Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, USA. Located on the east bank of the mighty Mississippi River, Baton Rouge is Louisiana's second largest city, home of Louisiana State University (LSU), major port facilities, and a variety of attractions.
The city name was coined over 300 years ago when on 17 March 1699, Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, led an expedition along the Mississippi River. The early French explorers found a pole stained with the blood of fish and animals that served as the dividing line between the Bayougoula and Houmas Indians. It is from this "red stick" that Iberville christened the city "le Baton Rouge", French for "red stick".
The small town was selected as the new capital of the state of Louisiana in 1817, and it's been growing ever since. The capital was returned to New Orleans for a while during and after the troubles of the American Civil War, but it was moved back in 1882.
Baton Rouge has a semi-tropical climate, perfect for outdoor activities.
The weather is consistently warm from May-Sep. Be warned that, like the rest of the Southern United States during the summer, it can become down-right miserable, with sustained temperatures in the 90s (°F) with 100% humidity. Proper medical precautions should be taken if planning on partaking in outdoor activities, such as ample amounts of sunscreen and hydration. Also, there are many days throughout July that are classified as "ozone days," which are days on which the level of ground-level ozone is severe, causing health problems in sensitive individuals. This should be taken into consideration before planning outdoor activities throughout the summer months.
Winter is usually mild and short-lived. Spring is glorious with cool nights and warm, sunny days. A light jacket is all that is needed. Fall is mild and only a light sweater is needed in the evenings.
Precipitation is reasonably well-distributed and ample throughout the year with an average annual precipitation of 55 in (140 cm)
Average summer temperature: 81.3°F (27°C)
Average winter temperature: 52.5°F (11°C)
Average annual temperature: 67.5°F (20°C)
Baton Rouge, like many cities in the Gulf States, has what is known as 5 seasons. The 5th season, being hurricane season. The time of year between June 1 and November 30 when hurricane are most likely to form.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (IATA: BTR) , located in north Baton Rouge, near Southern University. American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, U.S. Airways, and Vision Airlines offer non-stop service to their respective hubs in the Southern United States.
From New Orleans, Baton Rouge is an 80-mi (129 km) northwest drive on I-10, which goes through the heart of downtown. The distance between the two Louisiana cities is an easy 90-min drive if you avoid weekday rush hours; if you catch the traffic of commuter rush hours at either end it can take a lot longer.
If you're driving in from anywhere east of Louisiana, come into Baton Rouge via I-12, which will take you north of Lake Pontchartrain and bypasses New Orleans. From the west, I-10 connects Lafayette, Houston, and Los Angeles with Baton Rouge. From the east, I-10 connects Baton Rouge with Mobile, Pensacola, and Jacksonville. If you're coming from Chicago, St. Louis, or Memphis follow I-55 South and merge onto I-12 West and continue driving for roughly 45 mi (72 km).
Baton Rouge Zoo, 3601 Thomas Rd, ☎ +1 225 775-3877 (email@example.com, fax: +1 225 775-3931), . M-F 9:30AM-5PM, Sa Su 9:30AM-6PM. $5.50, seniors $4.50, children aged 2-12 $2.50. edit
Louisiana State Capitol, State Capitol Dr, ☎ +1 225 342-7317, . Louisiana's new state capitol building dominates the city's skyline. It's an impressive Art Deco style skyscraper, built as part of the grand vision of Louisiana's colorful political boss of the 1920s and 1930s, Huey P. Long, who met his end by assassination in its halls. edit
Louisiana State Museum 660 N 4th St, +1 225 342-5428. Near the State Capitol this museum features two floors of exhibits related to Louisiana culture, with such curiosities as Louis Armstrong's first bugle, Huey P. Long's tombstone, and a Civil War Confederate submarine with a hand-cranked propeller.
Old State Capitol 100 North Blvd. This 19th century castle formerly served as the State Capitol before Gov. Huey P. Long built the new skyscraper. It is now a museum.
LSU, (Exit Dalrymple on I-10). LSU is a Tier 1 ranked university, and the flagship university for Louisiana. Aside from its academic excellence, the LSU campus in Baton Rouge is over a century old, and a historic delight for visitors. The campus is lush and green with oaks that are as old as the campus itself. Historical Highland Road runs through a section of LSU, making the campus an easy visit for any tourist. Must sees include Tiger Stadium, the Indian Mounds, the Quad, the outdoor Greek Amphitheater, and the acres of beautiful, pedestrian friendly grounds. Food is available on campus at the Student Union for visitors, or you can eat at The Chimes, which is on Chimes Street running parallel to the LSU campus.edit
Swine Palace Productions. Located in LSU's "theater-in-the-round" Reilly Theatre, originally a livestock-judging pavilion, Swine Palace are Baton Rouge's premier professional theater company.
Shaw Center for the Arts. Located downtown, this is the city's newest major performing arts complex. It features the Manship Theatre and a rooftop sushi restaurant.
Blue Bayou Water Park/Dixie Landin' . Located on the outskirts of town at the intersection of I-10 and Highland Rd, this is the largest amusement park in the area. The main attraction is the enormous water slide "Conja".
Mall of Louisiana
Red Stick Farmers Market, 501 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802 (Downtown Baton Rouge). 4. The Red Stick Farmers Market, operated by BREADA (Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance), is a producer only market with over 50 vendors that has been in operation for nearly ten years. Located on Fifth Street between Main and North Street Downtown Baton Rouge, the market is open on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. - noon in conjunction with The Main Street Market. Going to the Market is a great way to experience local culture and help the local vendors and farmers.edit
Alligator Bayou Swamp Tours, 35019 Alligator Bayou Rd, Prairieville, LA 70769 (Prairieville is just south of Baton Rouge), ☎ 225-677-8297. If you are visiting southern Louisiana, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and you don't do a swamp tour, you're missing the whole point. Take some time to schedule a tour before you make your trip to Baton Rouge! Unsure if still open.edit
LSU Lakes, LSU, Baton Rouge (Exit Dalrymple at I-10). The LSU Lakes are an attraction for residents in Baton Rouge. Composed of several lakes near LSU, they are open to the public for fishing. In addition, there are extensive running tracks that run next to the lakes for miles for walking, jogging, and running. You can easily mix and mingle with LSU college students, all of whom consider the LSU Lakes part of their home campus.edit
USS Kidd, 305 South River Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70802 (Downtown Baton Rouge). The USS Kidd, a WWII era US Navy Destroyer, offers tours to locals and tourists alike. Visit while exploring downtown Baton Rouge. A real delight if you are a WWII or military enthusiast or if you have children.edit
Tailgate during an LSU Football home game, LSU (Exit Dalrymple on I-10, go right to LSU). LSU has an incredible tailgating scene. It's not uncommon for 100,000+ people to be tailgating in and around LSU--Tiger Stadium has a seating capacity of 92,400! You'll be amazed at the number and friendliness of the crowd. Plan on arriving hours before the game to be able to park within a reasonable distance (< 2 miles). And *always* feel free to ask for a burger or gumbo from fellow tail-gaters as it's tradition to be friendly and open with fellow fans.edit
Old Governor's Mansion, 502 North Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA 70802, ☎ 225-387-2464, . Open Tues.-Fri. 9am-4pm. The Old Governor's Mansion was built by Governor Huey P. Long in 1929. The Mansion served as the official residence for nine Louisiana governors, the first ladies, and their children. It was lived in the longest by the flamboyant Earl K. Long, known for cavorting with exotic dancer, Blaze Starr. The Old Governor's Mansion has White House similarities, a secret staircase, terrazzo floors, and crystal chandeliers. The extensive collection includes memorabilia from the "You Are My Sunshine" entertainer and governor, Jimmie Davis. edit
Mall of Louisiana Large shopping mall in the south part of town, just off the Bluebonnet exit of I-10.
Perkins Rowe, . A new mixed-use development at the corner of Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Blvd. Has many retail shops and restaurants, along with a movie theater.edit
Towne Center, 6765 Corporate Boulevard, ☎ 225-925-2344, . Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Upscale open-air shopping center located at Jefferson Hwy and Corporate Blvd. Shop and Restaurant hours vary. edit
The Chimes, An LSU staple for generations, at the North Gates of campus on Highland. Predominantly frequented by students and faculty, The Chimes serves a mix of standards with Louisiana Cajun/Creole fare, and has one of the best beer selections in town.
Fleur de Lis, 5655 Government St, ☎ +1 225 924-2904, . Tu-Sa 10AM-10PM. Baton Rouge's other half-century old pizza parlor, originally a gas station on the outskirts of town, the Fleur de Lis is a family restaurant with a dedicated old Baton Rouge clientele. Cash or check only.edit
George's On Perkins Road just south of the Overpass.
India's Restaurant 5230 Essen Ln. Southern part of the city, convenient just west of the Essen Ln. I-10 exit, +1 225 769-0600. Good, reasonably priced Indian food; buffet or menu.
Louie's A traditional diner right at LSU's North Gate open 24/7.
Parrain's Although it is only a recent entry to the Baton Rouge eatery scene, Parrain's has already established itself as one of the best places to experience traditional Louisiana cuisine, most notably its fried seafood.
The Pastime A half-century old pizza parlor and bar serving easily the best pizza in the city. Also the home of "Boudin Pizza", a unique South Louisiana concoction representing the collision of Acadian and Italian cultures.
The Patio Grille and Lounge, 4728 Constitution Avenue, ☎ 225-925-2244, . The Patio Grille and Lounge at the Crowne Plaza offers a variety of local cuisine, steaks and seafood, prepared from the finest ingredients available.edit
Piccadilly Restaurants. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, the Piccadilly chain has been serving traditional, home-style meals since 1944 at affordable prices. Southern favorites include: Fried Chicken, Craw-fish Etouffee, Carrot Souffle and Pecan Pie. Meals include entree, two sides and bread. $5-10.edit
Raising Cane's, 14929 Market St, ☎ +1 225 408-1658, . Home-grown chain of fast-food restaurants that serve only chicken finger meals, and have proven so adept at doing it that they have successfully expanded to other markets in the Gulf Coast region. Side items available include crinkle-cut fries, Texas Toast, Cole-slaw, and their mysterious-yet-addictive special dipping sauce. edit
Sporting News Grill, 4848 Constitution Ave, ☎ +1 225 636-5347, . Sporting News Grill's casual upscale atmosphere encourages everyone to relax and have a great time while catching sports action on HD flat screen TVs placed strategically throughout the restaurant.edit
TJ Ribs, 2324 S Acadian Thrwy, ☎ +1 225 383-7427. M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM. The de facto standard for barbecue by which all other local BBQ restaurants are judged. Famous for pork and beef ribs, but also accommodates diners with other eating habits. LSU legend Billy Cannon's Heisman Trophy is on display here, as he exchanged it for lifetime eating privileges.$10-15. edit
Tsunami A sushi restaurant perched high above the city on the roof of the Shaw Center. The establishment has one of the best views in the entire city.
Zeeland Street Market Located in the Garden District just north of the LSU Campus, it is one of the best places in town to get soul food. Locally famous for their delicious heaping plate lunches,Z eeland Street Market is a favorite for college students with a hankering for a home cooked meal. The plate lunch menu rotates daily and all of the ingredients are fresh from local markets. Take special note that Zeeland's is only open for breakfast and lunch.
The Baton Rouge Metro Council recently outlawed many drink specials in establishments classified as bars, so if you're looking to save a buck, you should stick with drinking in restaurants. However, if you're looking for that bar atmosphere, there are several places to choose from. Baton Rouge's blue laws were repealed in October 2007, but restrictions on drink specials are still in effect.
Port Royal, 2363 College Dr, ☎ +1 225 201-9900. Pirate-themed bar (located next to a Waffle House). A service industry hangout with an alt-rock leaning clientele.edit
Chimes Restaurant and Oyster Bar (The OC), 3357 Highland Rd, ☎ +1 225 383-1754 (fax: +1 225 387-5413), . M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-11PM. The largest selection of beer, both bottled and on tap, in the Capitol City area and maybe the entire state. They serve practically anything you can think of. Be sure to ask about "Drinking around the world". There are several reports of bottled beer being served past its prime, but anything on draft seems fine.edit
The Chimes East, 10870 Coursey Blvd (''between Airline Hwy and Sherwood Forest Blvd''), ☎ +1 225 296-4981, . M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-11PM. A newer sister store of the Chimes Restaurant.edit
Mellow Mushroom, 4250 Burbank Dr, ☎ +1 225 490-6355, . A pizza place with a very funky, hippie-influenced decor.edit
Churchill's, 7949 Jefferson Hwy Ste C, ☎ +1 225 927-4211, . "Premium Cigars & Elixirs", also frequently has live music and tastings.edit
Happy's Irish Pub, 136 Third St. A low-key downtown bar with an eclectic mix of college kids, professionals and everyone in between.edit
Tigerland, Bob Pettit Blvd. A group of bars just south of LSU for those really into the college bar scene; with student favorites such as Freds, Tiger Bar, JL's Place, etc. This is also a place fraught with druken bar fights.edit
Red Star, 222 Laurel St.. Red Star - indie bar downtown, on Laurel near Third. Home to a happening karaoke night and various drink specials.edit
The Spanish Moon, 1109 Highland Rd, ☎ 225-383-6666, . Venue with pool table and upstairs bar. $$. edit
The Radio Bar, 3079 Government St, Ste. B, . Bar with large selections of beer and customer music selection. edit
Courtyard Baton Rouge Acadian Thruway/LSU Area, 2421 South Acadian Thruway, ☎ 1-225-924-6400, . As a top choice amongst hotels near LSU, our Courtyard Baton Rouge Acadian Thruway/LSU Hotel boasts a modern, state-of-the-art lobby that is sure to impress even the most experienced traveler.edit