We took the opportunity to explore Baton Rouge Louisiana downtown and we personally visited most of these points of interest. We got to get some walking in while spending time together taking some snapshots and videos of the sights. If you’ve never seen the Mississippi River or explored downtown Baton Rouge, then you are in far a real treat.
(1) Old Louisiana State Capitol
Our first stop was the old Louisiana State Capitol which is across the road from the Mississippi River levee. The city of Baton Rouge donated the plot of land to the state for the new capitol building back in 1847. Work was initiated in July 1847 and the official groundbreaking was held in October. The Louisiana Legislature met for the first time in January 1850 under Gov. Isaac Johnson. This building was used as the State Capitol until the new State Capitol was opened in 1932. The architecture is unique and the staircase leading up to the stained-glass cathedral dome is beautiful.
(2) Mississippi River and Levee Downtown
We next went up on the Mississippi River Levee where we had a great view of the boat traffic, casinos, the old and new Mississippi River bridges, USS Kidd destroyer, Port of Greater Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge/Port Allen (other side of the river).
The Mississippi River is a major pathway to port and industry throughout Louisiana and beyond. A 45-foot shipping channel to the mouth of the Mississippi River is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ships and tug boat traffic is a way of life on the great Mississippi river. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge ranks among the U.S. top ports in total tonnage.
(3) USS KIDD (DD-661) Veteran’s Museum
The USS KIDD (DD-661) is a Fletcher-class destroyer. The destroyer is name for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. who was killed aboard his flagship, USS ARIZONA (BB-39) during the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941
Today, the USS KIDD is moored in the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the centerpiece of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. She rests in a docking system designed for the near forty foot rise and fall of the river each season. Half of the year, she rides the currents of the Mississippi; the other half, she sits dry-docked in a cradle where visitors can see her full dimensions. Restored to her August, 1945 configuration, the USS KIDD is one of the most authentic and accurate restorations in the Historic Fleet.
Mississippi River Bridges
If you are going to explore downtown Baton Rouge, you’ve got to check out the bridges over the Mississippi River. The old (Huey P. Long) bridge and the new Mississippi River bridges span the East and West sides of the Mississippi river in central and North Baton Rouge.
(4) New Mississippi River Bridge
The new Mississippi River bridge, actually named the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, is a cantilever bridge carrying Interstate 10 in Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge Parish to Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish. It opened on April 10, 1968 and has a total length of 4,550 feet.
A couple of points of interest on the new Bridge: First, you can actually feel the bridge shake as you drive across it. Secondly, you get a great view of the LSU Football stadium, affectionally called “Death Valley“, especially all lit up at night. Finally, a majority of traffic coming eastbound into Baton Rouge from Port Allen/West Baton Rouge on I-10 necks down to one lane which can be a real traffic problem at certain times of the day.
(5) Old Mississippi River Bridge
The old Mississippi River Bridge, named the Huey P. Long bridge, was bult in 1940. It carries four lanes of U.S. Highway (US) 190 (Airline Hwy) and one track of the Kansas City Southern Railroad across the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Old Mississippi River Bridge – Connecting Hwy. 190 (Huey P. Long Bridge)
(6) Mississippi River
The Mississippi River originates at Lake Itasca in Minnesota with numerous other rivers and tributaries feeding it as it runs through or along 10 different states. As mentioned above, the Mississippi River sees close to a 40 foot swing in depth throughout the year. A tremendous amount of silt and debris float down the river as it runs through Baton Rouge and New Orleans and eventually feeds out into the Gulf of Mexico.
(7) Train at Mississippi River Levee
We got a special treat while on the levee when a train come from the direction of the old Mississippi River Bridge where Exxon’s Baton Rouge Refinery and other plants are located.
(8) New Louisiana State Capitol
The new Louisiana State Capital was built after 14 months and was opened back in 1932. The Governor of Louisiana at that time, Governor Huey P. Long, was instrumental is getting this project off the ground. It is the tallest capitol in the United States, standing 450 feet high and has 34 floor, along with an observation deck on the 27th floor. It stands taller than any other building in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately for Governor Huey P. Long, he was assassinated in 1935 in the building and is buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.
Museum and Arts
(9) Louisiana Arts and Science Museum
The Louisiana Art & Science Museum is defined by the belief that the disciplines of art and science shape and inform one another and that interdisciplinary experiences enhance the audience’s ability to make connections and discover new ways of seeing and thinking. The Art & Science Museum is located in a 1925 historic railway station, on the banks of the Mississippi River, in a thriving downtown area. The Art & Science Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and has an annual attendance of 175,000, with over one-half of this audience being school program participants.
(10) The Capitol Park Museum
The Capitol Park Museum is a branch of the Louisiana State Museum located at 660 N. 4th Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It has two permanent exhibits on the history and culture of Louisiana, with additional historic items displayed.
Some key exhibits include:
- Bayou St. John submarine
- Louis Armstrong‘s childhood bugle.
- Mardi Gras fais-do-do
- Cajun culture and history
- Slavery and Civil Rights
- 48-foot wooden shrimp trawler
- 2 -row sugar cane harvester
- Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop music
Louisiana’s culture is rich and deep! The Capitol Park Museum give you an sight in to that cultural depth. Explore a way of life like no other.
(11) Shaw Center for the Arts
The Shaw Center for the Arts is a downtown venue for music, art, drama, dancing, ballet and other events or shows. Its showplaces are The Manship Theatre, LSU Museum of Art, Glassell Gallery, and the River Terrace, which can be rented for weddings and business events.
The Manship Theatre
Opened in 2005 as part of Baton Rouge’s Shaw Center for the Arts, The Manship Theatre offers a broad range of live arts and cultural experiences to people of all ages, presented in a uniquely intimate setting. In fact, I’ve been in the audience a number of times, and even on the stage once, with my daughter’s dance recitals. The not-for-profit facility is named in honor of Douglas Lewis Manship, Sr., the son of Charles Manship, Sr. The venue includes the 325-seat Main Theater, the Hartley/Vey Studio and Workshop Theatres, and The Gallery at Manship Theatre.
LSU Museum of Art
Founded in 1959, the museum opened its doors to the public in 1962 as a small period room museum in the Memorial Tower. In 2005, it moved to the Shaw Center for the Arts, where it has more than 13,000 square feet of immense exhibition space. As the only dedicated art museum in the city of Baton Rouge, the LSU Museum of Art serves more than 20,000 adults and children who visit the museum’s galleries annually.
The Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Exhibition Gallery at the Shaw Center for the Arts is the LSU School of Art’s ultra-contemporary exhibition space that brings artwork of the highest caliber to Baton Rouge. The gallery represents the School of Art’s “window to the world,” which affords an exciting set of possibilities for reaching out to the community and allowing others to see the how prominent and successful the art program is at LSU.
(12) Sing the River Sculpture on the Levee
Visitors to the Mississippi River levee in downtown Baton Rouge can see a new sculpture and hear it make music inspired by the river. The Sing the River sculpture is reflective and lights up at night which makes it visible from the new Mississippi River bridge. It also has a unique ability to interact with it’s surroundings. The sculpture is connected to sensors in the Mississippi River and plays music that corresponds with the rise and fall of the water. It is located downtown on the levee at the intersection of River Road and Florida St. downtown.
The sculpture was designed by California-based artist Po Shu Wang and gifted to the City-Parish of Baton Rouge by the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge.
(13) Live After 5:00 PM
The Downtown Business Association, representing all business in the downtown area, puts on the Live After 5:00 PM free concert events on select Friday nights in the Spring and Fall in downtown Baton Rouge. The stage is setup at Rhorer Plaza (238 North Blvd.) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There’s plenty of food and fun! Setup up your lawn chairs and enjoy the live music and the friendly people of Baton Rouge.
(14) Baton Rouge Blue’s Festival
The Baton Rouge Blues Festival is one of the fastest growing blues growing in attendance by more than 25,000 to 35,000 people ranging in ages from 18 to 65. The Festival originated in 1981, occurs each April, and is produced by the Baton Rouge Blues Festival Foundation. The festival’s mission is to encourage promotion, preservation and advancement of the swamp blues music native to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
(15) Downtown Festival of Lights
The Downtown Festival of Lights event takes place each year at the end of November or early December. The Mayor of Baton Rouge switches on the nearly half a million Christmas lights that illuminate downtown and the Christmas tree. There’s a ton of family fun and entertainment, including live festive swingin’ music from Ned Fasullo and his Big Band Orchestra, movies, fireworks, free ice skating, a visit by Santa and six tons of real snow to play in!
(16) The Baton Rouge Varsity
The Varsity Theatre has been a staple in Baton Rouge since the 1930s and originally operated as a film theatre. The Varsity first opened its doors in 1937, filling a variety of roles in the film-theatre industry until it’s closure in 1988. They reopened as Baton Rouge’s premiere live music venue in 1990 playing host to both local and nationally touring artists. Erin and I have have been at the Varsity a few time enjoying this fun and intimate live music venue!
(17) The Red Stick Farmer’s Market
BREADA, a non-profit organization, started the Red Stick Farmers Market back in 1996 and is still going strong. Come out to downtown Baton Rouge Saturday mornings (8:00AM to Noon) to to enjoy all the vendors which are the backbone of our community.
The Red Stick Farmers Market has over 50 member farmers with a variety of locally grown products including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, artisan breads, homemade pies, honey, milk and cheese, native plants, herbs, and specialty food items. The various farmers markets supported by BREADA provide vital economic opportunities for local farmers, keeping our local food system healthy, strong and vibrant.
Stop by and support the local farmers and vendors at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market in downtown Baton Rouge!
Places to Eat
(18) Poor Boy Lloyd’s Seafood Restaurant
Poor Boy Lloyd’s is located down on Florida street and has been a staple of downtown since 1967. The menu includes options for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a focus on authentic New Orleans Poboys and local Louisiana seafood dishes. They offer dine-in, carryout, curbside and delivery.
(19) The Gregory Restaurant
The Gregory is an excellent restaurant in downtown Baton Rouge’s food scene. It is located adjacent to the lobby of The Watermark hotel in the former Bank of Louisiana in downtown Baton Rouge. The restaurant has a spacious kitchen and full bar. . At the Gregory, you can enjoy an upscale brunch, mid-day meal or dinner, all from the ambient convenience of the Watermark Hotel.
Surrounded by vintage murals painted by Angela Gregory, our restaurant’s namesake, The Gregory restaurant is the dining experience you’ve been searching for. The Gregory’s menus around the flavors of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, utilizing fresh, local produce and organic ingredients that offer inspired twists on classic Southern dishes and drinks. The Gregory at WATERMARK Hotel is a great choice downtown Baton Rouge for a modern spin on classic Louisiana soul food.
Check out the Gregory! You can’t go wrong there.
(20) Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar is located on North Blvd at Town Square. They are Baton Rouge’s only full-service Oyster Bar providing select oysters from renowned oyster beds throughout coastal United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. Oysters are prepared in 8 different ways to satisfy even the most experienced oyster fan.
(21) Magpie’s Café
In the Spring of 2012, James and Lina Jacobs completed the renovation of a cottage, formerly a tattoo parlor, in the Historic Perkins Road Overpass District of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The concept was born out of thier Italian vacation in the Spring of 2008 with all the fresh aromatic and tasty ingredients which were seasonal, local and organic. They opened a Magpie’s Café at downtown location on 3rd street at the end of 2016. The rest is history!!
(22) The Chimes Highland
The Chimes Restaurant & Tap Room has been a Baton Rouge and LSU tradition serving fine patrons for over 25 years. The good times at Chimes has been so successful that they opened up 2 additional location on Coursey Blvd., called Chimes East, in Baton Rouge, along with a location in Covington, LA. They provide a laid-back, fun, family friendly experience while serving excellent food and have an extensive beer and liquor selections available. I absolutely love Chimes and that’s one of my go-to’s when looking to order for pickup or delivery!!
(23) Fleur de Lis Pizzeria
The Fleur de Lis is a tiny pizzeria that originally opened as a cocktail lounge in 1946, called Fleur de Lis Cocktail. The owner would make small pizzas as an appetizer for customers and it quickly became a menu favorite. With the positive response, turned the lounge into a pizzeria. The restaurant has been a place-to-go in our downtown area but unfortunately, the business is permanently closed.
(24) Tin Roof Brewing Company
Tin Roof Brewing Company was started by two childhood friends with a passion for beer and a desire to create their own southern, handcrafted brand. During a weekend trip and after indulging in a few beers, the topic of creating a brewery came up.
The two friends decided it was now or never, and what better career change for a banker and a lawyer than to start brewing beer. After several years of hard work, their dream became a reality with their first batches of beer being produced for commercial consumption in November 2010.
(25) Boudreaux and Thibodeaux
Boudreaux and Thibodeaux are mythical and real representations of our Cajun culture in South Louisiana. Cajun culture is all to do about love for family, friends, food, and fun. Boudreaux and Thibodeaux as best friends epitomize the spirit of the Cajun culture. The Boudreaux and Thibodeaux nightclub, bar and eatery caters to the heart of our home state heritage.
Overlooking Third Street in historic downtown Baton Rouge, the Balcony Bar transports you to the party atmosphere of the French Quarter with its Spanish architecture and open-air seating. Downstairs, the Nightclub Bar resembles a typical Cajun fishing camp. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it has everything you need to pass a good time! It has a great atmosphere and you can’t go wrong by visiting them on Third Street.
(26) 13th Gate Haunted House and Escape Games
The 13th Gate Haunted House is renowned as one of the top haunted houses in the USA. It’s known for its extreme ultra-realism making it one of the most detailed haunted houses in existence. You can journey through 13 separate realms where your worst fears may, or will, come true. They also offer Escape Games where you are placed in a room and are give 60 minutes to figure out the clues and escape!
Gambling in Louisiana was legalized 27 years ago by the State. At that time, Louisiana had only 1 land-based Casino, in New Orleans, and 3 located on Tribal lands not regulated by the State. In May 2018, Louisiana Governer Edward signed in a law that allows the state’s 15 riverboat casinos to operate onshore in a larger space for gambling. With that in mind, there are plans for the Hollywood and Belle of Baton Rouge Casino’s to be operating on-land soon.
(27) Hollywood Casino
Hollywood Casino in located Baton Rouge, LA on the Mississippi River. It has 27,000 square feet and three floors of Vegas-style excitement 24 x 7 ready for you. They have all of the newest and most popular slots, as well as all of your favorite table games.
(28) Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel
The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel offer a unique experience to visitors and guests. A shared location allows guests to enjoy the Casino and the many restaurants and bars on property with the added benefit of being able to spend the night in one of Baton Rouge’s nicest hotels. The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino offers various forms of gaming from 10 am to 2am daily. Renovations for the Belle of Baton Rouge casino hotel is scheduled to be completed by October of 2024 as the facility makes it move onto land.
(29) L’Auberge Casino and Hotel
Although not directly in downtown Baton Rouge, the L’Auberge Casino and Hotel is just a short distance down the Mississippi river road. The L’Auberge Casino Hotel is a 575-acre tract that Pinnacle Entertainment developed adjacent to the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Designed to capture the feel of a Southern river lodge, the development includes a 74,000 square-foot gaming facility that floats in a man-made lake next to the river channel, a 12-story hotel with 206 guest rooms and a rooftop swimming pool.
(30) Magnolia Mound Plantation
The plantation house was once the center of a 900-acre operation with frontage on the Mississippi River. This was very close to downtown heading south on Nicholson Drive and definitely worth the visit.
Magnolia Mound House
- The Historic main house was built c. 1791 and has seen expansion and improvements in the early 1800’s. The house is constructed of cypress beans with bousillage-entre-poteau and the organic cypress flooring.
- The outdoor “open-hearth” kitchen was reconstructed and furnished with authentic vintage utensils such as spider pots, a a clock-jack, sugar nippers, waffle iron, olla jar and reflector ovens. From October to May, open-hearth cooking demonstrations are held in the kitchen.
- Living quarters for slaves c 1830 is on the property and furnished appropriately to the time period. The actual cabin was originally located at Cherie Quarters at Riverlake Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish.
- The small Pigeonnier structure c.1825, built to house squab and various game birds, is a rare surviving early outbuilding rescued from the nearby Barthel plantation in Iberville parish.
The Pigeonnier House
- The Overseer’s house is an Original to the plantation c. 1871 and served as home to the man who was responsible for the success or failure of the plantation’s various operations.
- A rare three-seat Privy from the mid-19th Century from Rosebank Plantation in West Feliciana Parish was moved to the property in 2012. It was restored and is an example of early sanitation practices.
- Located in the Visitor’s Center, the Magnolia Mound Gift shop offers an interesting selection of books, jewelry, hand-crafted items, pottery and unique, affordable gifts.
Address: Magnolia Mound Plantation, 2161 Nicholson Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(31) Louisiana Rural Life Museum
The LSU Rural Life Museum was established to show the lifestyles and culture of pre-industrial Louisiana. The museum holds the state’s largest collection of material culture items from the 18th and 19th centuries in Louisiana and has 32 historic outbuildings including the Working Plantation, the Upland South Region, the Gulf Coast Region and the Exhibit Barn.
The LSU Rural Life Museum holds the largest collection of Louisiana vernacular architecture and the most extensive collection of material culture items from the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum includes 32 historic outbuildings that spread over 25 acres and are divided into four sections: the Working Plantation including, the Upland South Region, the Gulf Coast Region, and an Exhibit Barn. This includes building such as a church, cabin, Acadian house and potato house. Tours are generally self-guided.
Although not downtown, this is a nice setting to take the family or just visit while in town to better understand the culture and history of Baton Rouge.
Address: 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Official site: http://www.lsu.edu/rurallife/
(32) LSU Football Stadium
Of course, we decided to drive closer to the LSU campus to get a few more pictures of the LSU Football Stadium. Tiger Stadium is one of college football’s largest venues, with a capacity of 102,321. The crowd is so loud that at times, during big games, it sets off earthquake monitoring devices.
Downtown Baton Rouge is always a bunch of good food and music, entertainment and a great nightlife. I’ve given you 31 Baton Rouge downtown attractions to experience and all of them are great. Come check out the sights yourself with your family and/or friends, make memories, and enjoy the simple life together.
If you like exploring Baton Rouge, check out my Red Stick Farmer’s Market post (downtown Baton Rouge). Also, check out my sister YouTube site Louisiana Simple Living!
Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!
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