Downtown Baton Rouge is celebrated for its historical significance, lively arts and cultural scene, highly regarded festivals and parades, delicious southern dishes, incredible live music venues and more. Downtown Baton Rouge includes the historic neighborhoods of Beauregard Town and Spanish Town. We are a place of story-telling and preservation of our traditions and culture. In The Bayou State, we dance a little longer, laugh a little more, eat a little too much and attend way too many festivities. We are a city of good-times with family and friends. Baton Rouge, or The Red Stick state, offers a multitude of attractions for locals and out-of-towners alike.
Old South Baton Rouge
Downtown Baton Rouge includes the historic neighborhood of Spanish Town. This is the site where Native Americans settled. The site was later inhabited by French-European settlers and is celebrated today as the Spanish Town Historic District. Spanish Town is Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood.
Downtown Baton Rouge also includes the European-style neighborhood, Beauregard Town. The neighborhood known as Beauregard Town is also where the Spanish settled and is inhabited by the French as well. The Beauregard Town Historic District is the second-oldest community in Baton Rouge.
Lousiana Old State Capital
The Louisiana Old State Capital is Baton Rouge’s very own castle! I’d definitely recommend everyone to come in and tour the old state capital at least once. The stained glass windows and the stained glass rotunda ceiling is breathtaking. The spiral stairs are beyond beautiful. The ghost story is so much fun to sit through because it’s informative and entertaining.
I learned a lot about the history of Baton Rouge and the old and new state capital. It was free to attend and I’m really glad we did. It was also interactive so it’s a great experience for all ages, but especially the younger kids. The Huey P exhibits are great as well as the other exhibits chronicling the trials and triumphs of Baton Rouge. Definitely check out the beauty and history of Baton Rouge’s very own castle because it is definitely worth seeing.
Louisiana State Capital
Louisiana’s new state capital is the tallest state capital in the nation! Each time I visit the state capital I am impressed with the tremendous beauty that is this magnificent skyscraper situated in downtown Baton Rouge. Adjacent to the state capital is Arsenal Park and the views of downtown and Spanish Town is truly beautiful and inspiring.
The state capital is open to the public and you can enter it for free. Here you can take a leisurely walk around and absorb the history of this massive structure at your own pace. You can take the elevator all the way to the top of the capital where it feels at times like you are swaying slightly with the most gentle breeze.
The history you are retold in regards to the assassination of Huey P. Long is interesting as it is informative. Storytelling is a collective experience and also a personal one. You can visit the assassination room and see the bullet holes in the wall. Regardless of the past or the tumultuous history the state capital is a must see and must experience stop for tourists and locals alike.
State Capitol Park encompasses the well-manicured lawns and floral gardens located at the state capital. Capitol Park Museum is located right down the road in the Spanish Town neighborhood.
Capitol Lake is so pristine overlooking Spanish Town and downtown Baton Rouge. I love sitting lakeside just taking in the breathtaking views.
Arsenal Park is located in Spanish Town, by the Louisiana State Capital, in downtown Baton Rouge. Arsenal Park is arguably the most beautiful park in the city. The walkways lead through the park to the state capital and Capitol Lake. The ducks and fish are always out and the landscapes are grand. Arsenal Park is the perfect place for picnics, portraits, yoga, dog walks and family days.
This park is located centrally in the downtown and Spanish Town area. I love this park and I frequent it often. The parking is a little strange, so you gotta park off on the road and usually around a bend or curve. They have plenty of ducks and little duckie families out here as the other BREC parks such as City Park and LSU Lakes. The views are tremendous at this park. You can see the downtown developments, the lake houses, the state capital and so much more.
Repentance Park is where Live After Five is located and other local festivals. Live After Five puts on a free outdoor concert out on the lawn every Friday during the spring and fall. The turnout is huge and it is good clean fun with live music, dancing and art vendors and food trucks.
Repentance Park is perfect for spring and fall festivals in the area. Many popular community events are held here. Live After Five has made its home here with free concerts from 5 pm-7 pm every Friday throughout the spring and fall months.
I have attended many concerts and festivals here including Live After Five, Blues Fest, Ebb and Flow Fest and more. A lot of people attend the events at Repentance Park so there is usually food trucks and merchandise tables set up. There are paved walkways so it’s convenient to get around the park. There is also a fountain which the kids love to use as their own personal splash pad. The views are great being as the park is next to the Louisiana Old State Capital and the Mississippi Riverfront.
Third Street offers a host of Cajun-infused restaurants complete with Cajun music. There are Irish watering holes, Cajun restaurants and bars, the Blues Room, and local sports bars with the LSU football games on. On the weekends, especially when the sun goes down, Third Street really comes to life!
Red Stick Farmers Market
Main Street Market is indoors with many local artisans offering handmade crafts, home goods and several storefronts serving breakfast and lunch. If you get hungry you can stop by the Main Street Market where they are always cooking up some fresh food and there are several stands to choose from. Our Daily Bread has a stand located here and the bread always smells yummy and they have a good selection of choices for the health conscious individuals. You can grab a smoothie or a coffee or breakfast at any of the many vendors.
The Red Stick Farmers Market is located downtown on 5th and Main. The Farmers Market offers fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, plus farm-fresh dairy, seafood, and meats. The Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. When it rains they move the farmers market inside the Main Street Market/Galvez area. Parking can be pretty hectic so it’s good to get there early and park in the garage.
I’ve been coming to the Red Stick Farmers Market for years now and I always enjoy my early morning stroll through the downtown area and taking in all the sights and scents coming from the farmers market. The produce is always fresh. The flowers are beautiful. They have a pretty large section of herbs and spices. Fresh is always best! There are always smiling faces here and the locals love supporting other local farmers and small business owners.
The Arts Market is located the first weekend of the month at The Farmers Market. There are many booths selling arts and crafts, jewelry and native clothing, homemade soaps, and bath products and more.
The Riverfront offers the most scenic views of Baton Rouge. The levee has many events including everything from fireworks to festivals. The views of the Mississippi River and the Mississippi River bridge are truly beautiful. Definitely get here for sunrise or sunset to see some beautiful views.
The Levee is the place for gatherings, meetups, and hangouts. There are many people running, jogging, biking, dog walking and more. The views of the waters and tugboats are incredible overlooking the Mississippi River and Mississippi Bridge. At the levee, we meet for Flow Art Fridays where local flow artists share their love of movement with hooping and spinning fire and led poi.
Downtown B.R. Recap:
Here’s a bit of advice get yourself downtown! Go as often as you can. Seriously, downtown Baton Rouge is vibrant and bustling and beautiful. There are so many things to do as a family or if you’re single, even if you are just a cultured human being, or if you’re a tourist, and trust me there are numerous things going on all the time that still draw in and surprise the locals.
So you like museums? Do you like science? Great, check out Louisiana Arts and Science Museum, or LASM. You like history? Then check out the U.SS. Kid. Check out the Baton Rouge port to see the barges and steamboats operating in full swing. Don’t forget to check out the events going on at The SHAW Center and Broadway shows, symphonies, and concerts, dance, and ballet at The Raising Canes River Center.
You like to eat, don’t you? There’s a wide variety of restaurants whether you’re craving seafood, Cajun food, Mexican food, Greek food, pizza, any kind of food…you get my drift, eh?
If you’re into nightlife festivities Downtown B.R. has it going on. There are many clubs/bars/pubs in a localized central area for whatever your individual taste may be. Like Blues? They have a blues room. Like Cajun music, they got that at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s. Enjoy more modern tunes? Wonderful, they got places for you, too. See, something for everybody.
Downtown Baton Rouge is always kept nice and clean and police patrol the area and it is pretty safe to take the whole family out. They are always sponsoring events such as Krewe of Mutts dog parades, color run, The Red Stick Farmers Market, Live after 5, and The Blues Festival just to name a few. They have a nice library, nice historic hotels, beautiful views of the Mississippi bridge and riverfront.
The North Blvd. Town Square always has music playing and is the Central Park grounds for many events. Repentance park is right around the corner and they also have events going on. Check out neighboring Spanish Town and their massive amount of pink flamingo yard decor. You can see some of the most historic houses, colorful people, and even stop by the historic Spanish Town Market.
Feeling athletic or you just want to exercise? Like talking your dog out for a walk? Of course, you do because this is Baton Rouge and everyone loves and has at least one pampered pooch. So take Fido and the baby in the baby stroller for a run on the levee which has beautiful views and a running trail.
Oh, and please note, parking is atrocious. Make sure you use the parking garage or have some change to put in the meters, that is if you can find a parking spot. And on events, there is almost always paid parking lots, sigh.
All in all, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go explore Downtown Baton Rouge. So take your family out there this weekend, or treat yourself tonight. You will enjoy yourself.
Sending all my love from The Bayou State,
The Vintage Gypsy
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust