1. A Natural Habitat for (Plastic) Pink Flamingos
Founded in 1805, Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood, Spanish Town, has become a haven for artists, musicians, and people who like to do things a little bit differently. They’ve even got their own mantra, “Poor taste is better than no taste at all,” and their own mascot—the pink flamingo.
2. Like Big Ships?
Baton Rouge is home to the Navy ship, the USS Kidd, a Fletcher-class destroyer also known as “The Pirate of the Pacific.” Yes, you can tour it.
3.The Best Burgers and Fries in the State
While Baton Rouge is ripe with Cajun food, no one in the state makes a better burger with a side of fries than Burgersmith. Famous for garlic fries, filet burgers, and turkey sliders, this small shop is the place to indulge on this American classic.
4. You’ll Become a Road Ninja
Whether you blame the boom in population, highway expansion, or LSU commuters, Baton Rouge has traffic nearly every hour of the day. Thankfully, learning how to navigate around said traffic and zoom home will make you feel like a road ninja.
5. Saturday Night in Death Valley
Able to hold more than 90,000 people and appropriately nicknamed “Death Valley,” LSU’s Tiger Stadium was voted as “Scariest Venue for Opposing Teams” by ESPN because it is the loudest stadium in the country. In Baton Rouge, football is serious business.
6. We All Scream For Handmade Ice Cream
LSU has a thriving agricultural center with a creamery to boot. Everyone’s favorite flavor, Tiger Bite, is a blend of golden vanilla and a thick blueberry swirl—purple and gold in its most delicious form.
7. The Ol’ Mississip’
Stretching along downtown, the levees built outside of the Mississippi River gives you impressive views and an excellent trail for running or walking your dog.
8. Huey P. Is Still There
Besides being the tallest in the United States, Baton Rouge’s capitol building is particularly unique. Infamous politician Huey P. Long commissioned the building in 1928. In 1935, he was assassinated inside of it. Today, you can walk around the truly beautiful gardens outside of the capitol building and say hi to Huey P.—he’s buried under his memorial statue.
9. Casinos Are Plentiful
Gambling is legal in Louisiana and Baton Rouge has several casinos to prove it. The newest casino, L’Auberge, might look like a massive version of the lodge from “Twin Peaks”, but it holds 1,500 slot machines, 50 gambling tables, and a concert hall. It needs to be that big.
10. You Can Find a Perfect Tin
Local brewer Tin Roof hand crafts signature beers and seasonal brews right from Baton Rouge. Perfect Tin is a popular favorite, but the company is quickly becoming known for their seasonal beers like Watermelon Wheat and Parade Ground Coffee Porter.
11. Winter Isn’t Coming
Snow isn’t common in Baton Rouge, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t make snow angels. Every year the Downtown Festival of Lights boasts an ice skating rink and up to six tons of fake snow you’re actually encouraged to run around in.
12. Dogs on Parade
Nothing is more adorable than puppies in costumes riding in little red wagons decorated like Carnival floats, which is exactly what happens when the CAAWS Mystic Krewe of Mutts—an all dog parade—rolls through Baton Rouge around Mardi Gras.
13. Feel Like a Kid Again
Miss the carefree days of childhood? Relive it at the indoor go-kart racing at RockStar Racing, galactic bowling night at Circle Bowl, or the water slides and roller coasters at the Blue Bayou Waterpark/Dixie Landin’.
14. Hike in the Swamp
The Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center is a murky, swampy paradise located right in the heart of Baton Rouge; just don’t forget the bug spray.
15. See Movie Stars
New Orleans may have gained the title “Hollywood South” but Baton Rouge is no stranger to film crews. If you want to be an extra (or just gawk at celebrities) you’ll have plenty of chances.
16. Halloween Happens in Style
Halloween isn’t just a night for kids to score free candy. Every year, downtown Baton Rouge is home to The 13th Gate, a massive haunted house—so massive it takes 100 actors to jump out at you in 13 different areas.
17. You’ll Have Your Own President
Who needs a county and a mayor? In Baton Rouge, you’ll live in a parish and elect a parish president.
18. It’s Geaux, Not Go
Down here, “O” sounds are spelled with the French and Cajun influenced “eaux.” You’ll see it everywhere. Geaux Tigers!
19. The Best Chicken Fingers You’ll Ever Get in a Drive Thru
The first Raising Cane’s, code named “The Mothership,” was built outside of LSU. They only serve chicken fingers, and most of the city is so addicted to the secret Cane’s sauce, they’re willing to pay extra for more.
20. You’re Practically Expected to Tailgate for Days
Tailgating is a massive event starting the Friday before games and overtaking a major part of the city. You won’t be able to drive through all the people clad in purple and gold, so you might as well grab some Tin Roof and join in.
21. Buses Abound
While the Deep South isn’t known for fast lifestyles, the Baton Rouge bus system is surprisingly punctual. You can get anywhere from downtown to college town on a bus any day of the year.
22. College Kids Are Everywhere
LSU is firmly planted in the middle of town and college kids can be found everywhere, especially in the row of bars and fast food chains on Highland Road right outside of the college.
23. Who Says Only Europe has Castles?
The former state capitol building oddly resembles the kind of castle where you’d expect to find Prince Charming in a Disney movie. It’s eerily charming and incredibly cool.
24. There Is a Season Devoted to Cake
Carnival season in Louisiana is also King Cake season, and in many bakeries you can only get this delicious cinnamon cake right around Mardi Gras. Ambrosia Bakery is no exception, but when they’re baking King Cake, they’re baking Zulu King Cake—their trademarked recipe complete with chocolate and coconuts.
25. A Tiger Named Mike
You won’t have to go to the Baton Rouge Zoo to see a live tiger. Mike, the official mascot for the LSU Tigers, has a large home right inside the LSU campus. Mike is so used to visitors he’s known to come right up to the glass and give you a high five.
26. A Whole Lot of Extreme Sports Packed Into 52-Acres
The Perkins Road Community Park may not be the biggest park in the state, but it might have the most entertainment. Between the skate park, BMX track, sand volleyball courts, cycling velodrome, and rock climbing wall, you’ll never wonder what to do on a nice day again.
27. There’s a White House Here Too
Simply called “The Governor’s Mansion,” the house that Huey P. Long built is almost an exact replica of the White House, complete with a rose garden and an Oval Office.
28. Garth Brooks Sings a Song About It
Garth Brooks’s cover of Dennis Linde’s “Callin’ Baton Rogue” is our anthem. You’ll learn to love it!
29. Turn Left at the Plantation
Swamp moss, cypress trees, plantations, and everything else you’ve seen in movies are real—so real you’ll learn to use them as landmarks when giving directions.
30. A Carousel Like You’ve Never Seen
If shopping’s your thing, Baton Rouge has you covered. Mall of Louisiana is a shopping spree megaplex, but the real attraction is the carousel—the second largest indoor one in the world. In. The. World.