About This Place
First-time visitors to Baton Rouge are swept up in the endless flow of charm that runs from the banks of the “Mighty Mississippi” on through to the architecture of its historic downtown and surrounding countryside. Many of the Greek Revival-style mansions of the Baton Rouge Plantation Country have been restored in line with their antebellum past, and tours of homes like the Myrtles Plantation and Nottoway continue to be top attractions in Baton Rouge.
Overlooking the Mississippi River to its west, Baton Rouge’s Old State Capitol Building veers off the traditional architectural course for such a structure. Designed by James Akin with construction completed in 1852, the Old State Capitol pays homage to neo-Gothic cathedrals of Europe rather than the popular styling inherent in Washington’s federal capitol building. Residents at the time either loved or hated the castle-like structure’s turrets, crenellations and stained-glass atrium. Today, the building is home to the Old State Capitol Building Museum of Political History, and comes complete with a pink, gold and green spiral staircase. The “assassination room” and The Ghost of the Castle exhibit make it a famous Baton Rouge attraction.
The irreplaceable sounds of zydeco, blues and Cajun music blend with the flavor of authentic Creole, French and Spanish cooking in Louisiana’s capital city. For music lovers, Roux House and Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s are perfect places to enjoy and dance to the region’s lively tunes. Music festivals like the Bayou Country Music Fest are top attractions in Baton Rouge and have hosted Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, while the Baton Rouge Blues Festival is one of the nation’s oldest and has seen the likes of Johnny Winter and Delbert McClinton.
Downtown’s Beauregard Gallery serves tasty Cajun and French dishes and Poor Boy Lloyd’s just a mile north lures hungry travelers with its infamous po-boys and live music on Friday nights. For more upscale fare and an intimate atmosphere, Stroubes and its executive chef Scott Varnedoe delights diners with seafood and steak classics like filet mignon and lobster ravioli.
Complementing Baton Rouge’s eclectic music and dining offerings, the city’s flourishing art scene provides enthusiasts ample opportunities to experience the unbridled creativity of the area’s artists, past and present. The Shaw Center for the Arts is home to the LSU Museum of Art and the Manship Theatre where musicians, dancers and other acts perform regularly. A mile and a half east, visitors can stroll along Governor Street and browse galleries like Circa 1857 for antiques and the colorful paintings on display at Rou Cou Cou.
The Mississippi riverboat casinos are also popular Baton Rouge attractions and a great place to test your luck. The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino is stacked with three floors of slots and live gaming, while the Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge’s 1,100 Vegas-style slots provide continuous play 24 hours a day. If your luck continues through dinnertime, these casinos’ buffets are stocked with fresh seafood and standout Cajun dishes.