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10 Things To Do In Downtown Baton Rouge
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10 Things To Do In Downtown Baton Rouge

Picture of Colin Hyde
Updated: 13 October 2016
Baton Rouge, Louisiana simply cannot compare with the romanticism of New Orleans; however, the capital city is rich with history. If you are in town and looking to expand the scope of your experience beyond the blur of alcoholic beverages, here is a list of activities that do not necessarily involve overworking your liver.
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The USS Kidd & Veterans Museum

Located on the east bank of the Mississippi River in Downtown Baton Rouge, is the iconic USS Kidd and Veterans Museum. First, walk through the passages of the gallery, and discover the names and events that transformed the world over the course of two eras of war. Then, stroll down the long brow leading to the deck of the ship, aptly nicknamed “Pirate of the Pacific.” Stand on the bow, look out over the water, and transcend your cognizance to a time when this relic road the waves of the ocean, fighting for the greater good of our world.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (7 days a week)

Address & Telephone: USS Kidd, 305 S River Road, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 342 1942

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Old Governor’s Mansion

The former residence of Governor Huey P. Long, the Old Governor’s Mansion is a fantastic piece of antediluvian architecture. Step back in time, as you discover the rooms and halls, on a one-hour guided tour through the magnificent house. A spiral staircase greets visitors in the foyer. The influence of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is apparent by the many parallels between the two floor plans. If you find yourself in the capital city, stop by The Mansion, and explore this treasured piece of Louisiana’s history.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm (Tue – Fri)

Watch Out For: The Lagniappe Tours

Address & Telephone: Old Governor’s Mansion, 502 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 387 2464

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Magnolia Mound Plantation House

Unfortunately, much of history is devastating, but these tragedies must be remembered so the same mistakes are not repeated. The Magnolia Mound Plantation House is one of Louisiana’s many preserved examples of the atrocities committed by past generations. Originally, a 900-acre piece of property overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, the estate is now dedicated to educating people on the French Creole roots that have become the staple of South Louisiana.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm (Mon – Sat), 1pm – 4pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Facility Rentals

Address & Telephone: Magnolia Mound Plantation House, 2161 Nicholson Drive Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 343 4955

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Louisiana Arts and Science Museum

Boasting a collection of over 4,000 artifacts and works of art, The Louisiana Arts and Science Museum’s permanent collection is constantly growing, and the exhibits are continuously revolving. If you’re an art and science buff touring through the capital city, stop in and enjoy all this museum has to offer. Do not miss the gallery on Ancient Egypt, containing a mummy dating to 300 BCE.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 10am – 3pm (Tue – Fri), 10am – 5pm (Sat), 1pm – 4pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Planetarium shows, as well as current and upcoming events

Address & Telephone: Louisiana Arts and Science Museum, 100 S River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 344 5272

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Louisiana New State Capitol

Huey P. Long – better known as “The Kingfish” – was arguably Louisiana’s best, yet most corrupt, governor. One thing is certain about the man – he got things done. Louisiana’s New State Capitol building is one of the many construction projects undertaken and completed during the reign of this ambitious political giant, who often used unorthodox methods to accomplish his aspirations. He would meet his fate inside the capitol building he had fought to erect; Huey P. Long was shot by Carl Weiss on September 8, 1935, and died of his injuries two days later.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 8am – 4:30pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 4:30pm (Sat – Sun)

Watch Out For: The Capitol Gardens, the burial site of Huey P. Long

Address & Telephone: Louisiana New State Capitol, 900 N 3rd St, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 342 7317

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Louisiana Old State Capitol

Of all the historical architecture in and around Baton Rouge, the Old State Capitol building may be the most unique. A Gothic design, with brilliant stained-glass windows, the magnificent structure resembles a medieval castle. Today, the building which has stood for more than 165 years serves as a museum to educate people on the political history of Louisiana. Stand on the steps of this ecclesiastical vestige, perched atop a grassy knoll on the bank of the Mississippi, and take in the ambiance of this unforgettable, picturesque scene.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm (Tue – Fri), 9am – 3pm (Sat)

Watch Out For: The ghost of Sarah Morgan

Address & Telephone: Louisiana Old State Capitol, 100 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 342 0500, toll free +1 800 488 2968

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Pastime Restaurant

There is no better place in downtown to satisfy your stomach than Pastime. Revered by locals, you can’t go wrong ordering a pizza, calzone, or po’boy. There is an option for even the pickiest individuals on the extensive menu at this casual restaurant. Located under the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge, Pastime began as a grocery store in the 1920s. In 1945, the building was reopened as the restaurant that still stands, and in 2007 was named a Historic Landmark.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Thu), 10am – 11pm (Fri), 10am – 10pm (Sat)

Watch Out For: Shrimp Po’boy

Address & Telephone: Pastime, 252 South Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 343 5490

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LSU Rural Life Museum

Take a step back in time and experience the rural lives of Louisianians during the 18th and 19th centuries. Hailed as “Louisiana’s best kept secret,” the LSU Rural Life Museum is an absolute wonder. The world-renowned museum is aesthetically stunning and accurately depicts the injustices suffered by millions of people, enslaved for generations. The scene appears virtually untouched by time – climb inside the claustrophobia-inducing slave quarters and then visit the spacious church used to reinforce the disturbing social injustice of slavery.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (7 days a week)

Watch Out For: Special events

Address & Telephone: LSU Rural Life Museum, 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 765 2437

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Hollywood Casino

If the museums and old buildings aren’t quite satisfying your need for danger, head down to the boat and put it all on black. The Hollywood Casino is a great place to blow off some steam. Don’t have enough to bet big? That’s okay – head over to the cheap slots and take advantage of free drinks. If you happen to be a regular gambler, there are other options which might be of interest. The Belle of Baton Rouge is located just south of the Hollywood Casino, in the downtown area. Further down river you’ll find the newest addition, L’auberge Casino, which opened in 2012.

Price: Upscale

Opening Hours: 24 hours a day

Watch Out For: Losing all of your money

Address & Telephone: Hollywood Casino, North, 1717 River Road, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 709 7777

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Shaw Center for the Arts

The Shaw Center for the Arts is the perfect way to end a day in downtown Baton Rouge. Inside, take in the magnificent visuals provided by the LSU Museum of Art and the LSU School of Art Glassell Gallery. Finally, cap off your evening with some of the best dining in the city. Stroubes Chophouse is a local favorite, and you can’t go wrong with Capital City Grill. However, the rooftop experience at Tsunami is second to none. Order some of the best sushi in the city while enjoying the most spectacular scene Baton Rouge has to offer, as the sun sets over the Mississippi River.

Price: Upscale

Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Mon), 9am – 11pm (Tue – Sat), 11am – 5pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Performing arts

Address & Telephone: Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette Street, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 346 5001

By Colin Hyde