Free Things to Do in Baton Rouge
There are tons of fun and free things to do in Baton Rouge. As the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge is home to many events, festivals, activities, and points of interest. The large city is occupied by historical monuments, industrial and agricultural sites, and a talented art scene. Louisiana State University, located in Baton Rouge, is a big contributor to the cultural richness of the city with the LSU Museum of Art and the Swine Palace theatre company.
Not all entertainment has to come with a price tag. We’ve put together a list of things you can do in Baton Rouge for free. Whether you’re searching for spur-of-the moment things to do in Baton Rouge today or planning ahead for a long weekend, the suggestions from this list can help.
1) Visit the LSU Museum of Art on the first Sunday of the month.
This magnificent modern space has soaring 15-foot-high ceilings and can accommodate artworks in all sizes and media. The museum has one of the largest collections of art in the South. Their permanent collection includes over 6,500 pieces from around the world. There’s also a special installation dedicated to Louisiana’s regional history. You can explore the gallery for free on the first Sunday of every month. Children 12 years old or younger, university students with an ID, and members receive free admission all year long.
2) Visit Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol is a historic building that housed the Louisiana Legislature from the mid-19th century until the 1930s when the current Capitol was constructed. The beautiful building is designed in the Gothic architectural style with dazzling glass-stained windows. It was restored and reopened in 1994 as the Museum of Political History, but is still commonly referred to as the Old State Capitol. The museum’s exhibits engage visitors in an interactive exploration of Louisiana’s history. The popular and award-winning exhibit, Ghost of the Castle Show, explores the haunted history of the building.The museum is open Tuesday–Saturday, and admission is free.
Stained glass inside the Louisiana Old State Capitol. Photo by Elisa.rolle via Wiki Commons
3) Visit the Louisiana Art and Science Museum on the first Sunday of the Month.
The Louisiana Art and Science Museum consists of art galleries, science galleries, and a planetarium. This destination is great for families and will entertain visitors of all ages. There’s plenty to do inside the museum, and they provide the community with lectures, workshops, classes, camps, and other programs. They keep up a full events calendar with activities such as stargazing and an annual gala. Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month, with a small (less than $10) admission fee during the rest of the month.
4) See the USS Kidd at the Veterans Museum on the first Sunday of the month.
The USS Kidd is a Fletcher-class destroyer that was launched in 1943. It is displayed as part of a memorial at the USS Kidd Veterans Museum in the scenic downtown of Baton Rouge. The memorial is a moving experience, as patrons view the aircraft and the names of fallen Americans on the black granite walls of the Louisiana Memorial Plaza. The vessel was involved in World War II and many other battles through two eras of conflict. Reenactments take place at least once a year, during which the USS Kidd’s guns sound off and flags are signaled. Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month, with a small admission fee during the rest of the month.
5) Take a Baton Rouge Food Tour. (Not free, but a great value.)
The C’est Si Bon Food Tour is a walking tour of Baton Rouge’s downtown restaurants and cafes that introduces some of the best foods the city has to offer. It also offers brief details on its history, architecture, and culture. The tour guide will immerse you in the Southern Louisiana culture and show you what authentic Cajun cuisine is like. The tour lasts about two and a half hours and includes food tastings at dining establishments ranging from fine dining to family-owned cafes. The ticket cost of $47 is a great value for the amount of food tasting and educational experience.
6) Attend the Red Stick Farmers Market.
The Red Stick Farmers Market is an open-air market for farmers or food producers only; all products sold in the market are grown in the area by local farmers. At the market, you’ll see a beautiful variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, and seasonal foods. The market takes place at 5th and Main Streets on Saturdays from 8 a.m.–noon, and on Thursdays at 6400 Perkins Road from 8 a.m.–noon year-round. The market is hosted by the nonprofit BREDA, which strives to sustain small family farms, encourage stewardship of land, and provide access to local foods for everyone, regardless of income level. You can attend and taste samples for free, and can purchase foods as a fun, rewarding way to give back to the community.
7) Explore downtown Baton Rouge.
Downtown Baton Rouge is a commercial, residential, and entertainment area located along the banks of the Mississippi River. If you’re looking for date night ideas in Baton Rouge, this area is rich with culture and history, and is home to many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues as well as residences. In total, the downtown area houses 11 public green spaces, 61 restaurants, 21 bars/lounges, eight art galleries, and five large concert venues. There’s always something fun to do through the day and night. There’s plenty of parking in downtown Baton Rouge as well as public transportation services.
Mississippi River Bridge at Baton Rouge, Photo by Kevin Andrew Woolsey via Wiki Commons