do in Baton Rouge. Towering at an impressive 450 feet, it proudly holds the distinction of being the tallest capitol building in the United States. Erected in the 1930s during Governor Huey P. Long’s tenure, the capitol is a magnificent example of Art Deco architecture.
Marvel at its grandeur, adorned with marble interiors, ornate bronze doors, captivating stained glass windows, and evocative historical murals that narrate Louisiana’s rich heritage. While exploring at your own pace or joining a complimentary guided tour, don’t miss the awe-inspiring 27th-floor observation deck, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas of the city and the majestic Mississippi River.
Including a visit to the Louisiana State Capitol is a must-do when experiencing the best things to do in Baton Rouge, providing an immersive journey through the city’s iconic past.
2. USS Kidd
Delve into Baton Rouge’s history by exploring the USS Kidd, a Fletcher-class destroyer with a notable service record in World War II and the Korean War. Now stationed as a museum ship on the Mississippi River in downtown Baton Rouge, the USS Kidd offers visitors the opportunity to tour its decks and gain insights into the daily lives of sailors during wartime.
Adjacent to the ship is the Veterans Memorial Museum, housing a collection of artifacts and exhibits focused on military history. The USS Kidd, named in honor of Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who lost his life during the Pearl Harbor attack, serves as a unique and educational experience as part of the diverse array of things to do in Baton Rouge.
3. Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
Within Baton Rouge, explore the Louisiana Old State Capitol, a Gothic Revival castle erected in 1847 as the state’s inaugural capitol. Ravaged by Union troops in the Civil War, the structure underwent restoration by architect James Dakin. Today, it functions as a museum of political history, delving into Louisiana’s dynamic and occasionally contentious past.
Among the best things to do in Baton Rouge, this site offers exhibits spotlighting influential figures like Huey P. Long, Earl K. Long, David Duke, and Edwin Edwards. Engage in the experience by watching the multimedia presentation, “The Ghost of the Castle,” narrating the building’s history through the perspective of Civil War diarist Sarah Morgan Dawson.
4. LSU Tiger Stadium
an essential Baton Rouge experience by delving into LSU Tiger Stadium, a standout attraction among the vibrant array of things to do in Baton Rouge. Serving as the proud home ground for the Louisiana State University Tigers football team, this stadium holds a revered place in college football history. Recognized for its immense capacity, accommodating over 100,000 passionate fans, and famed for its deafening roars, it has earned the affectionate nickname, ‘Death Valley.’
Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of a Tigers game, where the stadium comes alive with the contagious energy of fervent supporters. For an insider’s perspective, opt for a stadium tour, granting exclusive access to coveted areas like locker rooms, press boxes, and trophy rooms. LSU Tiger Stadium is not just a venue for sports; it’s a dynamic hub that epitomizes the diversity of activities encapsulated within Baton Rouge’s enticing offerings.
5. LSU Rural Life Museum
Discovering the LSU Rural Life Museum is a captivating journey into the vibrant history of Baton Rouge. This living history museum beautifully encapsulates the essence of Louisiana’s rural heritage. With an impressive assembly of over 30 historically significant structures, including cabins, barns, churches, and schools, each relocated from various parts of the state, it’s a testament to the area’s rich cultural tapestry.
Step back in time as you explore these meticulously preserved buildings, gaining insight into life and work during the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum’s exhibits showcase an array of artifacts, tools, furniture, clothing, and crafts, vividly illustrating the diverse traditions of Louisiana’s rural communities.
Adding the LSU Rural Life Museum to your list of things to do in Baton Rouge is a definite recommendation for an immersive and educational experience.
6. Magnolia Mound Plantation
Interested in the history and culture of Louisiana? One of the things to do in Baton Rouge is to visit the Magnolia Mound Plantation. This is a historic plantation that dates back to the late 1700s, when it was built by French settlers who cultivated the land’s indigo, cotton, and sugar cane. The plantation features a French Creole main house, which is one of the oldest surviving examples of this architectural style in the country.
You can tour the house and see how the owners and slaves lived in the antebellum era. You can also visit the outbuildings, such as the kitchen, the overseer’s house, the slave quarters, and the pigeonier. The plantation also hosts educational programs and events throughout the year, such as cooking demonstrations, music performances, and craft workshops.
7. Baton Rouge Zoo
The Baton Rouge Zoo is a fantastic place to visit in Baton Rouge. It’s filled with more than 800 animals from all over the world, like tigers, giraffes, elephants, and alligators. You can even feed some animals and get up close to them. The zoo isn’t just fun; it’s also a learning place with camps, trips, parties, and cool events for kids and grown-ups.
This zoo cares a lot about animals. They work hard to protect endangered animals and the places they live. So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Zoo is a must-visit spot for animal lovers of all ages.
8. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center
Exploring the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is one of the top things to do in Baton Rouge. It’s a huge place—over 100 acres—filled with swamps, forests, and trails. Walking along these trails and boardwalks, you’ll discover a whole world of wildlife: birds, turtles, snakes, frogs, raccoons, deer, and more.
At the nature center building, there’s a lot to explore too. You can see live animals, check out fun displays, buy cool stuff at the gift shop, and even read books at the library. Throughout the year, they host all sorts of activities like walks, night hikes, bird-watching trips, art classes, and awesome festivals.
If you love nature and want to do something fun in Baton Rouge, the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center should definitely be on your list!
9. Shaw Center for the Arts
An absolute gem among the many things to do in Baton Rouge is the Shaw Center for the Arts, a vibrant cultural hotspot right in downtown. This place is a blend of everything artsy—art displays, music, theater, dance, and even amazing food. Inside, you’ll find different spots like the LSU Museum of Art, the Manship Theatre, the River Terrace rooftop garden, and cool restaurants and cafes.
At the museum, you can admire artworks from local and national talents. The theater offers various shows for everyone’s taste. Plus, the rooftop garden is perfect for breathtaking river views, and the eateries serve up some delightful treats. Throughout the year, the center hosts lively events and festivals that celebrate the richness of art and culture.
For anyone seeking a diverse and enriching experience in Baton Rouge, the Shaw Center for the Arts is a must-visit destination!
10. Louisiana Art & Science Museum
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum is a cool place to visit. It’s not your average museum—it’s a mix of art and science! Inside, you can see art from different times, like ancient Egypt and modern art. And there’s science stuff too, all about space, planets, and more.
The best part? They have a planetarium that shows amazing space movies about stars and planets. Plus, they have workshops, talks, camps, and fun festivals for both kids and grown-ups.
11. Mike the Tiger Habitat
Another enjoyable place on our things to do in Baton Rouge list is to visit Mike the Tiger, Louisiana State University’s live mascot. He’s a Bengal-Siberian tiger with a cozy home right on campus. When you visit, you can watch Mike play, swim, take naps, and have his meals in his habitat. At the visitor center, you can also learn interesting facts about his background, his unique personality, and how he’s looked after.
Mike is not just LSU’s mascot; he’s a treasured symbol of Baton Rouge, too, drawing in crowds of visitors who come to see this beloved tiger every year.
12. BREC’s City-Brooks Community Park
Sports lovers can enjoy golf, tennis, swimming, basketball, baseball, and soccer – there’s plenty to choose from! Plus, the park has picnic spots, covered areas (called pavilions), and restrooms for convenience. Best part? It’s open from sunrise to sunset, and you can enjoy all these activities for free.
So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Baton Rouge, BREC’s City-Brooks Community Park is a great spot offering loads of activities for everyone. There’s something for all ages and interests here!
13. Capitol Park Museum
Discover Baton Rouge’s vibrant essence at the Capitol Park Museum, a captivating exploration of Louisiana’s rich history and culture. This state museum is a must-visit on the list of things to do in Baton Rouge. Spanning two floors, it offers immersive exhibits showcasing the French colonial era, Louisiana Purchase, Civil War, Cajun culture, Mardi Gras tradition, and the music scene.
Through artifacts, photographs, costumes, and films, the museum vividly brings Louisiana’s diverse heritage to life. Its portrayal of the city’s dynamic past and present makes it an essential stop for those seeking the best things to do in Baton Rouge.
14. LSU Museum of Natural Science
The LSU Museum of Natural Science is a cool spot in Baton Rouge. It’s all about showing the amazing diversity of life on Earth. They’ve got four exhibits with mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and fossils.
Imagine seeing over 500 animals on display, including a huge 43-foot sperm whale skeleton, a polar bear, a giraffe, and a tiger! Plus, there are more than 3,000 bird specimens from all over the world. What’s neat is that they’ve got a crazy big collection of 2.5 million specimens for research. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Baton Rouge.
15. Downtown Baton Rouge
Downtown Baton Rouge stands as the vibrant heart of the city, offering an array of attractions and activities that make up the best things to do in Baton Rouge. Taking a leisurely stroll along the riverfront unveils iconic landmarks like the Old State Capitol, the USS Kidd, and the River Center. For those inclined towards arts and culture, the museums, galleries, and theaters here beautifully showcase Baton Rouge’s rich artistic heritage.
As the sun sets, downtown Baton Rouge comes alive with its bustling nightlife, diverse dining options, and shopping spots catering to various tastes and budgets. The city center also pulsates with life throughout the year, hosting an array of exciting events and festivals such as Live After Five, Fest for All, Red Stick Revelry, and more.
Downtown Baton Rouge is a melting pot of experiences, ensuring there’s something for everyone, making it a must-visit for those seeking the best things to do in Baton Rouge.
16. BREC’s Highland Road Park Observatory
For anyone interested in astronomy or simply looking for unique experiences in Baton Rouge, BREC’s Highland Road Park Observatory is a must-visit destination.
BREC’s Highland Road Park Observatory is a fantastic spot to explore when seeking exciting things to do in Baton Rouge. It’s an observatory offering public access to view the night sky and engaging educational programs about astronomy. The observatory boasts a remarkable 20-inch reflecting telescope, one of the largest in the state. Through this powerful telescope, visitors can marvel at planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and more, making stargazing an unforgettable experience.
What adds to the charm of the observatory is the knowledgeable and passionate staff and volunteers who are always ready to share their expertise about astronomy. Throughout the year, the observatory hosts a variety of events and activities such as star parties, meteor showers, solar eclipses, and more, ensuring there’s always something fascinating to discover in the celestial realm.
17. LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens
For nature enthusiasts or anyone seeking serene and beautiful places in Baton Rouge, a visit to the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens is a must-do activity that promises a delightful and educational outing.
Exploring the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens is a delightful experience and ranks high among the enjoyable things to do in Baton Rouge. This expansive botanical garden spreads across more than 400 acres, showcasing a rich variety of plants, flowers, trees, and crops that beautifully reflect the diversity and allure of Louisiana’s flora. Visitors can feast their eyes on a colorful array of roses, irises, camellias, azaleas, orchids, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and more.
The garden offers specialty sections like the Children’s Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Sensory Garden, and the Crape Myrtle Garden, each adding its unique charm to the overall experience. Throughout the year, the garden buzzes with engaging events and programs, including plant sales, informative workshops, guided tours, and vibrant festivals.
18. BREC’s Perkins Road Community Park
Whether you’re looking for sports, relaxation, or a day out with family and friends, BREC’s Perkins Road Community Park offers a wide range of engaging activities, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring things to do in Baton Rouge.
BREC’s Perkins Road Community Park is a fantastic place offering an abundance of activities for everyone, making it a standout among the many things to do in Baton Rouge. This park is packed with diverse recreational facilities suitable for all ages and interests. From a skate park and BMX track to a rock climbing wall, velodrome, playground, and a designated area for our furry friends at the dog park, there’s something for everyone.
Sports enthusiasts can indulge in various activities like tennis, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and even disc golf. For those seeking a relaxing time, the park offers picnic spots, covered pavilions, and convenient restrooms. Best of all, entry is free, and the park welcomes visitors from sunrise to sunset.
19. Red Stick Farmers Market
Here, local farmers and vendors come together, offering an array of fresh and seasonal delights like produce, meat, dairy products, bread, honey, jams, flavorful sauces, and more.
Beyond the fresh produce, visitors can explore prepared foods like pastries, pies, hearty soups, refreshing salads, and delicious sandwiches. What’s more, the market buzzes with lively cooking demonstrations, live music performances, and special events sprinkled throughout the year.
For those seeking a taste of the local bounty or simply looking for a vibrant Saturday outing in Baton Rouge, the Red Stick Farmers Market promises a delightful experience filled with fresh flavors and lively ambiance.
The Red Stick Farmers Market is a vibrant market that sets up shop every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at different spots across Baton Rouge, adding to the variety of things to do in Baton Rouge.
20. BREC’s Knock Knock Children’s Museum
Designed to inspire young minds, the Knock Knock Children’s Museum is a place where children explore, learn, and create, making it a wonderful addition to the list of things to do in Baton Rouge for families with young ones.
From the whimsical Story Tree to the creative Art Garden, the entertaining Bubble Playground, the building-focused By-You Building, and the intriguing Pelican Pantry, each exhibit at the museum sparks curiosity and imagination in children. Additionally, the museum hosts various programs and events such as enchanting story times, delightful puppet shows, music classes, and lively parties.
BREC’s Knock Knock Children’s Museum stands as an engaging spot and a must-visit among the many fun things to do in Baton Rouge, especially for kids aged 0 to 8.
21. BREC’s Greenwood Community Park
For those seeking a bit of adventure, the park allows visitors to rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and bikes, adding more excitement to the outdoor experience. There are also convenient picnic spots, pavilions, and restrooms available for a comfortable outing. The best part? Greenwood Community Park welcomes visitors from sunrise to sunset, and there’s no entry fee.
BREC’s Greenwood Community Park is a fantastic destination among the many things to do in Baton Rouge, offering a wide array of outdoor activities for everyone. With its serene lake, engaging splash pad, playground, disc golf course, fishing pier, and a dedicated space for our furry friends at the dog park, there’s something for all ages and interests.
Whether you’re into fishing, biking, enjoying water activities, or simply seeking a relaxing day outdoors, BREC’s Greenwood Community Park promises a delightful and diverse experience for families and individuals exploring things to do in Baton Rouge.
22. BREC’s Independence Park Theatre
BREC’s Independence Park Theatre stands as a cultural gem among the many vibrant things to do in Baton Rouge. This theater is a hub for live entertainment and diverse cultural events in the city. With a seating capacity of 800 and top-notch sound and lighting systems, it offers an immersive experience for attendees.
Visitors can enjoy a wide spectrum of performances ranging from musicals, plays, concerts, and comedy shows to captivating dance recitals and more. Additionally, the theater offers classes and workshops focusing on theater arts, including acting, singing, dancing, and directing, providing enriching opportunities for enthusiasts.
Moreover, the theater hosts a variety of engaging events such as film festivals, talent shows, and community meetings, adding to the cultural vibrancy of Baton Rouge. For anyone seeking a taste of the arts and live performances, BREC’s Independence Park Theatre is a must-visit destination in Baton Rouge.
Experience Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s Capital City
Baton Rouge is a dynamic city offering an array of experiences for everyone. Whether you’re drawn to history, culture, nature, or entertainment, Baton Rouge has a plethora of attractions that ensure a memorable and enjoyable visit. The above list of the 22 best things to do in Baton Rouge is drawn from my personal experiences and extensive research.
I sincerely hope this blog serves as a helpful guide, providing insights into the fantastic offerings Baton Rouge has in store. I encourage you to explore these remarkable places, and I’m optimistic you’ll find them as captivating as I did. Thank you for taking the time to read my recommendations. Wishing you a wonderful day and an exciting adventure exploring the best of what Baton Rouge has to offer!