Baton Rouge

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Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Louisiana Baton Rouge

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Introduction

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. With around 230,000 inhabitants in the city and around 800,000 in the metropolitan area, the city is second largest one in the state, after New Orleans. The name of Baton Rouge was given 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 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 called the city "le Baton Rouge", French for "red stick". The city was founded in 1721. The small town here was selected as the new capital of state of Louisiana in 1817, and it's been growing since. The capital was returned to New Orleans for a while during and after the troubles of the American Civil War, but it's been back here since 1882.

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Sights and Activities

  • Louisiana Art and Science Museum, 100 S River Rd, ☎ +1 225 344-5272, e-mail: lasm@lasm.org.
  • Baton Rouge Zoo, 3601 Thomas Rd, ☎ +1 225 775-3877, fax: +1 225 775-3931, e-mail: info@brzoo.org. M. Enjoy the Otter Pond, L'aquarium de Louisiane, Parrot Paradise, the Cypress Bayou Railroad, the Safari Playground & KidsZoo petting zoo.
  • 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.
  • Capitol Park 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 hand-cranked propeller.
  • Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St, ☎ +1 225 346-5001. Onsight dining includes Tsunamis, Capitol City Grill, PJ's Coffee, and Stroubes. The center also features The LSU Museum of Art's rotating exhibitions, rotating events from the Manship Theatre, and the LSU School of Art Flassell Gallery
  • LSU Rural Life Museum, 4560 Essen Ln, ☎ +1 225 765-2437, e-mail: rurallife@lsu.edu.
  • Old State Capitol, 100 North Blvd, ☎ +1 225 342-0500. Tu-Sa 9AM-4PM. This 19th century castle formerly serving as the State Capitol before Gov. Huey P. Long built the new skyscraper 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 down 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.
  • Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, 10503 N. Oak Hills Parkway, ☎ +1 225 757-8905. Featuring wildlife and ecology exhibits, a 65-acre cypress-tupelo swamp, navigable by boardwalk filled with wildlife such as birds, bobcats, foxes, turtles and alligators.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

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Weather

Baton Rouge has a semi-tropical climate, perfect for outdoor activities. The weather is consistently warm from May to September. 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 put 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).

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max15.4 °C17.6 °C22.4 °C26.6 °C29.8 °C32.5 °C33 °C32.8 °C30.8 °C26.7 °C21.6 °C17.4 °C
Avg Min4.2 °C5.8 °C10.1 °C14.4 °C18.2 °C21.3 °C22.9 °C22.6 °C20.4 °C13.9 °C9.4 °C5.8 °C
Rainfall124.7 mm140.2 mm122.2 mm136.4 mm124.2 mm113.8 mm171.2 mm152.4 mm123.2 mm88.4 mm109.5 mm140.5 mm
Rain Days8.77.77.75.86.58.311.310.18.24.56.48.2

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Getting There

By Plane

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR IATA), is located in north Baton Rouge, near Southern University. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines offer non-stop service to their respective hubs in the Southern United States.

By Train

While there is no train station in Baton Rouge, connecting bus service can be booked with a train connecting in New Orleans or Hammond.

By Car

From New Orleans, Baton Rouge is an 80-mi (129 km) northwest drive on I-10, which drives into 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 Ponchartrain 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).

By Bus

  • Greyhound. Service from Houston, New Orleans, Shreveport, and points in between. The bus station is at 1253 Florida Boulevard, at 13th Street.
  • Megabus. Service to Baton Rouge from Houston and New Orleans. The bus stop is located at the northeast corner of Convention Street and North 22nd Street, on the back side of the CATS Terminal.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

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Eat

  • Anthony's Italian Deli, 10248 Florida Blvd (Driving west on Florida Blvd from down town it is in a small store front area on the left after Oak Villa. Look for the Italian flag sign.), ☎ +1 225-272-6817, e-mail: anthonysitaliandeli@gmail.com. 9:30AM-6PM Monday through Saturday. This is a great place to go for good deli food and classic Italian dishes like spaghetti and meat balls and great muffuletta. Eat at the deli and enjoy the atmosphere and the personalities. $8 - $13.
  • 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.
  • George's, Perkins Road (just south of the Overpass).
  • Rock n Sake, Perkins Rd (near the overpass). Sushi restaurant and bar; fun hip place with an awesome bar and fantastic food.
  • 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. open 24/7. A traditional diner right at LSU's North Gate.
  • 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.
  • 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, Crawfish Etouffee, Carrot Souffle and Pecan Pie. Meals include entree, two sides and bread. $5-10.
  • Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, 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 South and increasingly beyond. Side items available include crinkle-cut fries, Texas Toast, cole slaw, and the mysterious-yet-addictive special dipping sauce.
  • 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 high definition flat screen TVs placed strategically throughout the restaurant.
  • 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.
  • 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. edit
  • 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. edit
  • Bystro Byronz. Two locations: Mid-City on Government Street and Willow Grove off of Perkins Road near Perkins Rowe. A neighborhood restaurant known for burgers and other bistro-inspired dishes.

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Drink

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. The best pirate-themed bar (located next to a Waffle House) in all of Baton Rouge. A service industry hangout with an alt-rock leaning clientele.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mellow Mushroom, 4250 Burbank Dr, ☎ +1 225 490-6355. A pizza place with a very funky, hippie-influenced decor.
  • Churchill's, 7949 Jefferson Hwy Ste C, ☎ +1 225 927-4211. "Premium Cigars & Elixirs", also frequently has live music and tastings.
  • Happy's Irish Pub, 136 Third St. A low-key downtown bar with an eclectic mix of college kids, professionals and everyone in between.
  • 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.

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Sleep

  • Best Western Chateau Louisianne Suite Hotel, 710 N Lobdell Ave, ☎ +1 225 924-5000, toll-free: +1-800-256-6263, fax: +1 225-924-3074.
  • DoubleTree Baton Rouge, 4964 Constitution Ave, ☎ +1 225-925-1005. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Offers 127 guest suites, complimentary WiFi, and delicious regional cuisine at the 4964 Restaurant. Rooms from $104.
  • Comfort Suites University, 3045 Valley Creek Rd. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
  • Courtyard Baton Rouge Siegen Lane, 10307 N Mall Dr, ☎ +1 225 293-7200, fax: +1 225 293-0323.
  • Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge, 4728 Constitution Ave, ☎ +1 225 925-2244.
  • Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, 201 Lafayette St, ☎ +1 225 344-5866. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center is a historic building and hotel in downtown Baton Rouge. AAA 4-Diamond rated hotel, offering 290 guest rooms, complimentary airport shuttle, and an on-site Viking Cooking School. Rooms from $129.
  • Holiday Inn, 10455 Reiger Rd, ☎ +1 225 293-6880.
  • Holiday Inn College Drive, 4848 Constitution Ave, ☎ +1 225 448-2030.
  • Motel 6 Baton Rouge East, 9901 Gwen Adele Ave, ☎ +1 225 924-2130, fax: +1 225 929-7150.
  • Quality Inn Bluebonnet Center, 9138 Bluebonnet Centre Blvd. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
  • Ramada Inn Baton Rouge, 10045 Gwenadele Dr, ☎ +1 225 706-5500.
  • Red Lion Baton Rouge, 10455 Reiger Rd, ☎ +1 225-293-6880.
  • SpringHill Suites Baton Rouge South, 7979 Essen Park Ave, ☎ +1 225 766-5252, fax: +1 225 766-0797.
  • Sheraton Baton Rouge Convention Center, 102 France St, ☎ +1 225 242-2600, fax: +1 225 242-2627.
  • TownePlace Suites Baton Rouge South, 8735 Summa Blvd, ☎ +1 225 819-2112, toll-free: +1-800-257-3000, fax: +1 225 819-2117.
  • Residence Inn Baton Rouge Towne Center at Cedar Lodge, 7061 Commerce Circle, ☎ +1-225-925-9100.

View our map of accommodation in Baton Rouge or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Accommodation in Baton Rouge

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Baton Rouge searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Baton Rouge and areas nearby.

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This is version 14. Last edited at 21:48 on Jan 30, 19 by bigleap.abg. 2 articles link to this page.

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