Think Cajun and Creole with a contemporary twist. From old-school dance halls, to new-school artist collaborations, Baton Rouge brings together everything we love about Louisiana’s culture—yes, football included. But we know some of best parts of the Capital City are the ones known only to the locals. Whether you’re from out-of-state or you’re a Louisiana native, carve out some time to visit some of these hidden gems that locals love.
Built near LSU’s campus in 1941, Louie’s Cafe is an eatery near and dear to many Baton Rouge locals. For college students looking for a late-night meal, or families looking for a Sunday brunch, this cafe really brings home the bacon. Tip: ask to sit next to the breakfast bar where you can sip a cup of hot coffee while watching the chefs cook your meal right in front of you.
The Gregory Restaurant
Located Downtown in what was once Louisiana’s historical National Bank, The Gregory offers a taste of upscale Southern dining with a glimmering look into the city’s past. Large murals in the restaurant pay homage to American artist Angela Gregory, who helped design and sculpt parts of the original building, as well as the iconic panels surrounding the new State Capitol building today. If you want to really impress your dinner guests, make sure you take a peek at the front lobby murals and the quirky paintings hanging on the restroom doors!
Frank’s Restaurant Breakfast
A family restaurant now in its third generation, Frank’s has claimed to serve “the best homemade biscuits in the world” since 1964, and most locals don’t disagree. With so many affordable homestyle meals to choose from, this food is guaranteed to satisfy you and the family. Being a family-operated restaurant, Frank’s main goal is to serve Cajun food that makes their customers feel like family. Though Frank’s offers menus for any meal, breakfast is one Baton Rouge residents rave over. Have a seat at the bar for a beverage or snag a table near the kitchen and enjoy the wonderful smells of Cajun cooking.
Nestled along the revitalized Government Street is the oldest blues bar in Baton Rouge, Phil Brady’s. This classic bar is known for hosting events almost every night of the week, including game nights, billiards tournaments, happy hours, and most importantly, live music. You can either get up and dance close to the entertainment, or sit at a front row table and enjoy a drink.
From concerts and performances, to weekly Cajun and Zydeco dance lessons, MidCity Ballroom boasts an event schedule absolutely bursting with Louisiana culture. In what was once an old church, the venue has a long, wooden dance floor with an intimate stage and a funky music consignment store just off of the main space. The atmosphere of the venue, the people it brings together and the fun that always follows certainly makes this place worthy of brushing off your dancin’ shoes.
The Bald Eagle Pub
When experiencing the hustle and bustle of downtown Baton Rouge, duck into this hole-in-the-wall pub for a beverage. The Bald Eagle Pub, has an underground, hidden feel with some of the best drink specials in town including $3 Crown and Kettle One and free wine for Ladies’ Night. Grab a few buddies and experience a pub with a local feel and relaxing atmosphere.
Planetarium at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum
As one of the most intriguing museums in Downtown Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Art and Science Museum offers more than just enlightening exhibits. The Planetarium, which is free with admission to the museum, shows different interactive shows relating to science, art and history. Recent shows include “The Secrets of Gravity: in the Footsteps of Albert Einstein,” “Dinosaurs Alive!,” “Magic Tree House Space Mission” and “Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West.”
Museum of Public Art
It is no secret that the art scene in Baton Rouge has been growing over the years—but for those of you who may be seeking something a little different, this attraction is for you. The Museum of Public Art hosts original interior and exterior graffiti art and murals done by local and international artists. Don’t be afraid to get up close and experience art that you can’t see in an ordinary museum.
Arsenal Park in Downtown Baton Rouge is perfect for those who love beauty and history.
It offers an incredible view of Capitol Lake, a garden of beautiful flowers and trees and The Arsenal Museum, with free entry Tuesday through Saturday. After wandering around this beautiful park, have a seat on one of the green garden benches or head up to the 27th floor of the Louisiana Capitol Building—the tallest one in the country—to take in the full skyline from the Observation Deck.
Whether you’re travelling with friends or planning a trip with the family, Baton Rouge has something special for everyone. With its central location between New Orleans and Lafayette, it’s the best way to paint a complete picture of authentic Louisiana. View the links above to get more local tips and itineraries, then start planning your stay today!