Compared to its freewheeling neighbor east down I-10 about 85 miles, Baton Rouge seems like a conservative cousin. But while my New Orleans home is famous for its cultural joie de vivre, Louisiana’s capital city has its own flavor of civic pride.
As a history lover, I relish taking a break from Nola’s nuttiness to explore Baton Rouge, the seat of state government and home to the tallest U.S. state capitol building in the U.S., a 19th-century Gothic castle reaching 34 stories against a Mississippi backdrop. Tours are free and the stained glass windows alone are worth a visit.
The city’s leafy neighborhoods buzz with energy – my favorite is the pretty Garden District, where my pup Pearl can frolic in Raising Cane’s Dog Park and vintage shopping abounds. Although its name means red stick in French, purple and gold are the city’s true colors, worn proudly by LSU fans whose beloved Tigers captured the national championship for 2019.
While a lot of the city’s business surrounds LSU, when I visit I prefer staying downtown, within strolling distance of lots of action, including Raising Cane’s River Center, home to conventions and trade shows and an ongoing menu of theater, concerts and shows. This walkable city center delivers a slew of amenities, from a range of restaurants and bars to historic attractions, all against the backdrop of the mighty Mississippi. Each of these hotels puts you in the heart of downtown, exactly where you want to be.