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Top 10 Things To Do And See In Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Picture of Shay Lee
Updated: 9 February 2017
Baton Rouge is Louisiana’s capital, but it is so much more than that — this beautiful city is the place where history is the star. Each landmark has a unique and interesting story, which captivates locals and tourists. There are a few places where history is more than a star — it is the beginning and the end. Read ahead for the best things to see & do in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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Louisiana’s Old State Capitol

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol stands on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. This building has withstood war, fire, scandal, debate, abandonment, and a fistfight, but despite all of that, Louisiana’s Old State Capitol is a testament of leadership and citizenship. In 1994, the historical landmark became the Center for Political and Governmental History. Due to this, awards for architecture, exhibits, and preservation were given to the monument. As tourists stroll through Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, they are pulled into history. The ‘Ghost of the Castle’ exhibit presents the people and events, which contributed to Louisiana’s foundation.

Address & telephone number: 100 North Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 342 0500

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USS KIDD Veterans Museum

The USS KIDD is a six-hundred sixty-first destroyer built by the US Navy. The United States has a tradition of naming destroyers after naval heroes, and USS KIDD was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd. During Pearl Harbor, Admiral Kidd was killed when the Japanese attacked his flagship unexpectedly. Many war heroes risked their lives during this monumental time in history and the purpose of USS KIDD Veterans Museum is to pay tribute to those heroes. The museum allows visitors to tour USS KIDD, examine authentic soldier uniforms, and touch the granite wall, which contains the names of everyone who risked their lives for America.

Address & telephone number: 305 S River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 342 1942

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Baton Rouge Zoo

In 1970, Baton Rouge Zoo opened its doors to the public. Taxpayers contributed three quarters of a million dollars to help fund the landmark, and here, citizens of Baton Rouge are able to connect with animals and other forms of nature at the zoo. Each year, a quarter million visitors come to Baton Rouge Zoo and discover the amazing world of the animal kingdom. For over forty years, the zoo has been the city’s number one attraction. It was the first zoo to receive the distinguished honor of accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Other than its accreditation, Baton Rouge Zoo is home to tigers, black rhinos, flamingos, alligators, and giraffes.

Address & telephone number: 3601 Thomas Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 775 3877

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Blue Bayou / Dixie Landin’

Blue Bayou and Dixie Landin’ are adjacent amusement parks. Blue Bayou is a waterpark with twenty attractions. The lazy river, behemoth bowl, quadruple aqualoop, wave pool, and ProSlide Tornado are the hottest attractions at the park. Five of the world’s largest water slides are located in Blue Bayou. Dixie Landin’ is a traditional amusement park with thrills. There are twenty-seven attractions, such as the S&S combo drop tower, log flume, and four roller coasters. These amusement parks are perfect for kids and adults who enjoy having fun and seeking thrills. Blue Bayou and Dixie Landin’ are open from May to September.

Address & telephone number: 18142 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 753 3333

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Shaw Center for the Arts

In 2005, Shaw Center for the Arts opened its 125,000 square feet building to the public. The famous art center is the venue for performing arts, fine arts, and educational tours. There are various attractions in this building. Visitors can exhibit the LSU Museum of Art, LSU School of Art Glassell Gallery, Manship Theatre, rooftop sushi restaurant, and park. The LSU Museum of Art has collections of exhibitions, programs, and special events. The Manship Theatre is often used for theater performances, musicals, concerts, and films. When Shaw Center for the Arts first opened, it received the American Institute of Architects Gulf States Honor Award for unique architecture.

Address & telephone number: 100 Lafayette St, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 389 7171

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Magnolia Mound Plantation House

Magnolia Mound Plantation House is a survivor of the architectural styles of France and the West Indies. Before becoming a historical landmark, the plantation house was a 900-acre operation. In 1791, the house was built as a small settler’s house. In 1805, the house was renovated when a major landowner decided to change it to reflect his wealth. As tourists walk through the house, the French colonial period captivates them. Magnolia Mound Plantation House contains restored Louisiana-made objects in a documented setting. There are French pieces, which illustrates the landowner’s connection to his family. Visitors can also see English and French ceramics as they tour the house.

Address & telephone number: 2161 Nicholson Dr, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 343 4955

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Baton Rouge River Center

Originally named the Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rouge River Center is a multipurpose entertainment facility. A private management company, SMG, maintains the center, which presents more than five hundred events each year. Locals and tourists often enjoy Baton Rouge River Center’s concerts, conventions, sporting events, trade shows, and theater productions. Inside the facility, there is the Exhibition Hall, Grand Ballroom, and Theater for Performing Arts. The Exhibition Hall is 70,000 square feet and provides space for conventions and exhibits, the Grand Ballroom has 26,150 square feet of multipurpose space, and the Theater for Performing Arts is often used for theater performances and musicals. 1,900 people can be accommodated in this space.

Address & telephone number: 275 S River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 389 4940

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Pentagon Barracks

The Pentagon Barracks is a complex of buildings on the ground of the state capitol. It has been a military post used by the Spanish, French, British, Confederate States Army, and United States Army. During the time of the Republic of West Florida, the Pentagon Barracks was a part of the republic. In 1810, American and British settlers in Louisiana resisted Spanish control and rebelled to establish the Republic of West Florida. The Republic gave Baton Rouge to the United States on December 10, 1810. This event contributes to the overall evolution of the Pentagon Barracks. The barracks were a military post for Lafayette, Robert E. Lee, George Custer, Jefferson Davis, and Abraham Lincoln.

Address: River Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

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LSU Hilltop Arboretum

In 1981, Emory Smith donated his hilltop arboretum to Louisiana State University (LSU). He wanted to share his love for the natural world and education with the students. The Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture currently manages the arboretum, which is an outdoor classroom and model of natural landscape. LSU Hilltop Arboretum is a place for nature enthusiasts, students, and faculty to experience solace, comfort, and contemplation. Students often visit to learn about natural systems, plants, and landscape design. A building stands near the arboretum and allows students to view the landscape indoors. The building respects the arboretum’s natural landscape and is environmentally sensitive.

Address & telephone number: 11855 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 767 6916

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Louisiana Museum of Natural History

In 1999, the sixteen natural history collections at Louisiana State University were designated as Louisiana Museum of Natural History. These collections hold more than two million specimens, objects, and artifacts, which depict the state’s rich natural history. Throughout the campus, the collections are dispersed into independent units. Some of these units are the Vascular Plant Herbarium, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, Vertebrate Paleontology Collection, and Louisiana Geological Survey Log Library. In June 1999, Governor Murphy Foster signed House Bill 826, which designated the collections the official state museum of natural history. There are various museums at LSU, but Louisiana Museum of Natural History represents the state’s entire natural history.

Address & telephone number: Baton Rouge, LA, USA +1 225 578 3202