Known as one of the most affordable destinations in the South, Baton Rouge is a great spot to get a taste of culture on a budget. If you’re looking to save some money but still have a great time, we’ve curated a list of free things to do in Louisiana’s Capital City.



In Louisiana, we believe culture and a cordial atmosphere should never be sacrificed for cost! That’s why Baton Rouge hosts free festivals and fun facilities for anyone to enjoy all year round. 


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  • Louisiana Art & Science Museum: Experience art and science firsthand with interactive exhibits at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. Admission and unlimited planetarium shows are FREE on First Free Sunday.

  • LSU Center for River Studies: See the Mississippi River like never before for free at the LSU Center for River Studies on the first Sunday of the month!

  • LSU Museum of Art: There’s family fun and art for everyone to see from 1-5 p.m. at the LSU Museum of Art, one of the largest university-affiliated art exhibitions in the South.

  • Magnolia Mound: Explore this 1790s French Creole house and its 16 acres for FREE on First Free Sundays! Magnolia Mound is filled with furnishings and decorative arts, as well as carefully restored Louisiana-made objects. The historic house offers costumed guides, open-hearth cooking demos and other interactive programming.


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  • Mardi Gras: When February rolls around, there are sure to be parades in every part of the city. From Krewe of Oshun opening the season and with Spanish Town closing it down, each of the parades is free for spectators, and you’re sure to bring home bags filled with free goodies!

  • St. Patrick’s Day: The (free) party doesn’t stop once Mardi Gras ends! The annual Wearin’ of the Green St. Patrick’s Day parade is a favorite among locals and visitors and is filled with fun and excitement for all.

  • Live After Five: Each fall and spring, locals and visitors alike all gather on Friday nights at 5 o’clock (get it?) for the live music series held in downtown Baton Rouge. Grab a group and bring your dancing shoes for a fantastic start to your weekend!

  • Baton Rouge Blues Festival: Held each year in downtown Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Blues Festival is one of the first and largest blues festivals in America, and best of all, it’s free for all to join!

  • Hot Art Cool Nights: In the springtime, Mid City Merchants puts on a neighborhood-wide art festival all throughout Mid City Baton Rouge. You can peruse, pass by and even purchase art from local and wider-known artists as well as listen to live music at select venues!

  • White Light Night: In the fall, Mid City Merchants also puts on White Light Night, the annual winter art festival in Baton Rouge’s eclectic Mid City neighborhood. Walk or take a free bus from one end of Government Street to the other as you eat, shop, listen to local live music and meet some local artists, designers and musicians.

  • Fourth of July: Each year on the Fourth of July, fireworks light up the sky during the annual Fourth of July Spectacular, and you can catch it for free on either side of the Mississippi River!

  • Festival of Lights: Watch as the 35-foot Christmas tree and 250,000 sparkling lights are lit, signifying the beginning of the holiday season in Baton Rouge! This free event features a snow village complete with ice skating, snow sledding (yes, even in Baton Rouge!), a visit from Santa Claus and a fireworks show.

  • Red Stick Revelry: Some places may watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, but here in Baton Rouge, we do things a little differently. Ring in the New Year for free with live music, fireworks and the drop of a custom, LED-lit Red Stick from the Town Square beacon at midnight.

Parks are a great, free activity that any member of the family can enjoy! BREC has over 180 parks to choose from including playgrounds, trails and swimming pools! You can use their Find a Park tool to find the best way to spend your day. The splash pads are a favorite among kids and the perfect way to cool off from April to October. For your furry friends, BREC has many dog parks in the Baton Rouge area. Since they’re spread over multiple community parks, you’re bound to find the perfect park for your pup!


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  • Red Stick Farmers Market: Every gorgeous Saturday morning from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., the local farmers market is open for perusing, shopping and tasting. The Red Stick Farmers Market prides itself on its fresh, local and seasonal produce that is only grown on the sellers’ farms. Next to the farmers’ market, Main Street Market is an open, public marketplace with restaurants and shops. Feel free to simply walk around, get to know the locals and enjoy a beautiful morning activity in Baton Rouge.

  • The Market at the Oasis: The Market at the Oasis is known for being the fastest-growing farmers market in Baton Rouge, but what many don’t realize is that it is much more than that. While shoppers can find local produce and home-grown goods, they can also find a selection of local arts, handbags and other items. The Market at the Oasis also offers how-to classes and workshops on skill development, craftsmanship, gardening and small business success. Each market features live music and other entertainment to enjoy while browsing!


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  • Louisiana State Capitol Observation Deck: Did you know that the Louisiana hosts the tallest capitol building in the nation with 34 floors? So tall, in fact, you get an incredible view of the city on the 27th floor Observation Deck for FREE! At 350 feet high, you can see the building’s courtyard gardens, parks and all of Downtown Baton Rouge. It’s truly a sight you’ll want to see.

  • Louisiana’s Old State Capitol: Admission is always free at Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, which houses the Museum of Political History. Walk through the state’s storied history in the gothic-style building, and learn about one of the most infamous governors in history, Huey P. Long.

  • Louisiana State University: The state’s flagship university is filled with free attractions and activities. See one of the largest college football stadiums, Tiger Stadium, or say hi to the live mascot, Mike the Tiger, in his multi-million dollar habitat. Other free activities include walking the LSU Lakes and exploring the Hilltop Arboretum.

  • Southern University: Home to the nation’s largest HBCU system, Southern University is incredibly historic and filled with free gems for all to explore. See the sculpture of the Red Stick in the location where it is said Baton Rouge got its name or stand in awe of A.W. Mumford Stadium, where fans cheer on the Jags and jam to the Human Jukebox at every home football game.

  • Art by JZumo: Local artist, Jacob Zumo, opened his own gallery in Baton Rouge, complete with free tours. You can also see some of his art around town on buildings, including the larger-than-life praying hands mural.

  • Murals: Explore any neighborhood in Baton Rouge, and you’re sure to stumble upon a gallery of murals and street art. Grab your camera and a friend and embark on a tour of murals in Baton Rouge!

With so many free and fun events to experience, your trip to the Red Stick doesn’t have to break the bank. Start planning your trip today!