It’s fall in the South, which means a few things. The humidity has started to lessen and the temperatures started to lower. The students are back in school. And college football season is upon us. No matter what team you root for, the region has so many great college towns with plenty to offer beyond the campus. This guide comes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is home to Louisiana State University and the Tigers football team. It assumes that you’ll spend your time decked out in orange and white, cheering on your team, but will be looking to get away from campus to explore the city.
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Things to Do
Fans can pay their respects to Mike the Tiger in his sprawling home before the big game. But for the rest of your visit, avoid the campus entirely to see the local side of the “Red Stick.” Come during the city’s festivals, like the foodie-focused Fete Rouge.
LSU Rural Life Museum– The educational facility tells visitors what life in the region was like during the 18th and 19th centuries. It contains multiple examples of local architecture, including the shotgun house, and antique farming equipment.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol– While the current state capitol is a modern tower, the Old State Capitol is now a museum. Admire the colorful stained glass atrium and catch the movie narrated by the building’s resident ghost.
Baton Rouge Food Tour– Follow your guide to some of the best downtown eateries for their signature dishes. You’ll enjoy everything from po boys to turtle soup to bananas foster.
Capitol Park Museum– The Louisiana State Museum has exhibits on the most notable towns, types of food, music, and festivals.
BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center– If you’re short on time but want to see the area’s unique ecosystems with wildlife and a boardwalk through the cypress-tupelo swamp.
Red Stick Adventure Tours– This local company offers city, swamp, and ghost tours as well as custom excursions to nearby plantations.
Where to Eat
It’s hard to stay entirely away from campus and its eateries, so we’ve included a few favorites as well as those in surrounding neighborhoods. The state is known for its food, so be sure to plan your days accordingly!
Tiger Deaux-nuts– Choose from their daily selection of quirky doughnut flavors or opt for a breakfast sandwich, which can come with eggs and boudin between a doughnut bun, pictured above. They also serve local coffee.
Louie’s Café– A student favorite, this 24-hour diner serves up breakfast favorites like Cajun potatoes, biscuits, and omelets. Get there before the rest of the crowds!
French Truck Coffee– Start your day with a strong coffee from this New Orleans shop, which also has light bites like avocado toast, quinoa bowls, and breakfast sandwiches, which are available all day.
The Gregory– Located in the Watermark Hotel, the dining space is in an open kitchen in the former headquarters of the Louisiana National Bank, which retains its murals and design. Their lunch special is ideal for the working set, with cafeteria-style plates of farm to table dishes.
White Star Market– This food hall has a little bit of everything, from sushi to pizza to coffee. But our personal favorite is Gov’t Taco, which crafts funky styles like their carrot taco.
Tony’s Seafood Market & Deli– Get your fresh seafood at the beloved seafood market that has daily lunch specials that include fried catfish, crawfish etouffee, and their signature boudin balls.
The Overpass Merchant– Come by for their discounted burger and wine nights and you might never want to leave. The fries come with an addictive aioli.
City Pork Brasserie & Bar– The pig is king at the locations around Baton Rouge. It includes a butcher shop, deli, and restaurant.
LIT Pizza– Get your pizza fix at this local spot, which allows you to choose one of their selections or create your own. Pair with one of the Louisiana craft brews on tap.
Where to Drink
College towns are all about their watering holes and Baton Rouge has more than a few. You’ll find trendy cocktail bars and dives as well as spots for live music.
Tin Roof Brewing– The city’s original brewery is open for tastings as well as events like weekly tours, trivia, and even the occasional yoga class.
Olive or Twist– You can’t beat the happy hour cocktail deals at this unassuming strip mall spot. They have a full menu of Southern favorites as well.
Cane Land Distilling Company– Sample the rums made from local sugar cane at this Baton Rouge rum distillery. Be sure to try the rhum agricole as they’re one of the few producers in the country.
Hayride Scandal– The trendy cocktail bar that focuses on whiskey is a far cry from the watering holes on the campus side of town. It feels like a Prohibition-era establishment.
Where to Stay
Book your accommodations early so that you can stay in your preferred neighborhood instead. Choose from one of downtown’s hotels.
Hotel Indigo Baton Rouge Downtown– This outpost has the brand’s signature boutique design with local touches like its in-house restaurant and Louisiana artwork. It’s also within walking distance of downtown attractions.
Watermark Baton Rouge– The newest addition to the city’s hotel portfolio is this stylish boutique hotel in the former bank headquarters. It’s a member of the Autograph Collection, meaning you can earn Marriott points for your stay.
L’Auberge Casino– You don’t have to be a gambler to appreciate the luxurious casino hotel. They’re a hub for dining, shopping, and live entertainment.
Airbnb– Groups can stay in one of the city’s lesser-known neighborhoods.