10 Things To Do In Mid-City Baton Rouge

Colin Hyde

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a gorgeous city with a rich history and a population that gives new meaning to the term southern hospitality. The capital city has something to offer everyone. Whether you are a shopper, science buff, foodie, an adventurer, or an adrenaline junkie, you are covered.

1. Spanish Town Market

Grocery Store, Spanish

In the shadow of Louisiana’s State Capitol building, nestled in the heart of Baton Rouge’s oldest and friendliest neighborhood, sits a large red house. Celebrating 100 years of business in 2014, Spanish Town Market is a living legend in the capital city for their unbelievable burgers, po’boys, sandwiches, and savory southern classics, such as jambalaya, boudin, gumbo, étouffée, French dips, chicken and dumplings, and beef tenderloin stew – the epitome of homemade comfort food blended with southern hospitality. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this is the only place in Baton Rouge you can order your groceries with hot menu food items for delivery.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 9pm (Sat), 8am – 4pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Smokin’ chicken sandwich

2. Dearman’s

Dearman’s

This 1950s style burger and malt joint has a long history in Baton Rouge, beginning as the local pharmacy in the 1960s. Dearman’s is located in the prestigious Bocage Village Shopping Center and has continued to serve the same classics for years. Don’t expect a Marilyn Monroe lookalike to roll up on skates to take your order; this is a casual place with a great atmosphere and even better burgers. For the best experience, sit at the lunch counter, order a double cheeseburger dressed (add bacon), a small fry (the larges are big enough for a table of 4), and a chocolate malt, and have a great conversation with the very friendly staff as your meal is prepared right in front of you.

Price: Mid-range

Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon – Sat), 11am – 6pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Root beer float

Dearman’s, 7633 Jefferson Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 924 1391

Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Inside Fleur de Lis pizza. - Jennifer Woodard Maderazo/Wikimedia CommonsBaton Rouge, Louisiana. Inside Fleur de Lis pizza. – Jennifer Woodard Maderazo/Wikimedia Commons

3. Fleur de Lis Cocktail Lounge

Fleur de Lis Cocktail Lounge

A French name with an Italian masterpiece, the cultural tornado of South Louisiana is perfectly summed up by this iconic pizzeria. A small, pink building on the corner, with a gravel parking lot, Fleur de Lis was originally established as a watering hole on the outskirts of a small town. What began in 1946 with a small pizza, served as an appetizer, grew into the best pizzeria in the capital city. Take your pick of their Famous Roman Pizza Pies. Family-owned and -operated since the beginning, this place just feels like coming home.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Tue – Sat)

Watch Out For: The Around the World

Fleur de Lis Pizza, 5655 Government Street, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225

4. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

Park, Stadium

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

If you are looking for a fun day out with the family, Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is a great adventure, with nature trails that are easily walked and a nature center with a variety of snakes, turtles, and other animals. The small reptiles and amphibians dominate the scene; however, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, deer, and many other animals also inhabit the area.

Price: Budget

Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Tue – Sat), 12pm – 5pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Upcoming Events

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, 10503 N Oak Hills Pkwy, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 757 8905

LSU football stadium - getmahesh/FlickrLSU football stadium – getmahesh/Flickr

5. LSU Campus

LSU Campus

A tour of the beautiful LSU campus is a great way to spend an evening. Take a drive through campus on Highland Road where you will see the splendid clock tower and Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Next, head over to the iconic football stadium, Death Valley, and visit the team’s magnificent mascot, Mike the Tiger; finally, take a drive around the beautiful LSU lakes. Park your car wherever feels right and enjoy a picturesque South Louisiana sunset.

Watch Out For: The many great restaurants in the area

LSU Campus, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Perkins Rowe - Brian Mooney/FlickrPerkins Rowe – Brian Mooney/Flickr

6. Perkins Rowe

Perkins Rowe

This upscale shopping center has everything you need for a great day out on the town. Perkins Rowe has a variety of shopping options, including J. Crew, BCBG, Frock Candy, Urban Outfitters, and more. There is also a multitude of dining options, including Kona Grill, Texas de Brazil, Lava Cantina, CPK, and others. If you enjoy a good book and a cup of coffee, there is a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks inside. No matter what you enjoy, there is something for everyone at Perkins Rowe.

Price: Upscale

Watch Out For: Rock n’ Rowe Thursdays 6pm – 9pm

Perkins Rowe, 10202 Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 767 2000

Blue Bayou Water Park - Infrogmation/Wikimedia CommonsBlue Bayou Water Park – Infrogmation/Wikimedia Commons

7. Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’

Amusement Park, Park

Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’

Located off I-10, on the outskirts of the city, sits the only amusement park around Baton Rouge. In 1989, Blue Bayou Water Park opened at the corner of Perkins and Highland Road, providing relief to the locals from the Louisiana summer heat. For ten years, the water park operated alone. In 1999, Fun Fair Park closed its doors, having stood on Florida Boulevard since 1963. The old park moved across town to join the water park, creating Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’. Today, the massive complex is a year-round attraction; however, the water park is only open during the summer months. All of the great rides and classic amusement park eats are available.

Price: Mid-Range

Watch Out For: Concerts

Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’, 18142 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 753 3333

Botanic Gardens at Independence Park

Independence Park was originally purchased from the Goodwood Plantation by the parish in 1931 in order to build an airport. In 1976, the old airport was converted into a park; in 1991, the Botanic Gardens were established at Independence Park in Mid-City, Baton Rouge. Located within the grounds, the Baton Rouge Garden Center plays host to all of the local gardening clubs and shows. The series of gardens is continuously expanding as more funds become available.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 7am – sundown

Botanic Garden at Independence Park, 7950 Independence Boulevard, Baton Rouge, La, USA, +1 225 928 2270

8. Highland Observatory

Highland Observatory

The Highland Observatory offers a variety of events to help educate the public on the universe which exists outside of our pale blue dot. Visit this fantastic observatory, and allow the friendly volunteers to assist you in all of your astronomer needs; they are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about enlightening people on the related fields. They will help visitors operate the telescope and answer any questions; many also serve as guest-speakers for other events.

Price: Free

Opening Hours: 10am – 2pm (Mon – Thu), 5pm – 10pm (Fri), 9am – 2pm & 6pm – 10pm (Sat)

Watch Out For: Aliens!

Highland Observatory, 13800 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, LA, USA, +1 225 272 9200

Restocking live catfish at Tony's Seafood in Baton Rouge - Paula Ouder/FlickrRestocking live catfish at Tony’s Seafood in Baton Rouge – Paula Ouder/Flickr

9. Tony's Seafood

Market, Seafood

Jambalaya at Coop’s Place, New Orleans
© Vernaccia/Flickr
This is it – the place that singlehandedly defines Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Tony’s Seafood is a massive market, offering an expansive variety of foods, spices and other products, but specializing in the freshest seafood. They have it all – alligator, duck, frog legs, rabbit, turtle, crab, crawfish, lobster, oysters, shrimp, scallops, drum, catfish, garfish, redfish, salmon, snapper, tilapia, tuna, and more. The farm-raised catfish are on display in a massive tank. If you don’t feel like cooking, that’s okay – the cafeteria-style lunch buffet has everything your heart could possible desire. For the rest of time, Louisianians will be arguing over who has the best crawfish; however, in Baton Rouge, the debate is virtually settled – with a reputation of selling up to 50,000lbs of crawfish in a single day, Tony’s takes the prize.

Price: Mid-Range

Opening Hours: 8am – 7:30pm (Mon – Thu), 8am – 8pm (Fri – Sat), 8am – 7pm (Sun)

Watch Out For: Everything…this place is one of a kind.

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