A Travel Nurse’s Guide to Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is the capital city of Louisiana. It is centrally located, with Lafayette and New Orleans both just an hour away.

Baton Rouge is the perfect place to visit to discover the unique culture and personality of Louisiana. It offers world-class food, thrilling events and nightlife, and a beautiful Southern landscape just waiting to be explored.

GIFTED has created a traveler’s guide to Baton Rouge to highlight all the fun, unique activities Baton Rouge has to offer.

A Bit of History

Baton Rouge is the capital city of Louisiana. In 1699, French explorers named the area baton rouge (red stick) when they discovered a red cypress pole that Native Americans had placed in the ground to demarcate different hunting territories.

Outdoor Activities & Attractions

Baton Rouge is full of beautiful natural landscapes that are worth exploring. The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden is a collection of gardens, forests and wetlands. The experience of the Botanic Gardens is best summed up by their own mission statement: “The Mission of the Botanic Gardens is to promote the importance of plants and their environment to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the citizens of Baton Rouge, the state of Louisiana and the world.”

The Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center contains 103 acres of land dedicated to connecting people to nature, with winding pathways leading through beautiful swampland and forests. There are also over 180 parks in the area, so taking a hike, planning a picnic, or going for a jog can easily be done. Check out the BREC parks website to find a park near your residence.

There’s also plenty of history and educational attractions in Baton Rouge. It’s worth going downtown to see the “New” State Capitol, Old State Capitol, and the Old Governor’s MansionThe Louisiana Art & Science Museum features exhibitions of internationally renowned artists, a permanent collection, a planetarium, and much more. The Capitol Park Museum is an in-depth exploration of the compelling twists and turns of Louisiana’s political history as well as Louisiana culture.

University Life & Sports

Louisiana State University (LSU) and Southern University call Baton Rouge home. Both universities have dynamic athletic programs, and their gameday events & traditions are deeply rooted in the culture of the city.

If you want to immerse yourself in the sports culture of LSU, check out The Chimes on game day, located just a block outside of campus. It’s a bustling bar and restaurant with a fun university vibe.

Nightlife

To begin, we’ll start with two very popular nightlife areas for students and young adults: Third Street and Tigerland.

Historic Third Street is located in Downtown Baton Rouge, and features many bars, late-night restaurants and clubs all within walking distance of one another. Try Blend Wine Bar for an upscale experience, and Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s for live music and a more boisterous crowd.

There is more to do at night than mingle with students, however. There are local craft breweries like Tin Roof and Southern Craft, both of which offer great educational tours and tastings. For a classically “hipster” vibe, try Radio Bar on Government Street. The Bulldog on Perkins Road offers a selection of 81 draft beers and over 200 bottled beers.

When it comes to music, the Baton Rouge music scene is booming. Teddy’s Juke Joint is a wonderful venue that’s been a hangout for blues lovers for over 40 years, and is located on 16999 Old Scenic Highway just outside of the city. It was founded by Blues legend Lloyd “Teddy” Johnson.

Baton Rouge is also home to the nation’s oldest blues festival (Baton Rouge Blues Festival), the Northgate Music & Arts Festival, as well as weekly concert series such as Live After Five that are held year round.

Great Food

Most of Louisiana is a foodie’s paradise, and Baton Rouge is no exception.

For classic Cajun and Creole cuisine, try Parrain’s Seafood, Beausoleil, Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, or Cecilia’s Creole Bistro.

For a more contemporary dining experience, the White Star Market is a new “urban gourmet food hall” located in Mid City Baton Rouge, and offers a diverse and unique selection of food & drink.

And we can’t talk about food in Baton Rouge without at least mentioning the iconic Louie’s Café, a 24-hour diner located just outside LSU’s campus.

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